Anthony never learns. In fact the slight bit of intelligence he had seemed to be dwindling every day. This is a proven fact because you’d think after the last time he got stuck in a hotel elevator he’d take the stairs next time he wanted to hop into an abandoned hotel for one of his expeditions. But instead he preferred to find a new excuse to be baited into another rusted out piece of junk elevator.
“If we could go on one of these trips where nothing weird happened, I may not mind it so much, if I could at least know what to expect it would be different but every time I adjust to something that’s already wrong it gets worse!” I yelled kicking the door. The whole elevator shook.
“Don’t do that. This building is way too old for that kind of display.”
“It was too old for you to jump in the elevator in the first place!” I yelled.
“I didn’t come in here to use it. I just wanted to pick this up.” He said pulling out an old ragged and dirty journal.
“I wouldn’t touch that with gloves and a gallon of hand-sanitizer behind me.” I said backing up.
“I see… well it’s only your fourth expedition so I don’t expect you to adjust too easily. But this was left pretty recently.”
“August 12, 1990
This place isn’t nearly the fright fest Jamie promised me. All I see is graffiti and rust piles. No ghost, no stringy haired women, nothing but mess. This place should be condemned so people can stop wasting their time coming here! When I get back I’m going to punch Jamie in the face for even daring me to come out here! He’s such a bi”
Anthony decided to read it aloud on the off chance that I was interested in the content. The fact that I didn’t want to be here in the first place couldn’t possibly have had a hand in why I wasn’t interested. I couldn’t care less that he found a stupid book which was the entire reason we were trapped in another elevator. Then he started waving his flashlight around. We were standing on a blanket. In the corner of the elevator there was another flashlight and a few pencils. “Wow, this really makes me feel like we shouldn’t be in here.” Anthony said cheerfully.
“That’s funny; the thing that made me feel like we shouldn’t be in here was the dirt, grime and the roaches trying to avoid your flashlight!” I yelled.
“For a guy who spends three days in a cabinet without bathing you’re pretty squeamish.”
“My own germs are completely different from disease carrying pest!” I yelled. “And besides that, they’re ugly!”
“So the truth comes out. Well I have some hand sanitizer in my bag so do you mind holding my flashlight while I try to get us out of here?” He asked.
“Do you have gloves?”
“No but I think I saw a rat.” He said handing me the flashlight.
“I hope we don’t have a fiasco like at the Lake Superior Hotel.” I muttered.
He shrugged, “Maybe our past experience will prepare us for what lies in the future.” He grabbed his crowbar out of his bag and started trying to force the doors open. “That’s odd. I mean this isn’t the first time I’ve had to use this for an elevator door but they’re usually pretty easy to force open. I’m gonna need you to pull with me. It’s like this door is locked or something.” Five minutes of pulling on the door later both of us were tired and the door remained closed.
“Let’s take five.” He said sighing heavily. “You know… for a teenage boy you’re really weak.” He said.
“Well excuse me for not being athletic. It’s not easy to get fit when you have to spend so much time dodging everyone who is.”
“What’s their problem with you?” He asked.
“I don’t think it was really me. I think it’s just a testosterone thing. They fight a lot with each other too. But Heaven help you if you don’t want to be involved in it.”
“How does that whole locker room thing work out for you?” He asked.
“What locker room thing?”
“I wouldn’t feel comfortable in a locker room with you.” He said.
“I’m not gay. I just have a long history of being labeled as a creep, potential sex offender, stalker and a person that all women should avoid. It’s doesn’t even fall under the far more lucrative bad boy label.”
“No, I was just thinking that you looked like a prime target for bullying… I mean, maybe if you cut your hair and worked out more or even a little. What do you do in you spare time?”
“Is it any of your business?” I asked.
“Since you were pretty much dumped on me, yeah, it’s totally my business. I can’t just let you sit in that cabinet all the time; it’s starting to smell like an onion pit. People are going to be disturbed if you don’t bathe.”
“How does that go up to me cutting my hair and working out?”
“It’s an effort they make. You look like you’re homeless.”
“I am homeless.”
“You’re not homeless. You live with me. When you get to be eighteen I’ll take you in one of the casinos with me and show you how to work the field.”
“But, you’re almost thirty and you’ve never had a girlfriend. I’m not sure if I can get advice from you that would be helpful if I were a sex-starved scumbag.”
“I’ve had many offers.”
“I’m not interested. Going and having one night stands with random women isn’t going to make up for being turned down by the girl I liked. I like closed and committed relationships. For me it has to have more meaning than a masturbation aid. I’d feel disgusted after something like that.”
“You’re so honest; no wonder people think you’re strange. Those are things that women value.”
He says that but he’s so settled on my older sister he won’t take anyone else seriously. “I didn’t say anyone thought I was strange.”
“Well,” He put his hands on my shoulders and his hand immediately recoiled as usual, “I think you’re strange.” Why does this feel like a sitcom moment?
Suddenly a very persistent draft blew in. “It’s getting cold in here.” I said.
“Calm down. I’m sure it’s psychosomatic.”
“I don’t want to end up in another situation like the last time we were trapped in a hotel elevator.” He tilted his head to look behind me. When I tried to look back he turned my head, “Nothing to see back there,” he said, flickering his flashlight a couple of times and turning it off. “Whoops! I guess the battery died.” He started laughing nervously.
“It’s really cold in here suddenly.”
“C-calm down. I’m sure it’s fine. I’m feeling pretty warm. You should take my coat.” He said taking his coat off and putting it on me. By then my skin was feeling prickly as if I were rolling in a bed of needles. I reached out and touched the buttons on the elevator. They were frosty.
“You said there was nothing wrong!” I yelled. “The buttons are frozen!”
“Julian calm down. I’m sure there’s a way out of here.” He said.
Just then there was a knock on the outside of the elevator. “Is there someone in there?” I nearly jumped out of my skin.
“No!” Anthony joked.
“Oh, okay.” They said. I heard footsteps.
“Wait! Can you call someone? We’ve been stuck here for hours!” I yelled.
“It’s only be twenty minutes.” Anthony said showing me the time on his phone. The footsteps came back over and the doors opened.
The man on the other side had messy blonde hair and was probably in his twenties and was wearing headphones and an I-pad strapped around his arm. He definitely wasn’t homeless. He took the journal out of Anthony’s hand, “We’re you reading this? Darn! It-it’s just a draft! I’m still working on it. And you’re standing on my blanket! Man! Just, just get out.”
We stepped out of the elevator, “Sorry.” I said before shooting Anthony a dirty look.
“But, how did you get the door open? I couldn’t force it open with a crow-bar.” Anthony said.
“I pushed the button that said door open.” He said before stepping in the elevator and pushing the door close button. I still wonder how the buttons on that elevator were still working and if that guy was possibly a ghost.