On Top of a Hotel at Night

by Stephen Paden

I’m sitting here holding my head. It’s pounding. When will the aspirin kick in? I walk to my window and look outside at the city. It’s quiet. The pounding heart I feel is not outside in the streets or in the buildings; it is inside my chest. If I drink another cup of coffee, I think it will explode. Maybe that would be ok. Something just fell from the top of the Cardigan across the street. Some poor bastard, I suppose. That’s the way it is nowadays. When you live in pursuit of dreams, sometimes they don’t come true. Sometimes they turn on you; push you off a thirty-story hotel. I wonder what his dreams were. If you chase the moon and don’t make it, it’s a long way down. He just hit the ground. God damn, right into a crowd. I think he landed on fat guy. Good for you, buddy. I’m lighting up a cigarette, even though I shouldn’t smoke. This fucking headache, I swear. The doc said it’s the high blood pressure. I said “No shit? But have you ever sucked one down after you just fucked a hooker on the balcony of a high-rise?” He said, “No.” So I said, “Just write me a prescription, will ya?” “Three months,” he said as I left. That was two and a half months ago. The crowd that guy hit just got bigger. I think I hear sirens. It ain’t crowded on my side of the street. Too bad, I’d like to take someone out with me. I was always afraid of heights as a kid, but it’s different when you’re older. It’s different when you know. The wind is picking up. I wonder if I should let it take me where it will. Not sure why I took an aspirin, now that I think about it. The wind pulled me over, just like I thought it would. It’s a strange feeling, falling. I thought I’d have butterflies, but I don’t. I thought that my life would be shooting through my pounding head like a cracked out slide projector, but it ain’t. The world gets smaller when you grow up, but let me tell you, right now it’s getting bigger and big−

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