Voice from above

The front door was open, though the hallways were dark with only emergency lights making it possible to see where I was going. I was there for a meeting on a cold, blistery evening, expecting at least someone to be around.

All of a sudden I heard what I thought were voices, near, but lacking form, as there was no one in sight. I looked in the office with the door closed, but it was empty too. The voices continued, like I was surrounded, though completely alone.

“Russell, is that you?” said the mysterious voice popping his head out through a ceiling tile.

My colleague, a little flustered after having had his truck break down at Tim Horton’s and having had to walk to the school in the howling, and very cold wind, had locked himself and his keys in the main office.

Alone, disoriented, desperate, he grabbed a bright red rolling cart and snugged it up again a wall adjacent to the office to reach a ledge that would offer just enough of a foothold to allow him to traverse over the wall above the false ceiling.

Getting up was one thing, but getting down would be something completely different as he had recently undergone a hip replacement surgery. The thought of an unplanned jarring landing on the other side was disquieting but was looking to be the only option till I showed up.

“Can you find a pole somewhere?” he asked, as I tried to process what he was asking. I was still trying to figure out why he was hanging out in the ceiling.

“I locked myself out of the office,” he said. “If I had a pole, I might be able to reach down and open the door handle.”

I scurried down the unlit hallways, searching for anything long and skinny. I finally found a broom in one of the back rooms and tossed it up into the ceiling. Soon the door was open and all was well.

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