RECKLESS: Summon the Heroes By Nan Ressue


Word Count 376


By Nan Ressue

Our thirst for territory in a busy place gave birth to the skyscraper world.  If the horizontal space is absorbed, we shall reach for the vertical.  The resulting forest of building spires created dark canyons and blocked vistas only overcome by the architect’s plethora of windows.

Summon the Navahos, the fearless high steel builders who tread the narrow paths of construction high above the pavement below to complete the soaring window filled designs. All those windows, punished daily with grit laden breezes driven off the ocean and by the exhaust and grime forced aloft by the endless traffic below require endless attention creating a job that is never finished.

Summon the reckless window washers, scaling the sheer walls like insects, washing miles of glass from bottom to top from a dangling platform high above the admiring crowd, waving to the office workers trapped inside, accepting coffee or beer according to the temperature .What could go wrong?

The peace of the day is shattered as Facebook spreads the word. There is a desperate situation in Westside Manhattan as the window washing scaffold has started to swing like a pendulum for some reason.  What in the world could have set it off? Gusts of wind at those heights can be a dangerous surprise.

Summon the firemen with their extension ladders.  911 hurry!   Left…, right,…. Left…, right…, and then a hideous snap as the far cable broke and the workers slide downward toward each other, clinging together as they dangle off the lower end while the platform swings in slow motion agony. Hang on!  Hang on!

The trucks are here thank God.  The firemen back their trucks as close to the building as possible, run to get into position and fearlessly ascend the nearly vertical ladder.  Hurry!  Hurry! The swinging scaffold is finally captured with ropes and the first worker now held in the fireman’s arms. And now the second.

The crowd bursts into applause and cheers of relief, marveling once again that there are those who choose reckless occupations for the good of us all.

“Go back to work”, orders the fire marshal over his bull horn which supersedes every voice.

“Everybody is O.K.”.


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