"Is Bobbie late again?" John asked, then chuckled.
"John, her light's off and the door is locked," Jamie answered.
"She's here," Mick said, replacing the string on his bass
guitar. John looked at the wall clock. "Lenny, what's
going on?" "Bobbie's here," Lenny responded. He pulled
his cell phone from his sweatshirt pocket, and then showed him.
John gave Lenny a "for certain" stare. He groaned, "I'll call Roy
upstairs." "Bobbie's with J.J. Shedel," Brandon said.
Trevor lit his cigar. "I'm not worried," he said, exhaling.
He snubbed out the cigar in the ashtray. Lenny told
them, "Nick said she went into the elevator about forty-five
minutes ago. Wait here. I'll go visit Shedel." "I'll
check the ladies' restroom¾" everyone gave Brandon a look of
disgust "¾to see if she's sick," he explained. "I'll
meet up with Lenny. If she's not with Shedel," Trevor added, "I'll
check the hallways¾" "And the stairwells," John added.
"Jamie?" Mick called out to her, as her hand squeezed the
brass handle. "I'll be with Suzie," Jamie told Mick and
John. She wiped her tearful eyes. "Thank you," John
said, looking into her line of vision. "Ask Suzie if
she's seen Bobbie," Mick said in a tender way. "But,"
John said. "Jamie"¾he paused¾"I'm not worried." She gave him a
brief nod before leaving the room. "You don't think¾?"
"She'd walk past you to see Shedel first?" Mick asked.
"Do you?" John lowered a microphone. "No. No way," Mick
said, as he hung his bass onto the stand. "Don't worry, man. I'm
not worried." His voice was nervous. "Although, she's never done
this before, Bobbie's with Shedel; she just has to be."
Lenny entered the studio room. "She's not with J.J."
"Shit," Mick muttered. "Where's Dillon?" John asked him.
"They're all in Studio B," Lenny said. "And they haven't
seen her." "Bobbie's been sick; I'm sure Brandon will
find her in the bathroom." John stared through the glass, into the
hallway, hoping. "What about the elevator?" Lenny asked
them. "She's not in the elevator," John said.
"Did anyone see Bobbie get off of it?" Mick mentioned.
"She would've sounded the alarm." John swung open the door. "Not
the ..." He ran toward the elevator corridor, followed by Mick and
Lenny. "Bobbie!" they yelled together.
"John!" she shouted. "I'm stuck in the elevator!" He
took a deep breath, and then exhaled the air slowly through his
teeth with a slight "Whew." John placed his release key into the
panel to open the guard shaft doors. The two doors opened
instantly. "Stand back," John said, his voice a cautious whisper.
"Check the frame." John examined the elevator car. The stationed
cab seemed to be a little more than six feet above the platform.
"Are you all right?" he asked. "I'm fine!"
He breathed an outward sigh of relief. "You're not
claustrophobic are you?" Mick shouted. "No"¾she
laughed¾"I'm bored!" "She's bored. Oh no." Lenny's gaze
turned to Mick. "I don't see or hear anything." Lenny muffled his
voice. John's gaze fell to Mick. Mick responded by
shaking his head no. "Bobbie, why didn't you sound the alarm?" John
asked. "Why didn't you pick up the emergency phone?"
"Are you nuts?" she answered. "This is embarrassing!"
John subdued a laugh, as he, as well as Mick and Lenny looked
upward into the elevator shaft. Brandon and Trevor joined them at
the opened doorway. "Brandon," John said. "We need flashlights."
"I know where they are," Trevor replied.
"Bobbie?" John called out to her. "Are the lights on?"
"Not the normal ones," she shouted. "Did you touch any
buttons when the car stalled?" John asked. "No," she
said. "Do you want me to?" "No!" His voice boomed out
into the shaft. "I'll just sit here and twiddle my
thumbs then!" "Mick," John said, "we'll go to the
control room and set the mainline disconnect switch to the off
position." "Is Bobbie stuck in the elevator?" Suzie
asked, then slapped Jamie's arm. "Why didn't you tell me she was
missing?" John looked underneath the elevator car.
"Bobbie, I'll get you out!" "Don't call the fire
department," Bobbie yelled. "Have Roy close the music
store," Lenny told Suzie. Mick added, "And you two¾"
"We know." Suzie revealed. "We'll stay in my
office," Jamie said. "We'd be closer to the stairs. Tell us when we
can be spectators." "Bobbie, I don't know how long
this's gonna take me!" "Call the elevator company!" she
insisted. John and Mick walked
within the lighted elevator pit. They shined their flashlights onto
the ropes fastened to the top of the cylinder jack stands. John
followed the cables, which traveled over the plunger sheave, and
then the ropes advanced to the bottom of the elevator car frame.
Everything looks normal, he thought. John noticed the bottom of the
elevator was about two inches below the top of the frame of the
first floor and wondered if the elevator was "just stuck" between
the two floors. "Do you see anything?" John asked Mick.
"Not a damn thing," Mick whispered. "I can't believe this
shit. This elevator has never been stuck before." "Not
even when we had that power outage years ago," John mentioned.
"This car stopped at the landing and opened its doors." He shut off
his flashlight. "And today, we have power in the building, but we
had no electricity coming from the electrical panel to power this
thing." Mick walked to him, and then whispered, "How can
this thing just be stuck?" "I don't know. It doesn't
make any sense for it to be stuck without a cause. It's not
likely." "If we do find something¾?" "We'll
get her out safely," John said. "Let's go back to the control
room." "Whaddya want me to do?" "Open the
relief valve and lower the car," John said. "Is the
manual lowering valve a push button, 'cause if it is we're gonna
need power?" Mick asked. "I took your advice and kept
the "t" handle." John continued, "There's not gonna be any power to
that motor, until everyone's outta here, including us."
"Should Trevor shut down the other switches then?" "Nah.
I want to keep powering the card readers on both floors. Even
though, those back-up lights are on, tell Trevor to keep the power
on for the permanent lighting fixtures." "When we got
the updated panel, we moved the exhaust fan to a separate switch,
but I noticed the fan's not working either." "The power
is to stay on," John ordered, "except for that motor, since we know
for sure, something kicked its ass." He added, "I'm going up there.
I'll check that fan. I'll check the cables to see if anything is
slacked or broken. The slack-rope device could've shut the power to
the pump motor and those valves. I'll check the governor to see if
it activated the car safety device." "What does that
do?" Mick asked. "It opens a switch, which cuts off
power to the drive motor and brake, if the car speeds up when going
down." John thought for a moment. "I'll check if anything's rigged
to the top hatch." "John, check the siren for the
'Alarm' button." "I'll look over everything while I talk
to her. She could've heard something that would signal, power
failure. Phone on?" "Yeah. We'll have to get radios for
next time," Mick said. "There won't be a next time.
Lenny will call me; I'll call you." Mick ran his fingers
through his hair and rubbed his face. "Do you want me to close the
relief valve when I'm done?" "No," John informed him.
"I'll be right back." Bobbie
felt a slight disturbance to the elevator car. "What's happening?"
she yelled. "Mick's gonna lower the car, then the doors
will pop open," Lenny said, "but if they don't, I'm gonna have fun
with this iron bar that I'm holding." "The elevator's
not gonna crash into the ground is it?" she asked lightheartedly,
but with obviously growing nervous undertones in her voice. "Is
it?" "Noooo. The elevator's not gonna crash," she heard
John say from above. "At least, not with me sitting here," he
mumbled. "What are you doing up there? Why couldn't you
just call the elevator company like I asked you to?"
"Then, he wouldn't be able to rescue you," Lenny said.
"How you doin' in there?" John asked her. "Are you sick,
sweetheart? It's not getting too hot, is it?" "I'm
fine," Bobbie said. "I should've brought a book." "What
happened, Bobbie?" "Whaddya mean?" "What'd
you hear when you stepped into the elevator? Any strange noises or
anything?" "I hope you're not blaming me for this. Per
Bobbie's elevator code, I'm not supposed to be trapped alone."
John smirked. "I need to know, so I can figure out what
problem¾" "Do you know anything about
elevators?" she asked. "Bobbie, this is my
elevator, so just tell me," he groaned.
scanned my new
key card and the doors opened," she said.
"Immediately? With normal power?" "Yes," Bobbie
said. "Then what happened?" "I jumped
inside." She paused. "You entered the elevator. Then
what?" he asked. "After pressing the 'One' button for
the elevator to move down to The Recording Studio, the doors stayed
opened. I pressed the button again, but still nada. Then I pressed
the 'Door Close' button." "You pressed the 'One' button
twice and the 'Door Close' button once to get yourself stuck?"
"Yep. And then the doors closed," she said. "Well, the doors
didn't close like they normally do¾""Whaddya mean? Chopping
action?" He chuckled."No." She giggled. "They closed¾uh¾unevenly, I
guess, but then the elevator went down. Suddenly, the electrical
energy gradually diminished." Her voice grew excited. "I felt a
slight shudder as the elevator car reached its stopping point, then
the emergency lights shined upon me, and then I said,
just like you normally do. Roy, can you hear
me? I'm stuck in the elevator!
I banged on the door. As you
know, I didn't pick up a red phone or touch any more buttons after
that." "Bobbie," John whispered, "I'm gonna rescue you."
She laughed, but then stopped, since she felt the
elevator rock, and then she knew John wasn't on top of the car
anymore. Then, gradually, the elevator descended to the first
floor. "Bobbie, how you doin' in
there?" Mick asked. "I'm fine." "Why didn't
the doors open?" John's voice was angry. "I'm sitting
here in the dark, you guys." Her voice sounded unlike her own when
she added, "I'm scared of the dark." "Whaddya mean?"
John asked her. "Those lights are made to stay on for four hours."
"Is Bobbie stuck in the elevator?" J.J. Shedel laughed.
"Do you have a back-up power supply?" he asked. "We have
a generator," John told J.J. "Make sure there's power
going to those buttons; they should be on after the standby system
is hooked up. Have her press the, 'Door Open' button. Works every
time." "Brandon, Trevor, come and help me find the
generator by-pass switch," Lenny told them.
"So. Whaddya think?" Lenny asked Trevor and Brandon.
"Besides, Shedel's stupidity, thinking we should turn a high
powered generator on for the 'Door Open' button to work."
"I wonder if he thinks a generator is used for everything, except
for a motor," Brandon added. "Forget about Shedel,"
Trevor said. "There's power in the building, and there should've
been constant power to that elevator." "So," Lenny said,
"she swipes her same
key card, and it's rigged to stop the
elevator. That's it." "Maybe, a breaker tripped due to
an overload or short," Brandon suggested. Lenny said, "I
don't understand how someone could hate John so much and go after a
beautiful¾" "Lenny, think now," Trevor told him.
"Nothing appears to be unusual at the electrical panel."
"What stopped that car?" Brandon asked. "It doesn't
matter how it stopped. The question is: what's gonna trigger it to
explode?" Lenny reflected. Brandon asked, "Why won't
those doors open? The cars in the unlocking zone."
"Yeah," Lenny said. "What if we close the
outside doors and John uses his
key card to open both
sets?" "I didn't even think about that," Trevor said.
"Good work, Lenny," Brandon agreed, and gave him a
high-five. "We're not trying it," Trevor said.
"Very bad idea," Brandon declared. "I'm disconnecting the power to
the card reader now, before someone else gets an idea. I'll leave
the power on for the 'Door Open' button and the 'Alarm' button. As
long as she doesn't touch the 'Alarm' button¾" "We did
this purposely." Trevor grew angry. "We gave everything separate
zones, so we could troubleshoot a problem immediately. Why is
nothing working and these panels show that everything is? If
anything happens¾" Mick entered. "Nothing's gonna happen
to Bobbie." "We think it's the card reader," Lenny told
Mick. "Or the 'Alarm' button," Brandon added. "It's what
someone other than Bobbie would've pressed, and has to be the
trigger." "If it were the buttons¾" Lenny exhaled
"¾'Alarm' button." Mick asked, "What does the
electrician think?" "I think"¾Trevor paused¾"if it's the
'Alarm' button, the wires were tampered with inside the car. I
could go in from the top hatch, except then, Bobbie will suspect
something. We don't know¾if she knows, about electricity. Hell, her
IQ is way above genius." "The card readers are shut
down," Brandon informed them. Trevor continued, "After
we get her out, I'll first check the alarm wires. If I don't find
anything, I'll open both card readers. If I find something, we'll
have new readers and cards." "If it was the card reader
why didn't it blow when Bobbie swiped her card upstairs?" Mick
asked. "Meant for John to kill her," Lenny supplied.
"Down here, instead of up there. She activates it; he detonates it.
She dies; he lives." "John kills himself. Thanks for
being so blunt," Mick said. "Card readers are easy to
mess with," Brandon offered. "We have a consensus then,
card and alarm," Mick concluded. "Meeting adjourned,"
Lenny added. "I'll let John know," Mick said. "As for
the rest of those buttons, Bobbie's already pressed two, it's
John's call." "Press the green
button now," John told Bobbie. "The one that reads,
'Door Open'?" "Yes," he said. "The one with
the arrows pointing in opposite directions?" "Yes," John
told her. "It's dark. I can't tell which one it is." She
giggled. "I'm gonna pull you out through the hatch on
top," John told her, "and make you slide down¾" "No
way¾" she laughed "¾I'm coming out, the way I came in."
"Be right back, Bobbie. Lenny, call me if the doors unlock."
"What about the card reader?" J.J. asked. "The card
won't open the doors," John said walking away. Lenny
added, "It's not a card reader issue." "If I swipe this,
the doors may open," J.J. said. "Put your card away,"
Lenny told him. "It's not gonna work," Mick growled.
"Stop. Don't scan¾" He scanned his card. "The power's
not on for the card reader, either? Why'd you people disconnect
everything? And, if you had power going to those buttons on the
inside¾" "Bobbie, press any button, except for the
'Alarm' button," Mick said. "I'd strangle Shedel if I heard the
siren." I must've pressed the 'Door Close'
She pressed the button underneath. "Okay."
"No. Don't do it!" J.J. shouted at her. "The elevator will
move, and you
probably took it off its track," J.J.
pointed out to Mick. "Lenny," she said quietly. "I
pressed them all." Lenny sat on the floor. "At least you
tried," he told her. "How do you take an elevator off
its track?" Mick's voice climbed louder. "You know nothing about
elevators, man." "Bobbie, I'm sorry about this."
"It's not your fault, Lenny." Bobbie stood in front of the
buttons, but she couldn't remember which one happened to be the
button to open the doors or sound the alarm. She cautiously pressed
another, then another one. An irritated Mick continued,
"Shedel, the elevator can't move. There's no power going to that
motor, and there is, to the 'Door Open' button." "How
can there be power when she can't see those buttons?"
Mick blurted out, "If you knew anything about elevators¾"
"The card reader doesn't even have power." "¾you'd know
that John's keys are holdin' the doors open upstairs and down here.
The keys override the doors and the card key access."
"But, doesn't override the 'Open Door' button," J.J. said.
John ignored the argument as he walked past. He stood in front of
the elevator, and said to Bobbie, "The doors won't release,
sweetheart. You're coming out the top." "No
John." Her voice now upset. "I thought Lenny was gonna pry open the
doors." "Mick's got the bar," Lenny told her, except she
didn't respond to his sarcasm. "I'm ready with the bar, Bobbie. I'm
waiting for the good word." "Two minutes," John said.
"She'll be inside for another hour. Bobbie, press the open
button. I know what I'm talkin' 'bout," J.J. told John.
"Look, Shedel. There's a signal going to those buttons," John said
calmly, "but they're not¾what's the word¾illuminating for her to
see them. Since they're not illuminating, the signals not strong
idea won't work."
I feel sick now," Bobbie said softly. "John, she's had
enough." "We won't wait. Get her out, Lenny. Now." John
ordered. "Don't pry open the doors," J.J. said.
Mick argued, "It's only logical, since there's not enough power
and the doors won't unlock." Suddenly, Bobbie noticed a
soft glow, and then pressed the 'Open Door' button. She held her
push with her right index finger. "Do you have a better
idea?" John asked J.J., as the doors slid open with the power
source draining. "I did," Bobbie said, as Lenny helped
the left side glide to open. Bobbie looked around and there was
applause from the audience in the hallway erupting from everyone
except John and Mick. Their blond hair, faces, and clothing were
covered with dust particles, remains of spider webs, and what
seemed to be some sort of oil. Trevor and Brandon came running
through the hall with equipment in hand. Bobbie wrapped her arms
around J.J. and then kissed his cheek.
"Can we have elevator picnics more often?" Bobbie asked
"John's elevator code is different than
Bobbie's," he replied placing a blanket to the floor.
"John's codes always are," she groaned. "I'll tell you now, there's
a major conflict with our stairwell codes." She sat. "I think I'll
be rejecting John's elevator code, as well." "There's
nothing romantic about a cold-hearted stairwell. You're impressed
with my beach code, aren't ya?" "I have to wait five
months for you to initiate it. What does John's elevator code
entail?" Bobbie asked. "John and Bobbie shall only have
picnics¾on the evening of¾when Bobbie gets stuck in the
elevator¾without John." John sat across from her, and then Bobbie
handed him a plastic champagne glass, filled with purple liquid,
along with an opened bottle. "What you're trying to say
is, you made sure Al here will never keep me alone with him again,
didn't you?" They linked their arms and John took a sip from his
glass. "Didn't you?" Bobbie asked again, then drank a gulp full.
"Yep," he said. Bobbie gave an exaggerated sigh, and then
he kissed her, as they sat, with the doors opened within the main
hall of The Recording Studio. "You named the elevator Al?
"Yep. We bonded. He likes the name."
"What would I do without you? You have the ponytail going on;
you're all slaphappy." "I'm happy I rescued myself
before I got sick in your elevator." "You told me you
weren't sick. Didn't Shedel rescue you?" "Nope," she
said. "Didn't Trevor or Brandon, since¾?"
was the one who pressed the button." "Then
why'd you hug Shedel?" "You and Mick were dirty," Bobbie
said. "Lenny was inspecting the doors. Trevor and Brandon were the
paramedics on the scene. They had all that equipment as if Al was
in cardiac arrest. And, I did feel nauseous toward the end. I
thought if I were to, I'd puke on J.J., since he made Mick so
angry. J.J. had no right to interfere¾" "You thought me
and Mick were already having serious fashion problems, didn't you?"
"No hard feelings?" "No hard feelings. I
think you've had too much to drink." "Me too. A couple
sips of grape juice gets me drunk, real fast." She giggled
uncontrollably. "Bobbie, you drank almost the whole
bottle. Grape juice causes constipation." "Does not, But
just in case, I'll need prune juice to reverse the effect."
"Okay now, I have serious questions for you. Stop laughing."
"I'm laughing, because ... you ... have grease in your ear."
Bobbie fell backward, her laughter hysterical. John
leaned forward, then licked the tip of his index finger, and
attempted to place his finger in her left ear. "What'd you think of
Jamie and Suzie's reaction?" He pulled her arms to sit.
"Hell, I was in shock," Bobbie said. "Jamie hugged me before Suzie
had. They both acted as if Al was torturing me. Jamie even looked
like she'd been crying." Bobbie took a sip of John's grape juice.
"I thanked Jamie for tattle-telling that I was late, when,
actually, I wasn't. I showed for work fifteen minutes early."
"You still weren't on time." He chuckled. Bobbie
took another sip. "Did I mention Jamie spent eighteen dollars on my
lunch today?" "I've lost count how many¾"
"Tomorrow, Suzie's buying?" "I gave them the money,"
John said. "You did not¾" she looked at him wide-eyed¾
"Did you?" "Noooo¾" he chuckled "¾How'd you stay so
calm? You were inside Al here, for almost two hours." He filled her
glass. "I know somethin' 'bout Al besides, him being a
roped hydraulic driving machine." "What'd he tell you?"
His voice was nervous. John handed Bobbie's glass to her.
, after we're married,
he'll be our
elevator. Then, my elevator code will
override yours and we'll have many more picnics." She removed the
blanket a tad and then stood the glass near her right side. "He
told me you said so."
"I know you're not
finished," John said then smiled. "Hm. I trust you
with"¾she paused¾"with¾" "Spit it out."
life. Yours and Mick's grease and grime was a little
overwhelming I must add, and brought tears to my blue eyes." Her
voice grew serious. "I knew¾you knew¾what you were doing. I
remained calm for you, since I knew how worried you were."
"No one was worried 'bout you. We were worried about
." Bobbie moved her face close to his. "I
know the truth. You're my hero," she said softly. John
smirked. "I love you," he told her, and kissed her. "I
know." She smiled, with her lips touching his. Bobbie handed John
his empty glass. "I see Al's internal organs have not yet been
replaced." "Maybe, you can assist Trevor with the
surgery tomorrow." "You just sounded like¾"
"I'm sorry. I feel like an ass. Do you know about elect¾?"
"I was gonna say Jamie; not my father. She always tells me,
'maybe, you can assist tomorrow.' Did the fabulous five figure out
what was wrong with my new friend?" "The consensus is¾"
he did a drum roll on his thighs "¾heart failure."
"Power failure? I noticed Trevor had this device. He seemed to be
checking for a magnetic field or electrical current, while Al was
detached from his life force. You never told me Trevor had multiple
degrees." "I can never keep a secret from you." John
bumped the wall with his forearm and the fluorescent-white lighting
changed to a purple glow. "Ooh, I am so very surprised.
I am. I am." She began to giggle. "I thought ... Trevor and Brandon
... too funny." "What?" He smiled at her. "You thought
what?" His smile grew wider. "Tell me?" "I thought ...
they were searching ... for a bomb." "A bomb?" His
laughter filled the room. "You never cease to amaze me. Just wait
until the guys hear 'bout this one." "No. Don't you ever
tell 'em," she said, laughing. "With that answer, you
are surprised then?" "Oh yes. I do like your elevator
code," she said, scooting closer. "Oh no, I spilled my other glass
of champagne." He smirked. "Bobbie, per my code only
do the customizing."
John, grape juice doesn't stain." "'Course not. Or soak
through your favorite blankey." "My blankey." She
attempted to stand, while John pulled her to the floor.
Bobbie sat in John's lap with her legs wrapped around his waist,
her palms at his chest. John supported her back with his arms, and
said, "Clap your hands." She did. The sound of
instrumental music played through the overhead speaker.
"Tell me," he whispered. She gave a blank stare. She
smiled. "John, I love you."
The door closed.