Sammy Eugene Styles imagines many people would sacrifice a limb to switch places with him now, stuck inside this small elevator, alone, with the greatest pop star of the millennium. Sammy is satisfied with the situation as well, but his reasons are not like the reasons of the people whom he imagines would be willing to sacrifice their limbs. Sammy’s satisfaction is personal and dark and rooted in ugly pieces of himself; it’s not ecstatic, not the innocent kind of satisfaction that people would happily mutilate themselves over.
GaGa mashes away at the emergency alarm button. “This thing appears to be for decorative purposes only,” she says. All 27 buttons prove useless, she bangs hard at the panel— four intense and frustrated blows.
Sammy watches his shadow on the wall— it jerks slightly to the beat of GaGa’s slamming fists. The light in the elevator is dim and brown-hued; its source is behind the thin frames of plastic paneling that run along the elevator wall on all three non-door sides. The plastic panel covers are tea-stained in color and remind Sammy of the decorations in a pizza buffet restaurant. The floor is more wide than long, 8 feet by 6, carpeted sloppily in coarse, trod-worn, sour-looking maroon, likely a product of the 1970s.
“HEY, SOMEBODY!!! PLEASE!!! WE’RE STUCK IN HERE!!!” GaGa shouts. She bangs some more, shakes the pain off her right hand and continues with the left. “CAN ANYONE HEAR ME???”
“Stuck…” GaGa says sullenly. She walks slowly to the rear of the elevator and stands leaning against the wall. Her arms spread slightly away from her body and her palms come to rest on top of the brass side-railing. Her dress is gold, the fabric texture is suggestively heavy. The sleeves are long and loose. With her arms spread apart like they are, they look like the sides of a pyramid; the crescent of her charged blonde hair, like the lids of a sideways blinking eye, encloses her face at the summit. Her eyes look green now, her mouth drops and she appears, to Sammy, suddenly cathartic, as if at peace with the idea of being stuck.
In the time they’ve spent together, GaGa has proven herself to be everything Sammy had expected— charismatic, gracious, kind, strong and independent. This, despite everything they’d been through this evening— the havoc at the tavern, the cab driver from hell, and worst of all, the accident, her father, her being unable to get to him. Such was the series of unfortunate circumstances that had visited GaGa in eerily rhythmic succession, circumstances she never once complained about, never suggesting that the world was plotting against her via cosmic conspiracy. It had been so much more than just a bad day, yet GaGa rolled with each punch.
Sammy’s personal admiration for GaGa is problematic for him, mainly because he hates her. He hates her because he’s used to hating her. It’s a hatred ingrained by the force of habit, an important part of his day-to-day. Before this personal contact issue had come back into play, Sammy’s hatred had been easily managed. He hated her without her being there, privately from the couch of his apartment or from the seat of his Acura Legend. ‘Lady GaGa’ was a media product, and despite the personal intimacies they shared once upon a time – intimacies shared between Sammy E. Styles and Stefani Germanotta at the Convent of the Sacred Heart High School– present-day Sammy had found a way to hate the artist, Lady GaGa, in the same way he hated skinny jeans and Pepsi-Cola. Their once-upon-a-time friendship could be reduced to a kind of abstract and dubious historical narrative, a ‘so-the-story-goes’ tale like that of Pocahontas and John Smith, having roots in fact but easily mistaken for frivolous legend. And so the story goes, Sammy Styles knew ‘Lady GaGa’ in high school, once the very best of friends. But that was another world.
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