The Doorkeeper was momentarily stunned. Someone had responded. He nearly reached for The Rules in defense. But then he remembered line 126 of The Door Keepers Song.
"If anyone seeks to challenge me,
I will lock the door and swallow the key!"
...Whoever had first spoken seemed to have pulled away from the mouthpiece now, and a distant whispering was heard. For the first time in his long, long life, the Doorkeeper was impatient. So he decided to resort to line 173, hoping whoever had first spoken would take it as a demand to get on with it.
"When boredom comes to muffle me,
I light a smoke and take a pee!"
There was a moment of anxious whispering and then a new voice cleared its throat and said, "The secretary is currently having a crisis. She's had a rather busy day...because you called. You've never done that before."
The Doorkeeper couldn't find an appropriate lyric from his younger days, so he said slowly, "I haven't." His voice sounded oddly through the still air.
"The secretary has calmed down now," the voice continued. "She's ready to take a call."
The Doorkeeper nodded.
"Yes?" came the first voice again, weak and shaking with stressed vocal chords.
The Doorkeeper smiled and said, "Erm..." Then he blinked. He'd forgotten why he'd even called. "Erm," he repeated.
"Yes?!" cried the secretary, almost losing it again.
Then the Doorkeeper's eyes settled on the only thing he'd ever had to look at. His eyes went wide as a serious lack of movement hit his vision, and he rolled his upper body back and threw his head upwards, in compensation for the still wheel. Then he caught hold of himself and realized that, in reference to his weird dance, the wheel was still not spinning.
He stared at it in panic and then barked, "Nothing is the matter!" Unfortunately, this sudden vocal stretch caused something to be dislodged from his throat, and a terrific coughing bout hit him full-on.
When he'd finished and straightened back up again, he could hear a soft sound coming from the tube. He put his ear close. Someone was weeping on the other side. He decided this was the appropriate time for line 119.
"Whenever times get rough,
It feels good to smoke some stuff!"
Sadly this didn't help, and the secretary began to wail. The Doorkeeper felt bad. So he plugged the hole with a gob of chewing tobacco. Now the secretary didn't have to worry about calls.
Then he faced the wheel. He'd have to get it moving again.
He walked a full circle around it, looking for clues. Finally he found a black pin sticking out of the axle with a tag hanging from it.
Do not pull this pin.
The Doorkeeper scratched his head. Well that was something at least. Pulling the pin must do something bad. That meant that pushing the pin would do something good. The Doorkeeper smiled. If there was one thing he was good at, it might be physics.
He took one hairy knuckled finger and placed it on the tip of the pin. Then he pushed. The pin popped out of the opposite side of the axle and clattered across the black tiled floor with a light, cheery sound. Then the entire wheel groaned so deeply that the Doorkeeper felt his insides shiver. Then, slowly, the wheel began to move.
The Doorkeeper let out a grunt of satisfaction. Imagine that; he was clever enough to get the Wheel of Life going again...But as the great mass continued to groan its way into motion, he noticed an unsettling detail in the type of motion. He backed out of the way and stood to attention, his eyes bulging. Then, very slowly and very deliberately, the Wheel of Life rolled past him.
He stared in bewildered fear as it began to gain speed, passing into the darkness beyond. He took a step after it and paused. The Doorkeeper had never left his post before. But his post had always been right beside the Wheel of Life.
He swallowed a wad of something smoky and then began to run --an awkward run without bending his knees or elbows, his head bobbing up and down as he stared after the great shadow of the wheel. If his post was going to move, he would damn well follow it. Soon, the door was completely forgotten and the Wheel of Life rolling through the unknown.