Writer's Cramp Entry for January 5, 2019
Prompt: "Write your story or poem about a New Year's resolution that has failed before even the first week of the New Year is over."
John lived at Shady Rest Retirement Community with his girlfriend Jean. He lived on the third floor. It was his habit to take the elevator to the third floor. However his old lungs were betraying him. He had to get in shape. Therefore he made a new year's resolution that he would take the steps. To help him stick to the resolution he had made a wager with Jean.
"Jean I'm going to make you a bet," he had said. "I'll bet you break your resolution to lose weight before I break my resolution to get more exercise by taking the stairway to the third floor. In fact, if I take the stairway I will take you to dinner at a fancy restaurant and I will wear your hairpiece and bright red lipstick when I do."
"You're on cowboy," Jean had said. "Believe me when I say I will hold you to your bet so don't screw up. You know that old elevator is rickety anyway. It breaks down a lot. One of these days you will be stuck in it. Now you better not take it at all."
Three days after New Year's Day John was out of his apartment. He had groceries to carry up. It was only one bag but the stairs seemed intimidating. What was it going to hurt to take the elevator? Yes, he had boasted to everybody that he was going to keep his resolution and use the stair. One time however was not going to do any harm. Nobody would ever find out! He broke down and called the elevator. He felt like a cheat as the door opened and admitted him. He hurried inside and pushed the button for the third floor. He was relieved when the door closed as nobody had seen him get on. He was going to get away with it and would lie and say he had not yet broken his resolution! The elevator began its slow ascent as his heart beat in his chest. He hoped nobody would see him get off because they would tease him terribly! After all he had bragged that they would all break their resolutions but he would never break his. He had even placed a wager with his girlfriend. If he rode the elevator again he would have to put on one of her wigs and bright red lipstick then take her to dinner at a fancy restaurant. He did not want to get caught on the elevator!
The elevator slowly moved up the shaft. John had done it so far. He was going to get away with reneging on his wager and resolution. He knew the hallway to his room would be empty because it usually always was. Now he could relax! He had gotten away with it.
Suddenly the elevator lurched! Then it stopped altogether. John knew he was in trouble. The elevator had stopped between floors! Now what was he to do? He could ring the alarm and the maintenance department would get him out of the elevator. However ringing the alarm would attract attention and a crowd of curiosity seekers would greet him when he got off. His girlfriend Jean would know he had taken the elevator and he would have to fulfill the terms of his bet! What was he to do? On the other hand he could not wait for somebody else to try to call the elevator. Most people would simply take the stairs when it failed to come. They would not realize somebody was stuck in it. His mind raced as he tried to figure out a way to get out of this situation. He was stuck. There were no two ways about it!
He looked around the elevator. Did they not put escape hatches in elevators? He looked at the ceiling. All he could see was the light fixtures. There was no escape hatch. He decided to wait. As he waited he belittled himself as a weakling. Why had he not simply kept his end of the bargain and taken the stairway? The thought of casually eating dinner wearing Jean's wig and bright red lipstick appalled him. Yet he knew he would have no other choice! He reached toward the alarm button and withdrew his hand. Perhaps she would let him out of their bet?
He stood considering his options. He knew there were no options. He again reached for the alarm. This time he pressed it. The ring seemed enormously loud. He knew everybody in the building would hear it. "May I help you," a voice asked.
"Yes,' he answered. "I'm stuck in the elevator. Can you please quietly get me out?"
"Sir," the lady responded, "we'll get you out but it won't be quietly. We'll have to call the local fire department and have them use their key to get you out. Maintenance does not have a key and the elevator company is closed today. Hold tight and we'll get you out."
"I'm doomed,"' John replied. "You see I made a bet with my girlfriend and..."
"Oh, so it's you John! Yes, we all heard about your little wager! So tell me, what restaurant are you taking Jean to? I'm sure it will be very busy that night! I know that I will certainly dine there that night! I wouldn't miss this!"
"Oh boy," John said. "Me and my big mouth? Why did I not take the steps?"
"Hey John," he heard Jean say in the background. "I think we'll go to Sebastians! I definitely want to get my money's worth out of this!"
"Will you bet me double or nothing," John asked.