CHAPTER THREE - THE SEVENTH TALE
NEW YORK CITY - 1949 - CONNOR
He had been walking for three days straight. The world war had ended more than three years ago and unfortunately that war cost him so
much. His father came back a broken man and his mother used all of the families’ money to make him well again. Connor had to work hard
and all the money he made went to the hospital bills for his ailing father. He didn’t like it, so the day after he turned 17 he left the house.
Now, three days later, he was walking around the big city of New York. Connor didn’t know what to expect and he didn’t know where to turn.
However, something brought him to a building that was close Central Park.
He read the name of it and decided it was just as good as any to look for employment. The Manager of the Apartment Complex was named
Rick Sampson, or so the name plate on the lobby desk read.
“Hello, sir?” He looked at Connor’s clothing. He was wearing white t-shirt and ripped pants. “Is there anything I can do for you?”
“I noticed your sign outside.” Connor said, pointing to the simple but elegant ‘Help Wanted’ sign in the corner.
“Yes, I see.” Mr. Sampson looked again at the individual. “Unfortunately the interviews do not begin until tomorrow morning and we do have
many people to get through. I may not be able to find time for the owner to meet you.”
“The owner?” Connor was surprised. “He will be conducting the interviews personally?
“Yes, that is correct. As you may be aware, although the job is simple in its duties the elevator operator will be in contact with many of the
people living here so they need to meet certain criteria.”
Mr. Sampson went back to his paperwork. Feeling dejected, Connor walked out, however, before he left he smelled something. Just to right
of the building he noticed a small bakery. He hadn’t eaten much that day so he went to look inside. A man in his 40s was making fresh bread
whilst talking to someone. They seemed to be friends.
“Eric, you needed to try my new loaf.”
“Felix, in the last twenty years I have not changed my standing order in all that time.”
“Your loss.” He noticed Connor and offered the new bread to him. Curious, Connor took the new loaf and smelled peanuts in it.
He chewed it and it was wonderful. “Thanks, man.”
“You’re welcome,” giving his buddy a stare. Eric was more than curious about Connor and offered him a seat next him at the bar. Connor sat.
“So what brings you to New York?”
“Just doing some exploring and looking for work.”
Three hours later the two guys were having a late dinner and Connor had made Eric Sampson laugh with his tales. Although Connor was only
seventeen he was a great storyteller. As Connor took a sip from his Cola, Eric took the opportunity to speak.
“I have a job for you.”
“I need an elevator operator at my building and you’re perfect. You have this charm and ease about you. You’re friendly and funny. I think
you would be perfect.”
The next day, Connor moved into a small room in Eric Sampson’s building, The Orpheus. His small room was above the basement. Rick had
taught him the simple tasks he had to perform. During the afternoons he would be manning the main elevator, taking the people to their
floors. The building was impressive in size. The lobby had a small waiting area with leather chairs and a sofa. Right across from that sat a
reception area with a desk, which wasn’t massive because the Orpheus only catered to about 50 people. As you walked down the main hall
to the bank of elevators you passed a small nook, called simply The Café. It was meant for the clients on the go, with 12 person seating
capacity. The elevators, Connor’s second home, were elegant and majestic. They had been a part of the complex since it was built in the
early 1930s. It had small doors that the operator had to handle before the elevator could operate, as well as a mechanical door that opened
when the elevator reached its floor.
Connor loved the ride, and although the complex had six floors with about five people per floor, the corridors that surrounded each floor’s
elevator were marked with blue and red walls and brown stained wood floors. The bottom floor was the basement, which Eric lived in. He
never liked heights so he converted the basement into a massive comfortable suite for him and his dog, Duke. The top floor of the Orpheus
housed the penthouse apartment to a recluse who had been with Orpheus since it opened. He was their first tenant and the 25 year old man
opted for the Orpheus because it allowed him to stay away from people.
Connor worked with Bill Patterson, a 16 year old operator who worked the mornings, three days a week. Within four months Bill and Connor
were good friends. They spent most of their weekends in Bill’s room, which was two doors down from Connor’s. Connor told him about his
father while Bill entertained him with the life of living rich. The weekends continued and Bill and Connor took up smoking, with Bill showing
Connor the nightlife.
Then the night he lost his virginity was the changing point in his life. It was just three days shy of his 18th birthday and Bill had got him a date
with his sister, a smiling hot blond bombshell. Connor liked Ellie for her good looks but also for her intellect. He was surprised with the
vernacular she had. They had a simple meal in his room. After the meal they talked all night about her plans for the future.
They went to his bed and the sex was amazing. It just flowed naturally and she seemed to enjoy it. The sex was the first for him and he loved
making Ellie smile.
“Do you smell that, Con?”
He thought she was referring to their scent but after a few seconds he realized what the odour was. “Smoke!”
He threw on some pants and Ellie found his long shirt. Connor tested the door. It was hot so he kicked it open. The Hallway was engulfed in
smoke. His first thought was Bill. He ran two doors down and kicked the door in. Inside was Bill asleep, surrounded in flames, a cigar in his
Bill didn’t open his eyes but Connor wouldn’t let his friend die, he walked past the flames and fireman carried him outside to the hall. He
went back inside his room. Ellie was gone. She went through a broken window as needed the thin air. Connor was about to check Bill’s pulse
when the wall by his bed burst into flames and Bill’s pants caught fire. Connor quickly dowsed the flames but he needed to do something, so
he picked Bill up and went to the broken window. He pushed Bill’s body through it as the flames got closer. His bed was now gone. A hand
pulled Bill’s body through the window. He needed to get out, but as the hand reached to grab a hold of him, he took it and he was pulled
from the building. It was just in time as three explosions occurred. The gas must have been on somewhere.
He nodded to Mr. Cranston who lived on the main floor, who had helped him and Bill. “I need to go back.”
“Eric is still down there.” He pointed to the basement.
“Don’t!” Connor didn’t listen and ran toward the front. Everybody was leaving, but he ran past them all, grabbing a coat behind the desk as
he went. He pulled the mechanical door open and looked down. The flames had engulfed the shaft. The cable seemed to about to break
though. He put his feet on the emergency ladder on the side and let go so he would slide down the shaft, hoping to the miss the flames with
his speed. In three seconds he went past it and his coat caught fire. He threw it off and now he was bare chested again. The flames seemed
to be going, but it was only matter of time before he escaped and the floor collapsed. He went to the door and kicked it open, but at that
moment something fell on his head and everything went black.
Connor awoke in the ambulance, “Where am I?” His memory was flushing back. Next to him was Eric.
“Connor, relax, I’m alive, and so are you.”
“What happened?” remembering he fire, he shot up from gurney he was on and left to witness the Orpheus. All that was left was rubble.
“How was long was I out?”
“Some time,” Eric reassured him. “My apartment has an emergency staircase, I carried you out.”
Connor was grateful but the tears in Eric’s eyes told him that the destruction of his home was hard. “I’m sorry, Eric.”
“You have no reason to be.”
“I should have smelled the smoke before it got worse.” He explained to Eric about seeing Bill asleep with the cigar.
“There was nothing you could do.” He smiled, “We only suffered minor issues, with Bill receiving some horrible burns. Thanks to you he will
“Thanks to you, so did I.” Connor replied. “Come on.” He ushered his friend into the bakery and where Felix offered him a small coffee. It
wasn’t enough, Eric just cried for the loss of the Orpheus.
TORONTO, ONTARIO - JOSH TURNER
2012 - 63 YEARS LATER
Josh had arrived at the bus station and went to meet his Mom. He walked up the stairs to the general parking area but his mom was nowhere
to be seen.
Josh got nervous for second. He was about to call his mom to see where she was, but at that moment her car showed up at the door. Josh got
in. “You’re late.”
“When have I ever been on time?” she responded. She did have a point. The car ride home was pretty quiet. This was typical, Josh was more
reserved and he didn’t like communicating unless he needed too. He was worried about his father, as he was dealing with funeral
arrangements. Josh’s father was good at masking his emotions however Josh knew he must be hurting. Losing one’s parent is never good.
They arrived home and Josh decided to use his computer to check his messages and emails. His cellphone wasn’t a smartphone. Then he
thought again about his Zaidy and Bubby and he missed him so much. Zaidy was there for him always. He didn’t know what made him do it
but Josh went to the cupboard in the basement where all the photo albums were and looked for pictures of his grandfather.
He passed an empty photo album and a thought occurred to him. Josh took the albums and took out pictures of his family, showing some of
the best moments of their lives that were captured. Josh then put them in an order, and using the empty album he made a photo collage
album for his Bubby, including numerous photos of her husband. While searching through all of the pictures he noticed there were not many
of him in his early life. Zaidy was 80 years old when he died so there were cameras back then.
Mom called him, “We’re going out for dinner with your sisters.”
“Okay, gimmie a few minutes to finish things up.” He knew is mom would be upset about this.
Before Josh realized it he was at the Outback ordering a steak with his mom, his two sisters and their spouses. The conversation was more
about the details of getting to Montreal and who would drive with whom. Josh never received a licence so he would need a ride to the bus
station upon his return to Toronto.
A friend of the family noticed his older sister, Rebecca, and came up to say hello. “I’m a little surprised, Renee,” talking to my mother, “It’s
not every day that all your children are sitting down to dinner together.” That was not a diss of any kind, but a statement of true facts.
Rebecca and her other sister, Helena, had their lives to deal with. Rebecca was seen more often because she was lived with Josh’s parents,
while her husband renovated their house after it flooded recently.
“Unfortunately it’s not for a happy moment,” Mom stated, telling our friend about the children’s grandfather’s death. She had met Connor
Turner a few times at family events, mainly in early years when Josh’s sisters had birthday parties and such.
“I am sorry for your loss.” Not wanting to intrude on the mourning, she left them after Josh’s Mom told her about the funeral details.
Josh thought back to photo album that was still at home and asked the table a question. “There are not many early photos of Bubby and
Zaidy. I was trying to look at some photos earlier.”
“Ah,” Mom responded, “That is to be expected. You see Connor never had time to buy a camera, his life kept busy in his early years,
especially when he was in New York.”
At that mention, Josh and his siblings turned to his mother. Josh then spoke up, “New York? When was Zaidy in New York?”
“A long, long time ago. It was there that he met the love of his life.”
“What?” Helena asked, “What are you talking about?”
“You mean to tell me your father never told you this story?”
They all shook their heads, no.
“Well then, I guess I better. You see, almost sixty years ago, Connor was working at some apartment building and he saved the owners life in
“Mom, wait?” Helena spoke. “Some details would be nice.”
“I am sorry I’m not much of a storyteller.”
“You’re doing fine,” Josh stated. “How did he save the owner’s life?”
“There was a fire at the building that brought the entire building down. Connor went back in and tried to save the owner. However, in doing
so, a piece of the ceiling fell on him and the owner ended up saving his life instead.”
She watched her children. They all seemed glued to story. “Well, I don’t know many details after that, Connor had kept quiet about it. Your
father says at some point he and the owner, Eric, became friends. Eric groomed Connor to manage the complex while the building went
under renovation from the fire. Then one evening, four nights before the building opened up, on Connor’s birthday, a woman entered his
“Her name was Yvette. She was a French Canadian from Montreal. The rest is history.”
Josh stared at his mother, “You cannot stop there. How did Yvette enter Connor’s life? Was she a tenant?”
“She was the niece of one of Eric’s friends. The way Connor told me about it she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen; however,
she talked too much. They began to date and Eric was happy with the courtship. As he groomed Connor to become the head manager of the
newly opened Orpheus, Yvette started to fall for him.”
“Seven years later Yvette and Connor announced their engagement. That’s it.”
Josh was curious though, “why seven years, that seems rather slow?”
“I really have no idea. Maybe it has something to with his brother having a child at the time, and he wanted to start a family.”
“His brother?” Josh asked. “Glenn was rarely talked about.”
Rebecca remembered something and added to the conversation, “I asked why he decided to marry Bubby after the two had an argument
some years ago. He said his brother was happy that he was going to be a father soon and he wanted to start a family.”
“I cannot believe Zaidy never mentioned his time in New York.” Josh sighed. “It makes him so much cooler.”
“Why did he leave?”
The silence at the table spoke volumes. Maybe that is why he never told Josh about his New York time. It ended horribly.
A TOWN IN OREGON - THE TRAVELLER
Now, the Traveller was doing what he did best, walking away and never looking back. The Traveller had left California and those brothers
three weeks ago. He was now in making his way north through Oregon. He didn’t really know where he wanted to go.
He was on deserted highway walking in the sunshine, making an excellent pace. There was nobody around to give him a ride, had there been
he wouldn’t even have known where to direct them. His mind was drifting through the people he met over his five years of travels; the old
woman in California, the brothers in California, the gay guy in Vegas and the old man in Montreal. Although he met two dozen or so people
on his travels the old man was one he frequently went back to in his mind.
He met the man about seven month ago in Southern Quebec. He was just leaving a bar after getting into a fight because he didn’t
understand the French language and he accidentally insulted a bartender when he meant to ask a simple question on directions. The fight
continued in the street, with The Traveller earning many scratches and a bloody nose. He staggered away from the bartender, who was in an
even worse condition. He walked as fast as he could.
As he was leaving the fight he heard the old man calling him, “Hey, kid?”
He turned and saw a balding man approach. “What the fuck do you want? I will fight you too.”
“Just to offer you a place to stay for the night,” The man was calm
He eyed him suspiciously, “Why?”
“I understood the miscommunication, and when you called the bartender a stupid moron by mistake I couldn’t help but laugh. I assumed you
meant something else.”
“Yeah,” the traveller shrugged. “It is quite cold, so sure why not.”
The old man hailed a cab and they drove to the small house the man lived at. It was a duplex where he lived on the bottom and another
couple lived on the top. “Are you the only person who lives here?”
“Yes, my wife is visiting an old friend.” In a hushed tone, “Between you and me, she doesn’t care for drinking.”
“Most wives don’t” The Traveller chuckled.
The man guided the Traveller to kitchen. The table was small but it sat four people comfortable. The chairs were brown swivel chairs that
actually rocked. They were clunky things where it would be hard to get passed them to the fridge and cupboards.
“So, tell me your story.”
“No thank you.”
“Are you sure? I do have a forgiving ear.”
“I don’t think so.”
His mind drifted to the day he left his father and brother. He couldn’t tell anybody to truth. Nobody would understand his true motivations in
leaving home. It had nothing to do with his father and his night of drunkenness. He just needed to get away.
“Okay, how about something simple. What’s your name?”
“I don’t have one.”
The man chuckled, “Of course you do. Everybody has one.”
“I stopped using that name when I left home. That name has no meaning for me.”
“I can understand that. I had a past too. Not many people know my beginnings, in fact, not even my wife or children know the true
surroundings of my life.”
The Traveller looked around his surroundings, “For someone in his advancing years you do well. Why would you want to hide stuff,
especially from your family?”
“Shame, guilt, unhappiness, remorse; there is so much more. The most important reason is it is the past and when I married my wife the
previous life ended for me.”
“I can understand that, when I left home to get away from my family I ended that chapter in my life.”
“Why would you need to get away, you are still young? Finding yourself?”
The Traveller chuckled, “Nice try. But I have met people who tried to find out pieces of my life by telling me their stories and trying to find a
common ground. I will tell you this, though, you do is so flawlessly. Are you always this engaging with strangers?”
The man shrugged, “Occupational hazard.”
A silence began. The traveller was really thinking about informing this man of his past. But something inside of him stopped him. If he had to
call it a word it was embarrassment.
“I should go.”
“But it’s cold outside, where would you go?”
“I will be fine, sir.”
With that he left the old man alone in his house.
He didn’t know what it was about the old man that made him stop and accept his kindness in the first place.
“Hello.” The traveller was brought back to the present and noticed a car had stopped on the highway and the driver had opened his window
to talk. “Are you alright?” He said.
“Yes,” The Traveller grinned.
“You don’t recognize me?”
He looked at the face again and was shocked.
The man smiled again, “Hello dear brother. It’s been awhile.”
The face on the traveller betrayed no hint of emotion other than shock. He hadn’t seen his two years younger brother in over five years.
SEVEN MONTHS EARLIER - MONTREAL, QUEBEC
The old man watched the traveller leave his house on that cold October night. He sighed and hoped the kid would find what he was looking
for. Connor could relate to the boy because he always left his past behind him. Ever since the fire at the Orpheus he lived every moment like
When he met Yvette he knew she was the woman for him. Although, he had responsibilities with the Orpheus and the management position
that Eric had intrusted in him. That being said, he looked to the future with Yvette, never looking back to the family he left in New York. Now
almost 65 years later, he shared with nobody his life in New York City. Just about his time Yvette and their love each other.
The boy was escaping his family for some reason and Connor did that too. His wife, his children, his brother Glenn and his nephew were his
present and that was more important that his past.
Connor watched the Traveller leave down the street. He thought about his early days before he entered The Orpheus and then his day his
brother had his first child, his own marriage, and then it happened…
He fell asleep on the couch.
NEW YORK CITY - FRANKIE AND CALVIN
It was almost dinner time and the two friends decided to head out for bite. They were turning their attention to what they were going to do
to find a place. It was at that moment that Calvin saw a newspaper opened on a bench that gave them an idea.
The next day the two best friends found their way to this new apartment complex. Frankie, being the more organized of the two, had called
ahead and arranged a meeting with the current owners. They arrived at the Orpheus, the front looked like a typical apartment complex, with
redbrick going up its ten floors, and the last few storeys seemed to have balconies.
“Well, this does look inviting.” Calvin said, encouraged.
“Maybe,” Frankie responded. He was also a person who liked to save his cash and he hoped he could negotiate a better rent than what was
advertised in the newspaper article he had read to Calvin the night before.
He entered through a revolving door with Calvin on his tale. The inside was breathtaking to him. The floors had checkered board tile and
there was a lounge area with arm chairs and a fire place. The front desk looked old, like it could have been around in the 1930s. There was a
vacant spot though by the bank of elevators, he wondered what that was used for.
Calvin went to the front desk and an elderly man in his late seventies showed up through the office. “Welcome to the Orpheus, how many I
“I’m Calvin and the guy gawking over there is my buddy, Frankie, we had appointment with…” He had forgotten the name. Frankie who had
finally joined them at the desk finished Calvin’s sentence, “A Mr. Morgan.”
“Aw yes,” the gentlemen stated, seeming to remember something, “Mr. Morgan had informed me that he regrettably had to step away from
the building. There was a family emergency.”
Frankie was surprised by the news. “I hope there is nothing wrong.”
“No nothing of the kind, just a personal matter. However, he said something.” He looked over the desk for his pad, “You must forgive me.
The mind tends to go at my age.”
He found the paper, “Yes, he stated that you guys should look around and see if the place is to your liking.” The man handed Calvin the key’s
to one of the apartments. “If you go up the fourth floor, Mr. Morgan has set this apartment up for you to examine so you can see what your
accommodations may look like.”
“Thank you,” Calvin said eagerly. Frankie took the keys and rushed toward the three elevators. The old man spoke again but both Frankie
and Calvin were out of earshot.
Calvin pressed the button and the third elevator showed up quite quickly. As they entered, Calvin got nervous. He had always hated closed
spaces. Frankie whispered to him, “It’s fine, just picture a wide open field.”
He did, as Frankie pressed the number four on the panel, however, the elevator seemed to be going down. A few seconds later and Frankie
and Calvin were in the basement.
The elevator opened to a spacious apartment, with wood floors. To their right was a seating area; to the left was a dining room and small
kitchen. It was what was in front of them that the guys were most curious about.
“Look at this hallway; it goes all the way to the end.”
“Well duh,” Frankie laughed. “You expected it to stop? Let’s go look around.”
“I don’t think we should be here.” Calvin looked at the living area and noticed the furniture was from the late seventies. There was also an
aroma that really surprised him. “Besides, the smell is kind of funky. I don’t think this place looks like it has housed people in ages.”
“Fuck that,” Frankie pushed his thoughts aside, “The man at the desk said to look around, so we are.”
“He meant on the fourth floor,” Calvin sighed as his friend took a closer look hallway. There were about six doors on each side. The doors
were plain wood ones with hideous flowery wallpaper surrounding each one, the one that Frankie was looking at had a sign on the door.
“The cabin getaway,” Frankie read. He was about to turn the handle. “You know what this reminds me off? You remember that Halloween
story Big D wrote for Rooming? The one where all the guys chose different doors and such? You know when Kris dared Matt to go into a room
alone, and Kris went into another one. He was in a some kind of prom scenario and dead ghost?
“Was there sex in that one?” Calvin asked.
“Then I probably didn’t read it. I only read Big D’s stuff if I need to get off.” Frankie opened the door and then entered a log cabin bedroom.
They looked around and it was if they were transported to some snowy hideaway. “What the fuck? Why would someone keep this in their
“Maybe they couldn’t afford it the real thing.”
Calvin exited the room and looked across the hall; “The Garden” was labelled on that one. He walked further and noted the titles next to the
rooms, “High Above,” and “Down below.”
Curiously, he opened high above. “Frankie, get in here.”
Frankie, against his better judgment, joined him. The room was an airplane with coach seats going all the way back and an aisle separating
them. At the end there was door marked lavatory. Frankie was stunned. Knowing what this place was meant for he opened the Down Below
room. As he thought it would be, the room was giant aquarium without fish. This was meant for humans to swim in.
“Frankie! You got to see this.” Reluctantly he left the room and followed his friend to the end of the hall. Passing, “The Pleasure Room, The
Camping Experience, The classroom,” and other rooms that were meant to be a theme for the participants. Calvin was at a room marked,
“The Bedroom of Horror.”
Inside was a bedroom. “It’s a bedroom, so what?” Frankie wanted to see the fire and ice room. Calvin turned the lamp on. The wall in front
of the bed opened up and inside was sexual toys, whips, and handcuffs, ropes. “We entered a whore house.”
“Yeah, each room is made for sex. I am surprised the owners allowed this place to stay like this.”
“Maybe they didn’t know.”
“Of course they did.”
“I don’t care.” Frankie just kissed Calvin on the lips. Cal broke it, “I see you want to test it out.”
“When are you not?”
“Well, we might as well.” Calvin never said no to sex, something Rooming taught him. As Corey and Matt’s romance grew they made sure
they love life stayed spontaneous. They fucked in a college classroom. Cal kissed his friend back and locked the bedroom door. Frankie then
grabbed the blindfold and put in on Cal.
Before he knew it Cal was down to his boxers on the bed as Frankie liked his entire body. “Enter me please.”
Just as he was about to put his cock in him, there was a knock on the door.
TO BE CONTINUED....