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Old 10-19-2002, 03:00 PM   #2
mstalanon
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Independence, MO
Posts: 491
Default Round Robin 3: Part Two

"Ohhh Jeezus, not again!" muttered Billy. "You serious?"

"W-what d-do you mean, 'not again'?"

"Danny, this is the third time you've had something like this happen. C'mon, I'll help you down," Billy near-shouted in Sam's ears.

"But what about..." Sam said, gesturing down and to the paint can.

"Don't worry 'bout the brush. That crap seems to happen all the time, I guess!" laughed the other man, his dark, Latin face kind, despite the pock-marked scars of an earlier bout with severe acne. However, what captured Sam was Billy's eyes. They seemed to carry an infinite sadness, and Sam felt himself trapped in there. A sudden wind gust chilled Sam to the bone, and it dissipated the spell, and Sam tore his eyes away from the other man.

"Okay Dan. Let's go thru this again! Just follow my lead."

It seemed as if Doctor Beckett had never been so scared in all his life. Science was a rational, conceptual thought-process, and he knew all too well what falling from a such a height would do to such a delicate item as a human's body. Sam seemed frozen, and couldn't move his hands away from the cable he was grasping onto for stability.

The sound of the Imaging Chamber door was a welcome addition to the chaos surrounding him.

"Came as fast as I could, Sam!" Al stated rather quickly. "And I know what's going on inside your head! Listen to me, buddy. You're NOT going to fall. You HAVE to believe that!"

Sam muttered, "I'm not going to fall."

"Course you're not, Danny-boy!" laughed the other man, who had a nametag embroidered on his own matching blue coverall that was identical to the one Sam was currently wearing. The nametag said simply, "Billy", and that brought some measure of comfort, unless Billy was wearing someone else's clothes. Sam smiled at the thought of that.

"A smile? Why that's progress," Billy joked, and he began to crawl over Sam. Looks like you're rigging is secure, buddy. Let's get you down, and then, call the boss. You know what that will mean, don'tcha?"

"Sammmm, if he calls your supervisor, chances are you'll get fired. In fact, Daniel Ackerman died while painting the Golden Gate Bridge two days from now. The police report blamed faulty equipment, but Ziggy says your equipment is in perfect working order!"

"O-oh-kay," Sam uttered through trembling lips. "Listen B-Billy?"

"Yeah, my friend?"

"I-I think I can get through this. I-I had a wind gust catch m-me by su-surprise. B-brought back old mem-memories!"

Billy moved himself over Sam, his feet hanging out in the breeze. In a classic repelling pose, he hung with one hand below his buttocks, grasping the rope he'd lowered a few minutes ago. "You sure? Hey man, we're close, and I don't want cha up here if you're no good to us! There are other jobs in this city.

"Not trying to scare you more, but if you screw up, it's a long way down!"

"Sam! It's very important that you don't get fired. Ziggy says if you get terminated off this job, you won't be around to save Bill Reingartener's life in FOUR days! Ziggy gives that scenario a 92.4 percent possibility!"

"Wha- happened?" Sam asked, and glanced over at Al. "Originally?"

"Don't know, Sam. I know your feelings about heights, and when Mr. Ackerman told me where he was at, I dashed in here faster than a High School Quarterback chasing a cheerleader!"

"Originally? Danny, you okay? You hollored out something and poof, here you are!" Billy laughed, and slid over, checking Sam's rigging one more time. While he was busy with that, he began to sing a song that caught Sam by surprise. He got some of the words wrong, but then again, that happens so much with popular music.

I'm just a Traveler,
through time and space..."


Sam grinned, and joined in, the haunting melody reassuring himself that he had made some differences in the world. It also reminded him of that all-too weird leap, in another city... almost another reality.

Billy looked over at Sam. "Hey, I didn't know you liked that stuff!"

Sam grinned, and felt instantly better. His trembling had nearly stopped. "You kidding? I love those guys! Tonic is the best!"

"Right on!" Billy laughed. "Okay," he said, changing modes. "You ready to get back to paintin' this turd? We have only one week to finish this, or else the boss will have to give up on that bonus. That happens, and we're history!"

"That must have been what happened, Al!" Sam whispered, turning his head, hoping the wind covered most of it from his physical friend.

"I'll run some scenarios, Sam," Al quipped in, but concern flooded his features. "Are you going to be okay? I know what you're feeling up here, pal!"

Sam forced a grin, feeling nauseous, yet determined to not let these two see it. "I'll be fine!" he said aloud.

"Course you will," Billy stated. "Hey man, use my spare brush. We've only got a few more hours, and we're off for the day. We made some real progress today. Let's not blow it!"

In response to the man's sentence, a severe gust rattled the lose clothing Sam was wearing. It rattled him more than he wanted to admit, but he nodded, and accepted the brush that Billy was handing to him. "Kay... thanks!"

"Not a problem. You're paying for it, anyway!" he laughed back, and clapped a hand on Sam's shoulder. "My treat tonight buddy. Cold couple beers to settle the nerves!" And with that, he scampered and moved fifty feet over, to a patch of paint that was freshly drying.

Sam closed his eyes, and the words to "Masks" came back to him. He began to sing it softly, as he dipped the brush into the jelling paint can.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Matt
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