#89 What Ghosts Haunt Me
On a sunny New York day, the sidewalks on 52nd Street were crowded with pedestrians as usual when one man stopped looked up and pointed. His unusual actions caused others to look, and they saw a man standing on a ledge eight floors above ground.
“Better get out of the way,” the man on the ledge yelled, “I don’t want to take anyone with me.”
“AW, go on and jump you jerk, you’re holding up traffic,” The man who pointed said.
The man on the ledge crouched into a diving position, swung his arms behind him, and started to bring them forward as though he would spring forward in a headfirst dive.
“NOOOOOOOO,” A woman screamed, “Don’t do it.”
A crowd of several hundred people had gathered to watch the man splat as he hit the cement. Some in the crowd started a chant, “Jump, jump, jump.”
“Shut up you animals. That’s a human being up there,” the woman said.
“He’s a jerk and is probably better off if he jumps,” one of the chanters said.
The women ignored what he said and addressed the jumper who seemed to be interested in the banter going on about him. “Tell me about yourself before you jump?” she instinctively said. She stepped forward onto the area he would likely hit when he jumped.
The jumper stood up straight and in a voice loud enough to be heard eight floors below said, “The specter of decisions I made throughout my life come into my dreams. The things I left unsaid that could have saved my ass time and again have made my life harder than it should have been.”
“That’s a silly reason to jump from a ledge,” the woman said.
The police had arrived and pushed the crowd back so none would be harmed if the man jumped. Some cops ran into the building.
“I came to this world with good intentions, but the day I arrived, I went into a bar in search of a soul to save. I saw her sitting at the bar. Sullied by sin, but still as beautiful as could be. I wanted to save her, so she could return with me to a better place than here.
“Smitten with her, I drank the booze she ordered and did the drugs she gave me. I could have said no, but I always wanted more. I should have done better, but, I needed more and more.”
“The guy’s crazy, he may as well jump,” a man said.
Ignoring the words again, the woman shouted, “I can help you overcome your addictions, just give me a chance.”
“You don’t understand,” the man on the ledge said and took a step forward so that his toes were sticking out.
He obviously didn’t see the cop reaching through the window about to grab hold of him. The cop stopped moving once the man moved so close to the edge.
“I came here to find a wife, and the one I chose was a plant, sent here to foil my plans. What’s left of her is in there. He pointed to the hotel window he had crawled from. I was instructed to find a woman with compassion, a woman who cared for others and was kind, but like a fool, I fell for beauty and inside she was as evil as could be. She confessed and told me all her wicked ways before I cut out her tongue.”
He reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a piece of bloody flesh to show the crowd. He threw it to the ground, and it splattered in front of the woman trying to save his life. She looked and saw it could be a human tongue.
“You can get help,” she said through trembling lips.
“You’re the kind of woman I came here for,” the man on the ledge said.
“The world is full of women like me, but if you jump, you’ll never discover one you can love.”
“The guy cut out his girlfriend’s tongue for Christ sake, let him jump, better than the electric chair,” the man next to her said.
She turned to give the man a dirty look, and she looked up in time to see the cop who had crawled halfway out the window lunge at the man on the ledge. It looked like when he wrapped his arms around the man’s legs they passed right through them, and the cop was left holding an armful of air.
The cops face showed his astonishment. He attempted to grab hold of the man once more, and his hands passed through him. He scurried back through the window.
“It’s some kind of hologram,” the man standing beside the woman said.
The woman looked at the tongue lying on the sidewalk. She touched it with her shoe. It moved when she touched it, and blood dripped from it onto the cement. “How can he be a hologram when the tongue he dropped is really here?” she put her hand on the man’s shoulder waiting for an answer.
“Hell, I don’t know. Must be some kind of trick.”
“But why?” she said.
“Don’t know. Maybe it’s some advertisement for a movie or something,” he kicked the tongue into the gutter.
“Are you really there?” the woman looked at the man on the ledge.
“Do you really care?”
“If you are, I want to help, but if you’re a projection, I’m a fool.”
“You’re the one for me,” he said as he dove from the ledge.
A collective scream went up from the crowd as the man hurtled downward. The scream became shocked silence when halfway to the ground, the man sprouted wings, and he swooped over the crowd, took the woman who had tried to save him in his arms and headed for the sky. The crowd, the cops, the photographers watched in silence as he flew so far away he became a speck in the sky. Then disappeared.
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