LIGHT WAS JUST beginning to suffuse Manhattan’s early morning sky. A burnishing glow slowly illuminated the horizon, permeating the churning clouds and staining their edges.
At 5 a.m., Amanda Gallant was already up watering her plants, standing before the living room window of her 40th floor eastside midtown apartment and marveling at her view of the city’s skyline.
Suddenly, she spotted a nude man with dark curly hair balancing on the balustrade of his penthouse apartment directly across the street. She gasped, fumbled for her cellphone, and pressed 911.
“Hurry—Arcade Tower—40th floor—I think he’s going to jump!” When Amanda looked back, the man was gone. She screamed.
* * * * *
STEVEN STABILE, SUDDENLY startled by his ringing phone, darted in from his terrace to answer it.
“Hello, Steven, Mattressa here. Sorry to call so early, but I know you’re probably getting ready to hit the gym.”
“Oh, hi Mattressa—you…you caught me at a strange moment…I’ve been feeling… sort of…bewildered—and overcome. I’m rather dizzy. I…can’t seem to get my bearings—feels like too much information is flooding my brain…so I went out on the balcony to take a walk on the High Line.”
“What did you say? The High Line is all the way down in the West Village. Steven, what’s wrong? Are you coming down with the flu or something?”
“Hold a moment, Mattressa, someone’s banging on my door, it sounds like an emergency.”
“Mr Stabile!” Arcade’s resident manager barked, as he and a group of uniformed men barged into Steven’s apartment.
“Just a moment, let me put on some clothes—Mattressa, I’m standing here in the buff!”
“I’m sorry, sir, we received an emergency call and you’ll have to come with us.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You were spotted walking on the edge of your terrace and your neighbor across the way dialed 911. She thought you had jumped.”
A policeman emerged from the group: “We’ll need to transport him to Bellevue Hospital immediately.”
“There must be some mistake—Mattressa, I hope you can hear all this?”
“Mr Stabile, you have the only penthouse here. And you are stark naked, as reported. There’s no mistake.”
“I don’t understand what’s happening. Something’s terribly wrong. Mattressa, are you still there? There’s some kind of mix-up here and I’m being taken to Bellevue. Please meet me there!”