Standing here, waiting for doors to open, is not my idea of detective work. Maybe that's because I'm not a detective. Maybe all those Raymond Chandler novels, all the movies from the forgotten age of classical film noir lied to us. Maybe there's nothing exciting about being a detective at all.

The sixth floor, where I stepped resolutely out of the elevator, is UNDER CONSTRUCTION -- KEEP OUT, or so say the signs posted at the doors. There are workers waiting to get in, apparently somebody, the somebody that usually opens the floor for workers everyday, hasn't showed up yet. So they wait. I wait with them. Behind the door there's a light on, which gives me the impression that someone is in there and they are simply taking their own sweet time to come to the door.

The trip down from my office was not pleasant at all. I got in, and as the elevator doors were closing I was about to press the button for the sixth floor when a hand appeared in between them. The doors opened. A man got in. Then another. Then a woman. People trickled in, in no apparent order. As I got pushed to the back, I kept asking, Press Six, please. Nobody replied. They talked to each other, and as far as I could tell they were all just getting out of the same meeting. I had the feeling that nobody had paid any attention to what I said.

I was right.

I had to ride the elevator all the way down, then back up again. Which wouldn't have been much of a problem if Tony hadn't been there with me all the way.

Tony entered last, right after the Meeting People. He spotted me immediately and started making his way through the standing bodies, leaving a trail of angry whispers in his wake. He stood next to me. He smiled.

Had Ted talked to me already, he wanted to know.

Yes, I said. Ted had talked to me.

And what did I think, he wanted to know next.

I don't think, I said, It's a matter of principle.

He looked at me, narrowing his eyes. I could imagine his nervous system sounding the alarm, screaming, What?

I see, he said.

You do?

Well, sort of, he said.

Good, I said, and left it at that. I wasn't in the mood for hypothesizing about what my manager would announce. I didn't care much, either, which was sort of strange but not unheard of for a slightly insane person such as myself. But Tony did care. He spent all eleven floors babbling about all the possible announcements, theories upon theories that included everything between UFO government conspiracies to impending war and massive economic collapse to a trade war with China involving bras or some such thing. Before getting off at the ground floor, he had started talking about Ted's recent purchase of a new, expensive and rare rug to put in his living room, and why that had happened. Finally he said, Later, and left, and as the doors where closing I saw him approaching Kathy, our office manager, who was just getting in. The last image was the look of panic on her face, her eyes looking for a place to hide. The trip up was silent and uneventful, for a change. Relaxed.

I got out of the elevator and found the group workers, waiting. I stood next to them without saying a word. A couple of them looked my way, quickly determined that I wasn't a threat, and went back to their respective conversations.

So now we're waiting. I advance one step until I'm next to the guy just ahead of me. I look at him and I say, have you tried knocking the door again?

He looks at me. Knocked? he says, No need to knock. Door is closed.

I sense a certain playfulness on his voice, mixed with a sense of superiority. He knows something I don't.

Can I try? I say.

Sure, he says, smiling. Go ahead.

By now the others are looking at us, silent. I'm already in this, I think. To hell with it. I walk to the glass door. It doesn't seem to have a lock. What are they waiting for, then? Maybe I should ask. Nah.

The door is crossed at its center by a thick strip of dark metal, somewhere to push without getting your fingerprints on the glass. My hand raises to it when a voice comes from behind.

I wouldn't do that, the voice says.

I think again, To hell with it. I'm not constrained by rules and regulations. I am a knowledge worker. I am free. I am empowered. I will do it. I can feel their eyes on the back of my neck.

I push.

The door doesn't move. I press harder, this time with both hands.

Electric shock.

Motherfuck... What the...?

Laughter. I turn around. They are all laughing. One of them says, I told you. The new electronic locking system shorted, he says, They went down to the basement to disable it.

I walk back to my previous position behind the group. The next time I want to express my freedom, I'll be sure to do it alone.