"Seventh floor; Four through Twenty-Six Dimensional Universes, Bureau of
Psychological Excuses, Department of Pagan Babies, All God's Creatures Large and Small, Earth
Administration, and Ladies Shoes-Watch your step sir; have a nice day," bellowed the bellhop
elevator operator in on drawn out breath as he held pen the elevator door and ushered his
stunned passengers into the corridor.
Dazed, confused, and half blind from the stupid bright light Tanis stared in
shock at the uniformed elevator operator garbed in a bright red double-breasted jacket with
gold buttons, and navy blue cording to match his neatly creased navy slacks; a traditional
red bell-hops hat with like navy cording topped his unusually small, pointy head. Tanis
alternated his stares between a like-wise stunned Mahmud, and the elevator operator. He
rubbed his eyes, and repeated the exercise. Slowly he looked down at his own suit while
patting himself down to check for solidity, and confirmation of his existence; then he stared
at the operator, and the at Mahmud, and then the operator.
"Seventh floor sir, please watch your step," said the operator, and then sensing
there confusion offered, "reception desk is right down the hall to the right," he said
smiling. "Watch your step; have a nice day sir."
Tanis numbly exited the elevator with Mahmud in tow, and with one more 'have a
nice day' the elevator doors swished shut. Operating on autopilot, Tanis blindly
plodded down the hall to the right, as did Mahmud, without a word till, mouth still agape,
and his eyes more two confused miniature globes they arrived at the reception desk and came
to an abrupt halt.
An over endowed gum chewing young blond receptionist wearing a very low cut
bright red blouse with a 'HELLO MY NAME IS STELLA' badge plastered to her shirt bent convex
to shape a mountainous terrain looked up from her TV Guide crossword puzzle and asked flatly,
"Last name please?" In a corridor directly behind Stella's desk Tanis spied two
giggling cherubs trying to walk, talk, and adjust each others halos at the same time;
Stella's question went right past him, and Mahmud may as well have been in a coma, or better
yet, he probably was pretty close to it. "Do you know the name of the party to whom you
wish to speak to sir, or could I please have your last name," she said as formally as was
possible for her beautiful, enlightened self. There have been times in the history of
the world when Stella might have been called a broad, or a ditz, or the boss's cousin, or the
boss's wife (never the boss's girlfriend) or a floozy, and there were times in history when
one would refer to her as boss; today she was the receptionist, and folks her about called
her Stella. Somewhere a bell tinkled, and another little gaggle of cherubs flittered by
suddenly cheering, clapping their little cherub hands, and flapping their little cherub
wings, and somewhere another angel just got its bar tab, and again the two strangers were
oblivious to Stella query. She repeated her canned 'what'd da ya want' and this time
Tanis's eyes moved, and his mouth began to form word; now if only his brain would focus as
"Uuhhh... Fick," he finally managed to say to the delight of young Stella's
jaws, which were now free to continue chewing untethered by responsibilities of speaking.
"Tanis Fick'" he added now looking at the girl, and slightly more alert. She shot a
glance a Mahmud who immediately interpreted it as meaning it was his turn. "And I am
Mahmud Elshamey, miss," offered Mahmud, gawking at nothing in
She put her chewing function on hold for a moment while she took an inspective
look at each man. This process involved placing the eraser end of a well gnawed #2
pencil on her right temple, and turning it slowly as if she was winding something up -
which she probably was. Her free hand was busy curling and straightening a lock of hair
on the left side of her pretty little noggin. She halted her hair styling activities,
and pushed an unusually large red button on the telephone to her left, and picked up the
receiver. The button illuminated. "Mr. Fick and Mr. Elshamey to see you sir... ...uh
hah... okay." Stella replaced the receiver, and said to no one directly, "You can go
right in sirs; down the hall second door on the left number twelve; have a nice day."
She unscrewed the pencil from her head, and returned to the crossword puzzle, chewing
happily; a reward for a job well done.
The two lost souls turned, and walked down the long, exceptionally sterile
hallway to the second door on the left; number twelve. Tanis