THE SEVENTEENTH FLOOR

Reads: 11001  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 15

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The Seventeenth Floor is a mini drama about a broken elevator that leads to a mysterious ,heart pounding ride to reality!

Submitted: January 26, 2008

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 26, 2008

A A A

A A A


alt

The Seventeenth Floor Click, click, click … “Please close! Please close!” You are now on an elevator alone with a group of loud juveniles who are using vulgar language with no regards to the people around them. These particular juveniles are wearing the same clothing as the criminals you see on your local news and on rap videos; you accidentally pause on when searching for a good movie to watch. You have not had any direct contact with these types of people. Living outside of the city affords your children safety and a top-notch education.Suddenly, the juvenile with the huge headphones starts to repeat rap lyrics that you believe were,“Kill that snitch-ass nigga, and blast his momma, YO!”These lyrics now have become a stimulus revealing negative preconceived stereotypes hidden deeply within your brain. You then wonder if these stereotypes are true, but at the same time, you are relieved that you are currently on your cell phone with your sister, who asks about your promotion to the seventeenth floor. You ignore the question, quickly thinking about how amazing the phone reception is. You begin to ignore your survival instincts because you believe that you can flip the security switch, which is right next to the seventeenth floor button. Suddenly you believe your demeanor has been noticeably cold, and you would hate to appear afraid of an ordinary elevator ride. In order to save face you mention your sister’s deceased husband, who was a police officer. Your sister instantly knows that something is wrong with you, because you both know that a street thug killed him three years ago. Your sister is responsible for all the preconceived stereotypes you have about inner city kids. Sis feels that you ignore the facts of inner-city criminal behavior, a subject your brother-in-law frequently spoke. Sis asks you a series of questions that you cannot safely answer due to the group of thuggish males glancing at you. You are sure that your sister knows something is wrong, and you would hate for her to worry. The kid with the headphones begins to rap another verse. You hope that this ride ends soon, but you are only half way to your destination. The juvenile next to the head phoned rapper begins to stare at you and your purse. You wonder what floor they are getting off on, and wonder why they have not pushed a button to a floor yet. Your heart is beating in triple time, and your breathing becomes labored; you feel as if you are losing control of yourself and you begin to clutch your purse tighter and tighter. Your fear reminds you of the eerie possibility you will be an easier target if you faint before reaching the seventeenth floor. The group is now randomly glancing at you as if they are sizing you for an attack. You are numb from tightly gripping your purse, which you refuse to reach into to feel around for your mace. Your husband bought you the mace last year for situations like this, but you have always felt safe. You mentally chastise yourself for not listening to your son, who has asked you several times to clean out your messy purse. You are now approaching the sixteenth floor; suddenly your heart starts to beat a familiar tune, and the panic of imminent death begins to subside. You are slightly embarrassed with yourself and cannot wait to get off the elevator to explain the terrifying ordeal in detail to your sister. Sis is rambling on about mom’s new boyfriend, which is usually a juicy conversation, but you have tunnel vision and you focus on the illuminated numbers that signal your approaching floor. Suddenly you accept that stereotypes of these kinds of people are not totally true; you want to thank them for your weird sense of relief. You are now approaching the seventeenth floor, and the group of thugs begins to posture in a way that would suggest they are also exiting to the seventeenth floor. “Wait!” you think to yourself; the eighteenth and nineteenth floors are offices of the president and CEO, and the twentieth floor is being totally remodeled. You secretly resent these guys for making you ride this emotional roller coaster, and by this point, you and your sister have communicated enough for her to understand your elusiveness. She asks you repeatedly if the group of guys is getting off at the same floor. You intentionally refuse to answer because you want to be focused enough to flee once the doors open. Time stands still as the elevator car stops at the seventeenth floor, teasing your emotions further as anticipation bursts from your soul. “Why hasn’t this damn door opened yet?” runs through your mind, mimicking the external voice of the head phoned rapper, who is now closer to you. You hear your sister’s faint voice from your now-lowered cell phone. Sis’s voice sounds as if she has called your name multiple times; her voice has a recognizable nasal tone when she is afraid. The nasal tone digs deep, revealing the subconscious bond you have with each other. You quickly put the phone up to your ear to pacify your sister. Sis hears your voice and is relieved, asking if you are still on the elevator. Sis’s continued nasal voice doesn’t wait for your answer as she asks, “Is that the same elevator that breaks down every year?” For some strange reason that question hits you like a wet gremlin; your mind began to expose and duplicate many of your worst fears. Wait! You remember the time Mr. Baxter, the vice president, was stuck on this very elevator … “Sis! What did Mr. Baxter do to get off of this stuck elevator last year?” you boldly exclaim, not caring about drawing the attention of the juveniles. Sis usually has a good memory, but this time you only hear silence. “Sis, can you hear me?”
Sis responds with deliberate hesitation, as if the Grim Reaper has asked her a life or death question. “Oh, oh, oh,” Sis stutters, “you mentioned that Mr. Baxter pushed the seventeenth floor button, like … five times in a row, or something like that?”
You then cheer up as if you have the exact answer on how to escape this horrible elevator ride. “Why did Mr. Baxter push the button five times?” you ask, hoping Sis can come through again using her outstanding memory. Sis begins to chuckle, remembering the very reason Mr. Baxter pushed the button five times—a situation that one would never forget. “WHAT!” you yell, instantly reverting to your tenth birthday, when Sis playfully refused to tell you where your birthday present was.
Sis says, “Do you remember when Mr. Baxter’s wife followed him to work?” “Nooooo!” Hoping either the elevator doors pop open, or Sis is about to tell you an incredibly helpful story that ends your current dilemma.
“Mister B was cheating on his wife with the secretary… remember? His wife followed him all the way to the elevator and he rapidly pushed the button to the seventeenth floor so the doors would close before she got on—you remember?—the revenge on the seventeenth floor?” You begin to re-focus and glance at the juvenile thug who appeared to be asking you a question …
“Ma’am, ma’am, Mr. Baxter told my mom that he had to ride the elevator back down to the first floor, and start all over!” You are afraid to respond to him so you act as if you didn’t hear his comment over his friend’s loud headphones.
“How would his mom know Mister B"?... "The cleaning ladies are never allowed to converse with partners of this company,” you think to yourself. You think of dozens of times you were boxed out during casual conversations while working on the third floor for Mr. Douglas, who was only supply manager.
You begin to see promise in moving up to the seventeenth floor, as the vice president’s secretary. “Well maybe they’re a little nicer on the seventeenth floor,” you say aloud into the phone.
Sis asks, “Huh, what did you say”? You refocus to whisper what the juvenile just said to you. “No … no …. Get off on the first floor and take the stairs!” sis says. Your mind had come to that conclusion earlier, but when Sis agreed with you, it solidified your decision and helped you reclaim control of your life. Suddenly you hear bass voices on the seventeenth floor yelling instructions, but none of the voices is recognizable. Confidently you scream, “Mr. Baxter, I’m sorry if I’m late, I’m stuck on this elevator, too!” A pause ensues. “I would hate to be late on the first day working for you … sir!” The hint of being saved gives you the strength to inject humor in the situation… but was it that funny?—the juveniles begin to snicker, reminding you how detached you are to the ways juveniles communicate these days. “Momma, Momma!” the youngest juvenile screams out.
Snickering under your breath, you think, “You guys aren’t so tough now, are you?”
“Barbara!” the eldest yells, and a stern black female voice trumpets over the bass voices of the men.
“Boy, what did you call me?” The odd exchange of words ensures your earlier beliefs.
“Told you Sis… their mom is a cleaning lady.”
“Wha … ohh … ok,” Sis responds in an- I can barely hear you kind of way. “Sorry, mother dear,” the eldest says in a clear suburban sarcastic tone.
“Boy, just ride back down to the first floor, and this time, push the seventeenth floor button only once!” For some odd reason, all of the employees on the seventeenth floor are silent, not wanting to interfere with the bold cleaning lady’s instructions.After you explain the odd verbal exchange to Sis, Sis concludes that the cleaning lady must be a veteran of the floor, which gives her a level of respect. Riding back down with these disrespectful kids would seem to have a similar affect as riding up, but the trip down to the first floor was easy. The time spent allows you to realize that black juveniles are loud—disrespectful—gangster rap lovers, and not necessarily criminals. You test your wits, attempting to discard your small remaining fear by allowing your breathing and calm. You then hear words that have absolutely no meaning to you within the context of your horrible elevator ride, but for some strange reason, your heart flutters and begins to pound in your chest all over again. The eldest juvenile mentions, “I’m going to be late for my internship…Momma is gonna be mad.”
“Internship, in this building?” you whisper the quick gossip into your cell phone to Sis, whom you unknowingly disconnected two minutes ago. “Dang-git!” you whisper. “I have to call Sis back.” The elevator suddenly lands on the first floor with a jolt, and your heart skips a long beat as everyone stares at the elevator doors, anticipating a repeat performance from this sixty-year-old workhorse. “Oh, my god, oh, my god,” exits your mouth shamelessly as you yell and demand off the elevator. The doors open, and the cigar-filled first floor air never smelled so good. “Hey, you are going to be late if you take the stairs, ma’am, it takes the average person in good physical shape fifteen to twenty minutes to reach the seventeenth floor.” Quickly you are offended by the audacity of the oldest juvenile. “How dare these disrespectful idiots tell me what to do, what in the heck do they know?” Your brain wants to ask the juveniles if their mother allows them to intrude into the business of adults, but time is limited, and you will likely never see these four retards again. Laughter ensues as the elevator doors close again destined to the elusive seventeenth floor, but you simply divert your embarrassment back on them. “What a bunch of ignorant uppity monkeys,” you say aloud, echoing off the stairwell walls, unknowingly reaching twenty stories high. “I would hate to be in their mother’s shoes, mopping, and scrubbing toilets everyday, and coming home to all that gibberish …. I’ll show her my appreciation by leaving a huge turd on the rim of the toilet today!” Laughter ensues, but this time it’s the echoes of your own voice. You run out of topics to talk to yourself about, which has made your trek easy so far. While reaching the landing of the eighth floor, you desperately search your mind for new topics in order to ease the way to the seventeenth floor. You begin to think about the eldest juvenile on the elevator, who seemed able to switch to Standard English when speaking to you, and reverting to street language when talking to his friends. “And what is the deal with having an internship with this company?” you think, reflecting on how Mr. Baxter rejected your internship application sixteen years ago. “Wow! This self-communication thing works, I’m already at the thirteenth floor … floor … floor … floor …floor,” the stairwell echoes back at you. “I’m glad that Baxter is being transferred, and thank god for floozy whores like his ex-secretary Millie,” you cowardly mouth to yourself because you know an echo on the thirteenth floor could certainly be heard in the seventeenth floor stairwell where Mr. Baxter usually meditates this time of day. You are now at the sixteenth floor, and its 8:20 a.m.; you are twenty minutes late. Mr. Baxter will understand that the elevator malfunctions; he used it to his benefit to escape his wife, right? You know no one would answer, but you want to test the echoes one last time to reassure yourself that the previous comments could not be heard. WHOO-HOOO...THE SEVENTEENTH FLOOR! You suddenly realize that this is your final stop and you assure yourself that the remainder of the day will be uneventful. You open the stairwell door, entering the seventeenth floor; a cool breeze kisses your face. You are relieved and begin to wonder how this disaster began. “Who rapidly pushed the seventeenth floor button?” and “Where is my fat-ass boss, Baxter?” you mentally scream. You head into a familiar hallway, as all floors in the building look the same, but … “What tha—” You see the backs of four black males in the huge lobby of the vice president’s suite. One is leaning across your future desk. “What is going on here?” you say confidently back in familiar territory. The males quickly turn around sparking a mental flashback of the elevator ride. Your mind tells you that these are the same kids from the elevator, but reality questions their relevance to the vice president’s suite. The eldest appears from under the desk as he retrieves a pen, “Hi, ma’am,” he says. You roll your eyes and ask for Mr. Baxter, with the attitude of a corporate diva. The eldest says, “I don’t know for sure, but my mother said that he’s possibly moving out of state.”
You respond with certainty, “What room is your mother cleaning right this moment? We all need to have a little talk.”
The quiet middle child says, “Mom is back there,” pointing to a huge cherry wood door. You storm towards the cherry wood door with confidence, anticipating an explanation from the cleaning lady and Mr. Baxter. You open the huge, heavy vice president’s door for the first time in your career. The power of becoming the VP’s secretary justifies barging into the office of one of the most powerful men on the east coast. You hear a vacuum, but cannot see where it’s coming from; you quickly turn around to ask the eldest his mother’s name, but the juveniles are at a distance and the sound of the vacuum would force you to yell unprofessionally across the office. “Where in the hell is Baxter?” you exclaim in a voice that would not overpower the shielding noise of the vacuum. Suddenly the roaring motor of the vacuum stops and only the squeaking sounds of its wheels are heard. The sound of the wheels grows louder as the mysterious cleaning lady would surely be exposed. A tall beautiful black woman wearing an all black dress appears. The woman surprisingly speaks proper English, asking you to page her by phone the next time you need to interrupt a closed-door meeting. “Meeting?” you ask….
“Yes, meeting, now close my door and take a seat at your desk—you’re late!” In shock, you angrily let go of the huge door, causing an abrupt slam. You sit at the desk confused and terrified, wondering what to do next.
The black woman exits the vice president’s office, immediately asking you— possibly the most difficult question ever asked—“Do you remember my four boys?” You hesitate to answer, stuck on the idea that the boys’ mother is a cleaning lady, and not the vice president—your boss! Without hesitation, the black woman verbally fills the awkward silence with ambience similar to the day Doctor Orr scurried from your father’s bedside in the emergency room, insensitively answering you with a stern, “Yes!... your father has died,” as he walked away towards another patient.The black woman begins to torture you all over again...“Yes!… I am the vice president"…"Yes!… Mr. Baxter has been transferred"…"Yes …The tall Negro to your left, that you assumed was an uneducated thug, is my eldest son Tony. He has achieved straight A’s since the third grade, which allowed this prestigious internship"…"Yes!… Tony is in big trouble for exposing you to those horrible rap lyrics"…"Yes!… I am the lady behind the elevator door, yelling at my knucklehead sons"…"Yes!… You quickly pushed the seventeenth floor button multiple times causing you to be late for work on your first day."Yes!… The reason you pushed the button multiple times is that you were afraid of my four nerdy sons, who would not hurt a fly…NO!…The Black woman dramatically pauses, looking at the ground.The strong woman suddenly appears broken down; a perfect gelatin-type teardrop creeps from her right eye. The woman slowly looks up at her boys, who definitely appear to understand their mother’s sudden sadness. Your jaw locks as you attempt to say something soothing. You begin to read the years of racial torture and prejudice engraved into her soul, motivating her to conquer her goal of becoming vice president. You accept that your actions ignited her past, so you open yourself for more due criticism by asking, “Ma’am, what was the ‘no’ for?
The woman finally turns in your direction, displaying multiple gelatin teardrops on her face. Tony interrupts, as to speed up his mother’s slowed communication progress. “She was talking to herself,” Tony explains. “Mom tells us to say ‘no’ to ourselves when we are overwhelmed with rage, or have ill thoughts towards another person.We heard you on the stairwell, ma’am. It is tradition for the vice president to sit in the seventeenth floor stairwell to hear a motivating word of the day. Since it’s my mother’s first day as vice president, she allowed us to sit and listen with her as we thanked God for her success.” You are dumbfounded, wondering how your hatred could echo all the way to the seventeenth floor. Tony stands up, accepting all of the hurt and anger connected with his mother’s depressing journey to the cherry wood doors on the seventeenth floor. Tony rejects his newly developed tears by rolling God’s liquid emotions across his eyes, not allowing them touch his face. “Mom was the best cleaning lady at this company; she cleaned the seventeenth floor for almost fifteen years and worked very hard raising us alone. Mom only earned a dollar fifty an hour and was the only cleaning lady on the seventeenth floor, while white cleaning ladies earned three fifty an hour. Mom learned a lot about this company by simply chatting with the employees and keeping her composure when they called her racist names. She then enrolled into a GED program, eventually earning a master’s degree in business management. Mom has tried to distance herself from the past, hoping to show us a better way in life …. but on her first day as vice president, you symbolically destroyed everything Mom worked so hard to escape from, forcing her to realize she will always be known as the cleaning lady on the seventeenth floor.”

Kodiack-


© Copyright 2017 KODIACK. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Unknown

avatar

Unknown

avatar

Unknown

avatar

Unknown

avatar

Unknown

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Unknown

Booksie 2017-2018 Short Story Contest

Booksie Popular Content

Other Content by KODIACK

THE SEVENTEENTH FLOOR

Short Story / Non-Fiction

Popular Tags