“Oh hey, thanks for keeping the doors open,” I said, upon entering the elevator.
“What floor?” one of the other gentlemen asked.
“Three.” He pressed the button and we began to ascend. I let my mind wander instead of talking because I didn’t know these people and didn’t really feel like making a tool out of myself to know them for the little seconds we’d ever see each other. I thought about how bad it would be for the elevator to just stop—and then it did.
“This stupid Ebay elevator,” said a mumble.
“Why did we stop?” I blurted out.
“I’m not sure, try the call button.”
“It’s not working. What now?” They began talking more but it seemingly got drowned out because I was worried. I need to make it on time, I can’t be late anymore. I’ll get dumped for sure, I can’t start back over again.
“This isn’t a Seinfeld episode. We have cellphones, Can’t we call someone with them?” I asked, my voice beginning to shake a bit.
“Maybe, I don’t have any service on this campus. Can you call them…” he waited for me to tell him my name.
“Shaun!” I blurted out. “Sorry, I’m always a bit nervous in closed spaces.” I lied. I didn’t really feel comfortable explaining the real reason I’m on edge.
“Well, I’m Johnmeyer,” said one.
“No not like the artist. He’s Mayer, I’m Meyer,” he explained, probably for the thousandth time based solely on his tone.
“I’m Gary Bo Omer, most people call me Boomer,” said the other. He was a stout man with receding gray hair, a salmon golf shirt and tan cargo shorts.
“Okay, Boomer. I’ll try and call someone,” I answered.
“Hey uhh, it’s Shaun and—” my phone died.
“So 911 is hanging up on people, huh?” asked Johnmeyer.
“My phone died. What about you Boomer?” I asked
“I don’t have a cellphone,” said Boomer. I felt like there was an easy joke to make there…whatever.
“So, what now?”
“Well they recommend that we stay here and wait for help. And to pass the time, we can talk about nothing and when there’s a slight joke we leave five seconds before we continue talking—saw it on Seinfeld,” said Boomer
“We can’t base any slight modern inconvenience on a sitcom,” said Johnmeyer, “Come to think of it, I think I hear clapping now or fireworks maybe.”
“That’s not clapping from the live studio audience Johnmeyer, it’s those God-forsaken Commies! They hit us!”
“Oh shut your paranoid, pedantic, jingoist pie-hole. We haven’t been at odds with the Ruskies since Seinfeld premiered.”
“Premier? Like that jag Khrushchev, that Soviet Premier guy.”
“‘That Soviet Premier guy’ — you mean a Soviet Premier?” said I.
“Yeah, that guy,” Johnmeyer replied.
The loud booming sound filled the awkward gaps in conversation. It became so awkward that Boomer just couldn’t take it anymore.
“Man, I just wanna grill that fresh fish I caught with the lads.”
Now that Boomer mentioned it, he did have a fish with him and it smelled terrible. It smelled like motor oil and manure.
I spoke up first. “Where did you fish that thing out of Boomer, the landfill?” We paused for five seconds for the laughs from the studio audience to subside.
“The ‘fresh’ seas of New Jersey!”
“Bruh!” I said.
“Man, this elevator ride is real long,” Boomer proclaimed, ignoring my ‘bruh.’
“This elevator stopped, Boomer,” replied Johnmeyer.
“You sure? I feel like I’m floating. I haven’t felt like this since the late 60s,” said a now giddy Boomer.
“Man… you feeling alright?”
“Come to think of it I’m starting to feel weird too,” said Shaun. The elevator shook real violently. We all braced and yelled.
“We’re all gonna die in here!” exclaimed Boomer.
“Ease up, Boomer!” I warned.
“No, we’ve been here for at least the better part of the day, and I’m sick of it. I want out!”
“Listen, we all want out of this hellhole! Just remain calm and-”
“I’m going crazy here.”
“Yeah we can tell, we all are.”
“I don’t like him over there,” Boomer said, motioning towards Johnmeyer. “He’s too quiet.”
“What? I haven’t done anything!” Johnmeyer retorted.
“You’re shifty and frankly I don’t like you.”
“Fellas calm down,” I interjected. “Don’t lose your heads!”
“He’s working for them, the Ruskies!”
“I’m not working for any Russians, and Boomers lost his marbles a long time ago, Hell, before entering this elevator!”
“Take off your shirt.”
“What, why?” asked Johnmeyer.
“He’s wearing a wire,” Boomer said to Shaun.
“Why would I want to spy on a boring, crotchety old man?”
“I’m sure Joe’s interested.”
“Alright, that’s it, Imma drop this old man!”
Johnmeyer came at Boomer with the phone and got a dead fish to the face. The attacker recoiled in horror as he finds his footing. He then launches at Boomer with the phone in hand at his stomach.
“Oof!” exclaimed Boomer as he dropped the fish.
“Take that Boomer!”
“Take off your wire, you commie spy!” screamed Boomer.
“I’m no commie spy, I’m just Johnmeyer!”
“Fellas, please can’t we just—” I began to say.
“That’s not even a real name! Why don’t you show us your true colors, aka RED!” angrily shouted Boomer
“That wasn’t even clever! I’ll kill you for that!” Johnmeyer fired back.
As I watched these two men fighting, one with a fish and the other a phone, I began to think about what life was like on the outside, how I missed everyone and how much I truly didn’t miss FYE. Sure, I’ll be kicked out if I missed this class. At this point, who cares? I was stuck in an elevator with two guys who just went completely insane and turned on each other and the world outside may be over too, especially after all those bombs going off and that unmistakable smell of burning paper ran through here. I decided the Hell with it, and joined those two crazies brawling it out. This is our life now, Thunderdome: Three men enter, one man leaves.
After what felt like an eternity, the doors of the elevator opened up and the three of us were greeted by firemen.
“Hey you gotta get outta here this building is—” The fireman was interrupted by his own thought. “Is that a dead fish?”
Mason Ziegler is a student at West Chester University. MZ940321@wcupa.edu
Nick Hughes is a student at West Chester University. NH930602@wcupa.edu
Matt Kramer is a student at West Chester University. MK936542@wcupa.edu
Part of a short story series by the Creative Writing Club at West Chester University.