I pounded on the door with my fist, then waited. No answer.
It looked like this was going to take a while. I shuffled around in the dark, careful not to trip on mound of wires coiled at my feet, then had a seat.
It was my own fault I was here. In too much of a hurry.
Sweat dripped off the tip of my nose as I waved off the thought of choking to death on exhaust fumes. You see, though the inside of a satellite truck is climate controlled and constantly monitored for lethal carbon monoxide, there are no such luxuries in the rack compartment in the back.
I waited for my eyes to adjust to the inky light that enveloped me. I could not see them, but I knew there were two 500-foot reels of tri-strand audio/dual video cables at my knees. Great if I were stranded 1000 feet up a mountain in my dish-topped hooptie. No help at all if I’m sitting at five feet above sea level.
Another tangle of electrical extension cords, various co-ax lines, and a pile of spaghettied audio cables sat atop the generator compartment. None of them had a handle that would open the back door and free me from my own stupidity. So I sat there and sweat.
The assignment had started simply enough. Take the dual purpose satellite/microwave van to a local car dealership to broadcast the grand prize drawing for 5 shiny new Lexus cars.
That’s when the trouble started. Little did I know, the great big patch panel that feeds the video signal from my camera to the microwave transmitter decided it would be a good day call it quits. It’s not a huge problem; I just had to climb in the back, disassemble the rack system, dig through 17 miles of spaghetti, and plug my camera directly into the transmitter.
And THAT is how I have come to be locked in the dark, slowly suffocating, in the back of my satellite truck — trapped by an evil gust of wind which saw opportunity in my poorly-timed excursion to disconnect my video line.
At my feet, I can hear the hiss of air exiting the compressor reservoir as the aluminum tubes of the microwave mast collapse above me. A small crease of light begins to appear in the seam between the two locked doors. And in the seam, I see it.
A door latch. I give it a yank. But alas, it belongs to the inside door. The wind has slammed the locking door on top of it. I am still, as Pookie might say, “stuck like Chuck.”
As I begin to grapple with the thought of death by dehydration, I scan the darkness for something, anything to open the doors of my dungeon and set me free. That’s when I remember the phone in my back pocket.
One quick text to my reporter outside, and I will be free!
If my reporter hasn’t left yet.
Which he has.
But just beyond my doors there is a dealership full of salesmen, and finance guys, and sales managers, and dejected contestants who did not win a car. Surely, one phone call there will free me.
Sweat is pooling around my feet. I hope the person who finds my body puddled amongst the reels and wires and dust bunnies back here will know that I fought the good fight.
Maybe I’ll take a selfie to commemorate my struggle.
It’s kinda dark. Better use the flash.
That’s when I remember. My phone doubles as a flashlight. Which I employed to find the correct door latch and free myself.
Self-made crisis averted.