Tyranny at the Times – Alex West

The dog yipped as Dezzie walked by, and with the sound hanging halfway out of his mouth, a sense of urgency overcame her. It was a familiar foreshadowing feeling that engulfed her every action. She wove through tables, chairs, bodies, and stores. Performers beckoned Dezzie in. The Naked Cowboy tipped his hat toward her.

A man exiting the subway station whistled in her direction. Her legs started pumped harder.

Her mind flashed forward. The building to her left collapsed, the stone wall splitting down the middle. Somewhere a young boy screamed for his mother. Dezzie clasped her satchel from blocks away.

 

In the present she bobbed between families, accidentally splitting up twins. The advertisements in Times Square stared mockingly at her. Her breath was gone, almost as if it had never existed from the beginning. None of it hardly mattered now. She thought about her desk, her cubicle at the Times which would be awaiting her arrival.

Faster.

She had to get the story to the press before anyone else.

Faster.

She realized she was the press.

Faster.

She promised herself not to get caught up in technicalities.

Faster.

 

Times Square disappeared behind her. The tourists packed in like sardines, but yet she was free. Everything was loud, but it was loudest for her. The commotion was all in her head.

And suddenly, she slid through the glass doors of the newspaper’s entrance, flashing her badge at the security guard.

“Focus,” she reminded herself. Her fingers glided against the keyboard with phrases and facts that had yet to occur. She captured the fear on the NYPD officer’s face as he saw the first explosion, felt the heat against his body. Dezzie darkened the field, the mood. She explained the details that even survivors would begin to forget within seconds after the first bomb would go off.

The pieces unfolded before her. Dezzie felt out of control, letting the words whiz by her. Typing, fiercely. No one in the office building dared disturb her.

Send.

She heard the bing from where she sat signifying that her editor received the piece.

Finally, she could catch her breath.

Someone shouted a few cubicles away. “Put on the news! Put on the news!”

“We are the news, Betsy,” someone scolded her as the woman shuffled around for the remote. She clicked through channels until she found the Special Report. Dezzie kicked back at her desk, editing some piece a lower level staffer asked her about. The TV flashed warnings, pleadings, chaos, and commotion.

Time Square had transformed. It was no longer full of performers and families, but of a community of victims. The building which Dezzie had jogged by collapsed on camera, the stonewalk splitting down the middle. Somewhere a young boy screamed for his mother.

From blocks away, safely in her office, Dezzie clasped her satchel.

 

Weeks later her editor would ask her how she had known, but when Dezzie didn’t answer, he held his tongue.

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