Sideswiped | Aerials
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Danger in the sky
weapon skimmed through clouded haze
caught in sniper’s scope.
Muffled screams made us both freeze, our heads on a swivel. My apartment had one window and one sliding glass door, both of which looked out at the sad patch of grass behind my building. Some species of stunted evergreen clung to the rain-eroded slope by their claw-like roots. Between their spindly trunks I could see the roof of building seven and the upper story of building six. A herd of people rushed around the side of the building, risking the ire of our board members and sprained ankles, as they climbed over the crumbled remnants of a stone wall. Pushing and shoving, they made it through the gap and crossed behind Ro’s apartment and then mine blocking our view.
Ro and I exchanged a glance and a nod, then we hightailed it outside too. Though we exited with style through my sliding glass door and a few of my ground floor-dwelling my neighbors looked chagrined at not doubling back to their apartments to do the same. Since those scrubby evergreen trees did a good job of blocking out the sun, we could concentrate on the bizarre sight before us.
Besides being closer to Indian Point, and its four nuclear reactors than any human being should ever dwell, our complex had one other advantage. West Point lay a hop, skip and a jump from the place thanks to our nearness to the Bear Mountain Bridge. There were also two train stations within five miles of my flat but the nearness to metro-north could not account for the sniper on the roof.
Sights locked on target
a high-flying UFO
with unknown payload.
“Is that Candy from 7R?” Ro asked.
“Might be Vel from dine Z; hard to tell from this fangle,” muttered Rhoda; the unlit cigarette hanging out of her mouth didn’t help her pronunciation any, but we all got the gist.
“That’s not Kel, she’s got bigger jugs than that.”
All eyes swung to the resident pervert in the group, a large lump of a man who stared at anything with breasts. He stared even if said breasts were safely tucked inside five layers of cold weather gear and invisible to anyone not packing infrared scopes.
“I don’t know; it could be Del in 9B. Del’s wiry enough.”
My neighbors continued to haggle over which of the dozen residents with known military affiliations could be on the roof sighting through a scope on a gun that couldn’t be legally kept in their apartment. I left them to it.
Cursing turned everyone’s attention to the flack-jacket wearing Phil who hopped on one foot and moaned about his ankle in between f-bombs. Phil worked for the department of Homeland Security, according to the stickers on his car. He also lived at the top of the hill in the townhouse development that had a pool. Must be nice to have a government that job that paid well enough to live all swanky up there with 2.5 kids and a dog. Turning he gave the crumbling wall a good kick that failed to hurry the wall’s slow collapse. It didn’t even knock a pebble loose or chip the cement between the stones. I smiled recognizing karma at work.
Phil didn’t even glance at the sniper laying on the roof of building seven. His eyes stayed locked on the patch of sky visible above the evergreens. His cursing spree dribbled to a halt. My upstairs neighbors, a retired couple who played board games as if the fate of the world depended on their victory, stood on their balcony, faces tipped back in horror. Being below average height-wise shafted me on the view. I could see heads, the concrete bottom of the terrace above my patio and evergreens, but no sky.
I elbowed Ro who had a height advantage. Old age hadn’t shrank her much. She still towered over me. “What do your elf eyes see?”
Ro rolled her eyes down to me. “I thought we established that you’re the elf.”
I bristled at that since I was practically hobbit-sized. “Then who are you?”
“The wizard of course.”
“Well, what do you see? Don’t leave me hanging.”
Ro returned her eyes to the sky. Since she was the second tallest person in our huddle, she had a perfect view. “You remember that scene on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm?”
“Yeah, what about it?”
I looked at the heads cutting off my view but no parallels leaped to mind.
Ro screwed up her face and did a credible Gandalf impersonation. “Fly you fools!”
Her hand landed on my shoulder and turned me towards the sliding doors to my apartment, which I had left open. We barreled across my tiny cement patio into my flat and Ro threw the door shut. She bent and finagled the piece of wood I used in lieu of a proper lock into the door’s track.
Gun shots rang out making me jump. Ro grabbed my laptop and me and hauled us both into the bathroom as something buzzed the roof of building six. Something cross-shaped with lights dotting its undercarriage–something that did not resemble any flying craft I’d ever seen.
Guns barked, chewed roof tiles
UFO sailed away safe
its passengers laugh.
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To be continued next Friday.
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