• Dzama

On The Roof

The three of them were stuck up on the roof, sitting along the low walls, smoking, nervous. Carmen had the big gun but they only had a few rounds left and it kept jamming so they had to save it for emergencies. And they had the dog with them, Sparks, probably smarter than all of them put together but hungry and a little too eager. The carnival was still in full-force below, everyone frolicking down there, oblivious to everything.

Mandy inched up slowly and peered over the wall. The alley was mostly empty except for a couple of homeless tramps groping each other. What he could see of the street was still an ocean of partiers in colorful garb. He sunk back down and looked at Carmen and Tad. Then at Sparks, who was staring intently at the door that led to the stairwell. “How long you think we got?” he asked Tad. Tad stroked his beard and took a long drag on his cigarette. “About five more minutes,” Tad said quietly and smiled.

Just then the door burst open and Jason stepped out, sweaty, hyper, shirt still torn. “Get down Jason!” Carmen growled. He stared at her, manic. “No, it doesn’t matter! The chopper’s coming! Do you guys hear it?”

“Get down!” Tad shouted. Jason held his arms out and looked up at the sky. “Ain’t nothing gonna happen, Tad! Chopper’s like two minutes away!” The rhythmic beating of the helicopter could be heard now, above the carnival music and raucous voices from below. Jason grinned ear to ear. “Hallelu—.” And he was gunned down before he could finish, his body thrown back with the force of the shot. He hit the brick wall by the door and spun, then collapsed. Sparks shot over to the fallen body, a white flash in the shadows.

A thin trail of smoke snaked up from Carmen’s big gun and her whole body shook. Nobody looked at her. They just stared at the grey roof or at the night sky, waiting. Sparks came back across the roof, snout red with blood, dragging Jason’s ammo belt. Carmen took it and reloaded clumsily with trembling fingers. The metallic thumping of the helicopter grew quieter now, drowned out by the drumbeats, trumpets, and shouting from below, until it felt almost like they’d imagined it. Then, suddenly, the chopper rose up right beside the building, deafening, and Carmen jumped up and opened fire, sending it spinning, crashing into the side of the wall and hurtling down to the street. Terrible screams erupted from below and the helicopter hit the ground and exploded. The three stood and watched the flames dance and the smoke billow upwards. Then, one by one, they went through the door and back down the stairs, Sparks at their heels.

Copyright © 2008. All Rights Reserved.

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