By Theo Moore
I’m standing on a rooftop next to a water tower, ready to jump. It’s not the strangest thing I’ve done today.
Is it petty that there’s part of me hoping this looks as cool in person as it did in my head when I planned this out? Because now that I’m actually up here, and actually have the time to exist in the space, I feel like a fool. Here’s the thing about a dramatic entrance that most people don’t take into account: drama is theater, theater requires timing, and timing takes patience. And patience can give you far too much time to consider the odd directions your life has taken.
Focus on the mission. The mob is bringing something into the city, something other than the usual shipments of drugs, guns, and women. I want to know what. Jimmy Donovan, middle management and logistics for the Falcone Syndicate, seems like a man who has answers. I thought I’d drop in on his regular Friday night visit to the Syndicate’s weekly illicit boxing match. Figured I’d make an entrance when I do.
The wind and the city seem to be having a competition over who can drown who out more. I stare at all those constellations of glowing windows, and wonder what I must look like to someone staring back. Some wackjob with pointy ears, wrapped in a blanket, standing on the edge. A grown man dressed like an overgrown kid on Halloween. I try to hold onto the moment that I came up with this whole scheme. That flash, when I saw my fear made manifest; it felt like fate. An entire mythology revealed in a moment, of who and what I could become. Up here, all these lights, I’m reminded that this city has a hard edge. It’s already seen more than its share of the bizarre. Maybe what I took for a symbol of fate is nothing but some convoluted joke that I’m not yet in on. Maybe none of it means anything at all.
I check the watch on the inside of my wrist. 10:15. He’s late. I shouldn’t be here. I should be at a luxury bar sipping overpriced drinks and hitting on supermodels, except I know myself well enough to know that’d never be the real me, that life is more of a costume than the one I’m wearing now. The only true similarity between us is that we both spend too much money on suits.
At least mine comes with a better belt.
What if he’s changing up his routine, skipping the match this week? The starting bells already rang 10 minutes ago. How long do I wait up here? And if he arrives, and I leap, what happens if the line snaps and I shatter my femurs? Will the cape break my fall? Will I be the terror I thought I would be when I came up with this, or just look like a clown? Please let him just be late. I don’t know that I could survive simply walking down from this roof.
Finally, Donovan’s car pulls into the alley. The doors open, his driver gets out, coat bulging from the barely concealed large caliber handgun beneath. The man himself emerges from the back, cocky sharktoothed grin plastered across his face.
No, the strangest thing I’ve done today is think that my life could be any other way. This is exactly where I’m meant to be.
I smile back, tense my legs, and jump. I have some questions for him.