Seattle Writing Prompts: The thirteenth floor

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Superstition, ugh. Am I right? The public thinks something bad is going to happen on the thirteenth floor. So, what would be the thirteenth becomes the fourteenth floor, and suddenly your building has thirty instead of twenty-nine stories. Somehow, because that floor has changed its title (or has it?) it is magically cleared of bad luck.

Sorry triskaidekaphiliacs, or people who are obsessed with the number thirteen, but there aren't many buildings with a thirteenth floor. I happen to work in one, and it was an almost shocking site to see the elevator hit that number without skipping it on my ride up. Now I relish it, and occasionally, when I ride the elevator with someone disembarking on the thirteenth floor, I'm curious as to what they'll find on it.

According to some accounts, as many as 85% of the buildings with an Otis elevator did not have a thirteenth floor. Unless they are versed in this oddity of modern social architecture, most people seem to not notice the thirteenth floor thing. So, if you imagine that floor is a Roky Ericcson song sending you a message, I'm sorry to say that floor would be wrong.

This seems like it would be useful Wikipedia page — "Buildings in Seattle that have a thirteenth floor." So, if you live or work in one, drop us a line, and if we get enough, maybe we can create it.

But until we have an exhaustive list, all we have is potential stories in mostly imaginary buildings — things that might have happened on the thirteenth floor, if somehow they existed but we never learned that they are all cursed by their very numbering.

Today's prompts
  1. Everything was on the upswing. New offices. Name being painted on the door by building maintenance guy, kneeling in blue coveralls, applying the gold to my name: "Chuck Masters, Private Investigations". New secretary, and she's a real sweetheart. Last month's billing through the roof. Ten cases closed. Things keep going like this, I'm gonna bring in a junior partner and see if we can't take a swipe at Pinkerton. Maintenance guy finished, and stood, stretching his arms, different parts of him cracking. "Well," he said. "Glad things are going so good for ya. I guess I'll be seeing you in a few months." — "Why so, pal?" — "You're the fifth dick to move into this place in two years. Ain't none of you lasted more than six months or so. And I'll tell you why, fella." — "Okay. Let it loose." — "I will. It's because you're dumb enough to rent an office on the thirteenth floor. Might as well call yourself Bad Luck Masters, because that's what you're in for, buddy. Mark my words."

  2. She would never be able to afford to rent in this building on her salary. A skyscraper in Belltown? No way. But the rent on the units on the thirteenth floor was $1000 a month cheaper than the rest, and for some reason, the landlord seemed desperate to rent them. Her only problem would be furnishing the place. And her air mattress popped the first night out of the blue, so she doesn't have a bed. And the electricity cut out for a while. And her shower went ice cold randomly. And she smelled a weird electrical smell in the kitchen. And when she turned out the lights, she could have swore there was a face looking in her window.

  3. Of course the elevator stopped with him inside. Somewhere around the 14th floor. He rang the call button, and maintenance said somebody would be right up to help him. Then he opened his phone and got onto Slack. "Hey, I'm stuck on the elevator." Somebody responded with the "face screaming in fear" emoji. "lol, it's fine" he typed, just as the elevator dropped a floor or so, then bounced and stopped, the friction from the brake pads filling the small room with a burning rubber smell. The lights flickered. Then the door opened, and he stepped out. Immediately, he was tackled, and his arms were cuffed behind him. "We've got a security breach on thirteen," said a man's voice, and the squelch of a radio. "Roger" came the reply. But wait — this building didn't have a thirteenth floor. Or did it?

  4. "We can get there on the stairs," he said. It was "take your kids to work" day, and they were the only two ten-year-olds. Both his dad and her mom were in a boring meeting. They were given iPads and told to entertain themselves, but he was fascinated that this building had a thirteenth floor. They had tried the elevator, but that floor wouldn't light up when they pushed the button. So they tried the stairs. The first staircase exit on thirteen was locked. But she suggested they try the second, and, sure enough, that one was ajar. They opened it, creaking on the hinges, and were greeted by a weird smell. "Mothballs", she said. He brought out his iPhone and turned on the flashlight, and they stepped into the floor.

  5. "It used to be easier," George said. "Back before the superstitions." — "yeah, but isn't that kind of our fault?" asked Bernie. "I mean, before us, people came up to thirteen all the time. Lived here. Worked here." — "Like us, for example." — "Exactly. Like us. And then, what, a couple of accidental deaths and suddenly people stay away like the plague." — "Well, except the maintenance guy. He still comes up here every week." — "He doesn't like it, though. You can see he wants to be done right quick." — "Maybe that's your fault, Bernie. Maybe if you didn't rattle your chains whenever he showed up." — "Don't you blame me, George. Being stuck with you here for the rest of time isn't enough for me." — "I'm just saying that if you laid off, maybe he would encourage people to move in and then we'd really have somebody to haunt." — "Don't you go blaming me, now. You're the one who got us killed in an old building." — "Wait, you hear that? He's here. Just lay off this once, okay?" — "What if I only moan in his ear?" — "Fine. Whatever. Do whatever you need."