Last Call – Part III

Against what he had always been taught, John opened the door.  He was expecting a wall of flame.  Instead, he was greeted with the grey fog of smoke.  Fire alarms, smoke alarms were suddenly going off everywhere around him.  John looked down the hall from his room and saw a very pregnant Hispanic woman, an elderly couple, a businessman who appeared to be in his mid to late forties and a woman with her young boy…about Danny’s age, John decided. “Hey, what should we do,” asked the woman with the young boy. “Let’s take the elevator down before it gets too bad,” replied the businessman.  “That would be a bad idea,” John said.  “The elevator may get stuck between floors.  We need to take the stairs down.” Everyone agreed with John.  So, as they were about to open the door with “EXIT,” a young waiter came rushing through the door to them.  “Don’t go down there.  The fire started on the 14th floor and is working its way up here,” the waiter breathlessly yelled.  “Okay, we all need to go to the roof.  How many floors does this hotel have?” John asked.  Funny…John was about to jump from a hotel from which he didn’t have a clue how many floors it had.  “Twenty-six.  We need to get going now.  The fire is out of control,” said the waiter.

John assisted the pregnant Hispanic woman, the businessman helped the elderly couple and the waiter helped the young woman with the boy about Danny’s age up to the roof of this suddenly Hotel Inferno.  If only these people knew how close he had been to ending his life, John thought.  Now, the decision of suicide is completely out of his hands.  The race was on to get to the roof. The businessman pushed open the door to the roof, the gushing smoke poured over the roof from below. “Por favor. ¿Qué podemos hacer nosotros? ¡Mi bebé no nacido aún!” John didn’t understand a word of Spanish.  But, he could tell the young Hispanic woman was concerned about her unborn baby.  John decided to look over the ledge to get an idea of what they were up against.   What he saw was the worst possible scenario.  The flames had now quickly moved up to the 18th floor…the same floor that John just half an hour ago decided to jump from to end his life.  They had only been there on the roof for about 15 minutes.  The flames were moving fast…too fast.  The fire trucks were arriving down below.  But, John suspected it would be too late for them.  No need to tell the others what he thought.  As it turns out, he wasn’t the only one thinking that.  “We don’t have much time, do we?” asked the businessman.  John looked over the man who was still in his Versace suit and Gucci dress shoes.   “It looks that way.   The carpet must be feeding the flames,” John said.  “Everything in this hotel is supposed to be flame retardant.  It doesn’t make sense.  This is some kind of nightmare.  It has to be!  My life isn’t supposed to end like this!” said the businessman.  “Look…you have got to calm down.  How high do those fire truck  ladders reach?” asked John.  “How the hell should I know?  Do I look like a fireman?  I guarantee you they don’t reach 26 floors.  We are done…in more ways than one!” screamed the businessman.  John was quickly growing tired of this guy.  He needed someone to help him keep everyone calm.  The young hotel waiter was trying to calm the rest of the group down.  This Gucci shoe wearing fool wasn’t going to be any help.

The elderly couple seemed surprisingly calm.  John estimated they were both in their 70s.  The woman with the young boy was the one in hysterics, along with the hugely pregnant Hispanic woman.  “Everyone….we have all got to remain calm.  The firemen will reach us some way, somehow.  They are professionals.  This little fire isn’t anything to them,” John assured them.  The businessman wasn’t buying any of those assurances.  “And just how the hell do you think they are going to reach us, pal?  You think they going to fly up here and fly us all back down, one by one?  It’s over, we are done!!!!” said the businessman in near hysterics now.   John just couldn’t take this guy any longer. John grabbed him by the collar and pushed him to the ledge.  “Take a good look down below!  That’s 26 floors down.  Either shut your damn mouth or you will be the first one to jump!” John yelled at the man.  “I don’t want to die.  I just fucking can’t die this way.  I’ve got a wife and two girls at home.” replied the businessman.  John suddenly calmed himself down with the news he had children.   John sympathized.  But, at the same time, he couldn’t let him continue on with his out of control rants.

John went over to talk to the pregnant Hispanic woman when he suddenly realized the soles of his shoes were starting to stick to the hot surface of the roof.  It was just a matter of time before everyone would perish.  John had already made up his mind he was going to jump.  He would not be burned alive.  “¡El fuego! ¡Consigue más cerca! ¡Yo no deseo que mi bebé muerase!” cried the Hispanic woman.  John didn’t have to understand Spanish to know what she was saying.  Everyone now realized the fire was getting closer.  The elderly couple were holding each other in what they felt would be their last embrace.  The waiter was trying to comfort the woman with the small boy.  And Mr. Businessman with the Gucci shoes was quietly sobbing as he looked over the edge.  There wasn’t much John could say to them to offer any words of encouragement.  John wanted to die.  He was not fearful of death.  But, these people….they are innocent.  Where is the God that allowed his son to die?  Where is the God that is going to allow all these innocent people to die?  These questions screamed in John’s brain when a miracle appeared before his very eyes.

A KYVX News Helicopter was suddenly hovering  just twenty feet from him!

 

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