I've been wanting to write this story for a while, but I can't find the one picture I have of it. Oh well, when I find it I'll just add it on to the end.
Full from dinner, we get into the elevator as we always do. The rumor is that the more likely one is to cause trouble, the higher in the dorm you're assigned. The first year I was put on floor four. The next, floor 24. I guess you could say that we became acquainted.
As the elevator brings us closer to our dorm we notice that the hatch in the roof of the elevator appears to be unlocked. We push the hatch open and stare at the dark above us.
We look at each other. We hit the jackpot.
The building is 27 stories, so we send the elevator up to floor 27. We didn't know at the time that elevators must have enough clearance above them to ensure that maintenance men can't be smooshed, but once the elevator reaches 27 we realize this on our own.
After hoisting ourselves onto the roof, Allen (name changed) and I become giddy. We look through the vents in the roof of the elevator car to see what people are doing in there. We can hear them too. The hatch is closed now.
For the next half hour we join conversations, sing our favorite gangsta rap songs, make weird noises, and generally harass the occupants. It's great fun and no one seems offended.
Then it happens. On floor twenty, three girls get into an empty car. One tells a joke and the others laugh. We laugh along with them. Suddenly they stop laughing and realize that there's still laughter coming from somewhere.
They scream louder, press some buttons, and get out at the next floor. We laugh so hard that we can't gain our composure enough to prank the next passengers.
Whenever the elevator reaches the lobby we go silent. There are poorly trained security guards there who may not approve of our antics. When they ride on the elevator we're silent.
This time, however, the elevator stays in the lobby. No gets on, but the doors stay open. A security guard comes into view through the tiny ventilation grate. He looks up at the ceiling.
"It's this elevator? You're sure someone's up there?"
He's talking to the girls. They were freaked out, so they reported us.
"HEY! GET DOWN FROM THERE!"
We remain silent.
"I know you're up there. You can't go anywhere."
He's right. On most floors we could just open the door and exit one floor up. The lobby is right below a massive concrete foundation of sorts which doesn't look climbable.
He starts banging on the hatch and trying to push it open. The latch is broken, but Allen is pushing back down with all of his might. To the security guard it appears to be locked. Allen and I stare at each other, panicked. Finally he gives up.
"Fine. I'll wait for you to come out."
He gets a chair, puts it in the middle of the elevator, and sits down. He's not going anywhere.
We whisper as quietly as we can. Maybe we can call some friends and have them lower a rope or distract the guard. Neither of our phones get service. We consider climbing the cables of the elevator, but if they sent the elevator up a floor, we'd get crushed. We think about shimmying between the wall and the elevator to get down to the floor below. But what if we can't open the doors down there? We'd be trapped.
Half an hour passes. They've called the elevator security emergency number, and a technician is on the way. I later find out that this costs $1000.
Another guard comes in to consult.
"How sure are you that there's someone up there?"
"Let's just call the cops. It's trespassing."
"What if there's no one up there? We'll look like idiots."
"I think we should call."
With the threat of cops, we're even more worried. I can handle any battle of will power, but if police are trying to get up there, they'll find a way.
The elevator person finally arrives and looks down from a higher floor. We cower among the machinery and somehow avoid getting detected.
I want to surrender, but Allen doesn't. He doesn't take the threat of the police as seriously as I do.
Finally I decide to go for it. Although I'm wearing sandals and shorts I start climbing the rail that the elevator rides on. There's not much to grab on to. Finally I reach the next floor. I stretch my arm trying to the doors on the adjacent wall, but they won't open.
Looking closer, I realize that there's a strange latch in the middle of the doors that the elevator triggers. Can I do it myself? I assume that I can, but I'm not sure. The only problem is that if I jump over to the doors, there's no way I'll be able to jump back onto the rail - it's too small.
In a literal leap of faith I jump to the wall, and grab onto the doors. After a minute of wrangling with the latch the doors slide open. I pull myself onto the floor outside and help Allen do the same thing.
We feel invincible. There's a security guard sitting in an elevator with no one on top of it. He'll be waiting a long time. Unable to cope with temptation, we take the stairs down to the lobby.
Only one elevator is in operation. The other two have been decommissioned until we come down. I walk up to the security guard in our elevator.
"What's going on?"
A smug grin spreads across his face. "Someone's up there playing pranks, but he can't get down. We're smoking him out."
He's proud, but not as proud as we are. I take the opportunity to join him in the elevator and yell at the imaginary troublemakers. Our cake being both had and eaten, we move towards the only operational elevator to go home.
It opens and we're greeted by about fifteen faces. It's a busy night. One of the faces is our friend Ben. While we were stuck on the elevator our friends started coming up with theories on what had happened.
"I hear you guys are having fun with the elevators..."
I give him a face that says one thing - "not now!". There's a security guard in the elevator behind him. He finally gets the hint after a few other misguided comments. Allen gets into the elevator with his back facing the guard. I get in and face him. It's an awkward ride up. It almost seems like the guard is suspicious of us.
When we get to our dorm free and clear I realize why we were getting looks. Allen has a clear impression of a twisted steel cable imprinted on his back from elevator grease.
That's all for now, but another adventure happened in the same elevator shaft... coming soon!
Tynan is . . . Ethan Hawke in Mission Impossible 4.
Nice story. When those girls freaked out I would have so gotten on as soon at they left. How did you find out it cost $1000 though?
Truly a great story! I too was on the edge of my seat. I love security guards: "Hey, where you goin? Alright, go ahead." :)
Glad you're enjoying the book. I do use firefox, but not gmail. To be honest I think it's a huge piece of crap (besides the search). Our work e-mail is hosted with it so I actuall forward my mail to my own imap account to circumvent it.
Tynan, Thanks for the suggetion about GTD (Getting Things Done). I bought it from your Amazon links so I hope you made a buck or two. I'm really enjoying the book.
I also thought I'd pass along this little gem I found. I assume you use Firefox and Gmail. Have you seen the GTDGmail Extension for Firefox? It's pretty badass. Check it out: https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/3209
Hey, I loved your story. I was on the edge of my seat when you guys were up top of the elevator with the security guard below! Keep writing about your life! Wicked stuff :)
wow... its going to be hard not to try this next time i'm at jester.
a couple days ago I heard about an elevator escapde that didn't go as well: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,223337,00.html
Wow... I'm glad bad things like that don't ever happen to me. I'll write about going to Taiwan in an article soon. It was when I was in 7th grade
and very glad your rss feed is back up.
You left a comment way back on my site saying you were in Taiwan at some point?? What part of the Tynan bio is that in? Was Tynan in Tainan?
I get back to my building and reach into my back pocket. I dig for the fob that opens the front door, but can't find it. Each pocket gets patted in anticipation of the familiar key-jingle noise, but I don't hear it.
I wait for someone else to come into the building and I take the elevator up. There are two sliding glass doors that lead from the living room to the patio, and I sometimes leave one unlocked by accident. Hopeful, I shuffle to the first door and try it. Locked. I look inside and see the glow of my bedroom lights.
It's November, which wouldn't mean much in Austin if it weren't for the cold front we're dealing with. I move on to the next door, and it's also locked.
“Taxi!” raising my hand to fetch a cab because I am running late. I normally walk, but I may or may not have enjoyed myself a little too much last night, hoping the Yankees-Red Sox game would happen, despite the stormy forecast. “Sweet,” giving a little fist pump, I never get a cab this quickly in the morning. It’s so nice today, how could it have been a shitty day yesterday? BEEP BEEP! I love this town and hate it at the same time. If I had a dollar for every time I had almost been hit by a taxi I would be a rich man, or would at least break even from the night before.
“Where you headed to?” asked the cab driver.
“Starbucks at 250 Vesey Street,” I yawned.
As I complain to the taxi driver about last night’s rain delay and my lack of effort this morning he shows no empathy and just like a one night stand he sends me packing at the end of our date.