'Elevator' by Amanda Oosthuizen
Gail was a hydraulics engineer specialising in elevators; rupture valves to be precise. And I can tell you, Gail did like to be precise. In the event of a catastrophic failure, her rupture valves would mechanically stop the outlet flow of hydraulic fluid, thus stopping the piston and the car in the down direction.
Gail was intent on preventing the down direction. For twenty years I’ve known Chicken Provençale on Thursdays, tagliatelle on Tuesdays, that we’d spend an hour and a half walking our three Patterdale terriers along the same paths before work each morning and forty minutes on our return home, that we’d be dutifully intimate on Wednesdays and Fridays, that we’d holiday in a gîte in the Garonne, and that Gail would eat exactly three squares of Montezuma’s orange and geranium chocolate every night whilst viewing an innocuous episode of a vintage sit com. And she never offered me a single square. And I never laughed. And she didn’t notice.
Gail would be pleased to know that an antique Bramah and Robinson hydraulic catafalque will lower the coffin from the crematory hall. It will be transported on a short length of narrow gauge track to the furnace where the bier will be introduced to the Tousoil, Fradet and Cie gas cremator which will burn for ninety minutes at 900 degrees centigrade. Thereby removing all traces of whatever.
I won’t be there to see it. I’m in Rio with a crazy looking cocktail and three beach girls called Maria.