The Mini-burger

FanFic in the Birmoverse

Christmas Sampler

Julianne jumped from the cabin of the helicopter and felt the rotorwash trying to sweep her off the roof. She stayed bent over as she ran forward, clutching the straps of her backpack lest it be ripped away by the furious downblast. She turned and crouched beside an air conditioning unit, and was almost bowled over by the Rhino who was right on her heels. The dark green chopper snarled even more ferociously as the pilot fed power into the engines and lifted off again. Her dirty, unwashed fringe whipped stinging strands of hair into her eyes but she watched and waved them off anyway. The Polish soldier, Milosz, stood in the doorway, grinning hugely. With one hand holding a grab bar he laid the tips of two fingers under his eyes and then pointed directly at her.

I’ll be watching you.

I’ll bet you will, Fred, she thought. I’ll just bet you will.

The Blackhawk leaned over and dropped away below the roofline. Within a minute it had disappeared completely, flying back towards the enormous column of black smoke rising high into the sky above the southern end of the island. Nearly a mile across at the base, and shot through with great tongues of fire and the flashes of exploding bombs, it looked for all the world as though a volcano had erupted in lower Manhattan.

“Well, I must say, I would not have imagined that helping people could turn out to be so fulfilling,” said Jules. “And to think my father warned me off it for life.”

The Rhino lit up a cigar and took a few puffs with evident satisfaction.

“Damn that feels good. You know I had but a few goals in life, Miss Jules. To own my own boat, and run charters out of Acapulco, which I’ve done. To drive an RV around the country having adventures with my dog, Sidney, and our mentor, a ninja master, which, I’ll admit, I’m still working towards. And to work for the covert ops section of the CIA and save an ungrateful world on a regular basis, which I can now cross off my list.”

Julianne stood up and walked over to the edge of the skyscraper.

“Almost,” she corrected him. “The CIA is now the NIA. And you don’t actually work for them. Those crooked fucking spec ops guys just requisitioned a helicopter by claiming you did. The actual Agency is probably hunting you down as we speak. And you’re not saving the world, you’re chasing a fucking quid.”

“Close enough!” he said. “Now lets get inside and have a look at that map.”

“In a minute,” she shot back.

Julianne simply wanted to savor the moment.

The air on top of the skyscraper tasted remarkably clean. She had expected to smell the petro-chemical reek of burning buildings and military ordnance, but a northerly wind pushed the ash clouds and general stink of war down towards the bay and the Statue of Liberty, which was just visible beyond the western edge of the towering smoke column. From here, Jules felt as though she stood atop the whole world. The impossibly fast jet planes, shrieking down from the heavens, the dark, insectile shapes of the helicopters, they were all so far removed and so tiny as to be nearly abstract. Not real things of steel and fire, flown by men, but almost mythical enchantments, tiny airborne fascinators, toys. Grey warships as small as bathtub toys lobbed shells into the ruins, attempting to root out the hardcases. She shook her head.

“Sound, sound the clarion,” she said to herself as deadly orange petals of fire blossomed from the top floors of the Flatiron Building. “Fill the fife, and throughout the sensuous world proclaim…”

“What’s that Miss Julianne?’ asked the Rhino as he drew up bedside her, removing his ridiculous Viking helmet and rubbing his scalp.

“One crowded hour of glorious life,” she said, softly, “is worth an age without a name.”

“Uhuh,” grunted the Rhino. “So, can we go now?”

“You really don’t have the soul of a poet, do you, Rhino?”

“No ma’am,” he answered. “Just the horn of an irascible, endangered pachyderm. And two spares on this excellent fucking helmet.”

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23 December, 2009 - Posted by | Without Warning |

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