by Levi Andrew Noe
“That’s it, Morty.” Noah put down his nail gun rather forcefully. It fired off and somewhere in the distance of the skyscraper’s skeleton a piercing scream echoed. Neither man seemed concerned.
“Whatter ya’ doin’ Noah?” Vincent Mortimer picked the gun back up and handed it to Noah. Another shot fired. Somewhere above them a chorus of muffled curses and a hissing of compressed water through pipes.
“Who do I talk to about quitting? I’m not doing this anymore.”
“Aw hell, this again?” Morty’s non-lazy eye scrutinized Noah like a cop while the other eye looked out at the grey skyline, following a pigeon.
“Yes, this again. It’s not right. Don’t you ever wake up and wonder why you’re here?” Noah was getting himself worked up again. Morty knew the signs, pacing, fingernail biting, hair pulling, and Noah always came within a few inches of the edge of the building, thirty floors up.
“Noah, you’re gettin’ mighty close to the edge. Why dontcha come on over here ‘n’ sit down. I’ll pour ya a cuppa coffee and you can tell ol’ Mort what’s the real matter.”
“This morning I woke up from a dream about flying.” Noah paces on, not hearing Morty’s suggestions. “We were workin’ on this building. Like we’ve been doing for the last four years. When all of a sudden we hear a holler and everyone turns their heads just in time to see …” He stops talking for just a second and places his hands between two steel beams, leaning out and looking over the edge of the building.
“Someone had jumped. We all run to see him fall to his death with a sort of sick interest. He’s about to hit the ground and our eyes are all stuck like we couldn’t pull them away even if we wanted to. Everyone is saying something under their breath, praying to God, or cursing Him. And just as we all cringe, expecting to hear that telling thud, we don’t hear anything. Everyone looks down and there’s no body, no blood. Someone yells ‘There he is!’ We look up and he’s flying now. He’s waving to us and he’s soaring over the city. He tosses his helmet away behind him and then he’s gone forever. Freer than any of us will ever be.”
Noah sags now, slumps against a concrete column. Morty trots over like a medic and hands him a cup of coffee from his thermos.
“Now Noah, it’s just a dream. You shouldn’t let yourself git so worked up over a dream.”
“Just a dream? What’s that even mean? This is just a building. And we’re just doing a job. Sometimes I think dreams are the only thing that really matters. Sometimes I just—”
Both men hear the shouts. They turn their heads just in time to see something fall. It could have been anything. Noah and Morty look at each other and then walk warily to the edge and look down.
Levi Andrew Noe was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. He is a writer, a yogi, an entrepreneur, and an amateur oneironaut. Levi won first prize in 2011 and 2013 in Spirit First’s international poetry competition. His work is forthcoming in Ink, Sweat & Tears, Connotation Press, Boston Literary Magazine, Crack the Spine, Eunoia Review, and Scrutiny Journal. He is the editor in chief and founder of the podcast Rocky Mountain Revival: Audio Art Journal.