But the elevator refused to play. He pressed the button again and watched the LED display’s countdown: 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 … G. The doors groaned and the elevator regurgitated visitors from its maw. They spilled out and scattered over the lobby floor.
He pressed ‘3’ and waited. Nothing happened. He stabbed at the button marked ‘DOOR CLOSE’. After an eternity, the doors closed and the elevator began its climb. G … 1 … 2 … 3. A clunk. Silence.
He slid through the doors as soon as he would fit and bolted for Kelly’s room, not pausing to apologise to the man whose shoulder he’d charged, who was yelling at him, calling him ‘buddy’.
John lost traction and skidded through Kelly’s doorway, bumping into a chair propped next to it. A nurse looked up from where he fussed around the bed, tucking in sheets and fluffing up the pillow case, then checked his watch.
Kelly was nowhere to be seen.
Of course—they wouldn’t give anaesthetic in the ward.
And he didn’t know where the operating theatre was.
About this piece
This was my third attempt at the no-adjectives, no-adverbs exercise. (See also Oblivious and Girl, Guide.) I think I did a better job with the verbs in this one, and it was nice to see some improvement. Much of my ongoing difficulty in these exercises seems to reflect the very reason I need to practise them: I struggle because I feel no spark of inspiration from them. They are exercises in the craft, not the art; they are lessons in emulating the masters, not blindly following my muse.