At about thirty pages long, The Lift probably doesn’t even make it into the short story category. Nevertheless, it’s had some fantastic reviews – one of them was almost as long as the story itself!
The story of The Lift begins last year (2014) when I was floundering a little while writing the new Eddie Collins novel, Sword of Damocles. Like it or not, Eddie has quite a few fans who wanted to know about the new novel, when it would be out, what it was about, that kind of thing. I would bump into people at work, and they would forgo the usual, “Morning, Andy,” and go straight for the jugular: “When’s Damocles coming out, then?” And sometimes they weren’t especially friendly about it either. Same on Facebook and same by email.
So that’s one reason why I penned The Lift. I also felt inclined to do an interview with Eddie Collins. I hadn’t thought of a format for it though; and various permeations whirled around my head: a sit-down chat between Eddie and an interviewer was good, but how would Eddie respond to questions about his past? Would he keep referring back to me, “Blame him, he wrote it like that!” or would he stay in character, “Don’t blame me, my Mum died when I was eight.” How would he respond to questions about his future? He’d shrug, look across at me, and say, “Dunno, ask him.”
How about a chat between Eddie and myself? Sounds good, but how the hell would it work considering I made him? How would he refer to me? Would he ask questions about why I wrote him entangled in this scene or that scene; why did I almost get him killed in Black by Rose? Come on, it’d mess with my head far too much.
So I thought the best way of getting inside Eddie was for Eddie to be inside something he couldn’t get out of. It would be an interview insofar as we could probe a little and see how he reacted under certain conditions (Eddie, the lab rat!), and get to know him that way, the indirect route. But surely, he’d need someone to ask him the questions, or more specifically, someone to bring out his true feelings of others – because really, that’s how we are all judged. And Eddie’s no different from us: how he treats people is a measure of himself.
And just because he holds stereotypical thoughts about others shouldn’t be held against him – everyone does, it’s just that everyone else isn’t brain-scanned and then written about. See my point?
Anyway, I digress. All I needed to create this laboratory, was a room and some people. Already you can sense Eddie feeling uncomfortable (I know this, because I would feel uncomfortable too). Seal the room up, and the people in there with him, the very people he detests, and you’ve got sparks. Turn up the tension a bit, have a fight break out maybe, and you’ve got something exhilarating.
One or two people have commented that they enjoyed The Lift, but it should have been longer. Hmm, fair point. But The Lift had a job to do. And it did it in just the space it needed, no more, no less.