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Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



It's been a long time since I did one of these so count me in.

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Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



Feeling A Clot Better
1270 words


“You ready?”

She inhaled and rolled up the bottom of her shirt to expose her stomach, splotched with black and blue as if someone had spilled ink on it. “Do it.”

I found a piece of unblemished flesh, pinched it, and stabbed it with the syringe. As I engaged the plunger, she scrunched her eyes and bit her lower lip; the pain was excruciating.

I hated that part.

It was mercifully short, and I disposed the syringe in the portable biohazard box the hospital had given us. “We’re almost through this, babe. Just a couple more days.”

She sighed. “Thank god for that.”

#

It had begun with dull soreness in my fiancé’s calf, but after a few days it extrapolated into throbbing chest pains. As we lay in bed, I could only watch helplessly as every breath she took invited more tears. “Do we need to go to the hospital?” I asked.

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “No, let’s just get home.”

I could understand the sentiment; we were leaving to go visit her folks in Minnesota the next day—a trip we’d been anticipating for a month—and neither one of us wanted to spoil it. So, when she woke up in the morning feeling more or less fine, we packed the car and made the seven hour trek north. But not long after we arrived, the symptoms reared their ugly heads again and she was soon gasping in agony on the couch.

One of their neighbors was a doctor, and we called her up to explain the situation. “Basically, whenever I breathe, it feels like someone’s stabbing me in the chest.”

“Do you have pain in your calf?”

Our eyes went wide; we’d never even thought to connect the two. “Yes.”

“Are you on birth control?”

“Yes.”

“I’m coming over.”

Thirty seconds later she was in the kitchen, stethoscope to her ears, examining my fiancé’s vitals. “Okay, I’m almost certain it’s a blood clot, so I would suggest going to the hospital now. Don’t go to Urgent Care—believe me, they can’t help you. Go straight to the emergency room.”

To say we did so in a hurry would be putting it mildly; rather we fled the house as if a bomb was about to explode under the floorboards.

#

The hospital in her hometown was brand new and state of the art; I doubt any of the equipment had been made before 2008. Every expectant mother within thirty miles insisted on having their babies there, and as such the maternity ward was the only floor that was ever full. This was a blessing for us, as we were in to see a doctor within two minutes of arriving. An hour later, we had the test results back.

“You have multiple pulmonary embolisms in your lungs,” the doctor said. “Basically the clot developed in your calf, then pieces of it broke off and traveled up the blood stream and into your bronchi. It’s a good thing you didn’t fly home.”

This gave us pause, since we had flown home the three previous occasions we’d come to visit. “Why?” I asked. “What would have happened?”

“It’s likely the change in air pressure and altitude would have cause further erosion of the clot, sending chunks of it into your brain and initiating a stroke.”

My fiancé and I glanced at each other, our jaws almost unhinged from how wide they’d fallen open. By random happenstance, we had decided this time, of all times, to drive home instead of fly. No rhyme or reason for it—it had just struck us as the appropriate option. Now, as it turned out, that decision was potentially the reason my fiancé ended up in the ER rather than the morgue.

“You know,” I said, unable to stop myself from chuckling at the ludicrous nature of it all, “I think we would have been better off not knowing that.”

#

Many friends and family came by during the 24 hours we were in the hospital, which raised both our spirits significantly. Some even drove the long distance from Minneapolis to surprise us with flowers and get-well wishes. One such friend, who was a nurse at one of Minneapolis’s hospitals, imparted his take on our situation. “Oh yeah, you’re lucky,” he said in his thick Minnesotan accent, sounding like Frances McDormand’s character in Fargo. “More times than not, the people who come into our ER with blood clots are catatonic and on life support. Some don’t even make it.”

Again, I think we’d have been happier not knowing these lovely details.

Still, we were thrilled to have this revolving door of love and support; when one person left, another filed in to take their place. By the time she was discharged we had a whole botanical garden of different flora and fauna to bring home with us. Even her boss had sent us a bouquet all the way from home, with a little card that read, “Hope you’re feeling a clot better!”

Yes, it’s okay to cringe—we did too.

#

So why the blood clot? Well, there turned out to be number of determining factors. One, of course, was the use of the birth control pill, which we already knew carried that inherent risk. But the more interesting piece of the puzzle was a gene apparently passed down via her father’s Eastern European heritage called Factor 5 Leiden—a genetic predisposition to blood clots. The doctors said the average female on birth control has a 1 in 2000 chance of getting a blood clot in their lifetime; for my fiancé, the Factor 5 made it a 1 in 400 chance.

They put her on a couple of anticoagulants—that is, drugs designed to thin your blood and prevent the formation or reformation of clots. The first of these was Lovenox, which was the stomach injection I described earlier. The doctor had us practice the technique using a towel as a substitute for flesh, and we quickly realized it would be far easier if I administered the injections rather than having her give them to herself. As I pinched the towel and stabbed, I couldn’t help but envision myself as John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, jabbing Uma Thurman in the heart to wake her out of a drug-induced coma. Sure, my story of heroism wasn’t quite as dramatic, but having never stabbed anyone with a syringe before, it was none-the-less harrowing. We only had to do this twice a day for the first week after she was released, which was good because we’d run out of un-bruised stomach by the time we were done.

The second drug was the more commonly-known Coumadin, which was a pill taken daily over a much longer span of time. The target date for getting off was six months, but it ended up taking almost nine. She couldn’t drink alcohol while taking it, which was ironic since she worked for a brewery and it meant she celebrated our wedding and honeymoon sober—a consequence she very much detested.

Still, sobriety did not ruin our celebration, as we came very close to never being married at all. I’m more conscious now of stories on the news in which perfectly healthy people collapse and die from blood clots, and have found it happens more often than I’d realized. Whenever I see the faces of those men and women, snatched too soon from the world, I squeeze my wife’s hand a little tighter and reflect on how close she came to being on the news with them, and am filled with joy that she didn’t.


e; formatting

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi fucked around with this message at 13:41 on Feb 16, 2014

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



Interprompt!

Sharing The Clap
295 words


Rosco’s hand shook, the gun slick from the sweat of his palm. “I ought’a kill you, you bastard!”

Kitridge puffed out his chest. “And why?”

“For stealing my manuscript! That was my Newbery to win!”

“Is that what this is about?” Kitridge laughed, his fat belly jiggling under his waistcoat. “You have some gall to complain about your manuscript!” Before Rosco could react, Kitridge reached into a nearby bouquet of flowers and withdrew a gun of his own. “And what about my wife? Did you not steal her?”

Rosco gasped. “How dare you! Her and I were in love! I cannot steal what is earned through passion!”

“That may be true, but I’m afraid the last laugh will be mine, for there’s a truth I never told you. My wife—she is your mother!”

“You lie!”

“I don’t!”

“You can’t prove it!”

Kitridge cackled. “Why don’t you ask her the next time you crawl into her bed? Only be warned—she may not be alone.”

Rosco ground his teeth. “What do you mean?”

“You claim she loved you, but it certainly didn’t seem that way when I made love to her last night!”

Now it was Rosco’s turn to smile. “Joke’s on you, Kitridge—I gave her the clap!”

“You lie!”

“I don’t!”

“You can’t prove it!”

Rosco cackled. “Why don’t you ask her the next time you crawl into her bed?”

There was a pause, and the pair glared at each other nonplussed. “This is getting a bit redundant, don’t you think?” Kitridge asked.

“How’s this for redundant?”

Rosco fired, striking Kitridge in the chest, and the old man slumped over dead. Then he raised the gun to his own temple. “I gave my mother the clap...” he whispered as he pulled the trigger.

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



Legos were the lifeblood of my childhood so I'd be remiss to not be totes in for this

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



Because I don't already hate myself enough, I've decided that rather than laboriously browsing through Lego sets and picking one, I'll just let "Random Page" decide.

My story will thus revolve around item 70505: Temple of Light, which is your typical dojo but also involves flaming swords and mechs? What?



Can't wait for my flash rule to spice this poo poo up.


edit; hahah murder me now

Erogenous Beef posted:

Right, I've got time before my next flight, here's round 1 of Flashrulemageddon:

:siren: LOOK BELOW FOR YOUR FLASH RULES, FOOLS :siren:

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi - Dreamcatchers are an important detail. No waking-up or it-was-all-a-dream copouts.



Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi fucked around with this message at 15:25 on Feb 18, 2014

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



Your setting and cast of characters - 70505 - Temple of Light



Flash rule

Erogenous Beef posted:

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi - Dreamcatchers are an important detail. No waking-up or it-was-all-a-dream copouts.
:siren: Bonus Flash Rule :siren:

Chairchucker posted:

You two jive pluralising suckas have only 400 words, enjoy!

---------------

The Dream Battle
400 words



“I won’t let you give the old man a nightmare.”

Tantibus laughed, though it sounded more like a snarl through his black helmet. “Ooooo, I’m shaking in my boots.”

They stood on opposite sides of the bed, each wielding a dreamcatcher. Sandy, God of Good Dreams, held hers high, its web luminescent gold like her clothes. Her nemesis held a circle of burnt sticks and black string, oozing malevolence. Between them, the dojo master snored.

“How about a dream battle?” she said.

“Do we have enough room?”

“It’s a dojo, Tantibus; it’s built for fighting.”

“Fine,” he scoffed. “Let’s see what you’ve conjured up.”

They moved to the center of the dojo, near a smoldering hearth. Tantibus acted first, tapping his dreamcatcher in syncopated rhythms until smoke swirled around them. Two ninjas materialized like apparitions, one with a sword and the other a crossbow, the bloodlust in their eyes as red as their armor. They growled at Sandy like wolves.

“They’re scary, I’ll give you that,” she said. “Not very creative though. Ninjas for a dojo master? You’re losing your edge.”

“Quit stalling.”

She tapped her dreamcatcher and light exploded from its webbing, blinding them all. When it dissipated, a golden giant towered over them.

“Well, this hardly seems fair.”

Sandy grinned. “Scared?”

“Not on your life.” He turned to his ninjas. “Go.”

They leapt in unison, hurling themselves through the air. The bladed ninja tried to stab the giant’s chest but was repulsed by the thickness of its skin. The other clung to its thigh, lining up a crossbow dart. He put his finger to the trigger just as a massive fist swept down and rocked him like a wrecking ball, shattering him into a puff of smoke. Now alone, the bladed ninja performed a lunging jab at the giant’s ankle, rendering a deep scratch. But the damage was merely cosmetic, and a moment later he was squashed into nothingness.

“Bah,” Tantibus said, waving the defeat away. “I’ll find a child to torment, then—plant a boogie man in its brain.”

“Again, not very creative—” but he was already gone.

Satisfied, Sandy returned the giant to her dreamcatcher and hung it over the old man’s head. The dream entered his mind and his lips curled into a smile, much to her delight. “Sleep well,” she whispered as she evaporated back into the night, on to her next dreamer.

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



First Love Lost
25 words

We’d been robbed. Jewelry, money, family heirlooms—gone. But the pristine square in a sea of dust where my SNES had been?

That destroyed me.

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005




You're awesome, thank you.

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



I'm in and would love a flash rule.

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



CommissarMega posted:

gently caress, I keep running over the world limit, and I can't seem to prune poo poo without compromising story integrity. Is it still okay if I submit anyway? If not, I might as well take the Thunderdome loser avatar.

If you're really that stuck, try reading your story out loud to yourself. Every time I read a TD story out loud (or any story I write really), it becomes instantly clear what needs to be cut and I shave tens, if not hundreds of words of fat off the piece.

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



Kaishai posted:

:siren: Flash Rule: :siren: Your story must take place in India, but the time period is up to you.


Blessed By Yama - 998 words



Roopkund looked like a perfectly ordinary lake until I noticed the skeletons.

“Who are they?” I asked.

“Our ancestors,” Lokesh said. “Or at least, that’s what father believed.” He reached into the icy water and pulled a loose finger from among the bones, holding it up to examine.

“You shouldn’t touch them,” I said.

“What does it matter? They’re dead.”

“I doubt father would have approved of your disturbing their sleep.”

He rolled his eyes and tossed the finger back into the water. “Father always talked about how we were ‘blessed by Yama’ to protect the integrity of this place, but frankly, I think he was a loon.”

I didn’t agree, but I wasn’t about to argue. Lokesh was older and bigger than me, and I didn’t want to incur his ridicule.

“Come on,” he said, turning from the lake. “Let’s go home.”

I made to follow but had my attention stolen by a shadow on the far shore. Through the thick fog, I could just make out the visage of a human, glaring at me.

It was a woman, and on her face was a wide, haunting smile.

Then the mist swallowed her and she was gone.

#

I returned some years later, navigating the foothills of eastern Uttarakhand, in the shadows of the Himalayas. The familiar mists rolled in as I approached the lake and I didn’t realize I was at the shore until I felt the icy water on my toes.

I was pleased to find the woman there. “Hello,” I said.

“Hello.” She was wrapped in rags and holding a sleeping baby in her arm. Her face, though gaunt, was beautiful. “What’s your name?” she asked.

“Rajat.” I hesitated. “Are...are you my ancestor?”

“One of many,” she said. “What has brought you here, Rajat?”

“My father believed I was blessed by Yama to protect you.”

“Do you wish to heed Yama’s call?”

I nodded. “Only, I can’t help but wonder what the dead need protection from.”

She smiled. “From the living.”

More shadows began emerging through the fog. As they came into focus, I saw men and women and children with sallow skin, dressed in similar attire to the woman. Some were missing fingers, others full limbs, but most disturbing of all were those without heads, walking towards me as though they still had eyes to see by.

“We have long suffered at the hands of tourist and archaeologists who take pieces of us, be it for research or as souvenirs.” She cast her shroud aside to reveal just one leg underneath, a grotesque stump taking the place of the other. “I am a victim as well.”

“Someone has stolen your leg?”

She nodded “Your brother—Lokesh.”

#

I waited several days, then I barged into Lokesh’s home.

“Rajat,” he said, looking up from his dinner. “What do you want?”

“I’m here to take back the bone you stole.”

At first his face was set in ignorance. Then a glint entered his eyes. “You mean the one from Roopkund? How do you know about that?”

“I met the woman you stole it from.”

He scoffed. “You’re just like father, claiming to commune with ghouls and spirits. You can't steal from the dead, Rajat.”

Anger burned in my chest. “I’m not leaving without that leg.”

He rose from the table and came towards me, sizing me up. “And what are you going to do? Fight me?”

“Just give it back, Lokesh.”

“No,” he said, shoving me.

“It’s not yours!” I said, shoving him back. Then he slapped me and my rage boiled over. I wrestled him to the floor, scratching at his eyes and mouth. He landed a blow to my gut and then gripped my neck, squeezing my windpipe. I swung wildly, somehow managing to connect a fist with his face; his nose broke under my knuckles, and I took that moment to squirm away from him. As I rose to my feet, he charged, but I pushed him right past me, sending his head flying into the edge of the table.

There was a loud snap as his neck bent back and he fell to the ground, lifeless.

I searched for a pulse, but there was none to be found. In a panic, I began rummaging through the cabinets of his house until I located the leg. Then I dashed out the door, up the mountain path, and back into the night.

#

She was waiting when I returned. “I’ve brought back your leg,” I said, shaking.

“Throw it into the lake.”

I obeyed, and as it disappeared underneath, she pulled her shroud aside and revealed her leg had returned. “Thank you,” she said, though there was no joy in her words.

“That’s it?” I cried. “Nothing but a halfhearted ‘thank you’? I had to kill my brother to get it back!”

That’s when I noticed something was missing.

“Where’s your baby?”

Her expression grew pained, as though she might burst into tears. “While you were gone, a researcher named Jalil Venkat came to Roopkund and took her to Mumbai for tests. I want you to get her back, and if you should run into Venkat...” She paused and glared at me, venom in her eyes. “...do to him what you did to Lokesh.”

I swallowed. “And if I refuse?”

“You are blessed by Yama, Rajat; you can’t refuse.”

#

Thus Yama has led me here, to this plane, on the tarmac at Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun. As we take to the air, I pull an old photograph from my wallet; it shows my father, Lokesh and I, standing at the shores of Roopkund, smiling. He could never have guessed that lake and the dead who slumber there would be responsible for one son killing the other.

I am coming for you, Jalil Venkat. I am coming for the baby you stole, and I will make you pay for disturbing my ancestors.

I am blessed by Yama, and it is the greatest curse of my life.

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



Count me in.

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



The Boy and the Mariner
808 words

When the boy was ten, he went down to the village to meet the Mariner. "I am told you can send messages across space and time to any person, living or dead."

"You are correct," said the Mariner, opening his door. "Do you wish to send a message?"

"I do," said the boy

"To whom shall I address it?"

The boy pondered this for a long time. "We learned in church of a man named Judas, who betrayed his friend Jesus. Can you ask him not to do so?"

"Of course," said the Mariner. "I shall dispense your message immediately."

When the boy awoke the next day, all the churches in the village were gone and the priests had become bakers and farmers, nonplussed by his questions of the Bible. "I don't understand," he said to the Mariner. "The churches have all disappeared."

"Is it not obvious? Judas heeded your message and chose not to betray Jesus, thus preventing the creation of his religion. Jesus lived a long, healthy life and died a beloved figure, but his message did not spread beyond the Sea of Galilee." And the boy was at once glad and saddened by this news, for while he was pleased to have saved Jesus, he missed his church.

#

When the boy was eighteen, he went again to the Mariner. "I wish to send a message," he said.

"To whom shall I address it?"

The boy pondered this for a time. "We learned in school of a man named Genghis Khan, who journeyed across the world enacting genocide on many nations. Can you ask him not to do so?"

"Of course. I shall dispense your message immediately."

When the boy awoke the next day, he found the borders on the world map had changed and the countries had taken on new names. His village was different, with buildings he didn't recognize and residents he didn't know, and even his own parents had taken on new appearances. "I don't understand," he said. "My village is not the same as it was before."

"Is it not obvious? Genghis Khan heeded your message and chose not to spend his days conquering and killing. Therefore the civilizations he would have destroyed were able to prosper and became great nations of their own, spreading their own influence over the world. Your village is one of many places to have taken on a new identity." And the boy was somewhat glad but all the more saddened by this news, for while he was pleased to have saved many nations, he missed his village.

#

When the boy was twenty-five, he went again to the Mariner. "I wish to send a message," he said.

"To whom shall I address it?"

The boy pondered this for a short time. "My wife has told me of a man name Harry Truman, who once ordered a terrible bombing on her grandfather's home country. Can you ask him not to do so?"

"Of course. I shall dispense your message immediately."

When the boy awoke the next day, he found his bed empty. Though he searched and searched, he could find no record of his wife having lived in the village, nor any documentation proving the exchange of their vows. "I don't understand," he said. "It is as though my wife was never born."

"Is it not obvious? Mr. Truman heeded your message and chose not to go through with the bombings. Therefore the great war waged longer than before and your wife's grandfather was killed before he had the chance to have children. Your wife cannot exist, for the link connecting her to him was severed." And the boy was not glad at all but tormented by his sadness, for though he had saved the cities from the bombings, he missed his wife.

"Why are these horrible things happening?" he asked.

"Of what horrible things do you speak? You have prevented murders and genocides--given new life to countless nations and reshaped the world with your wishes. Was this not what you wanted?"

The boy saw truth in the Mariner's words, for everything he wanted had come to pass at the expense of something he had grown to love. "I wish to send one last message," he said.

"To whom shall I address it?"

The boy did not need time to ponder. "There was a boy who visited you when he was ten years old, harboring naive ambitions of how he could change the world, and he sent messages through you. Can you ask him not to do so?"

"Of course. I shall dispense your message immediately."

#

When the boy was ten, he went down to the village to meet the Mariner. "I am told you can send messages across space and time to any person, living or dead."

"You are mistaken," said the Mariner, closing his door.

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



Shadows in the Dark
164 words

"gently caress off, weirdo."

That was it: the death sentence. Once they start swearing at you instead of screaming, you know you're not cut out to be a monster anymore.

We had a good run, Johnny and I. I remember all the good times, tossing his toys around and making guttural banshee calls, flicking his lights on and off. He even wet the bed a couple times, which always put me in a good mood. It meant I'd done my job to utter perfection.

Now though?

"Didn't you hear me? I said gently caress off!"

I try to reason with him. "Come on, Johnny--just a couple more nights!" But he's rolled over on his side, ignoring me.

All those years, scaring them literally pissless, and yet the kids always get the last laugh. They grow up, and pretty soon we're nothing of consequence to them. Just shadows in the dark.

I lumber back to the closet, crestfallen; I'll never be coming out of it again.

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



Many thanks to Echo, Rhino, et al. for the awesome crits.

Thunderdome is the drug that bounds my fate and runs my life. That and alcohol. I am in for another round.

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



I grew a year older this week, and thus got more drunk than I can possibly comprehended. Therefore gently caress y'all. Thunderdome owns, and if you don't learn to love Thunderdome then you'll never learn how to be an adequate writer. And if you never learn how to be an adequate writer then gently caress YOU SUCK A DICK THUNDERDOME FTW WHAT DA gently caress HELL YES SON happy birthday to me lol


The Fun of Flying With Squeegees
1,094 words


Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.

Just like that, the window is flawless--so pristine you could eat off it. Assuming your food wouldn't fall eighty or so stories to the ground, of course.

I twirl my squeegee through my fingers like a six-shooter and take to the next window, wiping in clean, beautiful strokes like I'm Michel-loving-angelo painting the Sistine-loving-Chapel. Yeah, my canvas won't be as colorful once it's done, but it'll still be a masterpiece. That's why they save the skyscrapers for me; the windows up here get beaten to poo poo by all manner of weather and are only cleaned twice a year, but I make 'em look brand-spanking-new every time.

There's an office on the other side of the window, where a beautiful blonde is sipping her morning coffee. She's young and lean with great tits and luscious red lips, and she's kind enough to give me a smile through the window. I acknowledge her with a cocky nod, as if to say What up, baby? That's right--I ain't afraid of no heights. Maybe you and I come up here sometime and ride the windows together, know what I mean?

It's in that moment, of all moments, that poo poo goes loving catastrophic.

I don't even realize I've lost my ground until the harness yanks up into my crotch. My squeegee goes flying, my bucket of disinfectant cascading down the side of the building like a waterfall, as the scaffold breaks free and dangles in midair. The momentum flips me upside-down, leaving me hanging a thousand feet in the sky, staring straight down at the street.

"Oh gently caress, oh gently caress, oh fuuuuuuck!"

I look to my left where Javier's hanging as well, right-side up, squirming in his harness as he swings left and right in the wind. "You alright, Javi?" I ask.

"Do I look loving alright?"

Obviously not, but trying to keep him calm is an exercise in futility, dwarfed by the need to get myself turned right-side up before all the blood in my body rushes to my brain. "Yo, I need you to swing over here and turn me over."

"Are you loving kidding me, bro?"

"No, but I'll be loving dead if you don't get me righted soon."

He looks at me, frantic, then looks down at the ground. "Aw poo poo, dude. No way...no loving way!"

"Don't be getting all scared of heights on me now, alright? We're used to this. This is no different from being on the scaffold."

"The gently caress you smoking? It's nothing like that!"

"Okay, okay, so it's a little different from being on the scaffold. But listen to me: our harnesses will hold, okay? We're going to be fine! So swing your rear end over here and help me out!"

Javier exhales several times, each more panicked than the last, but gives me a jittery nod.

"Alright, what I need you to do is push yourself off what's left of the scaffold and slide over to me."

"What if it breaks off?"

"That's a problem for the people on the ground, not us. The railing's attached to the roof and our harnesses are attached to the railing, so we're not falling. Now get over here and help me."

Carefully, he uses his legs to leverage himself on the edge of the dangling scaffold. He pushes off with a thrust, his rope sliding by its carabiner across the railing. There's a jostle or two, but otherwise everything remains steady, and he's to my side in no time. With one hand clutched firmly to his safety rope, he reaches out with the other and grabs my jumpsuit, pulling with all his might to slowly turn me over. "You gotta help me, dude," he says. "What do you weigh, two-fifty?"

Two twenty-five, rear end in a top hat, but I digress. I crunch my abs, doing sit-ups in midair to help him lift me right-way up. Eventually gravity takes over and I flip into place, feet to the ground and head to the sky.

"See, Javi? That wasn't too bad, was it?" I can tell by the look in his eyes that he'd like nothing more than to sucker punch me right now, but we've got more pressing matters to attend to. I peer around him towards the tow box, which connects us to the launching pad on the roof. Unfortunately it's on the opposite side of the scaffold from where we're hanging. "Alright, back that way."

Javier groans. "You serious?"

"Unless you wanna hang here until the firefighters come, that's our only way out. Now I don't know about you, but I'm not a big fan of Cliffhanger, so the sooner we're out of here, the better."

"What the gently caress is Cliffhanger?"

"Seriously? With Sly Stallone? Did you not watch movies in the 90s?"

"I was born in the 90s, bro."

For gently caress's sake.

We begin scooting along, using the edge of the collapsed scaffold as our balance beam while we keep our hands in a death grip on the railing. A crowd has gathered through the windows, their faces wrought with abject horror at our predicament. Fine by me; let them snatch up all the fear in air so I can just concentrate on getting off this thing alive.

A news chopper glides in behind us, eager for the scoop, and I give it a quick wave to say we're okay. "If you ever wanted to be on the news, now's your chance. Say 'hello', Javi!"

"gently caress you, dude."

Yeah, I probably deserve that.

When we reach the tow box, Javier smashes the 'up' button before either of us has a chance to brace ourselves. There's a heavy shutter and for a split second I sincerely think we're about to fly to our deaths, but the ropes hold. As we ascend, the people in the offices start applauding, their fear replaced by hope, and I can't help but give them a confident thumbs-up.

We reach the roof and scramble out of our harnesses, both of us collapsing to the floor. The sky above us is a brilliant shade of blue, with the barest pinks and oranges of the upcoming sunset sneaking in from the west. The news chopper cuts across it, camera trained down, no doubt broadcasting our escape to the whole city.

"Hey," Javier says after a while, his voice finally calm and under control, "I quit."

"Go for it," I say with a grin. "Leaves more windows for me."

"You're loving insane, dude."

Don't I know it, Javier, but goddamn if this ain't the best loving job in the world.

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Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



Hi WeLanded, I just wanted to make sure you knew I was in this week because I didn't see my name on your list. I came in here.

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