top of page

Death in the Wrong Corridor

November 18, 1957 – El Dorado Kansas 


     Melann Mushet didn’t want this job to begin with.  Definitely not the career path she would have chosen when she was younger. But times were hard. And there wasn’t much industry let alone good paying jobs, with good health plans in El Dorado, Kansas.  So Melann applied and was immediately accepted. And now she was lost again.

      Large buildings, arenas, parking garages were always hard for Melann to navigate. Eight years old, in a Christmas tree lot twelve miles outside of Prospect, Kansas, her father found her at the foot of a tall fir tree lost and crying. 

     Melann wasn’t crying now but she was damn close. She’d been running through the maze of corridors for half an hour and arrived at another junction where she could go left, straight, or right. She used the papers in his hand to fan away perspiration. 

     In this wing of the building, none of the corridors were marked. The powers that be didn’t want them marked.  No this way – to that or that way – to this signs. No arrows. And, of course, no exit signs.  

     ‘Why me?’ Melann thought. ‘I’m the newbie on the block. The new gal. The rookie.’ She caught her breath. ‘Is he just playing with me? Some kind of test?  See if the newbie can complete a simple─ Damn it, if this is a sexist game. I’m going to─’ Melann looked at the papers in her hand.  Stamped on the top in big bold letters. 




      Forty minutes earlier ago her new boss handed Melann two sheets of paper. “Fresh off the Fax, signed and verified. Kid, here’s your chance to save a life. Maybe be a hero. Heard you were a track star in high school. Beat it out of here. Take two lefts, a right and a left. On the wall, in the middle of that corridor you’ll see a yellow light encased in a steel cage. Just knock on the door and on your second day with us; you’ll be saving a man’s life.”  

      Melann stood in front of her new boss for several beats digesting the information.  “Lady, we don’t have a lot of time. What the hell are you waiting for? Go! Move! Were you listening? A man’s life is at stake.”

      And Melann did move. She had been a track star. One-hundred-yard dash. Melann was fast. Maybe too fast. She sped left. Left. Right. Right. Left. The directions blurred in her mind. ‘A yellow light in a cage. Middle of a corridor. No it was left, right, left, left.’ Melann panicked. Somewhere she’d missed a turn. Maybe two turns. All the corridors were dim. They all looked the same. She tried to retrace her steps. Nothing looked familiar.  ‘Did I go left then right and not left?  Did I─.  ‘A man’s life is at stake,’ echoed in her mind.  ‘Your chance to save a life.’  

     Melann ran left and left again. Gasping. Out of breath she spun. Down the corridor to her left a yellow light encased in a steel cage glowed. Melann ran. 

      Ten steps before she reached the door the light went out. Every corridor went dark for a moment. A long moment. Melann screamed,  ‘I killed him. He had a chance, but I killed him.”

      The yellow light above the door blinked on. Light in the corridors returned. Melann looked up and down the passages, then threw the papers to the floor.  “I quit. Hell, they’re going to fire me anyway.”






Where is Melann?


How did she know his mission had failed?


What was on the papers she carried?  


And how did Melann know she would never be charged with a crime. 

bottom of page