Friday, August 08, 2003

Claustrophobia Clint Day!

Today the building you work in will catch fire and many will be killed. You will be in an elevator when the fire reaches its peak, and the elevator will fail to drop directly to the lobby as it is supposed to do. Instead it will stop between the 22nd and 23rd floors. You will bang at the buttons and sound the alarm and try to pry the doors open with the bottle opener on your key ring, but to no avail. The car will fill with smoke and you will drop to the ground and think of pretty faces you're never going to see again. Then you will hear something.

A scratch of metal on metal. A pop and a racket. And then a shout.

"Take my hand!"

From the escape hatch in the roof of the car, an arm will wriggle down towards you. The arm of Claustrophobia Clint, a mythical urban hero who is overcome with a severe panic anytime he finds himself in small, enclosed spaces, but who for some annoying reason always seems to have to save people caught in small, enclosed spaces.

"I can't reach you!" You'll jump and fling your hand towards his but you'll never get closer than a foot below. "Come down and help me!"

"Fuck no! Jump higher!"

The smoke pouring in from the escape hatch will have completely filled your lungs. Your vision will grow faint and you'll fall to the corner with a cough that might never end.

"Oh fuck! I fucking hate this! Every fucking time!"

Claustrophobia Clint, who has tried behavioral therapy but never felt like he was making any progress, will shimmy through the hatch and drop to the ground. He'll grab your spastic frame from the floor of the elevator and sling you atop his shoulder, and then with one quick squat and a bounce the two of you will launch through the hatch and land on the roof of the car (he's a hero who can jump real high).

"Jesus that was terrible," Cluastrophobia Clint will say. "It really felt like the walls were closing in on me. God! Fuck! Fucking hell that was horrible."

Claustrophobia Clint will pry open the doors to the 23rd floor above you, and you will both climb out and find a stairwell to take you down to the ground. You will die on the 9th floor. Claustrophobia Clint will make it all the way to the ground and he'll live to keep on rescuing people from small, enclosed spaces. And every time he does, he'll wish he were dead.

Happy Claustrophobia Clint Day!