My buddy Jon and I used to work a retail job together. During one holiday season, we were working a gift fair in a large corporate office building down in the Financial Center. The merchandise was set up on tables, and we were using an SE/30 as a cash register and inventory control machine.
At night, we could just cover the merchandise with drop cloths, but we had to pack up the computer into a box and lug it up to the 33rd floor, to be locked in an office overnight.
This particular night, Jon offered to carry the boxed computer up, while I was in charge of the cash box (pretty lightweight).
Now, Jon is in his early twenties, a very clean-cut and handsome guy. He defines the term “jock”: extremely muscular, athletic, short brown hair, cocky attitude, very dry, deep voice.
When we entered the elevator up to the 33rd floor, it was well after 5:00 pm. No one was heading UP at that hour, so we were alone in the elevator. As I looked over and saw Jon struggling with holding that heavy box (easier to just hold it rather than to put it down on the floor of the elevator and then have to pick it back up again), I all of a sudden felt a mischievous streak rising in me.
Now, I didn’t know whether or not Jon was ticklish, but I assumed that, like many jocks, he was. Seeing his upper body and arms straining like that, holding up the heavy box, I decided to find out!
He was wearing a white dress shirt, sleeves rolled up, a tie, and I could see that he had a white T-Shirt on underneath. Even through the dress shirt, I could see his big biceps flexed and tensed from the weight of the box. I had a clear shot at his ribs, so I took advantage of the situation.
While saying, “Gee, Jon, it’s a good thing you’re not ticklish…” with my right hand, I suddenly shot out and gave him a surprise tickle-jab into his left ribcage. Then, I gave my fingers a quick wiggle after they had hit their mark. The reaction from Jon was much bigger than I had expected. He yelped, his whole body convulsed, he tried to move away real fast, and he nearly lost his grip on the box. Man, I had a live one here, and right where I wanted him!
After the surprised yelp, Jon said, “Hey! Cut it out!” I just smiled, and with mock-concern, I said, “Hey, Jonny-Boy…you’re not…TICKLISH, are you?”, punctuating the word “Ticklish” with another jab and wiggle to his left ribcage. He yelped again, and tried to back away some more, right into the corner of the elevator. He tried to protect himself by pressing his upper arms to his sides, and by keeping the large, heavy box between me and his body. But I’ve got very long arms, and I managed to reach around the box, dig under his arms, and find my mark again and again. If he turned to his left to protect his left ribcage, I would feint and then go around to his right side, jabbing and tickling the ribs he was trying so desperately to protect.
Soon, Jon’s normally deep voice rose about an octave or two in pitch, as he was complaining and threatening to drop the box. “Hey! Cut it out! I’ll drop it, man! I will!” he cried out, as I relentlessly continued my jabbing. “No, you won’t”, I said calmly. “You don’t want the cost of that computer deducted from your paycheck, do you, Jonny-Boy?” I had him there. He was trapped, and all he could do was yelp and complain and try his best to protect his ticklish upper body, all the while using all his strength to hold onto the heavy box.
A couple of times, I actually managed to worm my wiggling fingers underneath his arms and into his armpits. He went nuts, jerking around, dancing with that box, continually yelling, “Cut it out! Cut it out!” A couple of times, he tried to sound really angry, but between the high-pitched voice and the yelps, he sounded pretty foolish. And his voice was also starting to break, with some very un-masculine giggles creeping into his “threats” to drop the box.
Man, it was beautiful to see this tough, masculine jock starting to “lose it”. His face was getting red, the veins in his neck started bulging, his biceps were flexed and tensed to the max, and the veins on his muscular forearms were also showing the strain.
As the elevator made it’s slow ascent to the 33rd floor, it must have been one of the longest elevator rides of Jon’s life. More than once, I noticed him glance at the floor indicator, to see how much longer he’d be trapped in here.
I kept up the tickle-attack, now going for his ribs, now squeezing my wiggling fingers into his armpits, which had started getting moist. My fingers would come out and they’d be sorta wet. Gee, I guess this attack was getting to him. Poor, trapped, helpless guy.
I also kept up my verbal taunting. “Hey, Jon, what’s the matter, tough guy? Geez, you’re pretty sensitive for a tough jock, huh? Man, you’re gonna have to toughen up, boy. Hey, does THIS bother you?”, punctuated with a particularly hard tickle-jab to his right ribcage.
Once or twice, he really started to lose his grip on the box, and I seriously thought he was gonna drop it. But he would lift a leg up underneath it, support the box for a second, and get a better grip. Of course, with one leg raised, his balance was off, so I also took advantage of those moments with a few extra tickle-jabs. The combination of his high-pitched yelps and his angry threats were music to my ears. Man, this was fun!
But finally, the elevator reached the 33rd floor. The second the doors opened, Jon made a dash for the safety of the office building hallway.
But as Jon brushed past me, I noted with smug satisfaction the beads of sweat which had formed on his brow and were just starting to trickle down his handsome face. Just a brief, fleeting souvenir of one of the best elevator rides I ever had, and one of Jon’s worst.
NOTE: This story was written by Jack, who passed away a number of years ago. It originally appeared on his popular website, www.ropejock.com, which has long since vanished. Metalbond reader Chris recently reached out with a copy of this story, and many others, which he retrieved by using the wayback machine. I hope that Jack would have been pleased that this story is being shared here and enjoyed again after all these years.