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An Elevated Chat

And what would a person do if placed in a situation they really didn’t want to be in? The inspiration for this week’s post deals with that kind of setting.

Enjoy. Thanks for stopping by.

An Elevated Chat

I stormed from my office. “The guy is such an ass. How can anyone so damned ignorant and inconsiderate think he could manage anything?”

The call from the department supervisor was the last thing I’d anticipated to start my day––to ruin my day. How could it get worse? Hell, I hadn’t even had a chance to get my first cup of coffee when the damned phone buzzed and his whiney voice screeched through the receiver.

“Reynolds,” he’d said, “the CEO wants to see me. That’s never good. Meet me upstairs, ’cause if I’m goin’ down, you’re goin’ with me.”

“Right, Mr. Hastings,” I’d replied. Yes-sir, Jackass.

Whether a reaming by the CEO was for real or more of Sam Hastings’ paranoia, I wasn’t going anywhere until I stopped by the break room and filled my coffee mug–– plus two creams and one sugar. While stirring, I inhaled and exhaled several times, then took a sip of morning joe. “Ahhh.” I breathed deeply again and grabbed my man-purse. “Okay, let’s go see what the a-hole is uptight about this time.”

In the hallway, I savored another big sip while waiting for the elevator. When the doors parted, I almost spit out my coffee. Sam Hastings stood in the back of the car. No one else inside, just Sam.

Well crap. I reached for the top floor button.

“Already did that,” Sam said.

’Bout time you did something right for a change. I nodded as the doors closed. “Guess I should lean back and enjoy the ride.”

Hastings frowned.

I sipped more coffee.

In between the fourteenth and fifteenth floor, the elevator jerked twice then stopped. This time I did spit my coffee. Triskaidekaphobia was never a concern for me. Friday the thirteenth was just another day. In reality, however, fourteenth floors in high-rise buildings were actually the thirteenth floor. Maybe…

“What the hell?” Sam whined.

“Yeah, what the hell.”

He white-knuckled the handrails. “Are we stuck? What happened? What do we do now? Can you fix it?”

I lip-shrugged. I’d repaired a lot of things since I was a kid, many of them items I’d had no previous experience with. Being trapped in an elevator with my worst nightmare, if there was ever a time I wanted to fix something, it was now.

“Well?” Sam squawked.

I pushed the top-floor button.

Nothing.

“Try it again,” Hastings said.

I did, along with several random floor options.

Still nothing.

I pressed the alarm button and took another sip of coffee.

Sam wasn’t so patient. “What are you doing? What’s that noise? Can’t you stop it? Can you fix this damned thing or not?”

Closing my eyes, I swallowed. Ahhh. Still toasty warm.

A voice scratched through the tiny speaker on the control panel. “Hello? If you can hear me, wait until I stop talking, then speak into the slots at the top of the panel.”

Sam could barely reach the top floor button. Communications were up to me. Then again, they usually were. Communications was never a Sam Hastings attribute––if he had any.

“Hello?” I said. “Our elevator car is stuck between fourteen and fifteen. I’ve pressed several different floor buttons but get no response.”

“Copy. Elevator stuck, no control panel response. How many occupants are in the car?”

“Two. Any idea what happened or how long it might take to fix the problem?”

“Maintenance is checking on it. Just stay put and we’ll get back to you.”

Where else were we going to go? “One more thing. Can you inform the CEO that Hastings and Reynolds are stuck in an elevator and will be late for our meeting?”

“Copy. Hastings and Reynolds. We’ll let him know.”

I turned to Sam. “Well, boss, here we are.”

He stared straight ahead. “What are we gonna do?”

“Don’t know about you, but I’m gonna sit down and finish my coffee before it gets cold.”

“What about our meeting with the CEO? Now he’ll fire me for sure.”

“It’s not like we planned this.”  Believe me. “Not much we can do but wait.”

“For how long?”

On cue the speaker scratched again. “Hello? Elevator car six?”

I stood and looked at the control panel. So that’s what that number means. “Yes, we hear you. Any update on the problem and how long to fix it?”

“Ye-e-es. Maintenance says the drive motor seized. We’ve contacted the elevator company and they indicated it could take a total of six hours, maybe more to get someone here and then replace the motor and inspect the drive system.”

Hastings’ eyes bugged. “Six hours? What about lunch? What about going to the restroom?”

Though my sixteen-ounce thermal mug had been a gift from my wife, and I’d hate to desecrate it, I knew how I’d resolve the restroom issue. My boss was on his own.

Sam wasn’t finished whining. “How am I going to eat and take my meds on time?”

My turn for bugged eyes. “Meds? What kinda meds?”

Strangling his scrawny neck would have put us both out of our misery. Because we were the only occupants in a six-by-six elevator car, however, suicide would be hard to explain, especially with bruises from my fingers encircling his throat. Besides, the elevators had security cameras.

“What kind of medications are you taking, Sam?”

Hastings stared, his eyes wide and wild.

I stared back.  Six hours. What am I gonna do? Guess I’ll finally have that chat with Hastings that I’ve been sidestepping for years. Just hope his crazed expression isn’t an indication of the type of meds he requires. Good thing my murse contains more than my wallet.

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