Darrell was afraid of a lot of things. He was afraid of getting his hand stuck in the garbage disposal of his kitchen sink, so he had the disposal removed. He was afraid of Amazon learning too much about him, so he did all his web browsing ‘incognito’. He was afraid that solar radiation would hit the earth and make all animals super intelligent which would quickly lead to the over throwing of human dominance of the globe, so he never visited the zoo.
It should come then as no surprise that when the elevator taking Darrell to the fifth floor of the McKinley building began making a terrible screeching sound, he was afraid. When the moving box attached to cables that could come loose at any moment came to a sudden stop, Darrell was terrified.
He clinched his briefcase and stared at the array of buttons all flashing yellow lights.
“Oh shucks,” he said trembling.
The speaker in the center of the control panel crackled to life.
“Hi there,” a voice said, “this is Barry from the front desk. A tech is on the way to fix the elevator and we should have you out of there in a jiffy. Sorry about all this!”
Barry ended the call and Darrell was left to silence. Scary, horrifying silence.
Darrell moved into the corner of the elevator and hunched over. He had worked through the ‘elevator suddenly stops’ scenario dozens of times, but now that he was living it he had no idea what to do.
“Barry?” He called out, hoping the stranger’s voice would come back. Nothing happened. He thought perhaps the elevator stopped and the force of the object reverberated through the building which then shook the earth and a fault line opened just beneath Barry’s desk.
“Sir, this is Barry again, the repair man is here and you’re going to be hearing some loud noises for a little bit. Nothing to be scared of, just hammers working to fix the situation,” Barry said. The speaker went silent once more.
They can’t hear me Darrell realized. He was alone.
A moment later the prophesied thumping sounded. Each strike of the hammer sent chills down his spine and he was sure the emergency brakes were going to give way at any moment. He sat in the corner, huddled into himself and forced his eyes shut. He did not notice the yellow lights stop their constant flashing. If he had he probably would have been ready for the elevator to move again.
He let out a yelp not unlike the sound a cat makes when its tail is stepped on as the elevator began to move back to the ground floor lobby.
The doors opened and as he stood from his protective corner, he saw a man in a uniform slowly clapping.
“Brave thing you did there, sir,” the uniformed man said, “scary stuff being stuck in an elevator. You did it like a champ though. I’m Barry, by the way. My apologies for the inconvenience. The McKinley building is happy to pay for your parking this afternoon.”
No one had ever called any action of Darrell’s life brave before. He could not help but smile at the kind words of the voice that briefly joined him the elevator.
“Thanks, Barry,” Darrell said, “I am very, very late for a meeting though. I’m going to take the stairs this time though.”
Thanks for reading!