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Protest Gone Wrong.

Author's Note: The following is based upon a true story. I have changed the name of the freak who did this, but if you live in Minnesota, look in the Monday, 9/13/99 Star Tribune, Metro section and you can find out the real name. The details, and the carachters of Trevor and Julie, are, of course, entirely fictional.

Dave Bussard was awakened by a phone call. He reached for the Caller ID box and squinted at it. It was his friend Trevor. He grabbed the receiver.

“Hey, Trev,” he said sleepily.

“Yo, Dave, you gonna do it today?” Trevor asked.

“What? Whacha talkin’ ’bout?” Dave slurred.

“The protest, at Moos Tower, y’know,” Trevor said enthusiastically.

“Oh, that,” said Dave, “yeah, for sure.”

“This is so cool, man. Hey, if you go through with this, man, I bet Julie’d go out with you.”

“Hey, Trev, I’m worried about the chimps here, man, not Julie,” Dave said, then, waking up a bit more, “What the hell am I saying? Julie has such a hot ass.”

This began a long discussion of the finer points of Julie’s ass, which gave Dave an erection. He later wondered if that made him gay, getting a hard-on while talking to a guy, even if it was a discussion of Julie’s ass.

After relieving his desire for Julie’s ass, trying so hard not to think of Trevor that he couldn’t think of anything else, Dave took a shower and got dressed.

After an unusually large breakfast, he gathered up his protest gear: rope, harness, and various bits of equipment for attaching the rope to himself and the building.

He headed out at about 9:00, debating during his whole trip whether to actually go through with it. It would be dangerous, dangling 18 stories up, but damnit, those chimps couldn’t protest. He was not convincing himself. Then he thought of Julie’s ass. Julie was in some class or other with Dave and he had worked up the nerve to talk to her on a few occasions, but had never been brave enough to ask for a date. But now Ile be brave, Dave thought; Ile be brave to help the chimps. Julie’s gotta respect that; chicks go for that stuff, don’t they? He felt a bit better now.

Trevor was waiting for him when he arrived.

“Hey, dude, this is so fuckin’ awesome!” Trevor said.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s a great . . . thing . . . to do, right?” Dave said nervously. He looked up at the Tower and swallowed hard.

“Oh, man, Julie’s totally gonna love you after this,” Trevor said, smiling broadly.

She’d better, Dave thought, then he cursed himself for his thought, saying only, “Yeah, I hope so, man.”

Dave made his way up through the building, using what appeared to him to be seldom used stairways. Silently he manoeuvred past some important looking people near the stair that went to the roof. Once on the roof, Dave looked around; there was another bit of roof nine stories down, so maybe, Dave figured, I won’t die as much if I fall.

“What the hell am I thinking about?” he said quietly to himself as he secured his rope to the building. He put on his harness and stepped to the edge, rope in hand. He tossed the rope over the edge. He heard a shout then from the ground; it was Trevor. Dave waved just before going over. He slid slowly down the rope, then fastened it to his harness when he was between the 18th and 19th floors. He waved again at Trevor, who was now in the midst of a small crowd that had gathered, summoned by Trevor’s shouts.

He couldn’t make out anyone in particular from this height, and he wondered— hoped?—that Julie was among the crowd.

He hung there, mostly being bored, occasionally thinking of Julie’s ass, until the storm came. It was dark. The thunder began first. Distant, ominous rumblings behind him, gradually growing louder. Then he began to see the flashes of lightning, dreadful white flashes, terrifying. Dave had not prayed in fifteen years, but he did this night; he prayed to whatever deity might be listening to allow him to live. The wind and rain whipped at him, cold and unforgiving, like the sea, he thought.

When the storm had begun, Dave had gotten Wagner’s Die Walküre stuck in his head and now the notes, low and heavy as they played over and over in his mind, haunted him. And when he tried to get that out of his head, it was replaced by the third movement of Vivaldi’s L’Estate from Le Quattro Stagioni.

When finally the storm ended, L’Estate was replaced by La Primavera. Dave hung there, hungry, cold, wet, weak, weary, alone in the vast unending night. He shivered.

When morning came, Dave thanked God for the warm sunlight that fell upon him, drying him.

It was the Monday after the Tuesday he had gone up that Dave was finally brought down by fire-fighters. The rappelled down to him, then lowered him to the 10th floor roof. An ambulance waited for him on the ground; medics checked him for injury and hypothermia. When he was declared well, university police arrested him on charges of fourth-degree burglary and trespassing.

At the jail, Dave was allowed to make a phone call. He debated about whether to call Trevor or Julie. If he called Trevor, he might be able to get enough money together for bail. On the other hand, if he called Julie, he could see if she was impressed. He called Julie.

“Hello?” a man’s voice said; he sounded a bit out of breath.

“Um, Trev, is that you?” Dave asked.

“Aw shit,” Trevor said. Dave heard Julie’s voice in the background say, “Who is it, Trevvie?”

“What the hell are you doing at Julie’s house?” Dave asked, though he already knew the answer.

Dave heard Trevor whisper “It’s no one, sweetie, just a second.” then to Dave: “Hey, man, I’m sorry, but you haven’t seen this ass naked.”

“Sorry!” Dave shouted, “Sorry excuse for a fucking friend is what you mean!” He hung up.


If you are unfamiliar with the music mentioned above, hear it here:

Die Walküre

L'Estate

La primavera


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