Mr. T in an Elevator

This is a story read aloud at Story Salon.

     It hadn’t been a good day, then Mr. T stepped into my elevator.
     I was working as a motorcycle courier in LA and had met a few celebrities. Drew Carey once answered the door in his bathrobe and Val Kilmer saw my motorcycle and commented that it was a great bike, he used to have one just like it.
     But that particular day, there were a few reasons to be in a bad mood. My motorcycle had started misfiring at low RPM’s and was hard to start, which meant that I was going to have to work on it again and spend more money on it. Which got me thinking about how little money I made as a courier.
     Way to little money to risk my life delivering pay checks to stars in the hills.
     A few days ago I had come to the realization that the girl I was dating never called me. I was the one that called her. So I had stopped calling, to see what would happen. And over the past few days she had never called.
     That was the end of that relationship.
     But my mind, being what it is, is never satisfied with just contemplating money and girls, it takes those initiations of depression and digs.
     I knew, as I split lanes on the freeway, that the reason why I had no money, and was working as a courier was that my writing and photography were crap. Which is not a good thing to contemplate while doing a death defying stunt in the middle of LA traffic.
     It didn’t help that I am walking in and out of offices that make my apartment look like it didn’t survive Katrina. I looked at the huge waiting rooms, with leather couches designed by someone with a flair for the odd rather than the comfortable.
     The art on the walls definitely cost more than my motorcycle and the ladies behind the counters hardly ever notice that I was alive.
     Today I am in the Virgin building, next to the La Brea Tar Pits. The place is open and clean and the men wear jeans bought at boutiques in West Hollywood.
     I smile while delivering the package, while grumbling inside that Richard Branson wanders the world in his private jet.
     As I wait in the Virgin elevator attempting to leave by pushing the Door Close button, Mr. T comes around the corner and enters just as the doors are closing.

     He looked exactly like he did in the 80’s with the trademark black cropped Mohawk, piles of gold chains, thick black arms and a the usual stern look on his face.
     He glanced at me and I smiled shyly and said, “How ya doin’?’
     He smiled back and said in his gruff voice “Good, how bout you?”
     I answered with a “It’s definitely been better.”
     Mr. T. nodded a knowing smile, looking at me and then down at the floor.
     When he looked back up he was serious. “You need to work at it, it’s not easy.”
     Mr. T has charisma and charm and I felt all of it as he continued to tell me how life will get better. He was there looking at me, with eyes that had known problems and had overcome them. His voice carried both sadness and hope.
     In some sort of way, it was like those huge muscles in his arms, that I had seen so many times beat people up on the A-team, were there to give me strength, not violence.
     The door of the elevator opened, and Mr. T walked out, but paused for a moment to glance back and say that it will all work out.
     I was smiling as I climbed aboard my motorcycle.
     I felt that my job wasn’t too bad, I got to ride a motorcycle round all day. I would be able to pay my bills, and well, I’d be able to find another girl.
     But it wasn’t until hours later, hanging out with friends when it really stuck home what had happened to me that day as I said to them,
     “You won’t believe what happened to me today. I got a motivational speech in an elevator from Mr. T, and it worked.”

[I found the Mr. T in stained glass (created by Enjolie McCullough) here]

3 Responses to “Mr. T in an Elevator”

  1. Connie-Lynne says:

    Awesome story, Ben.

  2. Kshemi says:

    Very awesome! Thank you for sharing!

  3. evan says:

    jono flannery sent me this link and i enjoyed reading it. your writing is pretty good u held my attention on the web for more than a minute so you if you can do that…