I was alone until the 6th floor.

Two people got on, a businessman and a lady who was crying because a family member had just died and she was on the way to the funeral home.

We all chose our spots on the elevator, the businessman chose to stand as far away from us as possible.

At the 4th floor, there was a terrible grinding noise, an audible sigh and the elevator bounced a couple of times and came screeching to a stop. The audible sigh came from me.

‘We’re stuck’ I said as the elevator numbers went all wonky and the businessman dropped his backpack and swore out loud.

I immediately pressed the ‘call for help button’ and we waited while it rang, and rang and rang. Finally someone answered.

She told me to press button 3 and the close door button together. I did and it brought the elevator down a couple of floors but the doors remained closed.

The businessman immediately stepped up to the plate and offered to keep pressing the button.

“I can do a better job” he informed me.

Well, he tried, but nothing else happened.

Immediately emasculated, he went back to his corner and got on his cell phone.

The other lady moved closer to me, still sniffling. I asked if she was okay. She was.

Some time passed, slowly, and I started to read my book, the one about dying on Mt. Everest…then decided maybe I shouldn’t be reading that at the moment.

The businessman constantly shuffled his feet, and gave me ‘a look’, like this was all my fault.

It’s hard to read people on a stuck elevator.

Everyone is trying to be brave and mature, but who knows who is claustrophobic, or has any other number of aliments that could appear at any given moment.

The passage of time is like….f o r e v e r…

The intercom crackled to life and the desk informed us that the techs were on the way, they would be about 10 minutes or so. She told us to wait, and not jump up and down or do anything else till they got there.

The lights and air remained on, so we didn’t feel faint or get overheated but I can think of a dozen other places I would have rather been right about then.

“If Keanu Reeves shows up, I’ll know we’re in trouble.” Mr. Businessman frowned at my attempt at humour. His face was turning pasty white. He was ‘the man’ but it was getting to him.

“Ten minutes” he repeated. “Then we will be out of here.”

Some time passed and I asked him what time it was. He wouldn’t tell me. What he did tell me was that he would tell me when 10 minutes was up.

Very helpful.

He got back on his cell phone and I went back to my book.

Later still, a very loud pounding brought us to attention.

The techs had arrived.

I moved to the back and stood in between the businessman and the other lady.

So, moments later, when the doors finally opened, three techs stood there and the first thing they saw was us huddled together, facing the door.

They helped us off, we had to step down because the elevator didn’t meet the floor, and then one of them rode the rest of the way down with us on another elevator.

Once outside, the lady hugged me and I wished her good luck.

Mr. Businessman immediately lit a cigarette. A big relieved smile brightened up his pasty whiteness.

“We survived” he said.

“Couldn’t have done it without you” I shot back.

He laughed then, relieved that he didn’t have to be The Man any more, but just another guy in a suit, smoking and talking on his cell phone…




By Mary L.