What Goes Up
Stuck together one last time.
Alan left the sixth-floor law offices of Swindell and Shyster and walked to the elevator at the end of the long empty hallway. It was late and all the other offices on the floor were already locked for the weekend. He and his now ex-wife, Maggie, had spent the last three hours hammering out the last details of a very contentious divorce. By leaving first, Alan would avoid riding in an elevator with the woman who had just tried to take everything he possessed—both now and in the future.
Maggie had remained behind to vent. She wanted a larger settlement but was told that by law she was only entitled to 50% of their joint property. When he heard her cry out in frustration, “How am I supposed to live on that?” Alan thought, “You could get a job.” Even the lawyers had had enough of the bickering by then and told them to sign the documents or find new attorneys. They signed and Alan was happy to put the last seven years in his rear-view mirror. If only the damn elevator would show up.
He heard a door slam at the far end of the hall and knew his time had just run out. A chime sounded as the elevator door slid open and he heard Maggie call, “Hold the door, I’m coming.” As much as he wanted to ignore the request, he kept the door open, allowing her to join him. The elevator was void of conversation until several seconds into the trip, when the car shuddered briefly and came to an abrupt stop. The lights flicked off and a dim emergency light blinked on.
“What have you done?” snarled Maggie.
“Nothing! You were standing there looking at me. There must be a power outage somewhere, so we’re stuck until the electricity comes back on.”
“Great, of all the people to be stuck in a box with, it has to be you,” Maggie exclaimed.
“Well, we finally agree on something,” replied Alan. “Actually, we’ve now come full circle if you think about it.”
“What in the world are you talking about?” Maggie snapped, more interested is pushing the emergency buzzer that wasn’t working because it had no power.
“We met because you locked your keys in your car and I managed to open the door so you could get in. Now we’ve ended our relationship and we’re locked in trying to get out. You can see the irony, can’t you? Of course, back then, you called me your knight in shining armor.”
“Well, it didn’t take long for your shiny armor to get rusty and dented.”
“About as long as it took you to go from petite maiden in distress to full-figure matron in distress. Look, we can keep taking swipes at each other and be stuck here all weekend with no food or water, or we can work together and find a way out of here. Your call Maggie.”
“Okay, Alan, you’re right. What do you propose?”
“The way I figure it, we have two options. The first is for me to lift you up to the escape hatch in the roof. Once you’re through it, you can use your phone’s flashlight app to see if the shaft has a ladder built into the wall for you to climb out and get help. Option two is prying the doors open. I can see light coming through the crack in the door seal — we must be close to a floor and not between them.”
“Why don’t you go through the roof? You know I hate heights.”
“Simple. I can’t reach the hatch and you can’t lift me.”
“I never dated short guys until I met you. Now I know why.”
“You really can’t help yourself, can you, Maggie?”
“Okay, my bad. Let’s try the door first.”
After about half an hour of struggling with the door, it was apparent it was locked in place from the outside and wasn’t about to budge.
“This is useless,” panted Alan, sweat running down his face. I need to get you out of the hatch before we run out of energy.”
“Let’s say I make it out. How are you going to climb up with me?” asked Maggie.
“That part’s simple. We tie our clothes together, forming a rope. You fasten one end to something secure and drop the other end to me. I’ll climb up, we get dressed and find a way out.”
“Alan, no one has ever used that line to get me to undress before. It’s rather sexy.”
“I don’t know about sexy, but if it gets us out of here, I’ll take it.”
The couple stripped to their underwear and were busily tying their clothes together when they heard a clunk come from the elevator’s roof. Several minutes later, the hatch lifted away and a bright light shone through the opening.
“Fire department! Is everyone okay down there?”
Two startled and mostly naked people stared up at the light. “How did you know we were in here?” asked Alan.
“Your lawyers called us when they couldn’t reach either of you. We would have been here sooner, but we’ve been busy with rescues all over the city. We can come back later if we’re interrupting something,” the fireman said, looking at their state of undress.
“That’s okay! We are definitely ready to be rescued. Just give us a minute to get dressed,” said Alan.
Later that evening, the ex-couple sat at a bar in a nearby hotel discussing the night’s events.
“Our life together wasn’t all bad,” said Maggie, her eyes filling with tears.
“No, not all bad, but not all good either,” replied Alan. “I’ll always try to remember the good when I think of you, especially our last night together.”
They both laughed at how the evening unfolded, finished their drinks, and went off to start fresh lives.
About the Creator
I have spent most of my life traveling around the US and the globe. Now it's time to draw on these experiences and create what I hope are interesting fictional stories. Only you, the reader, can tell me if I've achieved my goal.
How did this not get top story? This is hilarious. Now I want to know what happened to them from there. Starting a story with an ending is a great twist.