Stuck and Unstuck in the Elevator - A Short Story
There's Nothing Good About Being Stuck In An Elevator - Or Is There?
Dammit. This had to be the slowest f'n elevator on the face of the earth. Of COURSE the day she was late for work, when Katie, the new manager 2 months out of college, was in, the one trying to make a name for herself by ratting people out for every little g'dmn thing, of COURSE that freakin' day the elevator decided to stop on practically every floor of the building.She sighed. Figures. Now we're on 19, now 20...wow, we actually passed a whole floor?! Amazing! Naturally on 21 the doors slid open once again. Amanda thought she'd literally never get to 37.
After a few furtive glances at her watch, willing it to stop for a few minutes, she took a deep breath, tried to relax, and allowed herself to look up. Thank GOD, they were passing 35 and...
No. It couldn't be. It just couldn't freakin' be. She could NOT be standing in a stuck elevator 35 minutes past the time she was supposed to be at her desk. Amanda stared at the control board.
"It's going to be at least a half hour", some moron said behind her.
She turned around. Somehow, during all of her inner ranting, the designer-suit zombies must have filed out of the elevator. She stood there looking at some guy who had obviously walked into the wrong office building. Yup, there was no way this dude was into direct marketing.
"What the hell are you talking about?" She suddenly remembered she was pissed.
He smiled. "Well, I saw the elevator guy leave about 10 minutes ago, and he mentioned that his cell phone was dead."
His slouch against the wall started to annoy her. "Great. Obviously, we need to push..."
"The call button is broken." He grinned again. "I'm actually Carlo's replacement." I was on my way up to get my radio."
"I'm sorry to be rude, but that's ridiculous. How could we not have someone here..."
"I know, Jimmy called in sick today. It's f'd up. They pulled me from the 10th Ave. Tower at the last minute to cover. Oh, do you mind that I cursed?" Mind? He was the first non-phony person she'd ever met at this job. She noticed that his brown hair was messy but not sloppy. Just relaxed, like him.
She told herself he was just a dumb elevator repairman.
"No, you should hear me sometime". Why the hell was her face hot?
That f'n smile again. And then he nodded like he knew what she meant.
"Don't worry, I already texted the office manager. Someone'll be here soon." He looked around the elevator cabin, as though looking for clues. "So what do you do here, anyway?"
She reminded herself that good-looking guys are always married.
"I'm part of the administrative support team in the Direct Marketing division." As soon as the words came out of her mouth, Amanda felt like a complete idiot. "What I mean is, I'm a secretary."
They both broke out in laughter. She wondered why she had never said it that way before.
"I used to worry about sh*t like that too-for about five minutes. Then I realized, what am I gonna do, tell people about the novel I'm writing? The 3 languages I taught myself? They wouldn't believe it anyway. I think you really just gotta say to yourself, 'Who the hell cares?'"
She stared at his green eyes. "Are you serious?"
He shrugged through his denim button-down. "That's just my opin..."
"No, are you serious about the 3 languages?"
"Yeah, Spanish, Italian and Russian."
She tried to remember what was wrong with him.
"I...speak Italian and German." She scooped out the Berlitz guides she hid in her bag and held them out. She wondered where his wedding ring was.
Now he was looking at her. "E vero?"
"Si, e vero."
Just then the elevator lurched down to 34 and the doors flew open. Amanda forced herself not to watch him walk out. She pretended to be putting the books away. After the I'm-not-desperate mental count to 10, Amanda pretended to pick her head up disinterestedly.
"Jeff." He laughed at her startled reaction. "So do they give secretaries business cards?" he asked, smiling again, offering his own to her.
As Amanda waited in Katie's office for her write-up, she smiled to herself and put Jeff's number in her speed-dial.