(Sanstorm is waiting for the lift to come. She transfers her awkward shopping from both hands into one, to release a hand to press the call button. There is impatient tutting from people behind. She presses the button whose outline glows a promising red.
The department store is overheated. Sanstorm is overheated. She wishes she had worn fewer layers for this shopping trip. She is perspiring. Her fingers are sore, the handles of the bags chaffing her reddening fingers. All she wants is to go to the café for a coffee, a wee look at her purchases and a lament over the receipts.
The elevator arrives. Sanstorm enters, shuffles to the back, turns around to face the doors and puts down the bags.
Several other people enter: There is a sprightly man (WILLY) with a cane, a top-hat and a goatee beard, a mother (MUM) and two children aged about five (RYAN) and three (KATE). There is a fit looking man (KEN) in his thirties, wearing black closefitting clothes, carrying some kind of a work-bag. There is a hefty, sweaty woman (MRS GREEN) wearing a damp tweed suit. She has a sour expression which matches her general aura.
The doors close.)
(General shuffling until everyone has sufficient personal space. The lift lurches upwards. After five or so seconds, there is a sickening metallic groan, a judder and a squeaky crunch. The lift stops. Sanstorm rolls her eyes and waits for the resumption of normal service. Nothing happens. The first to break the silence is KEN.)
KEN: Seems like we’ve stopped then..
(Withering looks from all others)
WILLY: Apparently. This would never happen in my factory. I’d have the Oopma Loompas straight onto it. We’d be in space fending off vernicious knids before we knew it.
MUM: I don’t think we’d want to be in space, really. If I am going to be stuck some randomers and a fictional character in a top-hat… – I’d rather be stuck here than in orbit!
WILLY: Maybe I could have a look at the buttons here – see if I can re-wire them?
KEN: That’s more my remit. I know my way around a lift shaft.
MRS GREEN: (wafting her tangy fragrance as she moves her arms in a vague gesticulation) Can we not, … I don’t know… call someone?
MUM: (to KEN) OK, what do you suggest?
KEN: Why don’t I use the contents of my infeasibly relevantly stocked work-bag and jump lithely through the panel in the roof onto the top of the elevator. Then I’ll karate chop Hannibal Lecter and hurl him off the roof of the lift and he’ll disappear down the shaft in the style of Darth Vader. I’ll then fashion a winch and pulley system and pedal our way to freedom! … or the next floor up… I dunno..
KATE: I need the toilet.
MUM: Be quiet. Now is not a good time.
MRS GREEN: If you get desperate, I have a flask of coffee I could drink, then you could pee into it.
KATE: Eh… naw…. I’ll wait.
SANSTORM takes out her iPhone and checks her e-mail, her WordPress, her facebook and her texts. She takes a few surreptitious pictures to include in a blog she intends to post as soon as she’s had that coffee.
SANSTORM: Is there not a number we can call?
KEN: Oh, let’s look.
SANSTORM: Don’t look at me. I’m so not calling.
MUM: I’m out of credit.
WILLY: My mobile was delicious. You really should try one.
KEN: Give me the phone.
(Sanstorm relinquishes her iPhone. She feels a bit faint.)
KEN: Hi there. We are stuck in the lift. What should we do?
MRS GREEN: (in a stage whisper) Coffee anyone? I think I need the toilet now.
WILLY: My dear woman, have patience. I am sure we will be moving on before long.
MUM: Does anyone want to play a game to pass the time? Or I could regale you with my tales of childbirth. I think we could all learn something useful?
SANSTORM considers her challenge, knowing that her childbirth stories often “win”… but restrains herself.
KEN: Right… Right… OK… will do…
MRS GREEN: What did they say?
KEN: (face lit up with excitement). We’ve to scale the walls of the lift, go through the hatch and create a human pyramid to reach the next level. Come on guys! We can do it. (Patriotic music swells) It’s been a short and difficult ordeal, but if we reach inside ourselves, using all our inner metal – I know we will be successful.
WILLY: Hold on! Wait! I have just found a packet of my Teleportation Sherbert. Take a spoonful and visualuse your destination. We’ll all be out of here in no time.
(WILLY produces a silver spoon and a small packet of green crystalline powder. He spoons the powder into the waiting mouths.)
(SANSTORM was soon in the café. KEN was abseiling down the lift shaft. MRS GREEN and KATE were in the toilet. RYAN was in NEW YORK, feeling as is he’d over-egged the visualisation part. MUM was in the dining room of a Bed and Breakfast in the Highlands with KEN, serving her a bacon and egg roll and a lovely cup of tea. As for WILLY, he stepped back into the world of fiction, which was a relief to everyone.)