This was new for Otis: feeling this confused, this out of control.
Elevators were safe.
They went up, they went down. People entered. They exited. This was his world and people who passed through looked to him to guide them. The building was intimidating to many, the tenants were sometimes odd (even before Merlot) and the clients often confused, and Otis prided himself in providing security, comfort, and stability in the brief time they were with him, up and down the elevator.
But now, it was as if the elevator had suddenly lurched sideways, or flipped end over end and Otis couldn’t tell up from down. Nonetheless the elevator slid steadily on it’s preordained path and as Otis watched, the lights moved steadily from 1 to 10. Otis took a deep breath and tried to take stock in the time he had.
Yes indeed, Otis was confused. Out of control. Perplexed, and maybe even anxious. But, Otis now realized as he contemplated, that he was not frustrated or upset. He was mostly excited, even exhilirated. For the first time in a long time, he had no idea what he would see on the other side of the doors and he realized he liked it.
Otis contemplated what strange power this man Merlot had; what strange emotions he produced. The fear of Mrs. Jenkins, the anger of the youth, the slightly chaotic ancitipation of Roger and co. And now the strangely building excitement of Otis.
The doors opened.
No one was there.
The same unfinished floor; the same hallway stretching out of sight.
Otis stepped off the elevator. It was still.
Otis heard nothing except the pounding of his own heart, the dry swallow he made, his own breathing. His feet made little noise on the unfinished floor as he began to walk slowly down the hallway, looking for some sign of Merlot.
And then he saw it.. a literal sign.
Merlot the Magician.
What? A little further down the hall another sign said,
Merlot makes it happen.
Otis passed some closed unmarked doors. Where Mrs. Jenkins or Roger and Co. in one of these?
Merlot: he has what you require.
Otis was slightly disappointed at the mundane advertising in these signs, but still had no idea what or who Merlot was.
Still further down the hallway,
Merlot says: what do you need? Get it here.
and under this sign, Merlot himself, frowning.
He turned toward Otis, looking slightly embarrassed.
“My nephew’s idea. He thinks I need to advertise, but I’m not so sure. and these…”
He waved his hand at the signs at a loss for words.
Otis nodded, “Indeed. They don’t quite capture it do they?”
Merlot beamed, “No. No they don’t. But then that’s why you’re here, isn’t it?”