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The Bastard Lift Operator

Caught between floors

Episode 25

BOFH 2002: Episode 25

So it seems that due to some engineering fault or the other the lift has failed and is now stuck between floors with The Boss, The PFY and I in it - which is a first.

"How long do you think it'll be?" The Boss asks as the beads of perspiration springing up on his face in record time.

"Oh, Should only be a couple of hours - if the brakes haven't activated," The PFY says reassuringly.

"Oh, I hope they haven't activated!" he snivels.

"Me too" I add. "Unless of course there's a cable problem, and it snaps. Then we'd want the breaks to activate."

"Yes" The Boss murmurs quietly, groping around for his antacid tablets. "This is just my worst nightmare!"

"Really?" The PFY asks. "Mine's being locked in a room with Richard Stallman, Bill Gates and Larry Ellison for a week."

"With no food and water, having to drink your own urine?" I ask.

"No, just having to listen to them practise their speeches."

"Oooh, much worse - Free Beer, Free IE, and feel Free to call me names!"

"Yes. So what's your worst nightmare?"

"It's a long one..."

"We're not going anywhere..."

"I get to work in my Dad's flannelette pyjamas with the gaping fly, don't have my security pass, the Neanderthal at the desk won't let me in, then when I do get to my desk I find that the CEO has adopted OS2 as the Company standard and has had insultants in to do the conversion the overnight. Which doesn't work - of course - and so we get calls thick and fast on phones that won't pull out from the wall. And visitors."

"Ooh, sounds nast..."

"...Then I find all the keyboards have been changed for those 'Natural' keyboards (because you find a lot of keyboards like that in Nature), Mice have been replaced with Mouseballs for 'PERSONAL COMFORT' reasons, someone's removed Mozilla, Unreal Tournament and the Snooping tools from my machine, AND it's blood sausage day at the Cafeteria."

"You've thought about that a lot, haven't you?" The PFY asks.

"Yes. Well, it passes the time when you're trapped in a lift. HEY! This isn't one of those fire-rated lifts is it?" I ask, feigning horror.

"What?" The Boss gasps, not liking what he's hearing. "Why?!!!"

"Hermetically sealed - so that you don't die of smoke inhalation if you use the lift in a fire."

"Oh" The Boss sighs, relieved.

"No, but you do suffocate to death when the air runs out..." The PFY comments.

"If you don't cook first..." I respond. "Still I guess in our present circumstance it's best not to take any chances. We'd better just conserve oxygen."

"Uh.. How long.. I mean how much oxygen do you think we have?" The Boss whimpers.

"Stacks!" I reply, noting that The Boss is on the verge of becoming a wet-business-shirt competitor. "A couple of hours at least!"

"Yeah," The PFY chirps. "And the service guy's normally here within 10 minutes or so."

"OH!" The Boss pants, more relieved than before.

"Except that time when we said it was urgent and he was in such a hurry to respond that he ran up the back of that cab in town," I add.

"Oh yeah," The PFY chuckles. "and he turned up the next day with his toolbox, the steering wheel and some seriously untreated concussion."

"It's funny how you always remember the good times...."

"SO THERE'S A CHANCE WE'LL SUFFOCATE!?!?!" The Boss garbles hysterically.

"A slight chance. But if we don't wind up the engineer, he'll be here in two shakes..."

"Unless he's on another job," The PFY says helpfully.

"Can't we get out through the hatch?" The Boss asks, pointing at the manhole above me.

"Ordinarily, yes."


"Well in Utopia. But back here in real world, people open the access panel, strap high explosive to the sides of lifts and make you ride around in buses full of explosive."


"He means that they lock the doors to stop people playing around in the lift shaft."


"Well yes," I respond. "But only till the engineer gets here."

"If he gets here in time.." The PFY again adds.

. . . 20 minutes later. . .

"THERE'S A PHONE!" The Boss shouts, pointing at the wall behind me.


"We could ring for help!"

"We could use my phone for that," I reply, pulling my phone out of my pocket "But the fact remains we might rush the engineer, who might even at this moment be undoing the reset panel above us - and the phone call comes in, he gets a fright and accidentally touches the three phase supply."

"If he doesn't crash his van again," The PFY adds once more, determined to add value to this conversation. "And is it my imagination, or is that twanging noise actually the lift cable breaki..."


... 2 minutes later, when The Boss has come around ...

"How long was I out?"

"Oh, only 10 minutes or so. But nothing's happened!" The PFY says, helping The Boss into a sitting position.

"So this is it then?" The Boss asks.

"Could be," I add "You know, I always thought that I'd check out under better circumstances."

"'BROWSING' internet porn?" The PFY asks.

"Something like that... Look, I know we've had our differences, but water under the bridge and all that. What I want to say is, well, if I don't make it and one of you does... I forgot to write down the combination on the tape safe when I changed it last week, and I'd appreciate it if you could just remember it. It's 17, 35, 85, 14. I'm sure there's no need, but.... well... just in case."

"Oh!" The Boss burbles. "Actually, I changed the Combination to the Parts Store safe myself yesterday, and, well, if things don't work out for me, I suppose I should..."

... ten minutes and a 'cable-twang' later . . .


Quicker than you can say "Rip off all the expensive kit in the Parts store safe" I've done it, and am back in the lift with the doors closed and emergency stop back on.

"Ohh," The Boss mumbles. "I hoped it was just a dream."

"No, it looks like it could be all ove... >muffled-click<</small> HEY, THEY'VE FIXED IT!"

"Oh THANK GOODNESS!!!" The Boss cries, stumbling out into 'fresh air'.

"Oh yes!" The PFY cries. "A brush with death like that, well, it really focuses your mind on what's important!"

"I couldn't agree more," I concur. "So, a couple of pints and a curry then?" ®

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