Friday, March 5, 2010

#fridayflash--The Jumper

The Jumper
by Eric J. Krause

A chilly breeze blew past me as I stepped out of the elevator. Crap. Was the heater busted and blowing cold air again? I thought Mr. Woo had fixed it last month. Guess I'd have to call him again. It was about time to put his number on speed dial.

As I turned towards my place, I saw it wasn't a broken heater at all, but instead an open window. Those had all been bolted shut since the 30's when a rash of people had taken flying leaps out to escape the Great Depression. Or at least that's the story I heard.

I walked over to both close it and see why someone had forced it open when I saw legs outside on the ledge. Shit. I should've just gone inside and called Old Man Woo. I contemplated doing that anyway, but I couldn't do that.

"Hey, buddy, come on in. Whatever it is, it's not worth jumping."

He didn't answer, so I stuck my head out the window. The guy was looking up, not down.

"Do you hear it?" he asked.

I heard only the normal city sounds. "Hear what?"

"The music."

I listened again, but no music entered my ears. Too many heavy metal concerts as a teen had wrecked my hearing, but by the looks of this guy's face, I doubted that was the problem. Whatever music it was, it was likely only playing for an audience of one.

"He told me I could fly. He said when I could hear the music, I'd soar off into the sky." The guy paused and made a straining face. "The problem is I can't tell if that music is for me or someone else. It's so distant."

If he jumped, it wouldn't be suicide, but killed by crazy. "Come on, buddy, why don't you try from the ground? If it is your music, you'll still take off."

The guy turned and looked at me for the first time. "He said you'd say that. He said you'd do anything in your power to keep me from flying. He said you'd try to steal it."

I put my head on my cell phone and turned it on. If I could dial 911 without him knowing, maybe I could pepper enough info for the operator to get what was going on. Careful, though. If Crazyman knew I was on the phone, he might jump just to spite me.

"Listen, I don't know who you're talking about, and I'm guessing he wasn't meaning me specifically. I just don't want to see you get hurt." My finger found the emergency button on the keypad, and I pressed it. A muffled voice came from the earpiece, and I prayed the jumper couldn't hear it.

"He said you'd be crafty, and no matter what I did, I couldn't let you take my new power. You won't use it for good like I will."

I prayed the 911 operator could hear. "Please don't jump off the twelfth story of the Copperstone Building. I don't want to see you splattered all over Central Avenue." Lame? Sure, but at least I'd informed the authorities what and where. Hopefully the 911 operator didn't think this some strange prank call. Besides, this guy was so bonkers, he probably didn't think anything strange about it. After all, wasn't that how all super villains talked in the comic books?

"You'd like to see me fail, wouldn't you? That would be the easiest way for you to get my powers. In fact . . ." He stopped and looked back up. "No mistaking that. It's my music."

I pulled my cell phone from my jacket pocket, no longer worried if Crazyman saw it or not. I could hear the operator talking, but couldn't make out the words. I only hoped he or she had figured out what was going on.

"Come on, buddy. Enough of this bullshit. Come in off the ledge. I don't want to see you get hurt."

He turned towards me one last time and said, "No."

He jumped.