It is a sweltering day in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona, and the only thing on Mr. White’s mind was getting home to take a nice cold shower and get out of his suit and tie.  After battling heavy traffic for a good part of an hour, Mr. White finally arrives at his apartment building, but only to find that the inside of the building was hotter and thicker than the air outside.  The
air conditioning unit was out.  All ready in a half sweat, Mr. White enters the elevator to make the ascent to his top floor penthouse.  
    He’s alone as he enters, and this makes him happy.  He wants no interaction with any other human being in these kind of conditions.  Just as the elevator door is about to come to a close, a hand catches it.  A dirty hand, covered with grease and sweat and dirt.  The elevator door opens back up, and a younger man, about half the age of Mr. White, enters into the elevator. 
He’s wearing a dirty plain white t-shirt with jean shorts.  The red cap on his head has some logo on it, but so faded out that Mr. White can’t make out what it says, nor does he really care. 
He also has a backpack that is clearly packed to the brim with some sort of supplies.  Mr. White is appalled by the unbearable stench of body odor that this young kid has brought
onto the elevator.  His face cringes, and he steps as far up against the back corner as he can, but it is no help.  The young man looks at Mr. White and nods.
    “What’s up, man?” says the young guy.
    “Mmm.” Mr. White says.
    “Hot as shit out there, huh?”  
     “Mmm.” replies Mr. White again, as he pulls out his phone and pretends to be engaged in something else. 
     The young man can see he’s not getting anywhere and shakes his head as he turns, facing forward again. The elevator finally starts going up, and by the 4th floor Mr. White is starting to come to terms with the reek of the young guy standing right next to him, which smells like the inside of a men’s locker room.  On the 6th floor the elevator stops and picks up a woman. 
She has a really big nose and her head is balding severely.  She’s also holding two babies in her arms, and what appeared to be another one on the way. The young man smiles at her and strikes up some small talk.  Mr. White just rolls his eyes and checks his watch for the time.  When the elevator starts going up, it surprises the woman.
    “Oh no, I thought this elevator was going down, I need to go down.”  she says, and turns to Mr. White and asks if he’ll hold one of the babies for her so she can stop the elevator and
get off.
    “For what? You’re just going to have to wait until we get to my floor, then you can go down,” he says. 
    Her eyes widen in surprise and her eyebrows lower in anger.
    “You know, there’s a nicer way to talk to a lady” she says.
    With the kind of day that Mr. White has had, he is in no mood for any of this. 
    “I don’t care, shut up! Everyone shut up!  Not another word until we’re off of this elevator,” he screams.  
     His loud, deep voice startles the babies that the mother was holding, and they both start to cry.
    “Oh my god, are you serious! Shut those babies up!” says Mr. White.
    The young man steps in and shoves Mr. White, just enough to catch him off kilter.
    “Will you settle down, they are babies for christ sake,” he says
    In all of the commotion, the elevator shakes really hard and starts to slow down.  It gets really quiet, and the elevator comes to a halt, and the lights inside slowly dim until it is complete darkness.  They are stuck, and they stand there in silence, the babies both stop crying in sync.  The air is getting thicker by the minute, the heat inside the elevator dampens everyone’s clothes with sweat, and the smell becomes even worse than before.  
     Mr. White pushes the emergency button, and they wait.  
     Five minutes later and no one has said a word to each other.  Another ten minutes go by, and the three adults stand there, still in silence.  The babies have fallen asleep on their  mother’s shoulders.  Mr. White is trying to get some sort of signal to his cell phone, but there is nothing.  Every couple of minutes he cusses out loud so everyone knows he’s still pissed off.  He curses the elevator and the people who work in his building, as if it is going to fix the elevator.  
     After a half hour of standing in the dark, hot, sticky elevator the lights finally go back on, and the elevator starts moving again.  They all look at each other, smiling.  Even Mr. White is smiling.  The relief of not being stuck anymore was enough to brighten everyone’s day.  The elevator reaches Mr. White’s twenty-fourth floor penthouse, and he steps out of the elevator.  He’s surprised to see the young man stepping out of the elevator on the same floor.
    “You live on this floor?” Mr. White asks snidely.
    “No, I don’t.  I’m the mechanic on site,” the young man replies.
    Mr. White looks puzzled: “Okay? So why didn’t--” 
    The young man keeps walking down the hall towards the roof access.  “Have a good one, man.”
 


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