Everett woke his son—Simone—up bright and early, holding out the nice-looking outfit his mother had picked out. Heaven knows why they decided that allowing a 4-year-old to come into a business office for “bring your kid to work day” was a good idea, but Everett wasn’t about to argue. Anastasia thought it would be good for Simone, and Everett wasn’t about to argue with her.
Happy wife, happy life.
What harm could come from bringing his cute kid to work? Maybe they would lay off giving him extra work to do, as no one wanted to deal with a bored child.
Typically Velia wouldn’t be heading to work this early, but a day of work still needed to be done. With her OB-GYN appointment scheduled for 3, she wanted to start early then celebrate an entire weekend off with ice cream and mock cocktails with her girlfriend.
The train was crowded, and nobody wanted to offer the heavily pregnant woman a seat. If only Velia’s car wasn’t in the shop for repairs, she could have already been at work. It had only been a couple of years since she started driving full-time, but the train was worse than she had ever remembered.
With a kicking baby, a coffee-deprived headache, and a sore back, Velia stood in the crowded train cart and dreamed of her maternity leave. Taking care of a baby had to be more tolerable than spending thirty minutes in this hellhole.
Arturo had only been on shift for twenty minutes, but he was ready to go home. Forty years of this was enough. It was about time that he put in his retirement notice. There was always something wrong with the building, and the janitorial budget was never big enough to hire enough people.
He read over his task list, one that was sure to triple by the end of the day. Train the new girl, three bathrooms were clogged, a leak in the fifth-floor staff room, burnt out light bulbs across the second floor, and Elevator 7 needed repair.
Arturo grabbed his cart of tools and made his way over to the main hall elevators, ready for another day of fun.
“This is daddy’s workplace, so we need to be careful when we are there,” Everett told his son as he drives them down the highway.
“Why?” Simone asked his favorite question.
“Because a lot of important things happen there and there is a lot of people who are working hard. That means we have to use our indoor voices and only touch things Daddy says you can.”
“Why?” Everett took a deep breath and tried to channel some of his wife’s cheesy parent tips over FaceBook.
“Why do you think?” Through the rearview mirror, Everett watched Simone’s face twist with confusion.
“Because there is a lot of Mommy’s nice plates in there?”
“Yes, you got it,” Everett silently cheered as he managed to avoid the endless cycle of ‘why?’, a miracle of its own. He managed to enjoy the rest of the drive-in peace with the morning radio playing and Simone silently reading his picture book. Maybe today would be a productive day after all.
It was finally her stop. All the was left was a 15-minute walk, a fun adventure. Velia instantly regretted wearing flats and getting pregnant a mere two minutes into the walk. Slightly panting, Velia kept her stride. She didn’t want to fall too behind and end up coming in on the weekend. Velia intended to be all done by 2 pm and ready to go to her appointment when her girlfriend picked her up.
Stopped at a crosswalk, Velia glanced over at the people making the same trip as her. A younger-looking man was holding a map of her work building, tongue stuck out as he tried to read the outdated map. Piercings lined his ears, and his hair shined an array of sweet colors, all tied together with a darling suit.
“What department are you looking for? I don’t think anyone could decipher that map.” Velia spoke up, seemly scaring the poor kid. He jumped slightly but recovered quite quickly.
“Yeah, it’s my first day as an intern for the finance department. Do you know where that is?”
“Lucky for you, that’s where I’m headed. It’s the 20th floor, the very top one. They told me there was a new intern coming, but not so soon. I’m glad I got to meet you first, I’m Velia.” He smiled and shook her hand, introducing himself as Adrian. As they continued to walk and make small talk, Adrian noticed the quiet huff from Velia, offering to take her purse.
“You don’t have to do that,” Velia told Adrian, but he insisted. Velia couldn’t help but smile as he took the purse and lighted the load on her shoulders. It was becoming a better day already.
Arturo was no elevator mechanic and had informed his boss of that fact over five times just this morning. ‘Call a elevator mechanic, they know what there doing,’ Arturo begged but was left with a solid no.
“Find out what’s wrong first, then we can call one.”
Arturo knew what was wrong. It was broken, easy as that! But not for his son of a bitch boss. Arturo attempted to diagnose the problem with his nose dug into the elevator manual, and his hand stuck in the control panel. He felt like a baby who was just given a needle and told to do brain surgery, and now he was just stabbing things while hoping it worked.
“Do you have an idea of what’s wrong?” Arturo’s novice—A young girl named Jasper—asked while holding tools at the ready.
“Apparently there was a power surge last night and it messed up the wiring and caused some boards to fry. Best to do what we can and get a mechanic called.”
“Come in Arturo,” his radio cracked, the annoying voice of his boss booming through. “A pipe cracked on the fifth floor, we need assistance immediately. Bring Jasper with you.”
“We can’t leave the elevator, I haven’t finished the diagnosis.”
“Don’t you have a sign? I don’t care, we can call the mechanic after the leak is dealt with, just get up here.” The radio clicked off, leave Arturo with a growl.
“He doesn’t sound very nice.” Jasper noted, probably not picking up a great first impression for her first day. “What are we going to do about the elevator?” Arturo peered into the control panel and switched the manual lock off.
“Let’s just put up the sign and double up with security tape. The sooner we deal with the cracked pipe, the sooner we can get and finish with the elevator.” Jasper nodded and used the tape while Arturo cleaned up their tools. The two-headed up a different elevator to deal with the crack before discovering the extent of the electrical damage.
“Can you stand still for a little bit, Daddy just needs to talk with someone for a little bit.” Simone nodded, leaving Everett free to talk with the security guard. Someone had been stealing from his office, and he was hoping for an update.
“Daddy, the elevator is dirty. Mommy says that papers shouldn’t be left out. Can I clean it?” Simone pulled on his jacket sleeve.
“Sure Buddy, just let Daddy talk.” Simone left his sleeve, and Everett finished up his conversation. A few minutes later, when he was done, Simone was back at his side. He brought him over to the flight of stairs, not wanting to bother with the long elevator lines.
Velia strolled in the main lobby with Adrian kindly still carrying her purse. The Elevators were always so busy, especially with those who worked on the higher floors. Velia would need quite the raise to be convinced to climb 20 flights of stairs.
The two of them just barely managed to fit into elevator 7 before it started its climb. Velia told Adrian some more about the different people who worked in the finance department. The elevator stopped at floor 3, then 7, then 11, then 17, and finally floor 20. It was just the two of them left, waiting for the doors to open.
Arturo and Jasper were just finishing up with the dumb pipe. Arturo was quite proud of the knowledge Jasper was showing. They were gonna need more parts ordered, but it was fixed for now. The two of them were packing up once again when a loud rumble shook them both.
“Was that thunder? I don’t remember the weather being bad.” Arturo didn’t have an answer to give her when his radio crackled back to life.
“Come in Arturo,” a different voice came in, a kitchen worker he vaguely remembered. “I need you to come down to the basement.”
“Something went wrong with elevator 7.”