Sunday, September 4, 2011

2014: The Way the World Ends (Chapter XXX: Larry the Hound)

Chapter XXX: Larry the Hound

Written and owned by Greg L. Miller 2011
Full Version up to date can be found:

Larry quickens his pace up the left flight of stairs near the receiving lounge; a lot of people mingle in the crowd. Many of them are injured with acute injuries; Larry thinks many of them aren’t worth saving. He decided to head up the stairs as soon as his hand was properly bandaged. He used his badge to get into the hospital; he doesn’t feel sorry for the staff or volunteers who request him to do something. He nods and pretends like he’s going to help but only wanders off. There are not many hot people or booze in the hospital. He vaguely remembers Juliet has a fifth of Vodka, Larry assumes she got washed up with the first few waves.

Why safe old people and the injured when the young are physically fit and will go further. Juliet was disrespectful to my authority and deserves whatever she gets. For that matter they all deserve what they get.

Somehow Becky ended up with him; she took advantage of his badge and went into the hospital earlier. The staff outside asked him to get supplies from inside, he was more than happy to get one step closer to the helicopter. Becky manipulated the staff outside it letting her join him, this gives him high hopes she might be the one.

It doesn’t matter she was married, she is free now! I need a drink.

There are massive fire doors near the entrance of the stairs. Larry doesn’t think twice as he kicks the obstacle holding it propped open. He mutters to either Pixel or Becky, “The injured can’t take this way, its way to dangerous.” The steps have a few cracks but the stairway is in amazingly good condition. He passes a red exit sign which illuminates a foot radius in a soft red light. Larry never was able to read anything to clearly with that type of illumination, a sign says Floor 2, Entrance D. They continue up. Larry doesn’t bother to shut that door, he just doesn’t want anyone rushing the stairs if the Tsunami hit. 

Larry continues his justification, “The people downstairs need to use the stairs closest to them. You have a pretty face Becky.”

Becky stops, her green eyes become fiery, “Listen buddy, I don’t know why your drinking so much right now you need to understand one thing. I’m not interested! You seem to have a plan and I want to get out of here alive. I’m assuming your heading to the roof where the helicopters are?” Larry becomes crestfallen.

The bitch doesn’t like me, she is just using me! Why do woman treat me this way?
For some reason tears come to his eyes, he shakes as he takes out his vodka, he feels ashamed of himself and wants nothing more than to be accepted. Becky continues, “You’re a cop?” There is much disdain in her voice. She rattles on, “Don’t you see what’s happening around you? Why don’t you do your job?” His tears stop. Rage builds from deep within as he listens to the bimbo dish out her opinions. He turns around and walks up another flight of stairs.

Becky’s contempt and frustration pours freely, “I’m only here because I recognize what you’re doing. Together we can go far, alone you will fail Larry.” Larry thinks Becky found her true passion, her words manipulate new stirrings which are not sexual, she is a out for herself. Larry recognizes her type.

He walks a little quicker as he tries to tell his heart to shut up, “You’re really not interested in me?” He’s getting pissed but doesn’t show it. She sounds like his mom.

Larry can’t believe the hot girl as she continues, “You’re a pig. Why don’t you go to church or someplace to find a nice girl? Everyone is dying and all you want is to get laid.”

Pixel whines as she senses Larry’s mood change. He twirls around, “You’re a bitch who thinks she deserves everything! You deserve nothing princess!” He can’t help but smile as he sees her pretty face bunch with rage, she slaps him hard. He doesn’t think as he pushes her back. He forgets through his drunken haze that he’s on the stairs in the hospital. All he feels is blackness from always being rejected. Her eyes grow big as she loses her footing. She falls backwards, Pixel barks. Larry tries reaching for her hand but misses. Larry hears a sickening crunch as she lands on her head, Becky manages a defeated sigh. 

Pixel briskly darts to Becky’s limp form and barks again. The K9 puts her nose into Becky’s hair and looks back at Larry with much confusion.

Shit, what just happened?

Larry knows what happened, he pushed Becky down the stairs and now she is dead. 

It’s my fault she is dead and I’m a murderer!

One time in California he was indicted for brutally punching a murderer he caught. He was put on leave for a short time and was told to get his anger under control. Larry doesn’t know what to do. His migraine is back full tilt; he pounds the last of the pint and tosses it near Becky. 

I need to keep moving and think about this later, now isn’t the time.

Larry orders Pixel, “Come here.” Pixel looks confused, she nudges Becky and whines. Larry raises his voice, “Pixel, here!” 

Pixel looks at him with sadness, Larry breaks eye contact. He mutters, “Whatever stupid dog.” He turns his back on Pixel and Becky; he takes a few steps forward. The alcohol sooths his heart beat, he feels calm. Larry fumes at his own stupidity.

Shit, why did I do that? Maybe I should stop drinking?

Larry can’t handle it, he starts blaming himself.

This is the boozes fault! It’s a disease and I have no control. I’m a monster; I don’t deserve a woman to love me.

Pixel barks and walks up to Larry. Larry doesn’t notice, he feels something pull at his leg. 

Holy shit, is the floor caving in?

The floor isn’t caving in; it’s just the booze playing games with his head. He kicks out not knowing what’s tugging at his leg; he doesn’t want to fall through the floor. Larry screams as his imagination sees himself dying alone in this building, “No, not me!” 

He kicks at whatever is pulling at him. He feels his foot make contact with something soft and he hears a yelp.

Larry comes to his senses; he realizes it’s the booze which is making him like this. His vision clears but his guilt becomes worse. Pixel slumps backwards and tumbles down the stairs into the darkness while yelping in pain. Larry realizes what he just did, “Pixel, I’m sorry. Come back up here boy!” He is about to remake his way back down the steps but sees Becky’s still form. Her neck is weirdly tilted; her lifeless eyes cast judgment on Larry.

Larry cries out, “Pixel, come back!” The building shakes and Larry is sent to his knees. He reaches out for the banister and gets back on his feet.

Shit, is that another earthquake? No, it’s different. Is it the Tsunami?

There isn’t anything left to do but go up. Maybe with some luck he will be able to get out of this mess. Larry’s flashlight dies in between the sixth and seventh story. It’s dark and eerily scary. Now he can’t see if the stairs or intact, or of there is an obstacle. 

Should I go back and do something with Becky’s body like hide it? No, there is no way to connect me with her death. It looks as if she fell down the stairs during the earthquake or something. Why am I so stupid? How did I become one of the bad guys when all I do is save people?

Larry knows there are only two more floors, he isn’t tired but the darkness plays tricks with him. He keeps thinking Becky is going to be a zombie or something and reach her him in the dark; he chides himself for his over active imagination. Larry stops and reaches for the second to last alcoholic beverage, his hands shake, the bottle drops on the stairs. The sound of glass makes him jump a few inches, he almost slips.

Shit! Why do flashlight batteries always die when I need them?

He has no choice but to drink the last bottle. Within moments his imagination eases, he recalls a few times in his career where he had to deal with corpses fished out of the ocean and rivers. It’s never a pleasant sight or smell. The corpses never rose and did anything. That’s only in zombie and horror movies. Last level, Larry quickens his pace as he takes two steps at a time; he knows the door to the roof is coming soon. His heart freezes when the door doesn’t open all the way, he sees a flimsy chain secures it in place. He throws his weight and hits the door with his shoulder. The chain shatters and bright sun light streams into the hallway.

Finally something is going right. Now all I need is a chopper and a pilot! Why all the easy ways are always blocked?

Larry never wants to remember the stairway for the rest of his life. He briefly wonders if Pixel had a swift death. He can’t wait to get back to his other dogs. He doesn’t expect to see what lies in wait. The roof to the hospital is meant for only two medical helicopters, today there are three and one fairly large marine chopper in the air. Two are from the hospital, one news helicopter from FOX and the last is the marines. Not what he was expecting. A dozen soldiers with heavy assault rifles patrol the roof; two instantly raise their rifles in his direction.

One shouts, “It’s a cop! Hey put the gun down, he isn’t the like the others who are trying to steal the birds.” Larry sees two dozen civilians huddled near the entrance he just exited. Two marines have them under guard. Across the roof has another two guards watching over another dozen civilians who made it the roof.

Shit! I’m not the first and what are soldiers doing up here?

One of the marines shouts to a group of armed soldiers near one of the medical helicopters, “Crew Chief, we have a cop!” A few solders leave the helicopter as three solders lift off in the hospitals helicopter. The solders look battle seasoned, but they are being polite to the civilians.

A news reporter curses from the huddled group near Larry, “You can’t take our helicopters. This is America and we have rights! The world will know about this by the end of the day.” Larry doubted the reporter’s threats; the news camera is in pieces near his feet. It looks like the soldiers secured the roof by force.

A soldier who has a cocky steady gate replies, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. We didn’t take anything. Private, get your ass over here this instant!” One of the soldiers briskly ushers Larry past the huddled group. A solder that must be the private stands at attention with his gun slung on his back, “Sir!”

The man in charge rudely and loudly barks, “Is this not a natural disaster and are we not under Martial Law?” 

The Private replies, “Yes sir.”

The Crew Chief continues, “Then why is a civilian talking to me? You can’t cure stupid. I want those choppers in the air before the Tsunami strikes, who is this cop? Get these people to safety and don’t allow others in.”

What, if I wasn’t a cop I could have been allowed on? This is stupid.

Larry doesn’t want to be here. He made a mistake in thinking the hospital helicopters are going to safe him. A soldier reseals the door by putting a new padlock up. The Crew Chief orders, “Whatever your name is not important. You just enlisted. Take the cop, use him on Iron horse and go rescue some people.” As if one queues, the marines helicopter lands on the roof, no one gets out.

The Crew Chief moves on to other business, Larry sighs in defeat as he continues to get bossed around. Billy interrupts his thoughts, “We are rescuing people deeper in DC and bringing them to Maryland, we got some FEMA camps being set up outside the city. Reports say the Tsunami just hit. The solders get on the remaining choppers; within moments the roof is clear and three helicopters head north. He sees the remaining solders enter the air craft; he doesn’t know what plan of doing with the Fox’s helicopter.  With much trepidation he enters the Marines gray chopper. Larry doesn’t look back for Pixel. He never lost control like that, it makes him nauseated. 

Why are the simplest things so hard?

He doesn’t have time to think, the light leaves the sky as a large cloud covers the horizon. His attention is drawn to a crudely looking blonde bimbo with large boobs. She looks like a cross between a Playboy model and the woman from the World Wars who bunch her right arm while looking tough. There are a dozen notches under her image and Larry doesn’t know what it means. Bin Ladin is etched with a skull and a smiley face over it, a red dot appears in between his eyes.

Was this one of the choppers used when America took out the terrorist? Holy shit. 

Larry learns Iron horse is the nickname for the CH-53E which is a Marine helicopter. There are six soldiers on board; they call themselves the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing or something. Larry’s migraine is back and it’s hard to focus. One of the solders comments without emotion, “Cop, you smell of booze.” Larry doesn’t say anything. A second image is near the girl with giant boobs. It’s an iron fist clutching something in a yellow circle. There is only one small window near the cockpit where Larry sits. A few more windows line Iron horse every few feet. 

The private from early tells one of his buddies, “Look we got a drunk. I can’t believe we are seeing action like this, didn’t someone get a memo this is an assault chopper, not a damn search and rescue bird for an end of the world scenario.” For some reason the marine's radios and telecommunication work, Larry remembers he pitched his radio back at the Capital building.

Another soldier retorts, “Man give it a break, you know we are fully equipped for search and rescue.” The soldier has a crest on his sleeve, he’s with the 82nd. Larry sees various soldiers are from different companies, the one near him has a badge toting the 10th Mountain Division.

Larry finds his voice as he tries acting tough, “I thought you guys were supposed to be from the same unit? What happened?” The soldiers become quiet.

The complaining private mutters, “Our base got hit. Hard. Saving Americans is the only thing that matters at the moment.”

 “You're talking too much,private. You’re breaking PERSEC/OPSEC protocol.” Another soldier snaps.  Larry feels inferior to these men. He doesn’t doubt a moment they have hot girls waiting for them. The soldiers are hard edged and built like bulls. They all have khaki bandanna's over their mouths and dark glasses on. It’s hard to tell what they are thinking.

The man continues telling the private, “Remember, it’s not always about physical strength, true power comes from the mind. We need to stay focused on the task at hand.”

 “Sorry sir,” the private answers, subdued but  seemingly not offended by the reprimand.

There is stillness in the chopper; the men are just as unified as Larry’s best dogs, if not better. He wishes he could have been part of a group like this, he feels like shit for drinking so much. He remembers Becky and Pixel and decides it’s best to get away from these people as soon as possible. He doesn’t feel like he is one of the good guys or that he’s a warrior. He feels like a joke.

The officer concludes while looking out the window, “We have a job to do, let us save some yuppies.” The men around him agree and continue on with whatever task they have.

Looking out the side the first of four small windows, Larry sees a massive wave has made contact with the buildings near the shore. The chopper speeds towards it but then takes an abrupt right. The wave moves fast, he can’t tell where the ocean once started. Nearby a building have a few doctors and a group of nurses on its roof. There are three patients, the building is burning and looks unstable. The chopper moves turns and attempts to hover above the building. His seat is made from hard plastic which doesn’t mold to his butt cheek well. A lot of colorful buttons blink on and off. Most are red or green. The soldiers take inventory. Dust covers the sky, Larry watches in horror as the helicopter is engulfed in smoke from a burning building. Nearby one of the two medical helicopters jerks, Larry watches in slow motion as it drops like a rock into the ocean. The Private and two soldiers see the chopper fall from the sky. The other two helicopters fly high with the civilians. Within moments they head to Maryland, Larry wishes he would have ditched his police outfit earlier.

I was supposed to be on one of those choppers. This is terrible.

The Private cusses, “Shit, I think Benson and Mackey were on that chopper!” Their pilot has to fly above the dust cloud; many of the passengers want to save their fellow peers. The pilot redirects Iron Horse towards the ocean and the downed medical helicopter. Bodies do not float to the surface; Larry can’t tell where the chopper went into the water. The waves are coming every 4-6 seconds apart.

Is that the Cancer Institute?

The staff workers on the deflated roof beckon for help, before the helicopter gets to the building Larry watches the initial wave slam into it head on. The Cancer Institute sways once, twice, and then crumbles by the third wave. They are too late. The chopper hops to the next building which has a doctor and two patients’ needing help. A few buildings curtail the giant wave, this building remains standing. 

The chopper glides over to the stranded people, the solder from the 10th Mountain Division orders Larry, “I need you to push this button. It will move the metal rope up and down, wait to I gesture and then move it down.” Larry nods. He isn’t stupid. The private nods and Larry pushes the button. Unlike the movies there isn’t a side opening with machine guns. Rather there is a large opening in the middle of the chopper which allows for heavy machinery or vehicles to be lifted. He does see one heavy looking machine gun but it sits idle, it points at the sea as if the massive body of water is its new enemy. 

The chopper comes close to the roof, the Private signals Larry. He pushes the button, down goes the metal rope and with it one sturdy marine. A platform connects to the cable that can hold a few people; Larry doesn’t see what’s happening once the platform lowers. After a minute the Private signals him to press the button again. The metal chord smoothly comes back up; two patients cling to each other and the metal rope. The Private gets them on board without commenting. Up and down goes the metal rope three times, they rescue 5 people. 

The Doctor and the nurse are grateful, “Thanks so much.” The others huddle to themselves as everyone looks outside or at the floor. No one says anything but everyone shakes in fear. 

The Private asks no one in particular, “I’m having a hard time with my new boots, my feet keep on blistering. Anyone have any ideas on how I can fix this?” The chopper heads to the next people in distress. It takes less than one minute to find someone who needs help.

A man who appears to be a Lieutenant answers, “Altama boots work for me.” 

Another Private reply with confidence from near the rear, “I heard if you can get those boots refitted with new soles. Do you make sure to keep your feet dry and your toe nails cut?”

The Private near Larry nods, “Yes, but I’m having issues running long distances, sucks ass.”

The Lieutenant replies, “Another brand is Converse. Your brand has a reputation of puttering out in six months of use.”

The Private near Larry adds, “I hate my boots. They don’t offer protection to my ankles and they take forever to lace up. They could look a little better too; my girl friend isn’t impressed by them.”

Another soldier who hasn’t said anything before pipes, “You’re too damn ugly and crude to have a girl friend. Last time I looked in the shower you have a tiny pecker. Only men with big tools get the girls. Is she your mother?” The others laugh.
The pilot sees a person floating on a wooden dining room table, he brings the chopper down. The waves appear to be rising every few minutes. Larry wonders if there is going to be anything left of Washington DC. The Private signals Larry to push the button. The rope only goes down once this time. The man is in shock and takes a seat away from the rest when he boards. Iron Horse continues on to the next people who need rescuing.

The Private continues when the man is situated securely, “Another thing I hate about those boots is they have very little traction when it rains.”

The Lieutenant asks, “How do you fare in yomping in those boots?” Larry doesn’t know what they are talking about. The Private says that aspect is good. The pilot sees a couple trying to survive in a pickup truck which is being carried off to sea. The couple escapes the driver and passenger seats by crawling through the back seat window into the flat bed of the truck. There doesn’t seem to be much time to rescue them, the truck is heading to a fairly large investment bank complex which proudly still stands.

The soldiers act in unison.  The quiet Private loop a rope around the metal cable and connects it to a harness in his belt. Without prodding he exits the flying vehicle using the lift which Larry controls. The second Private signals Larry to lower his cable. Now they are using two metal lines, he still can’t see what’s happening. Within moments the two people from the truck are safely aboard. Larry watches their truck hit the building and disappears. The chopper moves on. They have room for another dozen survivors.

Maybe I will be lucky and they will transport us to Maryland like the other choppers.

Larry’s migraine won’t go away; he wishes he could have a drink. He hears the Pilot yell to the officer, “The Crew Chief made it. Maryland is green!” The soldiers murmur in approval and the civilians shout in joy. 

That’s good news.

The Pilot continues, “Here’s the bad news. They lost the FOX helicopter and he doesn’t think they can get to us due to some kind of engine failure. He wants us to come get him once we fill with passengers. Larry smiles with the new knowledge. 

The doctor points out the window. The helicopter darts west towards the residential neighborhood. Many people are on roofs and need rescuing. The Lieutenant tells the pilot, “We need to be selective, safe those who look important or who are physical fit. I hate to make this decision but we can only carry so many. 

The Private timidly suggests, “We should safe the woman and children.” Everyone agrees. Up and down the recue cable goes. Up comes people from all walks of life, a few men manage to get on board. Most passengers are children and woman. The chopper is two thirds full. 

The lieutenant orders, “Let’s see if there is a giant whirlpool like in Senoia Japan in 2011.Anyone knows why that happened? Private Laramie, aren’t you the brainy or a whiz with science?”

Private Laramie answers, “Sir. I had a few undergraduate courses in environment sciences on my down time, I haven’t graduated.”

The Lieutenant continues, “Well, please don’t be rude, do share Private.”

Private Laramie explains, “The geography of the ocean interacts with the rushing water. The coastlines and sea floors play a role, I have no idea if there will be a whirlpool. I however do know it’s common to get them after a Tsunami.” The ocean below them is turbulent. A few boats and roofs of houses drift to sea, they see no giant whirlpool. It appears the sea will continue to crash into the shore for awhile. The Pilot signals towards a large house which is drifting to sea. A large group of people are concentrated on the roof around a chimney. Larry doesn’t care; his job is simply push a button.

My hands won’t stop shaking, I want to puke. How long is this going to take? I want a drink. What happened earlier was not my fault.

Larry looks up is surprise after rising and lowering the rescue machine, he thinks he recognizes a distinct voice coming from below. A man whines about his pain and discomfort. Mike and April enter the helicopter. Mike is surprised to see Larry as his eyes open wide, “Oh shit! Larry, I can’t believe you saved us again? What are doing here? Where are Pixel and the rest of the group? My legs and hands hurt.”

Larry doesn’t know how to answer Mike’s questions, “They didn’t make it. The earthquake got them.” 

Mike looks confused, “What do you mean? What happened to everyone, are they dead?”

Larry lies, “Yes. Sorry.” Down and up the metal cable goes. Up come Fred and Susan. Larry groans in defeat. 

Fred pats Larry on the back, “Nice to see you again. You’re the cop from hell aren’t you?” It’s obvious he’s trying to joke, no one laughs. Up comes Colon who looks comatose. Fred tells the lieutenant, “This kid got bit by a tarantula.”

The officer answers, “Shit, we used up our med kits earlier. Maybe the hospital is still standing; let’s get you guys back there, maybe they can help.” The chopper is full. Larry groans in utter defeat.

Larry requests, “Can I fly with you guys to Maryland?”

The officer replies, “Sure. Let’s get going, I don’t see any whirlpools.” The pilot turns the chopper around and they head back the way they came. No one knows if the hospital still stands, Larry doesn’t want to go back there. 

Larry tries justifying his desire, “Maybe we should head directly to Maryland?” He crosses his fingers and toes the officer will say yes.

His expectations are dashed, “No, I want to drop off the civilians first. It won’t take long.” The rest of the passengers agree with the Lieutenant. 

The pilot adds new information, “Sir, the Crew Chief says they got one of the helicopters working. He wants to meet us as the hospital, they are already there.” Up and down Larry’s emotions are played.

I need to get to Maryland.

He brashly needs to know, “If he meets us at the hospital can I still get a ride to Maryland?”

The officer thinks for a moment, “You will need to ask the Crew Chief. Sorry.” They see another large building in the distance with a congregation of people on the roof. They are all woman and children; it looks like they are part of a day care.

Fred annoys Larry as he says, “Thanks goes to Jesus who saved us.” There are a dozen street children who soak up every word. Fred holds a bible and smokes a cigarette as he talks about Jesus nonstop. Larry gets pissed when Fred comments, “Thank the Lord we are going back to the hospital, now we will be able to save my grandson.”

The pilot asks, “Can we pick these people up?” There seems to about a dozen. There are no more seats in the chopper. The soldiers desperately want to help the civilians, the lieutenant nods in approval while getting everyone’s body weight count. The Private signals for Larry to press the button to the lift, down and up the metal cable go. On the third pull another dozen civilian’s exit the roof, they are all desperate to get on the chopper. Americans begin to pull each others’ hair while punching and kicking each one another. Its pandemonium as the building sways under the assault of the Atlantic Ocean. Iron Horse can’t handle the weight of its passengers, people are packed in tight.

It would be perfect if I had some crackers to go with the sardines.

The choppers heavy frame lowers towards the ocean. The children panic, the building they were rescued from dissolves into the ocean. The officer swears, “Quick, toss everything non essential out of the chopper. We took on to much weight!” The bird is almost near the water, everyone on board desperately throw out seats and various machine parts. The chopper still lowers but slower. The pilot directs the giant flying machine towards the hospital. 

The Lieutenant screams, “Remove all the sidings!” The soldiers use their knives as they start removing metal sidings, civilians kick the last of the seats of the chopper. Still the bird lowers alarmingly to the water. The children and women howl for they don’t want to die. The soldiers continue to strip the bird; one makes a move for Kyle’s backpack. Kyle flings his body over it.
Like a madman he shouts, “If this goes over so do I!” The Private shrugs and is about to toss Kyle out the chopper when the Lieutenant stops the ordeal.

The officer briskly orders the Private, “Stand down, get that siding out of the chopper!” Out goes a whole bunch of telecommunication equipment. Someone manages to disconnect the lift which helps a lot. The solders never once throw out their guns or equipment. A large dust cloud covers the chopper; visibility is cut down to almost zero. Soon there isn’t anything left to throw out. The chopper manages to stay ten feet above the ocean, a few waves hit the sides of the metal bird but do no damage. No one gets wet. The hospital building comes up; the roof has a hundred people who need rescuing. The masses don’t hesitate as they rush towards the helicopter. 

The lieutenant swears as the Crew Chief and two others open fire into the sky. The masses stop, it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out the Marine’s aren’t here to save them all. The three soldiers make room for Iron Horse to land. The soldiers remove the civilians from the chopper, including Larry. 

The Crew Chief apologizes to the masses, “We can only take 20. Only the woman and children can come. Those who need absolute medical attention but who aren’t dyeing might be considered. Private Laramie, pack the FOX helicopter and escort as many as you can to the green zone. We will try to come back for more. Do your best to stay safe.”

Private Laramie responds, “Yes sir.” The solders don’t take long in picking a few people. One of the doctors help Colon and his spider bite.

Larry finds his voice, “I want to come with you. I’m a cop.” They agree to take Susan, but April chooses to stay with Mike, she retakes her camera from Colon who isn’t conscious. 

The Crew Chief looks at Larry in disgust, “You smell of booze and are a disgrace to all police officers. I know your type. No.” Larry is dumbfounded speechless. Susana and Mike gasp, April agrees. Larry can’t handle the embarrassment, tears come to his eyes. The Crew Chief continues, “Do your duty and pick yourself up. These civilians need you, protect and serve your country and lay off the booze.” The Crew Chief orders both choppers into the air. Within moments they zip off into the horizon.

Fred and Kyle bound to the stairs, following them are Mike and April. Larry swears and shouts, “Hey you guys, not that one, that stairway across the roof is better. The stairs are intact.” It’s too late; the group is already going down the stairs.  Larry shakes uncontrollably; he fears they will find Becky and Pixel. Half the street kids follow Fred and the other stay with Colon. Larry decides it’s best to wait for another chopper on the roof.