Put something stupid on the lift. Don’t get caught.
That was my mission for today, and I did put something stupid on the lift. Sadly, I bombed the stealth part of the operation, and I bombed it spectacularly. Not only did I get caught, but I bothered the FedEx guy, the concierge, at least two of my neighbours, and a couple of guys working in the building…oh, I’m a moron.
Here’s what happened: I was going to put a fingerprint on the lift. That’s the dumbest thing to leave at a crime scene, but it’s also not littering, and it doesn’t carry a fine. I got on, pressed for the lobby, went downstairs, and hit five…and that’s when I remembered something important—something I’d forgotten, as I never go outside:
The lift doesn’t work without a key.
I mean, it does if you’re leaving the building, but if you want to get in, you need your key. I didn’t have mine. I had no choice but to get off and look for help.
Now, I’m going to describe a complete non-event, about as frightening as taking a bath, but you have to read it like the climax of a horror book. Like I’m sprinting down the hall on bloodied feet, pounding on doors, but no-one’s home. The killer’s close. Breathing down my neck. His knife just tore into my coat. Next stab’s through my kidney. I’m doomed. This is it, and I’m—
—running to the front desk, but it’s deserted. Nobody’s there. No help. No rescue. I’m back on the lift with the FedEx guy, but he’s headed to six. I need five. I’m riding up and down. I’m frightened. I’m pinching my hand. Getting stared at…and I’m back in the lobby. Where the fuck is the concierge? I can’t see. A man appears, or the shape of a man. He’s in a nice suit—is he the concierge?
No, he is not, but he seems quite concerned. He asks if I’m all right. I say I’m frightened, which is not what I mean to say. I trip over my tongue trying to explain what I’ve done. What I want. Somehow, he understands. He holds up a card with a number to call. Just dial that, no problem, they’ll let you back up.
I can’t read the card. I poke at my phone, but the numbers are blurry. I hold it up helplessly—I don’t know how to use this.
The stranger dials for me. Someone’s coming, just a minute.
Just a minute.
I can wait a minute.
How long is a minute?
There’s another guy now, and he’s staring. The first guy tells him not to. I really don’t care. I just want upstairs. He can think what he wants.
Another tenant goes by. I chase him. I can’t wait. I ask if he has a key, if he can push for my floor. I’m sort of in his face. I realise this and back off, and he lets me upstairs. I’m still pinching my hand. I’m embarrassed. It occurs to me I’ve been caught, which is funny, but I don’t laugh. This is weird enough already.
The lift stops and I’m safe. My neighbour wishes me a nice day. I wish him one back, and he continues to six. I hurry home, and nothing’s happened. I’ve gone downstairs and come up. That’s all, really all. Nothing’s happened.
The concierge shows up at my door. He’s worried. I appreciate his concern, but I’m mortified. Oh, yes. I’ve been caught. I explain the key situation, the blindness, the panic. No problem. No emergency. Everything’s fine. Sewing my spare key to my jacket. (Not really. That’d be ridiculous. Besides, I won’t forget again. How could I, after that?)
I mean…that wasn’t as bad as last time. Last time, I got hit by a car. This time, nothing happened, besides the nuisance I caused.
I didn’t take a picture of the lift. I was too busy weirding people out. But here’s a red wheel I found in STAIR 5. What do these things do? I’ve seen them before, but I’m not sure what they’re for…. (Releasing steam pressure? But why would there be steam? Something to do with water pipes? Oh….)