Hot Air Rising

Stephen stood on the escalator, rising.

Ahead of him, bums loomed, large and small, round, flat, all shapes and sizes. He worked hard to look away.

Turning to the side, Stephen looked over the edge, only to realize the mistake in that. His fear of heights kicked in, kicked him right in the stomach, making him dizzy. He looked back.

Stephen turned around, looked at the people behind him. Everyone down there was making a concerted effort not to look at Stephen’s own posterior. He smiled.

He turned back to see how close to the end he was – not close enough – only to hear a light poof from the large, sagging behind in front. The escalator allowed no escape, and he was quickly enveloped in a cloud of sulphur, rotting egg and decomposing mouse. He coughed, waved his hand in front of him to try to clear the smell, but it lingered in his nostrils, a body’s angry response to poor dietary choices.

Behind him, he could hear others complain, horrified. He hoped they didn’t think it was him, regretting his looking back. When he reached the top of the escalator, he hurried away, looking for a perfume shop, a soap store, anything.


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