• Dzama


The doctor and the nurses were stuck in the elevator for what seemed like hours. No speaking but occasional sidelong glances. The security guard watched the whole thing on one of the surveillance monitors. He’s gonna say something, the security guard said. Why don’t he say something? But the three trapped in the elevator remained silent.

I think they’re gonna make out, said the second security guard who had just arrived to start his shift. No, they ain’t gonna make out, I been watching them a long time. He gotta be gay, said the first security guard.

Why someone don’t let them out? asked the second guard. We all tried, replied the first guard. Doors ain’t openin’ It’s stuck between floors. Elevator repair is on their way. At least they said so an hour ago. The guards stared at the three on the monitor. They studied their subtle movements. The doctor moved his head up and down slightly. The blonde nurse shifted her weight. The black-haired nurse looked at the elevator buttons. Then they all stared at the buttons. Then the doctor looked at the black-haired nurse. The blonde nurse looked down at her clipboard.

He’s goin for it, said the second security guard. They both stared but nothing happened. Now the three were looking straight ahead at the elevator door. If I was him I’d be tryin’ to pry that thing open.

Yeah, they all tried that like an hour ago, said the first guard. Then all three were on their phones. After he hung up, the doctor took off his lab coat and folded it over his arm. The nurses looked at each other. Then they all seemed to be looking up at the numbers above the doors.

The doctor moved toward the blonde nurse. She moved away. He tried to move in on her forcefully but she pushed him back. They struggled with each other, the doctor pushing the nurse against the wall of the elevator. The black-haired nurse pounded her fists on the doctor’s back, screaming something at him. Suddenly a violent melee erupted with all three and it was hard to see what was going on with limbs flying this way and that. Holy Jesus! said the first security guard. We gotta do something. He rushed down the hall.

When he got to the elevator he put his face against the crack in the door. SECURITY! STOP FIGHTING IN THERE! WE WILL PRESS CHARGES!

Meanwhile the second guard watched the monitors. The three fighters froze for a second, and he could tell they were listening. Then they went right back at it, even fiercer. The first security guard went on shouting to no avail. Finally he came back to the desk. They gonna kill each other, he said.

When the elevator repairmen arrived and got the doors open only the dark-haired nurse climbed up out of the elevator. Her face was scratched and her skirt torn. Blood dripped from the corner of her mouth. The other two were carried out and laid down in the hallway. I’m callin’ an ambulance, said the first guard.

The dark-haired nurse walked by, right to the front exit. Hey! HEY! Where you think your goin’? said the first guard. Both guards stared. Then the first guard jumped up and ran after her.

Eventually he returned. She gone, he said. When the ambulance pulled up the guards watched the doctor and the nurse get carried away in stretchers. Their skin was pale and they looked stiff. They gonna make it? The first guard asked an orderly.

They’ve gone to greener pastures, the orderly replied.

The shorter of the two repairman returned from the elevator. Elevator’s fixed now. You can go test it, he said.

Yeah, I ain’t testin’ it, said the first guard. Me neither, said the second, sitting behind the desk. The repairmen had them sign a clipboard and then they both left.

The first security guard put on his coat. You alright? he asked the other guard. Yeah, I seen worse, he replied. But when the first guard left and he was alone, staring at the monitor view of the elevator interior he found that he couldn’t actually remember ever seeing worse.

Later when it was raining he saw the dark-haired nurse standing outside the glass doors, dripping wet, just staring in at him and not moving. I ain’t lettin’ you in, he said. Hell no.

And the next time he looked she was gone.



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