It could only get worse.
Reproving eyes lingered on his half-dressed state as he stepped up. He stumbled, groping for the crack in the synthetic leather that would guide him as usual. It was more crowded than usual but he didn’t take note. The vindictive light still burning his dilated pupils, he dropped his eyelids to barely a slit. This cruel torment was tame in contrast to the onslaught of the odour that besieged his nostrils on point of entry.
For a while he had not known the source but the airborne acrid tang had driven him to madness and for days he had rummaged deliriously. When he found it he realized how obvious it had been. Lying in the pouch directly in front of him was the device. The cruel propellant meant to overpower the less harmful tobacco scent spread its brutal tentacles through the air.
Set in motion it only got worse. The flimsy straps on his waist couldn’t prevent him from sliding back and forth at every turn. First he was flung violently left, squashing his companions to half the size. Then it was his turn to be slammed into the door.
He felt the wheeled menace slowing to a stop, then the door to his left flapped open. He felt himself being pushed into the others. He sensed the presence of a new elbow in his side before the door slammed shut and the engine revved. As he turned to identify the intruder he quickly realized his mistake: eye contact.
Before he could turn away he heard the sounds – Toneless at first before the pitch climbed at the end. He knew in an instant what it was: a question. By far the most unwelcome sound at this time. A greeting could be answered with a grunt, but a question required real articulation. He knew what to do to contain the situation. His answer was gruntish but distinctly in the negative. It did the trick and he went back to gazing blankly at the floor.
Eternity passed before he felt the jabbing in his ribs ease up. He sat, enjoying the solitude for a while before he realized he was alone. He looked up. The driver clearly wanted to move on. He knew the drill and followed it precisely. He groped his way to the exit and stumbled out.
As he staggered onwards his widening eyes rested on the wording engraved above the entranceway: Nil Nisi Optimum. It could only get worse.
I wrote this a long time ago for a school assignment. The two topics I could choose were, ‘The Lift Club’ or ‘It could only get worse’. I decided to use both; Hope you hate it.