Courtney was the leader: a petite woman in a well-tailored business suit and Italian leather shoes. Her straight blond hair was cropped at her chin and her blue eyes burned with determination behind silver-framed glasses. She walked with purpose, her heels clicking against the tile of the lobby, and she carried her bomb in an alligator briefcase.
Mike was first backup. He took the time to chain his silver bicycle to the rack in front of the office building, but he left his helmet unsecured in the metal basket. His eyes were hidden behind a pair of Chinatown Oakleys and his red hair was a clumsy masterpiece. He flashed a grin at the receptionist and unfolded his delivery papers with a wholly unnecessary flourish. He carried his bomb against his hip in a blue and red canvas messenger bag.
Adam had a different job. He walked down the sidewalk in an oasis of sound, his ears covered by headphones that were far too large to be missed, even in the tangled jungle of his dark brown curls. The headset cord trailed down his arm to connect with a large black boom box. The cuffs of Adamâ€™s jeans were frayed and torn from weeks of slipping between his Timberlands and the asphalt, and his hands were buried deep in the pockets of a nylon jacket bearing the name of his high schoolâ€™s football team. The apartment buildingâ€™s doorman didnâ€™t stop him as he walked to the elevator. Adam carried his bomb in a black Jansport book bag, which he wore slung over one shoulder.
â€œReport,â€ Courtney said when the elevator door closed and left her on the thirty-forth floor. Her voice was dissected and scrambled and thrown to the satellites by the small plastic headset attached to her ear.
â€œHere,â€ Mike said, kneeling on the roof of a building two blocks away.
â€œHere,â€ Adam said as he set up his bomb in a windowless, empty apartment.
â€œTarget lock?â€ she asked. She tested the positioning of her bomb with a pocket laser pointer, and a red dot appeared on the concrete face of the tunnel entrance over the stuttering stream of cars that would begin the deluge of rush hour.
â€œLock,â€ said Mike, and another dot met her own
â€œIâ€™m good,â€ said Adam. A low beep spilled from Courtneyâ€™s earphone, but it quickly dissipated.
The bombs were left in position and the three reconvened at a bar near the tunnel to begin countdown. Adam placed the stereo on the table between the three, then ejected a compact disc and fiddled with the archaic FM dial while Courtney ordered a wine for herself and draft beers for the others.
â€œFour fifty nine,â€ Courtney said, and Mike reached for the bucket of pretzels. The wall shimmered and gave way to numbers. 81.2 FM.
Courtney took a sip of her wine and watched from the window of the bar as the wall above the tunnel entrance went white. The flood of cars outside of the tunnel had fallen still, caught in the tension of endless traffic. Pedestrians halted, startled by the light.
The speakers exploded into sound.
â€œYes!â€ Mike cheered as the theme song began. Adam offered his hand and high-fives were exchanged as the bombs went off and the wall above the tunnel proudly displayed a white boat, topped by a smiling man. Adamâ€™s stereo continued, and a chorus of cheerful voices promised to deliver â€˜the tale of a fateful tripâ€™ to every person with a radio.
â€œFinally,â€ Courtney said with a smile as the opening of Gilliganâ€™s Island hung in thirty-foot shapes before them. â€œWe can watch something that isnâ€™t political.â€
365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.
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