Getting Old is a creepy and disturbing story about a young man who delivers packages for a living and an old man who asks him for a favor. The illustration is a painting by Vincent Van Gogh titled “At Eternity’s Gate”.
When I was in university, I wanted to make a little extra money during the Summer, so I got a got a job working for a courier company. One day, I had to deliver some luggage to a man named Mr. Yamaguchi. His apartment was on the 12th floor of a tall building.
I was in a rush because I wanted to get home early that day. I took the elevator to the 12th floor and managed to deliver the luggage to Mr. Yamaguchi safely. He even gave me a big tip.
As I was leaving, I happened to notice that there was a note on the door of the apartment next to Mr. Yamaguchi’s. It read:
“Old man with bad legs.
Can’t go down to throw away trash.
Could someone please help me?”
I hesitated for moment. Although I wanted to go home early, my mother always taught me to help people in need. I rang the doorbell and waited. The door was immediately opened by an old man who must have been at least 80 years of age.
“I saw your note,” I said.
“Thank you so much, young man,” he replied with a smile. “Getting old is a terrible thing. Especially when you’re alone. Just wait a moment and I’ll get it for you.”
He went back into his apartment and rummaged around. A few minutes later, the old man emerged and handed me a small cardboard box that was sealed with duct tape. It felt unnaturally heavy.
“Yes, getting old is very hard,” he continued. “Some days you feel you would be better off dead…”
I didn’t want to get into an awkward conversation with the old guy, so I just replied, “No problem. I’ll throw this away for you.”
I turned to leave, but the old man followed me out to the elevator.
“Thank you so much for doing this,” he muttered. “Sorry to bother you. It was very nice to meet you.”
“Yeah, see you later,” I replied as I jabbed the button for the ground floor.
The doors closed and the elevator descended. The box was so heavy, I wondered what could be inside. Then, I thought about the old man. Were his legs really so bad that he couldn’t use the elevator? Perhaps he was just lonely and wanted somebody to talk to.
Suddenly, the box was ripped out of my hands. It hit the ceiling of the elevator with a loud metallic CLANG! The elevator ground to a halt between the 6th and 7th floors. The box fell back down to the floor with a heavy thud.
I was so shocked, I didn’t know what to do. I noticed a long, thin metal wire. It led out of the box and through the crack in the elevator doors. After opening the box with my penknife, I was surprised to find that all it contained was a heavy concrete block with piano wire wrapped around it.
I wanted to ask the old man what was going on, so I pressed the button for the 12th floor. When the elevator stopped and the doors opened, I gasped in horror. Then, I took out my cell phone, called the police immediately and waited for them to come.
The old man had wrapped the other end of the piano wire around his neck.
His body was lying in front of the elevator in a pool of blood. His head had rolled over and come to a rest at his apartment door.