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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2052085-Thin-Air
Rated: E · Short Story · Drama · #2052085
Talk him down.
Standing inside the opened window, Lieutenant Gummerson was only a little above eye level with the windswept ledge outside, so the first thing he noticed was that the jumper was wearing polished mahogany-colored loafers with tassels. Gummerson thought, Guess he wants to look good for the coroner.

“Oh, man,” said Gummerson to the jumper. “I hate this stuff. We’re nine stories up and I get dizzy on a stepladder. Why don’t you come back in here where it’s warm and tell me what’s going on?” The jumper looked down at Gummerson and said nothing.

Gummerson said, “All right, move over a little and I’ll come out.” He stood on a chair and edged first one leg over the window sill, then the other. Settling gingerly on the ledge, he gripped the window frame with his right hand and lay his left hand next to the jumper’s right leg. Close, but not too close. “I didn’t sleep last night,” he said to the jumper. “Insomnia. Haven’t slept for two years.”

Gummerson looked up at the jumper, who looked back silently. “Can’t eat, either,” Gummerson continued. “Acid reflux. What I’d give for a sausage and pepper sandwich.”

Gummerson looked out at a sky full of scudding black clouds and said, “Oh, man, looks like rain. My arthritis kicks up when it rains. I hate that.” He edged his left hand closer to the jumper’s leg. Then he said, “Well, I can’t stand it out here anymore. Do what you want.” Pushing himself back off the ledge, he made a grab for the jumper’s leg. But the jumper was faster. He reached down to Gummerson’s back and shoved. Gummerson screamed, flailing at the air on his way down.

The jumper climbed back into the room and said, “Don’t tell me your problems.”

(Word count: 299)
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