It's dark, and the smells that reach me from the rubber floor are not too inviting. I'd prefer not to be sitting on it, but there is no choice. No chairs here.

The elevator is silent; I can hear my own breathing clearly. Every now and then, muffled sounds come from the outside, distant voices of people I've never heard of, complaining. Sometimes they bang on the door. Sometimes I hear scratches. I imagine a troop of squirrels on the other side, trying to pray the door open. I imagine captain squirrel with a tiny green hat shouting orders in a high-pitched voice. One of the squirrels calls a medic: she ate a genetically modified nut and now she's complaining of pains. But I digress.

I know I don't have much time.

I'm trying to relax. There is no question that I need a vacation. Yesterday I was so stressed that I confused butter with mayonnaise when preparing a sandwich for my manager. He is allergic to mayonnaise, if you believe that. Allergies seem to be quite the thing to have these days.

Okay, maybe I wasn't confused. I admit it. Maybe I wanted to see whether the allergy was for real. You can rest easy, nothing happened. No choking, no screams, no calling 911.

I seem to have lost my natural immunity to the world. A few days ago some guy, pressed suit, shiny hair, stopped me in the middle of the street. He had a book in his hand. Jesus heals, he said. I looked into his eyes, and said, Yeah? Does he do manicures too? He sneered in disgust and walked away, leaving me standing there, with no answers. I felt disappointed. I remembered Bono, singing: "For the God I believe in isn't short of cash, Mister."

"Bring me all your poor, your lost, your sick," the Lord said. He forgot to mention the neurotic, the depressed, or even the mildly psychotic. And what about the people who are happy for no reason? Who will cure them? Because it's a disease, you know. Happiness, that is. I know. I was happy for a while and then somebody noticed that I was Too Perky, they said. They looked at me as if I'd just arrived from Mars, or some other ridiculous place like Cincinnati.

I think too much, that's my problem.

Somebody is banging on the door of the elevator again. Hey, the voice says, Anybody in there?

I don't reply. My little metal-clad monastery is useless.

I stand up. I straighten out my clothes.

I turn on the light, and flip the switch that says, Stop.

The elevator moves.