Home: Staircase
Infinite Staircase   (+14, -3)  [vote for, against]
Two elevators with stairs in them disorient people.

By all appearances it is a typical staircase in a stairwell with a flight of stairs followed by a landing followed by another flight adjacent and above the first.

When climbers enter on the first floor the elevator descends into the basement at the same rate as the climbers ascend. Once they reach the landing they turn the blind corner into the adjacent elevator that is still on the first floor and climb the stairs in that one.

As they climb that elevator descends at the same rate as they ascend. When they reach the top of the stairs they are still on the ground floor, and the first elevator they travelled in has moved into position as they turn the corner on the landing. Thinking they have reached the second floor they continue their upward trek without realizing they have not moved.

The climbers grow weary as they lose count of the flights of stairs behind them as the monotonous droning of a bank of elevators can be heard from somewhere nearby. The doors on each of the landings are locked and the floors are unmarked. They become disoriented and begin to panic as the boxes they have been hired to carry grow heavier and begin to slip from their sweating palms.

They begin to wonder how tall the building they are in is, and regret riding in back of the windowless cube van with the boxes. When they had arrived in the parking garage the only instructions were to carry the boxes to the top floor.

Needless to say they eventually discover, to their horror, the boxes contain scale models of the staircase, complete with miniature climbers staring into opened boxes.
-- rcarty, Jul 23 2011

Descending by Thomas M. Disch http://web.archive....e/disch/disch1.html
Wayback machine if page is taking too long load click the I'm Impatient button [rcarty, Jul 24 2011]

1) You can get a very experience doing an interchange between the Northern Line and the Central Line at Banks station in London. You just seem to do endless stairs and corridors. The best solution is just to leave the station...

2) Wow, that was some cheese you ate last night.
-- not_morrison_rm, Jul 23 2011

This could be employed as a sort of forced workout routine to help people get in shape, whether they want to or not. I wonder how many of these we'd have to build before the cost offset health insurance premiums. (Of course, you'd have to monitor the units and let people off after a certain amount of time, or you'd have bunch of heart attack and stroke victims and my evil plan would backfire.
-- Alterother, Jul 23 2011

This wouldn't fool anybody. It would be obvious that the stairs were lowering on each step, because the "feel" wouldn't be right.
-- sqeaketh the wheel, Jul 24 2011

[+] I read a science fiction story as a kid in the early '80s (In the Hebrew SF newspaper Fantasia 2000) called "Going down" told in 'first person' where someone leaves the supermarket and takes the escalator down. Only after a few floors they (he/she) notices there's no exit. They try one or two floors down. They check going back up, but three floors and heavily panting they see that there really was no exit, and its not that they were not giving proper attention. Then they run a few more floors down. Then they try a tuna fish can to stop the escalator. After leaving the groceries and running down many more flights (sp?) they start theorizing about what happened. Maybe they took something from the store by mistake and this is the store's way of punishing robbers. They try to go back up, but its too hard and after two and a half floors up, they give up, and continue sliding down.
-- pashute, Jul 24 2011

I found it. That story is called Descending by Thomas M. Disch. See link. I'm reading it right now.
-- rcarty, Jul 24 2011

After reading his story and his final entry on his public livejournal account that he wrote before taking his own life in 2008 it occured to me that a possible interpretation of what his story is about might be the increase, or escalation, of food prices and how hard it is to pay for one's food.
-- rcarty, Jul 24 2011

He was. We lost a good one when he went.
-- Alterother, Jul 24 2011

apply for an arts grant.
-- bob, Jul 24 2011

Ugh, sounds like that would involve filling out a form.
-- rcarty, Jul 25 2011

random, halfbakery