Elderly Elevator Problems
It was Wednesday, half past two. As always, half an hour before the weekly bingo. Margaretha closed her room and stepped into the hallway, ready for the upcoming game of bingo. Never, since she had lived in this home for the elderly -which she had now lived in for 12 years- she had missed a bingo. When she arrived at the elevator, she saw her neighbours Frank and Bernadette, being mad at each other. As she walked closer, she picked up some words from their conversation, such as ‘prizes’ and ‘that monster’, as well as Frank pointing at Fifi, Bernadette’s dog. Well, dog, perhaps Franks description of ‘monster’ fit better for that horrible beast. Bernadette had won the animal at the bingo, a few months ago. Letting Bernadette win this dog was one of the biggest mistakes humanity could have ever made. Except for Bernadette, everybody hated the loud, aggressive dog. Everybody secretly wished that one day a car would run over the animal, or that Fifi would be ‘accidentally’ thrown in the trash can.
“Don’t you dare call Fifi a monster!”, Bernadette replied, shouting across the hallway. “And by the way, I have not won all the prizes yet. So I will participate in this bingo, and I will win!”
Margaretha could already guess what the conversation had been about; Frank was annoyed with the fact Bernadette always won the bingo. Actually, it wasn’t only Frank; nobody liked Bernadette and her attitude when it came to the bingo. The fact was just that Frank had been angry the last few times during the bingo, because several times Bernadette won just before his last number would be named. He had been so angry, that he had thrown the bingo balls to her head and ran away screaming and shouting curse words to Bernadette and her bingo success.
“Now, move over, I want to get in my elevator”, Bernadette ended the conversation.
“It's not yours, you stupid”, Frank shouted.
Margaretha stepped between the two fighters, and asked why they were fighting again. Bernadette screamed. “He won't leave me alone with my elevator!”
Margaretha sighed. “This again? How many times do we have to tell you Bernadette, the elevator is for everyone to use.”
“And he won't shut up, my little Fifi is sleeping!”
Margaretha looked at the dog, growling and biting in Bernadettes arms. It isn’t even asleep, Margaretha thought, but Frank already said it, before she wanted could tell Bernadette. It was only that Frank said it a little less... kind than Margaretha would have said it.
“The dog is awake, you moron”, Frank yelled.
Bernadette pushed Frank to the side, and raced into the elevator, spamming the ‘close elevator doors’ button, just when one of the caregivers walked by.
“What is going on here?” The caregiver asked, almost angry.
Frank and Bernadette started shouting over each other, but Margaretha managed to shush the two “Alright, so if I understand correctly, then you two have created all this fuss about an elevator. An elevator.” Bernadette and Frank looked at each other angrily. “Now, which floor do you need to get to?” the nurse asked.
“First floor” Frank said. Bernadette stayed silent.
“Now, which floor do you need to get to, miss Bernadette Zwiebel?” Bernadette looked at her feet, without answering. “Or do you have hearing issues now too?” The caregiver looked at Bernadette.
Guiltily Bernadette said: “I wasn’t going to any floors, miss caregiver, I just wanted to go up and down and up and down.” Bernadette looked into the caregivers eyes with a sad look on her face. “I'm sorry, miss caregiver”, she said in tears.
“Now, Bernadette, you know that that is not allowed. Do you promise not to do that again?”
“Yes, miss caregiver.”
“Well then, off you go!” The nurse said to Frank, who was already standing in the elevator.
“And you, Bernadette, don’t play with the elevator anymore!”
After Bernadette nodded, and the caregiver was reassured that Bernadette would not do it again, she walked away, leaving Bernadette and Margaretha alone.
After the caregiver left and was out of sight, Bernadette pushed the elevator button and waited for the elevator to come up. It took quite long, Margaretha noticed, Not normal, slow-elevator long, but suspiciously long. Margaretha complained about how long the elevator took, but didn’t think much of it.
When the elevator finally reached the third floor, Bernadette entered the elevator, but turned around when she noticed Margaretha entered the elevator as well. “Get out of my elevator!” she said.
“Bernadette, again, it is not yours!” Margaretha replied, but Bernadette did not listen to her, she even pushed against Margaretha’s chest, to push her out of the elevator.
Bernadette closed the doors as fast as she could, leaving Margaretha alone. With Fifi in her arms, she took a seat on the narrow bench propped up against the back wall of the elevator. Her butt was almost too big to fit on the bench, which made her sit very uncomfortable, but Bernadette was used to it. She started pressing all the buttons on the elevator to make a stop at every floor. Bernadette always enjoyed going up and down with the elevator. She liked watching all the floors come by in the little window, as well as all the flickering lights and funny buttons.
While she sat in the elevator, she enjoyed her victory. She had tricked the caregiver into thinking she was ‘just’ going to the first floor for the bingo. Actually, she was going to the bingo, but not immediately. Not before she had seen that beautiful view of the whole street, and not before she had pressed at all the buttons.
After a few stops at the second, fourth and twelfth floor, she noticed that the elevator was slowing down a bit.
“Huh,” she mumbled confused. “Do you know what’s happening, Fifi?” she said in a sweet voice to the growling dog.
Other seniors had also noticed that something was wrong with the elevator, when they had pushed the call button for the elevator and it took very long for the elevator to arrive, but unfortunately for them, when the elevator came, Bernadette sent them away, saying “Get out of my elevator!”
Things started getting really out of hand when Margaretha (who wanted to go to the first floor for the bingo) realised the elevator did not move anymore. Worried as she was, she called a nurse.
Unfortunately, the caregiver didn’t know what to do with the elevator issues, so they called the town technicians; the Larry, Harry and friends company.
When the two technicians arrived, surprisingly their names were Larry and Harry. But, Margaretha concluded, as only two people showed up, they must not have any friends.
The man who had introduced himself as Larry, was a tall person, with an I-know-everything-look in his eyes. The other man, Harry, was a broad-shouldered man with a funny beard, and he gave Margaretha the idea that he was a lumberjack instead of a technician.
“We’ll fix this,” Larry said, as he was walking towards the elevator. However, it took quite a long time before he had made any progress. “Harry, can you help me?” he asked after a few minutes. “I don’t really understand this mess...”
“Oh no, we are going to be late for the bingo!”, Margaretha cried across the hallway, when she noticed Larry and Harry were not as professional as they seemed to be.
All the seniors started mumbling and panicking. Everybody was very worried.
Larry and Harry had finally found something: “Huh, Larry, this cable is torn,” Harry said.
“Hmm... Peculiar that is indeed, Harry,” Larry replied.
“Let’s see... Uh-oh”
“What uh-oh, Harry?”
“Well... I am not sure if I connected this wire correctly... And I guess I did not, or is this red flickering light something else?”
“And now?” Larry said, like it was just a normal situation.
“Perhaps it just flickers red lights because it is almost Christmas. Nothing to worry about. We’ll just see what is going to happen,” Harry said, while he stood up and looked at the elevator door.
The number above the door, counting the floors, started to change again. The number had been a 6 for quite long, but now turned into a 7.
Larry walked towards the elevator, and listened at the door. “I can hear it move. Harry, you are a brilliant-”
Some ‘ooohhh’ sounds, made by the confused seniors, interrupted him. The number, who had already turned to 8 very slowly, was doing strange things now. It turned from 8 to 2 in a split second, as well as everybody could hear a squeaky buzzing sound, made by a fast falling elevator. It stayed at the second floor for a short time, but then rose to the eleventh floor, after having a quick stop at floor 4 and floor 9¾.
“Are you sure this is also part of the Christmas spirit, Harry?”, Larry asked, a bit confused.
“It might be, but I'm not really sure. Should we try to stop the elevator?”
“You should have tried that before,” Margaretha said angrily. “You better hurry! The bingo starts in 5 minutes!”
“If we just turn off the electricity at the time the elevator is at the third floor, it might stop right here,” was Larry’s idea.
“It might stop?” Margaretha asked. “You are not sure?”
“No. But if it doesn’t stop, we can also just enjoy the Christmas spirit,” he said, before he walked away to fix something else.
“Harry, are you ready?” he shouted, but there was already a loud ‘BANG’ before Harry had time to reply.
Carefully, they opened the doors, and everybody crowded around the elevator. Before they could even see Bernadette, they got a clear sign she was alive.
“NOW WHAT WAS ALL THIS FUSS ABOUT, YOU DUMBHEADS ARE DISTURBING FIFIS SLEEP.” There sat Bernadette. On the bench, with her butt almost sliding off. Fifi in her lap, fast asleep. “And by the way, why did you stop this amazing elevator? I was enjoying this trip.”
“Oh my dear lord, Bernadette, you are alive and well,” Margaretha said, without replying to anything she said. But she was the only person who thought that it was a good thing.
“Ugh, she was in an elevator accident and still didn't die,” an old grandpa complained.
“How will we ever get rid of this monstrosity of a beast?”
“That dog is an creation from the Devil, I tell you!”
“DON'T YOU DARE INSULT MY LITTLE FIFI!” Bernadette answered angrily.
“M-miss... are you okay?” Larry and Harry asked.
“Yes, I am more than okay. That trip was amazing, just like a roller coaster! Now which awful person could have stopped the elevator and have done this to me?”
“Nobody, miss Zwiebel,” the nurse explained, “it was just bad luck, a cable was torn.”
Elderly people always blamed others for incidents like these.
“The cable wasn't torn, it was cut! This is sabotage!” Harry said loudly to the nurse.
All the seniors started accusing each other of the crime.
At that moment, Margaretha remembered how grumpy Frank was that morning. “Frank!” she said. “It must have been Frank, that nasty man!”
“THE BINGO!” Bernadette shouted. “FRANK MUST BE AT THE BINGO! He wants to steal my success of Winning-Fourty-Bingos-In-A-Row! And I'm only at thirty-seven! He won’t beat me!”
For a moment Margaretha was stunned by the fact that Bernadette only participated for winning 40 times, but she would be more surprised a little while later.
At that time, the Bingo Lady arrived. “Miss Zwiebel? Are you still coming to the bingo and paying me for-”
She stopped talking when she saw everybody standing around the elevator, her face becoming red very fast. “I mean...,” she still tried, but it was already too late.
“What does she pay you for?” Margaretha asked her, walking towards her with a threatening look.
“Nothing!” Bernadette and the Bingo Lady said at the same time.
“What does she pay you for, Miss Bingo Lady?” the nurse asked with a strict, unkind voice.
“To make sure I'd win,” Bernadette said after after a while. “To make sure I'd win my Winning-Fourty-Bingos-In-A-Row-Award. I only need three more wins to achieve this.”
“And Frank? Where is Frank?”, the nurse asked, but at that time Frank arrived at the third floor, saying: “Miss Bingo Lady? Can we start?”, before he saw all those people standing there.
They caught him before he could run away, and heard the whole story. Frank admitted that he sabotaged the elevator, to make sure Bernadette would not be at the bingo and he could and would finally win the bingo. Bernadette admitted that she had corrupted the Bingo Lady for a year already.
All three of them were send to prison. And Fifi? Nobody has ever seen the dog again. I guess we can conclude that the monster had been thrown in the trash can, ‘accidentally.’
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