| I am on the edge. It doesn’t matter what kind of edge or how I got there; it simply matters that I am here, and I don’t particularly enjoy it. Scratch that—it does matter what kind of edge. Let’s just say that, if I look straight down, rush hour traffic looks like ants with headlights. Rumbling, lethal ants with headlights.
Now that I think about it, I guess it does matter how I got here. Let’s flashback—dramatically, of course—to six weeks ago. I am sitting in an interview for a job that takes place in an office in a building in a city to where I just moved. It just so happens that if you look out the window of this same building around nine in the morning or five in the evening, the cars on the street below looks like ants. Anyway, I had just moved to this magical new city to get away from that awful old city and the awful old people I left behind. You reach a point when you just can’t stay in a place anymore, and then moving away becomes vital to your survival. So move away I did.
I soon learned that it is necessary to make money in order to buy those things that are also necessary to sustaining a normal human life. These things include but are not limited to food, shelter, Internet access, and toilet paper. Thus, I applied for a job. Or several jobs. When a person with a skill set such as mine comes a-knockin’, I thought, all those companies desperate with for workers with skill sets such as mine will surely open their doors. And I was right.
Being the confident—read as “arrogant”—young professional that I was, I only came in for one of the interviews I was offered, in the building high above the scene of scurrying headlit ants. I switched on my charm, my charisma, my intellect, and came across as the brilliant young mind that I was. The next day, congratulations, I’m hired, when can I start? The next Monday, hi welcome to the team! You sit here, go tappa-tappa-tappa at your keyboard, we pay you. Understand? Excellent!
And so it went; I tappa-tappa-tappa’d at my computer for five weeks, four days and for five weeks, four days they paid me rather well. There was only one slight kink in the system. Remember when I said I had to leave that city and those people behind? Well, those people were kinda sorta, I dunno, cops. And I left because I kinda sorta, I dunno, didn’t want to go to jail. And of course—just my luck—those cops are a lot better at their jobs than I gave them credit for.
So basically one day, at five in the evening, as the first of the ants begin their scurrying, I realize gleefully that it’s quitting time. And then—just my luck—as I poke my young confident/arrogant professional nose out of my office, I see two or three or eight of those wonderful constables baring down on me, with that look in their eyes that just says, “Son, you’re screwed.”
I react the way any good criminal would: I leap back into my office, promptly close and lock the door, and barricade it with various and sundry furniture. Consequently, these fine officers do as fine officers tend to do in situations such as this: they run through the whole knock-knock “open up! police!” dialogue. It’s fabulous--just like being on television. But only for a second. After this moment of pitiful glory, the trusty fight-or-flight instinct kicks in I am certainly not fighting these two or eight police officers.
Flight it is.
That’s why I’m on the edge. This is not suicidalism. The fact is that, if these fine men capture me, I will be spending several years in confinement, very likely confinement of the solitary persuasion. I won’t go into any of the juicy details of the past, but if I go downtown with these folks, my journey will undoubtedly end in God-knows-how-many years, on a table, being pumped full of poisons while America watches. I don’t want that. I’d rather go in a burst of grandeur. The passengers in the ants below can watch—they can even report what they saw to the newspapers and television stations and they too can be instant celebrities, if only for a day.
And I will, if only for a day, an hour, a minute, be a celebrity. Which is all anyone ever wants, right? Everyone wants to be famous, to see their name on the television, to have millions of people talk about them as if they’re some mythical, magical character. And tomorrow at this time, I will be exactly that. A story on the television. “Felon jumps from 29th story.” That me. A myth. A legend.
I must be going—those nice policemen finally took my door off its hinges.