At 12:38 on the 8th October 2016, Simon Hoskin is walking towards the elevator on the twelfth floor of his building. In his hands, he holds the minutes for the four meetings he has sat in that day, the projections for Callahan for the next six months along with three sandwiches for Liz, Truss and McKinnon on seven. Liz always smiles at him, so perhaps this time he can actually ask her out for that drink. He balances everything carefully in his left arm and reaches for the elevator button.
At 12:38 on the 8th October 2016, James Franklin West, Frankie to his friends, is rushing down the twelfth floor hallway. He’s holding a mobile phone to his ear with one hand, clutching a sandwich, bag of crisps and a cup of coffee in the other. He’s attempting to tuck his shirt in as he rushes through, trying to swagger, saunter, smile at the HR girls as he goes by and fails miserably. The person on the other end of the phone reminds him that they’re meeting on Eight, causing him to suddenly stop and swerve back around towards the elevators, hurling expletives at the phone, his lunch and the various people around him.
It is at this point the elevator arrives with a cheery ding. Simon steps inside and sees Frankie rushing towards him, shouting to hold the door. He mimes reaching for the button to hold the doors, remembering the mountain of work that Frankie had piled onto his desk yesterday. And the day before. There was the time that he’d been put up for the promotion too. And that was as far as he got through the laundry list of issues before the juggernaut that was Franklin crashed into the small cabin and Simon himself.
“Cheers for holding the door, Stuart.”
“Yeah, cool, whatever. Hit eight for me, would ya?” He lifted his cup to his lips to find that the lid had flown across the lift, along with most of the contents. Frankie’s dark eyes rolled around the lift and settled on someone to blame. Simon. “You didn’t have to spill my coffee. I’m nothing without my morning coffee.”
Simon said nothing and pursed his lips, reaching out and pressing Eight and Seven respectively. He kept his files close to his chest, wishing that the ride would be over so that he could be away from this odious man. “It’s afternoon.”
“What ya got there? Callahan’s reports? He did want me to look over them first, but I’ve just got in. You mind taking them on to him?” Not like that thought had crossed Simon’s mind and it was where he was going already. “Sorted. Cheers buddy.”
“Yeah, cool.” They stood in silence as the numbers counted down. The red light changed from ten to nine, then everything went dead.
Little known to Franklin and Simon, in the basement of Callahan, Willis and Woods, a young man by the name of Eric Weedleton was prowling through the parked cars until he came to a steel door marked with the classic picture of a man being struck by lightning. He smiled to himself, then withdrew a set of picks from his jacket pocket. He expertly picked the lock, then let the door swing open. With a final look around, Eric took a small round object out of his pocket and rolled it into the room. He blinked twice, then began running at full speed. Caution had been thrown to the wind.
Impending explosions tend to do that to people.
But this isn’t Eric’s story. It isn’t the story of the explosion, or the robbery that occurred. It isn’t a buddy cop story about Detectives Paolo and Ricker who show up to investigate, or even Simon and Liz’ future romance when he finally plucks up the courage to ask her on a date.
This is a story about two guys stuck in an elevator. This is the story that began at 12:38 on the 8th of October 2016.
Definitely an opening this time. I love the idea of a story within a story, such as this. A consequence of something bigger, just two people in the middle of everything who are completely oblivious to what is going on. A side arc, as it were, that becomes the story.
Again, my napping trick succeeded. Caught the bloody fairy as it tried to sneak past me while I dozed on the sofa. Thankfully, I had half-formed ideas swimming around my head in just waiting to be written. Landlady says I’ve got to nap earlier though. Damn size 12s! Anyway, time to take a lesson from the inspiration fairy and sneak away.
The Idiot in Tin Foil