NINETY-TWO, 2.0

The stairs. Take the stairs. You fool, if you don’t take the stairs, you’re going to be stuck up there.

And there it is.

How many times did I tell you to take the stairs? And yet, here you are, still on the sixth floor, staring at the broken elevator doors before you. Go ahead and stick your arms through the doors. Come on, try to open them. Can’t do it.

I could’ve told you that, but since you refuse to listen why should I bother trying to tell you anything, huh?

I digress. Let’s focus, shall we? Evaluate: you’re now stuck in the elevator on the sixth floor. At least you have the bag with you.

Tommy won’t wake up for at least twenty minutes — you hit him pretty good, I’ll give you that. But when he does wake up, he’ll find you, and then you’ll regret having listened to me.

Wow, I just admitted that you listened to me. Just that once. And it was to do something violent.

What else do we see? I’ll give you a chance to figure it out. In the meantime, allow me to help your memory. Perhaps reminding you why you’re doing this, why you’re running, will spur the adrenaline and kick you into gear. Then you can think your own way out of this.

This morning, remember this morning? Of course you don’t. You were hungover, yet again. It’s hard, you know, to communicate with you after you drink. You don’t remember, but I do. All the yelling and screaming I do, just to convince you to get out of bed, that another day is worth living.

And then what happened? After the vomiting and the stumbling and the water and pills? Right, Tommy came home. You know he works nights. And you know he doesn’t like when you drink. Yet you do this, time and time again.

But something was different this time, wasn’t it? You knew what he was doing last night. You’d seen him take the bag with him, heard him on the phone. The big job, the big score. You knew he’d be coming home with product. Tommy can’t help himself. He’s just like you.

So you drank yourself to sleep, knowing he’d be angry at you, that he’d react the way he did. And he shouted, and you shouted back, and when Mrs. Salloway knocked on the door, you hit him over the head with the frying pan. How cliche.

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Salloway,” you mumbled through the cracked door, “it was just a bug.”

“Oh, this building is so full of them. I’ll call the owner today, this is unacceptable.” And then Mrs. Salloway rambled on and you closed the door on her face.  I’m sure she’s used to that, don’t feel bad.

Feel bad about hitting Tommy while he was already down, that was extra brutal. But maybe he deserved it.  Months of his attitude, his disrespect. Maybe he deserved a few extra clangs on the head from the frying pan.

But you deserve to get away. That’s why I told you, when you ran from your apartment even though you didn’t have to run: take the stairs. Now here you are, stuck.

Have you found a way out yet? Figured out how to move this box, this prison?

What is that? Is that Tommy’s voice? He’s awake. Good job, he’s awake and you’re stuck here. Stuck in this elevator.

Scream, go ahead. Yeah, louder. No one is coming to help you.

Look, there he is. He’s leering at you, pulling himself to his feet. Almost like he’s drunk, but he’s not. Don’t expect his fist to miss you.

He’s almost here. You have to do something, anything!

Yes… yes, that’s it. Open the bag. Pull out the product. All of it, you know how to use it. Now, open the plastic wrap, and charge it full. Look him in the eye when you do it.

Careful, this only has the one charge.  You can see that, and he knows it, too. Just do it, pull the cord, send yourself away. Pick a place, anywhere you want —

Really? This is where you wanted to go? Should’ve worn a winter coat. Toss the product away, into that can there.

Now, when you walk into your mother’s house, don’t explain. You won’t have to explain. She’ll understand, she’ll get it.

Trust yourself.

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