Miriam pressed herself against the far wall of the elevator, book held loosely against her chest like a wall against the outside world. She wrinkled her nose to push her glasses back up her face, and stared up at the numbers above the open door.
Alecz stepped onto the elevator and gave Miriam a smile and a nod, pressing the button for his floor and standing against the opposite wall. He untucked the scarf from his greatcoat, pausing when the wool got stuck on his dark goatee, and adjusted his wide-brimmed hat as he stuffed the scarf into a pocket.
The door slid shut when, with a shout, a manicured hand caught the door. Shannon rushed into the elevator in a cloud of fragrances - hairspray, perfume, and the aroma of the expensive chain-store coffee in her hand. She pushed the button for her floor, and jabbed the "close door" button repeatedly, and tugged at her spandex running clothes before sighing impatiently and sipping her coffee, ignoring the others.
The elevator was half way to the second floor when it stopped with a shriek. Shannon stomped her foot and jabbed at the buttons. Alecz leaned his lanky frame forwards glancing at the door worriedly. Miriam gripped her book tighter, and looked down at it, wondering if it would be rude to start reading.
Shannon smacked the "emergency call" button, and a low whine of an alarm started up. "What the Hell!" she said. "Isn't that supposed to turn on an intercom or something? Where the phone thing like they have on TV?" Alecz moved up to the panel and started feeling around.
"Maybe it's hidden in there somewhere? Like a secret panel?" Alecz ran his hands along the instrument panel.
"Here! Let me do it," said Shannon, pushing the tall man out of the way. Alecz stumbled, and bounced against the elevator wall, his arm flailing and jarring Shannon's elbow. Her coffee went flying, and sprayed Miriam with sticky warm caffeine.
"What is wrong with you?!" Miriam shouted, holding her book out between her and the other two like a shield.
"Oh, I am so sorry!" cried Alecz, offering wads of paper napkins pulled from a pocket in his coat.
"I am going to be LATE for my APPOINTMENT!" shouted Shannon. "Stop whining and do something to get us out of here!"
Thirty minutes later. Miriam's glasses were streaked with dried sugar and whipped cream that Alecz' napkins couldn't remove, and her face held a frown that looked like it would be even harder to remove. Alecz looked doubtfully at Shannon as she tried to climb the railing to reach the elevator cieling. Shannon shouted in triumph as she balanced herself on the railing and pushed up a cieling tile.
"What?! There's supposed to be an exit in here! Like on TV!" Shannon slipped and fell, taking a few cieling tiles with her. Miriam's book was knocked from her hands. When she picked it up again, several pages were ripped out.
"This isn't TV," Miriam said. "And you're not going to make your appointment.
Miriam took off her glasses, and opened her mouth far, far wider than it should have been able to open.
28 minutes later, the elevator alram stopped, rose the rest of the way to the second floor, and the doors opened. Miriam stepped out, and, with a small hiccough, pushed aside the fallen hat with her foot before walking off down the hallway.