The Elevator By Amy Suto

(c) Amy Suto 2012

EXT. LOBBY - NIGHT A BUSINESSWOMAN, TESS, walks across a festive lobby, her phone rings, and she puts it to her ear. A YOUNG MAN holds out a pair of silly "2012" glasses. YOUNG MAN Come on Tess, join the party! It’s New Years’ Eve! She shakes her head and keeps walking. TESS Work stops for no holiday. INT. ELEVATOR - 11:30PM Tess shuffles into the elevator, closing her phone with a sigh. She presses floor #20, and leans against the side of the elevator, closing her eyes. The doors begin to close. BANG! Somebody sticks a cane in between the doors. They open, and a man in a paper top hat with a pair of 2012 glasses that partially impair his vision walks in. TOP HAT Glasses worked better when it was 2010. Leaving the party so soon? It’s almost midnight. TESS I wasn’t attending it in the first place. I’m a lawyer. I’m working late. Top Hat turns away from her and studies the buttons, examining them. Tess taps her foot, looking at the time on the screen of her phone. TESS Are you going to choose a floor? TOP HAT You act as if it is a thoughtless choice! TESS It is! TOP HAT (gravely) No choice comes without consequences. You can pick a different elevator you know.

2. TESS My God. Here, you want to go to a floor? Go to a floor! She starts hitting buttons randomly. The elevator shudders, the doors slam shut, and the lights flicker on and off. Tess and Top Hat grab the sides of the elevator for support. A strange WHIRRING noise is heard. TOP HAT What have you done?! Any other combination of floors... any other night... TESS What are you talking about? Top Hat points at the buttons. TOP HAT Look! The buttons are no longer the same. Floor 3 is just a horizontal squiggly line, Floor 6 is represented as a mixed number (12/2), and Floor 11 has a giant X on it. TOP HAT We’re stuck in this elevator until the cycle is completed! TESS What cycle? They arrive at Floor 3 - represented as a wavy line. DING. The doors open. TESS Why, this is accounting. A RUMBLING noise. A TIDAL WAVE starts BARRELING towards them from the other side of the floor. Tess screams, jamming the door-close button, and the door closes JUST IN TIME, the water hitting the other side with a steel-crunching BANG! TESS What was that?! TOP HAT Don’t you see?! It’s New Years’ Eve! Time is most vulnerable to change. If I don’t get to floor twelve by midnight, 2011 will restart! That means I have to endure Bieber fever all over again.

3. The elevator keeps rising, slowing down as it approaches another floor: 12/2. Ding. The door slides open, and Tess cringes. But nothing happens. She opens her eyes, and sees not a floor on the other side of the doors, but a floating menagerie of fitness machines, scales, bags of money, and cookbooks- all just hanging there, suspended in the abyss. TOP HAT This floor is where New Years’ Resolutions go to die. She stares at him. TOP HAT What did you think happened to these failed goals? Resolutions never really disappear. The door slides shut. TOP HAT What time is it? TESS 11:57. TOP HAT We have three minutes. We have to speed up the cycle! The floor with the red button is reached. DING. The doors open. A FIERY INFERNO is on the other side. Tess screams and the doors close once again. TESS: Why is this happening? The elevator ascends one last floor. The button is simply an ’X’. The doors do not open. The elevator shudders to a stop, the lights blinking on and off. Top Hat jams the buttons. It is of no use. TOP HAT: You need to do something Tess, you need to set something right. Suddenly, Tess’ phone begins ringing. She automatically reaches to answer it, but stops herself. The ringing turns malicious, the tone sounding off-pitch, like a dying circus tune. She drops the phone and crushes it with her foot. The elevator shakes, but begins ascending, dinging as it reached floor twelve at the stroke of midnight. Top Hat looks at her, a grin on his face.

4.

TOP HAT: Happy New Years’! Her eyes flutter open. She is back in the elevator, on the first floor. No buttons are pushed and the elevator is empty. It was all a dream. EXT. LOBBY - NIGHT She steps out into the lobby. People are hugging and kissing. Confetti is being thrown. She smiles. She is about to join the party when her phone rings. Without a second thought, she throws it into a nearby trashcan and walks towards her friends, who beckon her over. One of them hands her a pair of silly glasses. TESS: These worked better back in 2010. But she puts them on anyways and joins the festivities. Standing by the elevator is TOP HAT. He tips his hat in recognition and smiles. CUT TO BLACK.

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