I was on my way to see my publisher, who is located in a
high-rise office building that people get nosebleeds just looking up at from
the street.But that’s Manhattan for you
– city of excess and bloody sidewalks.
At any rate, I toodled inside, hired a pack mule, purchased
supplies and made my way across a solid pink marble lobby the size of
Ohio.Upon arriving at the banks of
elevators, I told my Sherpa guide, Niblick, to keep the meter running on the
mule, and stepped aboard the nearest vertical conveyance.
The car was already crammed full of passengers, one of whom was
carrying in his lunch and, if the odor of same was any indication, he was planning
on a feast of three-week old fish that had been marinated in finely aged
“Floor 267, please,” I said to the elevator boy.
“267?Oh, you’ll need
oxygen for that floor,” he said, handing me a mask.I dutifully slipped it on.
Off we shot to the first stop – floor 100.This trip took 1.5 seconds.During the course of the ride, my head had
burst through my hat, which was now hanging around my neck like a Beefeater
ruff.I was also three inches in the red
on my previous height and would require cosmetic surgery and a screw jack to
remove my breasts from my knees.
After all that, only one person got off.He’d been short when he’d gotten on, but now
he looked like a member of the Lollipop Guild.
“How do I get to Suite 1014?” he asked the elevator boy.
“Just follow the Yellow Brick Road,” he chortled, closing the
door in his face.
Next stop, floor 200.The
elevator boy executed a quick countdown, then launched us skyward yet again.
This time, my feet went right through the bottoms of my shoes,
my necklace broke, and my earrings were pulled down so low that my earlobes
would have been right at home among the Ubangis.
One woman was sick to her stomach in the corner of the car, and
a rather large gentleman was experiencing technical difficulties involving
methane gas.Add that to the guy packing
the landfill lunch and you have an aroma that would even make Jeffrey Dahmer
think twice.As the minutes passed, I
became more and more convinced that Hell had just added a tenth ring, and that
elevator was it.
Everyone, but the galloping gourmet and I, got off at floor 200,
whether they needed to or not.But I am
made of stronger stuff . . . plus, the idea of walking up 67 flights didn’t
much appeal to me.
The doors slammed shut again, and I prepared for takeoff.
The elevator hurtled upward, but came to a bone-rattling stop
between floors 266 and 267.
So there I was, trapped in an elevator with a race driver
wannabe, a nerdy guy holding a leaky lunch bag filled with toxic waste,
surrounded by the miasma of the revenge of the fat guy’s chili dinner and the
pile of vomit in the corner.
This was not the way I envisioned making my transition from this
world to the next, somehow.
“Don’t worry, we have a special phone to call for help,” Mario
Andretti assured us.He picked up the
receiver and confidently pushed the red button.
He pushed it again.
He panicked and began speaking in tongues.
I slapped him, probably harder than I needed to (though I must
admit, it felt awfully good), to snap him out of it.I’m amazed I could see well enough to
actually hit his face, because by that time, the stench was melting my
“OK, how do we get out of here?” I demanded.
He meekly indicated the trap door in the roof of the car.
“Fine.Give me a boost.”
“Lady, you can’t . ..”
“You want to go?”
“A boost!Right!Sure, no problem!”
You may wonder at the alacrity of my voluntarism.Had you been there, you wouldn’t have.I was more than willing to take the chance of
falling to a quick death over dying slowly and horribly in the elevator.
A boost, and I was on the roof.“Now what?” I asked, gulping in the fresh air.
“Climb up to the floor above us and open the door.Then get help.”
One thing I’ve learned about directions such as these is that
anything that sounds this simple usually isn’t.
To get to the door above, I had to shinny up the greasy cable
and lean out to step across the ledge.It took patience, dexterity, and the firm resolve that I was not, under
any circumstances, going back into that elevator.
Once on the ledge, I managed to pry the door open and fall in a
heap on the white carpeting of my publisher’s office.Being covered with grease did not enhance my
prestige with the firm, I can promise you.
I stood, with the help of a couple of receptionists holding me
at arm’s length.My clothing was torn
and hanging in stalactite-like shreds from my body.I was so filthy, I could have done a guest
shot on “The Wide, Wide World of Dumpster Diving.”The only pieces left of my shoes were the
toes.My hair looked as if it had been
styled by Ray Charles, my hands were ripped and bleeding, and every single
fingernail was not just broken, but gone!
“There are more people stuck in the elevator.They need help and I need an ambulance and a
bath in Drano,” I croaked.Then I passed
I awoke in the hospital.My publisher had sent a huge bouquet of flowers.Smiling, I opened the card as fast as ten
heavily bandaged fingers would permit, and read:
Roses are Red.
Violets are Blue.
You messed up our carpet,
So we’re suing you!
I’m out of the hospital now, and I work out on a Stairmaster for
an hour every day.