Nice Place for a Murder

Nice Place for a Murder by Bruce Jay Bloom

Book: Nice Place for a Murder by Bruce Jay Bloom Read Free Book Online
Authors: Bruce Jay Bloom
were waiting.  I saw that both the up and the down call buttons were lit, and said a silent prayer that the down elevator would come first. 
    Which it did. An elevator arrived and the down button went dark. All three of us stepped inside, making me wonder, if we were all going down, who had pushed the up button?  Instantly one of my elevator companions, a short man with a narrow, doleful face, began hammering with his closed hand on the destination button for the forty-first  floor. The door to our car closed, then opened, then closed again. And the car began to rise.
    The short man’s face wrinkled into an unattractive smile. The little shit was beaming because he’d outwitted the control system, and made a down elevator go up, instead. I felt a strong inclination to take out my gun and stick it in his nose, but I knew that while it would make me feel better, it wouldn’t get me to the ground floor any faster. Instead, I made my angriest face and said, “I have to go down. Down, not up.”
    The man smiled again and said something in Japanese. The other man stepped in to translate. “He says thank you for being patient. He must get to important meeting.”
    “Tell him to go fuck himself.”
    The translator was horrified. “I cannot tell him that.”
    “Why not? You didn’t want to go up, either, did you?” The frustration wasn’t doing my arteries any good.
    “That is not a reason to be impolite,” he said. “One must have patience.”
    Yeah, right. Patience is my middle name. What floor was Sosenko passing now, I wondered as the door to our car opened on forty-one and the little shit got out, then turned and made a barely perceptible bow toward us.
    “You see,” the translator said, as the door closed and we began to descend, “he honors us for helping him.”
    “In that case, you did right by not telling him to go fuck himself,” I said. I massaged my chest and took a deep breath, hoping I could somehow coax my circulatory system back to some shade of normal before we got to the ground floor. The process didn’t seem to work.
    We stopped at thirty-nine, thirty-one and twenty-seven. At each floor the doors opened but nobody was there, despite the fact that it was lunchtime, a period when elevators are normally in demand. There are people in this world who push buttons to make elevators stop, just for the sheer hell of it. 
    The rest of the ride was an express. When the doors finally opened in the building lobby, my friendly translator scurried away without looking back, obviously pleased to escape from me. How long had it taken, this ride with its unscheduled detour and false stops? Was Sosenko still on his way down, or already out one of the doors and now three blocks away? Was it possible he took the elevator route and had even more delays than I did? Maybe his elevator had to stop at every floor. Or maybe he’s still in the stairwell. Many possibilities.
    Ah-so.
    I looked around me. Elevators were opening, and passengers hurrying out. I thought if I stood where I was, in front of the elevators and within sight of the stairwell exit, Sosenko just might pass by on his way to the Park Avenue doors. Then I would — what? Slug him? Shoot him? I’d deal with that. Find him first.
    Trouble was, these weren’t the only elevators. This bank serviced just the top floors, twenty-three through forty-two. Those that went from the ground to twenty-two were across the lobby, on the other side of a marble partition. What if Sosenko had cut out of the stairwell and taken an elevator at a lower floor? Then he’d most likely leave through the Forty-Eighth Street exit. If I stood where I was, I’d never see him. There was no vantage point where I could watch it all at once. The lobby was simply too big.
    I decided to play the odds and stay put. Watching the stairwell exit plus a bank of elevators was a better bet than watching a bank of elevators alone. Nice reasoning, but sorry, no payoff. Ten minutes and

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