Because I enjoyed everyone’s howls of disgust last time, I wrote another story about Stan. I do hope it horrifies as much as the first one. (Don’t read if easily offended.)
One of the two people in the lift held her breath, desperately. The other took in big, deep draughts of fetid air.
‘Smells like vinegar, don’t it?’ Stan said jovially, nudging his fellow passenger, whose face was beginning to turn blue. Her name was Annie, and she was already regretting winning the race to get through the doors before they closed.
‘Gnngh’, she said in response.
‘It’s ‘cos I had pickles in mayonnaise for breakfast. They’re playing merry hell with my guts. Ah, there goes another one. Better out than in, eh?’
Stan let rip with a loud, elephantine belch and scratched himself on his generous rear end. ‘This lift’s taking a long time to move. Reckon it’s stuck?’
He sniffed thoughtfully, sounding like a blocked drain, then stuck a dirt-caked finger up a cavernous nostril, trying to dislodge a particularly large – and, he suspected, particularly delicious – lump of snot. He jiggled and poked, his cartilage making a creaking, groaning noise. ‘Ah-ha!’ he exclaimed, and withdrew his digit to examine a greasy, blood-caked ball of mucus. He gave it an experimental lick.
‘Not bad,’ he mused. ‘Want some?’ He waved it in Annie’s face, watching nonplussed as she shrank back with horror, turning even bluer.
‘All the more for me, then,’ he said, popping his elevenses into his mouth, and looking forward to his half-past elevenses. ‘What the hell’s going on with this lift?’ You could still see his snack rolling around his rotting teeth. He jabbed at the buttons, layering them with snot grease and sweat. ‘Shall I press the alarm?’
‘Yeah, reckon I will.’
There was a buzz. Then silence for a few seconds. Then a woman’s voice.
Mumble mumble static mumble ‘….help?’
‘Lift’s stuck,’ said Stan, concisely.
Murmur static mumble ‘…soon.’ Static mumble murmur ‘…just relax.’
‘Looks like we’ve got a while,’ said Stan, letting off another pickley rumble as he did so.
Annie gasped, took as deep a breath as she could as fast as she could, and immediately regretted it, exploding into a coughing fit.
‘You OK love? Take some deep breaths.’
She was doubled over, coughing, hacking, wheezing like an old pair of bellows. Stan slapped her on the back, sending her to her knees.
‘While you’re down there…’ He wiggled his crotch. His trousers smelled like a rotten mattress.
Annie shuffled to the corner of the lift and, slowly, managed to regain some composure, although her eyes were wild. She closed her mouth again, with the intention of keeping it closed for even longer this time.
Stan whiled away a couple of minutes cracking his knuckles loudly, before plunging a hand down the front of his trousers to scratch his testicles. After a while he removed his hand and gave his fingers a long sniff.
The smell was beginning to fade, so Annie reluctantly took some teeny, tiny breaths. Stan produced a bottle from somewhere deep in his pockets and took a long swig of the dark brown liquid. ‘Need a drink?’ he asked, waving the bottle in Annie’s direction. She was still hunched in the corner. ‘Coke,’ he added.
Annie, whose mouth was dry from all the breath-holding, hesitantly took the bottle from Stan’s sweaty grip. ‘Thanks,’ she said, putting the vessel to her mouth, before immediately taking it away again and spitting the liquid halfway across the lift. Her eyes bulged.
‘Sorry, Coke and vinegar,’ said Stan. ‘Half and half mix. I like it. Most people don’t.’ He took the bottle back and took another gulp. ‘Sets your teeth on edge nicely.’
There was another burst of static from the lift’s control panel. ‘…a while… problem’ mumble ‘… sorry…’ mumble mumble ‘maybe an hour…’
‘Shit,’ muttered Stan. Annie’s heart sank.
‘And here’s me really needing a piss,’ Stan continued.
Both of them looked at the now empty bottle. Rivulets of sugary vinegar ran down the inside.
Stan grinned. Annie silently shook her head, praying for something, anything, to stop what she knew was coming next.
Stan unzipped the front of his trousers, placed the bottle before him, and relaxed his bladder.
Annie hid her face in her hands so she wouldn’t have to see.