The Towering Inferno Part III or Tragedy Times Two

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Last week I described how Omaha was all abuzz about the new 20 story building in Omaha’s mud and brick landscape, built by none other but Stephen’s money mongering father who took every short cut in the book to save money on construction.

Starla, my theoretical homecoming date was excited that I asked to the Big City Disco Dance after explaining that I didn’t get my drivers license in time to take her to homecoming. The new skyscraper had a big disco dance hall right on the top floor!

She was so excited about the big disco dance, she decided to go downtown with her mom to buy a new dress at the skyscraper mall! It was all finally coming together, my first date!

That night when I called, her mom answered. “Starla, she, she, then she just started crying for what seemed like half an hour. Then she explained that while she and Starla was at the mall, the bottom of Starla’s bell bottoms got stuck in the escalator. Slowly the escalator pulled her beneath the stairs and just grinded and grinded until there was nothing left. Her mother looked for a fail-safe, off switch, but there was none.

Soon there was blood, meat parts, and clothes on the bottom of the escalator stairs as they recycled around. That’s all that was left of poor Starla. Her mother collected what parts of her that came back around and put them in a shopping bag for the funeral.

It was Stephen’s cheap father who cut corners when making that skyscraper and left out the emergency fail-safe switch to save a few bucks.

The next day I headed downtown to see if I could find any remains for my scrapbook. There was blood everywhere around those escalator stairs and they were still going. Stephen’s dad also got cheap on janitor service, so they only came once a week and Wednesday hadn’t come around yet.

I was in a bit of a daze staring at those steps and what was left. I guess I was in such a state I didn’t notice much of what was going on around me. Smoke had started to thicken in the air.

I figured something must be burning, so I slowly headed toward the front enterance to leave. People were screaming and pushing each other down to get to the door. I just walked slowly amid all the commotion.

And that’s when I heard it.

A scream from above.

I looked up, only to see a one armed moron, flailing helplessly as he fell. By the time all this registered in my head, it was too late. And he came crashing on top of me.

It was Stephen Johnson, who just finished a job interview. But I didn’t know that at the time, I just knew I was almost crushed when he landed.

We got up and I introduced my self, “Hi, my names Bob. Good thing I was here, I guess.” I reached out to shake his hand, but Stephen just looked at me in disbelief that he wasn’t dead.

Then he punched me in the stomach and I went down to the floor again. He kicked my side a few times and I rolled to my stomach in pain. Then he proceeded to take my wallet from my back pocket and took off running out the door.

Looking up I could see the flames from the top floors…of course no fire alarms went off, and there weren’t any sprinkler system, so I figured it was time to go.

And that was the first time I met Stephen Johnson.


Song in my head:

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Bob Senitram

Webmaster and editor of I obtained a bachelor's degree in micro-biology around the turn of the century but was quickly tracked down and forced to return it to its rightful owner and pay a $25 fine. *** A fan of science fiction, I started this website in 1999 as a portal for science fiction stories that have never been published. *** Completely devoid of talent, I decided to call on the public to supply content. Shortly afterwards Stephen and I started writing weekly columns and have continued to this day.

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