Bruce parked his Audi A7 on the 14th floor of the multi storey, city centre car park.  He always drove straight to the top everyday, cutting out the wait behind other drivers trying to find a spot nearer to the ground floor.  He’d already got stuck behind some woman trying to park her mini in a space the size of the Grand Canyon, stupid bint.  That had pissed him off.  He needed to be in the office earlier today.  He pressed the lift button and stepped inside.  It smelt of warm, sour urine and yesterdays exhaled fag breath.  Jesus.  He held his laptop bag away from the side panels.  Today was not going to be good.  He had to fire one of his sales guys this morning for underperforming.  He wasn’t frightened of firing people if they didn’t perform, hell, that was the nature of the job but he was aware that this lad had recently bought a new house with his girlfriend and taken on a big mortgage. Plus he would need to start interviewing for someone else to cover that area which he’d have to get Maggie, his PA organising today. He’d been sleeping with her on and off for the last year.  He couldn’t help it, the girl was such a good lay and great stress relief and she taunted him with her tight fitting blouses and huge tits. She knew what she was doing and he’d taken it.  Who wouldn’t?  But now she wanted more than that. Typical.  He wasn’t about to fuck up his 25 year marriage and have it costing him a shed load of money for the rest of his life.  Now he had Maggie playing the tortured mistress and being a moody bitch at work. He’d have to find someone else to replace her if it didn’t stop.  Knock it on the head.  The lift stopped at 9th floor and a cute blonde walked in.  Nice arse. She looked smart, confident and together.  Maybe she’d like to be his PA, Bruce thought.  She gave him a brief smile with her pretty red lips.  He could imagine that mouth somewhere else right now.

Sophie turned and pressed the ‘G’ button for the ground floor even though it was already lit to go down, it was a habit.  The business man in the corner seemed nice. He’d given her  such a lovely, friendly smile as she’d stepped inside. His aftershave was a bit overpowering but it left a sillage of expense which masked the usual foul odours in the city lift from the previous night’s party revellers.  He looked like a well paid professional.  Probably got a great job, happy life and all the things she’d once dreamed of.  Now she had an absent husband, a pair of teenage kids and barely enough money for a pint of milk.  This morning, Brendon had kicked off because his shirt wasn’t ironed and the weetabix had run out.  He’d slammed the front door so hard, one of the panes had smashed and there was glass everywhere.   No doubt she’d be getting a call from school to get him out in the next twenty minutes.  What was the point?  Her life was a mess and she was on the brink of crying. The smile from the business man had made her feel a little better. At least there were still some nice guys left in the world.
The lift doors opened at the 7th floor.  A short, balding man in an ill fitting suit stepped in and said a cheery “Good morning”.  He looked so happy and cute that Sophie wanted to hug him. She wished she could feel that joyful in the morning.

What a fucking awful suit, thought Bruce.  I’d sack him if he turned up to my office wearing that. Guy needs to sort himself out. 

Harold got in and said a bright hello to the man and woman already in the lift.  He pushed his slipping glasses up his nose and smiled at nothing in particular.  Except for the fact he was still here.  He was still coming to work until the chemotherapy started next week.  Just a couple of days to keep his mind off it and keep his brain occupied.  Besides he needed to get the other accountants up to speed, just in case.  Harold didn’t want to die. Every time he looked at his wife he could see the fear swimming in her eyes, even though she tried to hide it and it made him feel tormented and guilty. He was only 58 and since they had found the tumour on his lung 6 weeks ago, he’d already lost over 2 stone.  He could barely keep his suit trousers up.  Harold tried to be cheery. He’d read that a positive mind resulted in a healthy body and he would do anything to help prolong the time he had left.  All the things he’d taken for granted, noticed again.  The things he’d complained about, now so trivial.  Knowing you didn’t have long left made you appreciate every little detail in life.  It was like looking at the world through fresh eyes; like the eyes of a child.  The lift opened at floor 4.  A young girl in her late teens stepped inside.  She was terribly skinny; rail like and effortlessly beautiful in a pale, haunting sort of way.  Her clothes were cheap, off the peg, High street but she made them look designer.  She half smiled nervously at the floor as she walked in but made no eye contact.  

She looks like a catwalk model, Sophie thought. Wish I looked that good.

Too thin, thought Bruce, trying to search for some curves with his eyes. Needs a good dinner and a hard shag to loosen her up a bit. 

Young and beautiful and her whole life ahead of her, Harold mused, wishing he could step back in time.

Lilly didn’t look at the people in the lift.  She hated being near people.  They were probably all looking at her now and thinking how fat and disgusting she was.   She’d lost her job at the restaurant as she couldn’t bear to be near the food.  It made her sick.  The smell of it probably added calories.  She couldn’t work there anymore.  This morning she had to go in and collect her last pay slip and P45.   Her mum had tried to get her to eat 2 ounces of yoghurt for breakfast, A WHOLE TWO OUNCES.  Her mum had been soft and sweet trying to encourage her, reminding her what the doctors at hospital had said.  She just licked at the spoon and that was all. She refused to eat any more.  Even that was too much and as she tasted it, her mind kept saying “That’s going to make you even fatter if you eat it ”  Her Mother had eventually flipped out and started shouting and crying.  They’d got in the car and her Mum had cried all the way into town. She didn’t understand.  
Lilly caught the reflection of her thigh in the sheen of the metal lift panels.  She looked like a whale.  She couldn’t go into the city looking like this. She began to panic.  She started to perspire and pick at her nail beds that were already sore from yesterdays bleeding. Once the doors opened she’d run back up the 4 flights of stairs to the car and go home. 

The lift stopped at the ground floor and the passengers disembarked leaving the energy of their tainted assumptions and the stench, masked with cologne, in the box behind them. 

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