The protagonist finds himself trapped in an elevator with Siddhartha, a Buddhist monk. But he is not looking for ‘moksha’ (salvation). What happens is something ‘out’ of the world. An interesting short story by Pete Prokesch
The last thing I needed on the morning of my electrical inspection was to get trapped in an elevator with a Buddhist Monk. His name was Siddhartha, he told me. How convenient. He wore a black adidas track suit, a bucket hat, and apple ear buds dangled from his neck.
“What’s with the earbuds?” I asked.
I had to divorce my mind from my pre-conceived notions of monks, he told me. I pressed the emergency button for the five hundredth time.
“At least the lights are working,” I told Siddhartha. Then they flickered and the elevator went black.
“I need to get back to my jobsite,” I said in the dark. “I’m meeting the electrical inspector at noon. If he thinks I blew him off, he won’t sign the rough inspection.” Every day that drywall didn’t go up, I was losing money. The lightless air felt thick.
The key is to not want, Siddhartha told me.
I heard his fingers snap and the lights flickered on. I looked at him quizzically. He had a long goatee of scraggly hair that twisted into a braided knot that hung down to his waist. I wanted to yank it off his chin.
“What about you Siddhartha?” I asked. “You must want to get off this elevator, right?”
It would please me if I did, but I understand that might not be so, he said with a solemn face.
Now this made me sweat. The light flickered again, and I heard a team of husky voices.
“Get the axe,” one man said.
Goodbye now, Siddhartha said. Suddenly it was black again, and the floor fell out from under me. I closed my eyes and couldn’t find my breath to scream.
I opened them and was free-falling from my commercial building—the bricks whizzed by and blended together in a maroon blur. I could make out the electrical inspector on the sidewalk below with his yellow hard hat, tapping a pencil against a clipboard. He looked pissed. Then I crossed paths with a soaring bird. For a second, we flew side-by-side.
I didn’t scream—even as my broken body wrecked the freshly poured concrete steps. As I drifted towards the sky, I passed the bird again. I looked down at my crumpled body, wet with cement, until it was a tiny dot. The mason would have to fix his work tomorrow.