Last Call – Part IV

John could barely believe his eyes!  The pilot in the KYVX News Helicopter was motioning for everyone to move back.  It was one of those small helicopters that could carry the pilot and one other person.   John wanted to warn the pilot how dire their situation was with the fire rapidly moving toward the roof.  But, he didn’t get the chance.  Everyone moved back and the chopper landed.  Before the pilot could get a word out, the Gucci shoe wearing businessman tried to get on board.  The pilot told the businessman, women and children first on the chopper. “I’ll give you $50K if you fly me down right now,” yelled the businessman.  John Hanover was beyond angry now.  The Hispanic woman was crying, the woman with the small boy was crying.  These people should go first.  John went around and punched the businessman in the face, knocking him down to the roof floor.  “Thanks.  You saved me from having to do that.  Let’s get the pregnant woman on the first flight.  Fireman can’t make it up here.  This chopper is all you have,” said the pilot.  John figured as much.  The businessman was moaning and John was prepared for him to try again.  “Look…this roof is getting hotter by the minute.  You need to get going,” Said John.  John Hanover motioned for the Hispanic woman to come over.  “Gracias tanto para esto, señor. Mayo Dios bendice que usted y le mantiene” said the obviously relieved woman.  “Yeah, yeah, get in the chopper,” John told the woman.  John had to assist her in the chopper.  It was a tight fit, but she got in.

The pilot told John he would be right back.  “I hope so.  I think we have 15, maybe 20 minutes tops here” John told the pilot.  “I’ll do the best I can buddy.  I’ll be right back” said the pilot.  And, so, the chopper lifted off into the clouds of smoke and ash coming from the hotel.  John looked down below at the helpless firemen with their ladders that only reached the 16th floor.  If the chopper didn’t hurry right back, everyone up here would be burned alive.  “Who the hell are you to determine who lives, who dies!!!” screamed the distraught businessman.  “I mean, just who the fuck are you to determine who goes next,” asked the businessman. “Women and children first, you asshole.  It’s been like that forever.  I may just throw your ass over the ledge before the fire ever gets here” replied John.  John turned away from him and looked over to the woman with the little boy.  He was scared to death, John could tell.  He thought back to another little boy of not long ago.  Danny had that same look when John first started teaching him how to swim.  He was scared, as John remembered and John told him not to worry, I won’t let anything happen to my little boy.  If only…if only….”What’s your name, pal?” asked John with a big smile on his face.  “My name is Teddy and I’m six years old” replied the little boy.  John laughed.  “Well, Teddy, you and your mom are going next.  You’ll be back in a new hotel in no time at all” said John.  Teddy’s mom looked a bit dubious upon hearing this. 

“The pilot said only one person at a time,” said the mother.  John pondered on that for a moment.  “Maybe he can sit on your lap. We were able to get that Hispanic woman in there, so it shouldn’t be any problem putting you two in there”, John told her.  John looked over at the elderly couple.  They were still locked in their embrace.  John walked over to them, smiled and said, “We’re going to get you down as soon as we get the woman and the little boy.  Don’t worry.  This won’t be the last time you get to hug each other.” The man looked at John a bit sorrowfully.  “I want my wife to go.  I don’t care about myself.  I just want Emily out of here” replied the elderly man.  “I’m not going anywhere without you William Jay Minton.  So, don’t go getting any ideas of you dying here making me a widow!” Emily told her smiling husband.  “She’s been like this for 52 years.  I can’t do anything with her!” said the smiling elderly man.  John laughed at both and noticed the KYVX News Helicopter was back.

The chopper pilot motioned for John to bring the woman and small boy over. “I don’t think I can take the boy and the woman.  The winds are starting to pick up and drive me toward the hotel.  We have got to hurry!” suggested the pilot.  John thought about this.  That woman will not leave without her son.   “Okay, Teddy, time for you to go.  Mom is going to have to wait.  The pilot will come for her next” John told the small boy.  “No!  I’m not leaving without my mom!” said Teddy. “Teddy, we don’t have time for this….come with me ma’am” as John picked up Teddy and ran to the chopper.  Teddy was kicking and screaming all the way to the chopper.  John noticed as he was running…part of the heel on his right shoe came right off.  This wasn’t good. Time was running out on them.  The mother was crying and assuring Teddy she would be down next.  But, Teddy, was having none of it. “I want my mom with me!  I am not leaving without my mom!” cried Teddy.  The exasperated pilot said, “Okay, I’ll try both.” John helped the mother into the chopper and pushed Teddy as far down on the floor as he could.  The mother was belted into her seat.  She would just have to hold onto Teddy.  The pilot waved for John to back out of the way and lifted off.  But, as the chopper lifted off, it immediately pitched to the side that held Teddy and his mother.  The chopper was only about 15 feet in the air.  Then, the unthinkable happened; Teddy fell out of the chopper and onto the roof of the hotel before John Hanover could catch him!


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