” Well now I’m no hero, that’s understood…”
The security guard glanced at the clock, then back at the Mercedes in front of his building. He’d be damned if yet another self important, out of town yokel who didn’t know the laws was going to cause trouble and block the entrance of the headlining talent that was about to arrive. If he kept the stars entrance smooth and cool, he would be a hero in his ranks and in his own mind.
As he headed across the pavement to sternly remove the offending vehicle, the passenger flung open her door and exited with a flourish.
Steadying herself against the open car door, she threw back the scarf around her neck and steadied a large Canon camera in front of her face. As the security guard approached, she charged at him with a high pitched squeal.
What ensued were a few minutes of rapid fire expletives about the woman having never been at this building before and what an Absolute Joy it was to be able to grab a few shots here for the photo essay of her world travels. Wasn’t it fortunate that she would be able to add this site to the portfolio she was assembling for publishing? Wouldn’t the security guard like to actually BE in the photos which would surely grace the coffee table of any reasonable household?
The Colonel observed the scene, pleased. When he turned to re engage the two people he had exchanged greetings with, they were nowhere in sight.
Kitty was already inside the building. The stairway door had barely swung closed before she had landed on the third floor platform. She was a warrior, and she was quick. With cat like tread she moved to the fifth floor door. Cautiously opening it, she found her way clear until she reached the first hallway intersection. A man walked by and looked quickly to his left, as if he had caught something out of the corner of his eye. He saw nothing and moved on.
Finding the office she needed was not difficult. The multiple American flags stuck to the large window were a good indication that she had arrived at the right place and she had cleaning people in the building who had given her the layout of the floor. As was pre arranged, the door to the office stood open. She slinked into the room and took a deep breath. She thought that it smelled more like the kitchen of a dirty restaurant than a business office.
The items she needed would be found on the desk on the left wall. This was where the source material was accumulated for His new book. On the far side of the table sat a stack of books topped with a small group of files. She had been told that this is where she would find her prey.
Pawing through the folders, she discovered what she had come for. The three sheets of paper were brown at the edges and had splatter marks that appeared to be greasy. One quick sniff and she could tell that there was foul odor coming from the sheets of paper. Folding them hastily, Kitty stuck the papers into the small satchel slung around her body and made a mental note to have the bag cleaned as soon as possible.
Just as she was moving to leave, a hand turned the doorknob and pushed the office door back open. Another hand slid in and flicked the switch on the wall up, instantly illuminating the room. One foot came over the threshold and stopped abruptly. Outside the window, there was a voice addressing the person who was about to find Kitty out. The voice sounded a bit familiar and when she realized who it belonged to, she knew her path was clear. She waited for her friend TT to move down the hall with the one who was about to discover her, then made her escape to the stairwell.
Down on the sidewalk, things were progressing nicely. The Colonels wife had managed to make enough of a commotion as to draw the attention of people passing by. Unfortunately for the security guard, the headlining talent he was waiting for had arrived at the same time. This became an opportunity for the Colonels wife to snap a few photos and tell the news man how much she enjoyed his show. He graciously smiled and accepted the compliment . He was about to give in and allow this overly excited photographer to take his picture when another large commotion was traveling up the street towards them all.
Coming down the sidewalk were two men walking very briskly. One was notable because of his fluffy head of hair and the other man was wearing a Bowler hat and carrying an umbrella, although there was no rain in the forecast. Running behind them was a woman in some sort of costume yelling something about pictures. The star very much dislike being hounded at the entrance of his building. He felt that the fan community should be much more respectful. Having had enough of this he headed towards the entrance alone, leaving the entire group of the every day public to their own devices.
The two men trying to escape from the woman who was yelling about a picture stopped short in front of the building. The man with the fluffy hair suddenly grabbed his chest and started screaming in pain. As he fell to his knee on the sidewalk the only thing he could say repeatedly was the name “Elizabeth”. The gentleman accompanying him sprung to action and opened up his umbrella over his distressed friend. The costumed woman stopped yelling about pictures and began yelling for help, causing the crowd around them to grow.
Realizing that he now had a legitimate emergency on his hands, the security guard forgot all about the illegally parked vehicle, the camera woman, and the man in the nice suit. He needed to get some other help, pronto. As he dialed 911, he noticed that he no longer needed to worry about the illegally parked car because it was gone along with its occupants. Turning and focusing on the man collapsed on the sidewalk, he thought he might end up being a hero today after all.
By the time the ambulance arrived, the man who had been on the ground clutching his chest had shown marked improvement. He explained to the EMTs that he, too, had medical training and knew it had all been just a passing scare. He quite cooperatively allowed the emergency workers to briefly examine him, and assured them that he felt well enough to go home on his own, thank you so much.
It wasn’t until they sat around a Thanksgiving table together that they fully realized the impact of that day and the challenges it had presented to them all. Some had gotten the chance to forward the project together since then, while others were only getting to meet for the first time on a quiet street in a small town.
From what they were told, it was a short walk to get to the house where they would celebrate together.
Just a half mile from the railroad tracks.