Bob’s Big Rescue

There is nothing particularly exciting about Bob. Actually, that’s really giving him too much credit. There is nothing exciting at all about Bob. There, that’s better. Bob is 33 years old, lives in a small, one bedroom apartment in a boring suburb called Burien, just south of Seattle. Bob’s best friend (and his only friend really) is his goldfish he named Goldy. He is an average looking guy of average height and build. He drives a blue Toyota Camry that is fifteen years old. And it isn’t even a cool electric or cobalt blue. It’s just blue. If you went to Home Depot’s paint section and asked the paint expert working there to give you the most boring shade of blue he had, he would respond, “Oh, like Bob’s car blue.” Have I completely bored you yet telling you who Bob is? No? Well, keep reading.

Bob is a “Scanned Document Quality Checker”. What is that, you ask? Well, take a shot of espresso and splash some cold water on your face. You’re going to need it. In the ever-increasing age of digital documentation, it is still an ongoing effort to go through piles and piles of physical documents and turn them into a digital format. The digital format can then be stored electronically to reduce the amount of space the records would otherwise take up in an office or store room. The documents are also then easily shared with whoever might need them.  

For example, a construction business that has been in operation since the 1990’s would most likely have a decade or more of physical paperwork in storage in some form or another. They could be design plans, supply orders, invoices, payroll paperwork, any number of things that are just sitting in boxes taking up space.  

Now, I know what you might be thinking: aren’t there scanners for that sort of thing? And you’d be right. But Bob’s job is even less exciting than scanning the documents. Once the documents are scanned, well, that’s where Bob works his magic. Bob must go through every single piece of scanned data to check for quality. If something is illegible, Bob must locate the original physical copy. If the original physical copy is legible and was misscanned, Bob must re-scan it so a clear copy can be added to the digital file. If the original is not legible, Bob must notate that on the scanned document. Bob’s quota is to quality check a thousand scanned pages every day. I told you there is absolutely nothing exciting about Bob.  

The only excitement in Bob’s life is when he gets to ride the elevator at work with Stephanie. Stephanie is the receptionist at the same company where Bob works, let’s call it Most Boring Jobs Ever, Inc. Stephanie is sweet, beautiful with blonde hair just past her shoulders and blue eyes that nearly twinkle when she smiles. And she is always smiling. Stephanie works on the first floor of the building. Bob is on the fourth. A few times a month, Bob gets to the elevator at the same time as Stephanie. On a rare, lucky day, Bob catches the same elevator with her in the morning and again in the evening.  

Though he has tried on several occasions, Bob has never said a word to Stephanie, though she greets him with a friendly salutation each time they meet.  

“Good morning,” she has said before, her morning coffee in one hand and her handbag in the other. Bob would just smile and look at the buttons to the right of the elevator door.

“Good evening,” she has said before, without the coffee. Bob couldn’t even manage a Good evening in return.

“Any plans for the weekend?” she asked one time. Bob almost worked up the courage to admit that he, in fact, had no plans for the weekend. Instead, he smiled and looked at the buttons again.

Everything changed one Monday morning. Bob and Stephanie both boarded the elevator at the same time. Bob was ready to savor every second of the ride to the first floor where Stephanie would disembark.  

“How was your week . . .” Stephanie began to ask when the elevator jolted to an abrupt stop and the main lights flickered before going out completely. The back-up light illuminated the car with about a quarter of the regular luminosity, but it was enough to see that Stephanie was growing concerned. And then Bob sprang into action.

“I’m sure it will be fine,” he stated confidently and flashed a reassuring smile.  

“I just don’t particularly like confined spaces,” she admitted. Small beads of sweat began forming on her brow.

“Hey,” he smiled again, “who does?” His simple choice of words calmed her. Just by saying Who does, Bob not only made her feel that everything was going to be okay, but also assured her that her fear of confined spaces was nothing to be ashamed of. It was brilliant.

The minutes continued to tick by and the power had not returned. After an hour had lapsed, Bob knew he needed to do something to rescue his fair damsel in distress. He looked up and saw the escape panel in the back corner of the elevator car. He hoisted himself up on the hand rails and gracefully balanced himself as he pushed up on the panel. The hatch opened exposing the elevator shaft above them.

“What are you doing?” Stephanie inquired as Bob began to reach his hands up into the opening to see what he could grip.

He looked down at her and said, “I’m getting us out of here. Just hang tight.”

Bob lifted himself up atop the elevator car and poked his head back in through the opened hatch. “I’m going to climb up the cable, go out through the second floor door, go down the stairs and open this elevator from the outside.”

She thought Bob very heroic and she didn’t even stop to think that if the doors could have been opened from the outside, someone would have done that by now. All she thought was that Bob was her knight in shining armor and she watched him disappear into the darkness above. 

Bob scaled the greasy elevator cables. He got to the second floor and forced the doors open. He crawled out of the elevator shaft and there was already a small crowd gathered around to witness his emergence. The power was out on the second floor as well and was only lit by emergency lights, but it was easy to see that Bob’s clothes were completely soiled by the elevator cable.  

“What happened to you?" asked a voice in the crowd.

“No time,” exclaimed Bob who rushed to the exit door leading to the stairwell. In a flash, he sped down the two flights of stairs to the lobby. He wrapped his jacket around his arm and smashed the glass emergency casing that contained a fire host and a small axe. Bob grabbed the axe and went to work on the elevator doors.

Bob hacked away at the doors. His hands began to ache, his muscles grew sore, sweat dripped from his face down to his stained shirt. But Bob didn’t stop. He managed to cut a hole in the door big enough for a body to fit through. He stuck his head in. Stephanie saw her rescuer and swooned. Bob extended his hand and she reached hers out to take hold. Bob was gentle but strong as he aided her though the hole to safety.  

“Is this your floor?” Bob quipped as he set her down. Stephanie nearly lost her balance once she was out of the box of terror and Bob caught her in his arms. She looked up at Bob, her blue eyes sparkling.

“I don’t even know your name,” she admitted.

“Bob,” he replied.

“Bob. Bob. Bob! Bob!!” He heard his name being repeated, but it wasn’t Stephanie’s voice. Bob snapped out of it and saw that it was Adam who also worked on the first floor.

The power had come back on, apparently it was only out for a few minutes before the elevator resumed its course to its destination on the first floor. The doors had opened and Stephanie walked out to a small crowd that amassed during the brief outage. “You okay there, Bob?” asked Adam.

“He’s more than okay,” Stephanie assured the onlookers. “I nearly lost it in there, but Bob was calm, cool and collected. He didn’t even say a word and I knew everything would be okay. He was like a rock. He didn’t flinch or panic. He was a hero.”

“Is that right?” commented Adam in disbelief.  

Before the doors closed, Stephanie thanked Bob for keeping her safe and wished him a good day. Bob just smiled and looked at the buttons again as the doors drew shut. He couldn’t wait to get home and tell Goldy about the exciting day he had.

September 05, 2020 04:48

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Hanna Yuzyuk
19:17 Sep 17, 2020

I really like your minimalistic style when it is a lot of room for imagination how characters can look like. I would say think a little about be not so urban informal in some places. I do not say it is bad, it can be like you just telling story to your friends and can be consider like your style, I think. You enjoy the humor of the story. Good luck with next story!


Mark D
22:40 Sep 17, 2020

Thank you so much for reading


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Sjan Evardsson
15:40 Sep 08, 2020

Thanks for the laugh! It's cute, and really shows both why Bob is so isolated and how it has affected his own imagination. Well done! Stay safe, and keep writing!


Mark D
17:50 Sep 08, 2020

Thank you so much. I was loosely inspired by The Secret Life of Walter Mitty


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