Chapter 21

Brian fell. He waited a few seconds, until he had fallen a few stories from the top, then spread his arms and legs to expand the wings in his suit. Suddenly, free-fall turned into a free-falling glide. He hadn’t really planned his escape route, as he assumed he would be chased to the top and then take off from the most picturesque side of the building. But, he wasn’t able to choose and had to take the path he had been given. It was still an outstanding view.

Brian hoped to find a good landing spot. He hadn’t planned it very well but felt he could safely land in the street if he had to. This flight was going to put him about half a mile away, he hoped. He had to watch his glide ratio in order to maximize the distance. Since it had been a year since his last jump, he hoped he still had the muscle memory to maintain the correct posture for a long, relatively slow descent.

He could see the police cars headed toward the construction site. He had really caused a commotion and hoped that no one else got hurt. But now he needed to focus on his flight. A minute later, he was getting close enough to see some prospective landing spots. He also noticed that some police cars had stopped. They must have gotten the word that Brian was on the move. He could see a small parking deck up ahead. That would be a good spot if he could make it. If he had to deploy the parachute, he wasn’t going to make the deck. He decided to try a landing without it to put himself a little farther away and above street level.

As he approached the deck, his goal was to attempt to angle up to greatly reduce his speed and position his feet underneath himself for the landing. It would be a very rough landing for most people, but he should do just fine. Just as he was just about to execute this maneuver, he heard a loud bang and felt a sharp pain in the side of his stomach. He lost focus for a split second, pulling up too late and, instead of slowing down and getting a quick lift, he overshot the middle of the deck and slammed into the top of a small truck causing him to flip wildly up and over, into the wall of the neighboring building, landing on top of a black Mercedes. Suddenly, what was going to be a quiet landing, turned into a cacophony of breaking glass and car alarms.

Brian laid still for a moment to process what had happened. Then, he slowly rolled off the Mercedes onto the deck. He stood up slowly, pulling back the hood and ski mask, which had shifted and was now blocking his vision. He looked down at his stomach and noticed the bullet hole in the suite. He unzipped it and pulled up his shirt and was already starting to bruise, but was not bleeding. He walked over to the edge of the deck and saw cops running toward it. He looked up and saw people looking down from an adjacent apartment building watching him. He ran slowly toward the other side of the deck and looked down.

No one on this side was paying much attention to the car alarms and he didn’t see any police. So, he rolled over the edge and dropped the four stories to the sidewalk, stumbling a bit and falling. A woman walking her dog screamed as he landed ten feet from her. He saw her before he dropped, but assumed she would be farther away by the time he hit the ground. She had stopped to let her dog pee and, instead, almost peed herself. He stood up and looked at her “I’m so sorry,” he said. She looked him up and down, noticing the wings on the suit.

“What the hell are you doing?” she asked. “What a stupid idiot!” she added and started walking away quickly.

Brian started jogging up the street. He ducked into an alley and unzipped the suit enough to slide it down and step out of it. He rolled it up. Then removed the backpack he was wearing underneath it. He took off the black shirt he was wearing and pulled a green t-shirt from the backpack and put it on. He shoved the black shirt and wing-suit into the backpack and put it on again. Then, he exited the alley and walked briskly away. After a few blocks, he got his bearings again and found a deli he was familiar with. He went in and ordered a coffee and slice of cheesecake, then found a table where he could watch a television. The local news had interrupted the regular programming for “breaking news” — his news.

The volume was turned off, but he could see a helicopter shot of the building and, fortunately, they had freed the other chopper and it was probably now circling the city looking for him. They cut to a shot of a reporter at the scene, on the street, a block away. There were many police cars and police behind him. The camera then panned the scene to show more cars, police, an ambulance and a group of uniformed and plainclothes cops. Among them, Brian spotted the man with the fedora. Then, fedora man noticed the camera and turned his back stepping behind a fire truck.

“That son of a bitch,” Brian said. “I should have known,” he thought. “I checked him out thoroughly.” Brian sipped his coffee. “I have to get better at my online espionage. I didn’t dig deep enough. But he’s probably a deep-cover guy, or maybe not even a cop.” He took another bite of cheesecake as the news station rolled tape, showing another chopper’s view of the scene. They had managed to film, from a distance, Brian jumping to the police chopper, then falling. It was blurry, but still thrilling for Brian to see his adventure caught on video.

He took another sip of coffee and leaned back again. He was a little fatigued from the forty-five story jog and the sudden stop he encountered at the end of his flight. Whoever took that shot, he was good. Brian pulled out his phones. He turned on his personal phone while checking the Android phone. Nothing there. When his personal phone turned on he checked his texts and email but found nothing important. Then he turned it off again and put it in his pocket. 

He finished his cheesecake, continuing to watch the news. Then he finished his coffee and stood up. Time to go back to the scene, or at least nearby. He pulled out his Yankees cap, put it on and walked out.

Continue to Chapter 22
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