Copyright© 2004 by hammingbyrd7
Sex Story: Chapter 1 - There are many stories about people trapped in elevators, sure, but what about escalators? Story is complete as is, see Life in the Tesseract, for the sequel, and Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Justice for the finale.
1800 feet above the Chicago lakefront, Matt gazed eastward over Lake Michigan and reflected that he was having the time of his life. He had just finished having an interview lunch with Kathy; a fresh college graduate applying for a secretarial job at his law firm, and realized Kathy was one of the most beautiful and charming persons he had ever met.
Matt was a recent graduate himself, having just gotten his law degree two months ago from Harvard. Matt had made quite a reputation for himself in Cambridge, as a prodigy genius in contract law, and as a selfish bore in romantic attachments. A watershed moment in his life had occurred a month before his graduation, when he was breaking up with Caroline. Caroline had screamed at him that he was worse than a dishonest broker who would "pump and dump" a stock, because Matt would "pump and dump" living, caring human beings. Matt did a lot of soul searching later that night, and realized what Caroline had said was absolutely true. Caroline was one in a long series of young women that Matt had lost interest in shortly after becoming sexually active with them. It was too late to repair the damage with Caroline, but Matt recognized the core indecency of his attitudes, and he vowed to himself that it would never happen again.
And now here he was, finishing lunch on the 150th floor of the Morningstar Capital Tower of Chicago, chatting with one of the loveliest woman he had ever met, captivated both by her appearance and her kind humor. He thought she looked gorgeous in her white dress with large blue and purple flowers, a perfect contrast to her soft brown hair. After he had told her she had the job, they had even gotten onto a first name basis with each other. The only sad note to the occasion was, since he was becoming her new boss, his new moral standards told him it would be inappropriate to pursue her...
"I still find it hard to believe you took me to lunch at the Top Of The Morning", said Kathy. "The MCT itself has only been opened a few weeks. This must be costing your firm a fortune!"
"It is a magnificent building, I was here for the opening ceremonies, the celebration for the new tallest building in the world. Though I gather Hong Kong is scheduled to take back the title in two years... Regarding the cost, I'll tell you a little secret. This reservation was made originally for the senior partners and the clients of our new Siemens account. The clients had to re-schedule their trip from Germany. Since I'll be very involved with the new account, and it appeared on your resume that you spoke German fluently, I managed to convince the firm to reduce the reservation to two, rather than cancel it. I hoped you liked it. It must be very different from Mount Holyoke College..."
"Oh, yes. South Hadley, Massachusetts is a modest college town. Over the last four years, it's been rare when I was in a building with more than a few floors in it... It's breathtaking to be up here. I'm glad though, that your firm is only 30 floors up in, there, that building right there", pointing almost straight down with her finger at the window. "Chicago looks like a toy city from here... Wouldn't you be a little nervous, if you had to work this high all the time? Think of how long it would take you to evacuate the building, if you had to start from here..."
"Not as long as you might think. I found a pamphlet on the building's opening night, describing an emergency set of high-speed escalators, with their own battery backups. They looked like they could evacuate the building very quickly."
"Ha, ha", laughed Kathy. "I used to love escalators as a child. Whenever I'd get lost from my parents in a department store, they would just come to the escalators to find me riding them. But Matt, you mean high-speed elevators, don't you?"
"No, high speed escalators."
"The moving stair kind?"
"Is there another kind?"
"Matt, you can't be serious! Are you pulling my leg?"
A thought burst into Matt's mind, one from his old personality. A desire to be pulling Kathy's leg. A desire to be pulling both of them, in fact. Holding both her ankles and pulling Kathy's legs apart while mounting her. Matt banished the thought from his mind. "Stop that!" he thought to himself. "Kathy is a gentle human soul, and her comment was totally innocent. What you're thinking is grossly inappropriate."
"No joking Kathy, the pamphlet described high speed escalators."
"Matthew, look me in the eye one more time, and tell me you're not joking."
"Katherine, I'm not joking. High speed moving stairs."
"Okay... Sincere apologies for questioning you like this... But, high speed escalators? My mind is balking at the concept!"
"Why? They can move people down quickly, and even if normal power and battery power fail, people could still use them as normal stairs. Doesn't it seem like a reasonable idea?"
"No Matt, it doesn't... I can't say exactly why... It's not a question my degree in English Lit was designed to answer. I just have a deep intuition that, if I were a civil engineer, I'd be laughing and rolling on the floor, and explaining to you the valid reason why the idea would never work. Have you ever heard of another super-building with them?"
"Well, no... If I remember right, the pamphlet showed them in the core of the building, behind the elevator banks. It's time we started heading out anyway. Want to see if we can find them?"
"Oh, absolutely! Thanks, Matt, I'd like that very much!"
Matt paid for the $200 lunch, grateful that it wasn't his money. After searching the corridors around the elevators without success, Kathy started to suggest they give up when Matt spied a dim corridor adjacent to a janitor closet. He started down the long corridor, with a slightly worried Kathy trailing behind him.
"Matt, this can't possibly be right. This corridor is so narrow and dim, and it's totally unlabeled as an exit route. I can barely see where we're going. It probably accesses the elevator hardware."
"No, wait," said Matt, using his cell phone as a flashlight. "There's a door here at the end, and a sign saying BOTTOM FLOOR EXIT ONLY." Matt pushed the metal bar on the steel door was surprised to see a small, brightly lit access pad leading to a downward moving escalator. Compared to the stuffy humid corridor, the air inside the door seemed fresh, dry, and cool, with a soft breeze blowing from vents.
Kathy joined Matt on the access pad and was astonished by what she saw. "This is so amazing, Matt! Look how fast and smoothly it moves. And its curve! I've never seen anything like it. Apologies again for doubting you. This is absolutely the most beautiful escalator I've ever seen!"
"I'm amazed by it too, Kathy. Every other escalator I've ever seen has a flat incline except for the top and bottom. This one is in a continuous S curve, look how steep it gets in the middle of the curve! It looks like the maximum drop angle, at the center of the S curve, is well over 60 degrees. Let me time the steps, see how long the trip takes..." Matt glanced back and forth between his watch and the descending stairs for several moments... "Ten seconds exactly, as close as I can measure. The speed doesn't really look that fast, the pace of a moderate walk, which I'll grant is quite a bit faster than a regular escalator. It does have moving handrails, just like a regular escalator. Very narrow though, the two handrails must be less than four feet apart. I guess the drop would be safe, just hang onto both rails in the middle! And there's a nice short horizontal runout before the ride ends, and then you have the landing-pad to catch your balance. At the bottom landing-pad, you can just see the switchback for the next leg down... These landing-pads are a lot smaller then I would have guessed, only about nine feet square..."
Matt turned to Kathy and was struck by the look of childlike delight she had as she stared at the descending stairs. Not wanting to lose the beauty of her delight, he said on impulse "Kathy, would you like to ride them down?"
"Oh, could we!? Actually, maybe not... There supposed to be for emergency use only, right?"
"Well, there's no sign saying not to use them. Let's see, it's just after 1 o'clock now, I'm free until a 3 pm conference call. 150 floors times 10 seconds, plus a few seconds to walk the landing-pad to the next switchback... Heck, it'll only take a few minutes more than a half hour... And then another 15 minutes to walk from the Morningstar lobby to my office. We have plenty of time. And, I'll admit, I find them very tempting myself..."
"Thank you, Matt! Thanks very much!" Kathy said with a bright smile. "Would you like to take the point?"
"Sure!" Matt took a brisk two steps and walked onto the short horizontal zone of the escalator top. The motion quickly turned vertical, his stomach noticing the drop just a bit at the most vertical part of the S curve, and then a longer horizontal runout in which he regained his timing and went from a brisk walking pace to a dead stop at the bottom landing-pad. "Wow!" he called up the Kathy, "What a fun ride! Safe, though, I think. Just hold both rails and pay attention as you exit. It is a bit fast..."
Kathy gave a warm laugh, let go of the door she had been holding open, and followed Matt down the escalator in delight. The door clicked shut as she was half way down.