Last Call – Part V

The little boy was crumpled on the roof of the building.  John Hanover could just barely hear the screaming of Teddy’s mother in the chopper as it went down toward the many onlookers below.  The waiter got to the boy first.  He felt for a pulse and looked up to John.  “His pulse is very faint.  He needs immediate medical help” said the waiter.  John was just overcome with grief.  He had just promised the little boy he would be in a new hotel soon.   The waiter picked the little boy up due to the increasingly hot roof.  “When you get tired, I’ll hold him,” said John.  The elderly couple was trying to comfort the boy being held in the waiter’s arms.  But, the boy was now bleeding from one of his ears.  John figured he may have brain damage.  He looked up to the sky with tears in his eyes.  How could this be?  How?  As if to answer John’s question the chopper arrived again.  Only this time, there was another chopper there to assist.  John ran to the chopper as fast as he could.  “Take the boy down first.  He’s in bad shape.  I’ll help these other people” John informed the pilot.  “It wasn’t my fault he fell!  It was just too much weight for this chopper!” the pilot replied.  “Look,  I’m not blaming you.  Just get the kid out of here” John said.  The Gucci shoe wearing businessman said, “WHAT ABOUT ME??? WHEN DO I GET TO GO?”  John looked at him disgustedly and turned away.

As the KYVX News Helicopter started taking off with the injured boy, John ran to the other chopper that had landed on the opposite side of the news helicopter.  It was a personal helicopter, but could only take one passenger like the news chopper.  “I’m low on fuel and those winds almost drove me right into this hotel.  I may only make this one run” said the agitated pilot.  The pilot had Vegas Excursions on his hat.  He most likely took people, one by one, on rides across Vegas.  As John was about to tell the elderly couple to decide who goes first, the entire northeast corner of the roof fell in with a tremendous noise!!!  Flames shot up at least twenty feet high.  John could feel the roof beginning to buckle under him.  They had only precious minutes, if not seconds now.  “Emily, you have to go now!” John screamed at her.  “No! Not without my husband!” as Emily looked back at her elderly husband.  The elderly man looked at John, and John nodded his head in agreement. Both the elderly man and John Hanover lifted Emily into the chopper, buckled her in despite her screams.  John could hear her screams for “William, William” as the chopper took off.  There were just the four of them now.  The way things were going, there may not be another chopper ride down.  The roof was now very unstable.  No way a chopper could land on it now.  Maybe hover for a few seconds, but that would be all.  More of the roof caved in from the northeast section.  All four men could now feel the heat rising up to their legs and up to their faces. “We need to get over to the southwest corner.  It seems more stable over there,” John told the men.  “I’m not sure I can go that far.  My shoes are stuck to where I’m standing right now,” commented William.  “My wife…I pray she made it down ok. I hope Emily can make it without me” cried the elderly man. “William…we are all going to make it out.  Stop talking like that,” said John. Almost on cue, both choppers, to John’s surprise, made it back up to the roof.

The KYVX News Helicopter was about to land when John waved him to hover by holding his hands about two feet apart.  The pilot got the message.  It was not safe to land for either chopper.  This was going to be tricky, John thought.  The Vegas excursion pilot hovered about two feet off the ledge.  He was having a tough time holding it steady in the intense heat and high winds. He motioned for the waiter or the businessman to get on board.  The waiter waved at John for him to get on the chopper.  John felt there was no time to argue.  “GET ON THE DAMN CHOPPER. WE DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS,” screamed John.  The waiter took one last look at John and started to get on the chopper.  But, before he could, the businessman, the man everyone had so much trouble with, knocked the waiter out of the way and got on board.  Astonished, John rushed toward the chopper.  But, before he could get there, the chopper took off.  “It’s ok.  I was just glad to get rid of that bastard,” said the waiter.  “I’m sorry, my friend.  I intend to beat the hell out of that guy when we get down on the ground.  But, right now, I need you to help me get this old guy into the chopper” John replied to the waiter.  The  KYVX News Helicopter pilot looked at John as they put old William into the chopper.  It was a struggle.  But, they were able to do it.  The pilot looked at both men grimly and said, “I will be back as soon as I can.  But, I barely made it over the roof this time with the heat and winds. I may have time for just one more ride up here and back down.  You guys need to make a decision just in case.”  And with that, the chopper pilot took off.

The flames in the northeast corner were making their way toward John and the waiter.  The heat was nearly unbearable for them both.  “I think maybe I should just jump now so you can go,” said the waiter.  John looked at him and said, “No, that chopper will be right back for you.  You are getting on when he comes back,” said John.  “Please, sir, I have no family here.  What family I do have is in El Salvador.  Please, you go.  You look like a family man.  Surely, you have children and a wife that is expecting you,” said the diminutive little waiter.   John didn’t feel any need to explain about his family, his divorce or the loss of Danny.  “None of that…” And before John could finish that sentence, another section of the roof caved in with the waiter sliding toward the fiery abyss.  John grabbed him, pulled him to the ledge with him.  All that was left now was about a 10-foot section of roof in the southwest corner where both men were.  John heard the sound of the chopper, but the pilot could not see them for the flames.  John and the waiter both waved at the pilot.  The pilot struggled with the chopper to get it into position.   The pilot had amazing skill to be able to get that chopper to hover just a foot from the ledge.  It would still be a risky climb into the chopper.

 As he edged the chopper closer, John turned to the waiter and said, “I want you to do me a favor. I want you to knock the hell out of that businessman when you get down below.  Deal?” asked John.  “No, please, you go sir.  I will wait for next ride.  Please, you must go now,” said the waiter.  John grabbed the little waiter and said, “I need you to do this…I need you to tell everyone my name.  John Hanover.  Tell them that I did my best.  Now, go and get back to your little family in El Salvador,” said John.  With that, John grabbed the waiter and flung him into the chopper. The chopper pilot helped the waiter get in while maintaining control of that chopper.  The pilot looked at John as the waiter was strapping the belt around his waist.  “This might be the last call, buddy.  I hope you know that,” said the pilot.  John smiled at the pilot’s ironic wording and said, “Don’t worry about that.  I’ve been around for too many last calls in my time.  Now, get out of here,” John told the pilot.  And with that, with the pilot and waiter both looking at him, John was left on the roof alone.

Amazingly,  the KYVX News Helicopter came barreling up the corner of the building to pick up John.  The pilot looked at John, smiled at him and waved to come on board.  John looked at the pilot, waved in a “so long” manner.  The pilot looked puzzled at first.  “What the hell are you going to do?  Get on board NOW!!! We have no time left!” Said the angry chopper pilot.  Then the realization of what John was about to do brought a look of total shock and disbelief on his face. “Goodbye partner!  You and the other guy did a helluva job tonight.  Now, get out of here!” yelled John to the pilot.  The KYVX chopper pilot, confused and distraught, started lifting off as his fuel was nearly gone.  So, John looked up at the sky, said a prayer for himself, his parents and for his beloved Danny.   John opened his wallet, looked at the ever-present smiling face of Danny for the last time.“I’m coming home, Danny.  Daddy is finally coming home.  No last call this time, little buddy,” said John with tears streaming down his face.  With a feeling of relief, John took a step backward into the burning inferno to end three years of hell on earth. 

Time to join Danny.



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