Sometimes a story just falls in your lap. I was sitting at my desk in my one room hole above a Thai restaurant with my window open to the curry and airy traffic and my neighbors not ten feet away in the next apartment building over right outside the clanking old fire escape when I heard police radios. I had been hacking away trying to find a story all morning that I thought would be worthy of one of the literary magazines or any magazine for that matter and was just about to give up when I heard the police radio again. Then I saw the cops.
There were two of them working their way cautiously up the fire engine red fire escape and they had paused to catch their breath outside my open window. I stuck my head out and met two big mustaches and cold eyes under shiny brims. Hello officers. They grunted and stared across at the apartment building window right across from mine. You seen any activity in that apartment? Nope. We had a call that someone isnt' responding to calls. Oh. I stared at the window with a curtain covering the lower half. I climbed out onto the fire escape with the cops and the three of us stared for any sign of life.
You know Joe. I think I can get a better angle if I head up to the roof. The other cop looked up and nodded. Go ahead. I'll wait here. So we both watched the one cop climb up the ladder to the roof and set himself. I still can't really see in he said still on the escape. I think I'm going to climb on the roof and see if I can look down. So we watched him climb on the roof and lean out. I still can't see he shouted down. The other building was less than five feet away from him now. The cop named Joe hollered up. Why don't you lean on the other building and see if you can get a view?
The cop nodded and then leaned across the two buildings like a bridge. Yeah, OK, I can see into the apartment. Nobodies there. Alright, Joe said. Come on back down. The cop stayed as a bridge against the sky. I can't get back. I'm stuck. Come up and help me. Joe shook his head. No can do. I'm afraid of heights. Now you tell me..Jesus! I can get him back I said to Joe. He shrugged. Go ahead. So I monkeyed up the fire escape and swung onto the roof.
The cop was leaning over with his hands extended to the other building. You going to pull me back? Yeah. Don't fricking drop me. Alright. I grabbed onto his thick gun belt. You ready? Yeah. Don't drop me. I won't I promised. One two three! I pulled back on his belt and he fell back into me and we stumbled away from the roofs edge. He was sweating and took off his hat and looked at me. I'm getting way too old for this shit, he said shaking his head.
They made their way down the fire escape and I went back in through my window and sat back down at my computer. I banged my story out in less than an hour.
Rocket Man is due out in January