The Lift - Part Three

The first Lift story appeared in the bulletins of the Yokohama World Championships; the second of those in the Salsomaggiore Olympiad. Subsequently, they have both been translated into several languages and have appeared in publications all around the World, thus bringing fame (but alas not fortune) to the "innocent victim."

Although it was well past midnight, James Wilson decided he still had time to read another chapter of his latest acquisition, "Step by Step: Signalling."  His defense had reached new heights since he started reading it and he
resolved to lend it to his partner. He certainly needed it after his defense to 5Cx the previous night.

Still, at least it had given him the chance to use his latest insult.  He would never have thought of "demented
water buffalo." He made a note to write a thank you letter to David Burn.

As he tried to master the concept of a "Smith Peter" he drifted off into a deep sleep.  As so often seemed to be
the case, he found himself dreaming of hands from the book.
Images of the famous players he had been reading about drifted into his mind.  Sabine Zenkel, Daniela von Arnim,
Doris Fischer, Michele Handley, Gabriella Manara - why, he wondered, did he never dream about Tony Forrester, Jeff
Meckstroth........

He awoke with a start and found himself inside a lift which was travelling upwards at tremendous speed. It suddenly
came to a halt and the doors opened. An angelic looking girl motioned for him to step out and follow her. They
walked down a long corridor, at the end of which a distinguished figure was seated at a desk. As they drew near he looked up and spoke.  "Hello James, my name's Peter. Have a seat."

"I've been checking our records and almost everything seems to be in order."
    "In order? In order for what?"
"In order for you to enter the celestial gardens."
     "Celestial gardens? Then I'm d...."

Before he could finish, Peter continued.
"There is just one problem. I see that you have played a little bit of bridge."

His mind in a whirl, he could only nod his agreement.
"According to our records, you have sometimes abused your partner, both at and away from the table. I'm afraid the
Head Gardener takes rather a dim view of such behavior, and you will have to make amends before you can be admitted.
This young lady will take you to the lift. Get out at floor -1430.  There you will find someone waiting for you. You
must make love to them. The lift will then bring you back here and we will complete the formalities.  You cannot
return until you have completed your task."

Before he could utter any protest he found himself being escorted back to the lift. Once inside, he noticed that the
numbering of the floors was rather unusual. Apart from the one he was now at, which was marked "Top" and another
marked "Bottom", all the floors were indicated by numbers he knew only too well...... -470, -670, and even -2000.

He pressed the button marked -1430 and the lift rapidly descended to the chosen floor.  It came to a halt and as
the doors opened a masterful voice commanded him to step out of the lift.

He stepped out and the doors closed behind him.  To say that the occupant of the room was not a vision of loveliness,

would be putting it mildly. He had once seen an old black and white movie, "The Creature from the Black Lagoon", but

even that had not prepared him for the sight he now beheld.

He instinctively turned around in an effort to leave the room, but the doors of the lift were no longer to be seen.
He glanced around the room and quickly established that there was no means of escape. There was nothing to do but
to comply with St. Peter's instructions. As he began to remove his clothes, a hideous cackle filled the room.
         

It was a still badly shaken James, who tried to gather his thoughts as the lift made its way upwards. The doors had
reappeared as soon as he had completed his dreadful task and he had hastily gathered his things together and stepped
inside.

He noticed that the "Top" button was illuminated, and curiosity getting the better of him, he pressed the button
marked -1100.  To his surprise the lift slowed down and stopped. The doors opened for a second, but immediately
began to close again.  There was just enough time for him to see the occupants, none other than Sharon Stone and
Brian Senior. They were re-enacting one of the scenes from a film he had seen on more than one occasion, "Basic
Instinct."

When the lift reached it's destination, James was collected and escorted back to St. Peter. He looked up from his desk
and spoke, "Well I hope that wasn't too bad. If you will just sign these papers I will arrange for your transfer to
the celestial gardens."

"Just a minute," said James. "I want to know why I had to make love to that monster, while Brian Senior gets Sharon
Stone." "You weren't supposed to see that," said St. Peter, "an unfortunate error by the computer."

"Never mind that, I demand an explanation."

"It's really quite simple. You, James Wilson, have done your penance, and Sharon Stone must do hers!"