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Pea Soup for the Cynic's Soul

The Harrowing Rescue

Janice sat with her cup of hot coffee, watching the rain come down. It had been raining hard all day and for several days before that. The radio warned of "flash floods," and Janice was wondering if she was safe in her house. There were already a few inches of water in the streets, and the sewers could only handle just so much.

Janice was also concerned about her little daughter, Kimmy, who was awaiting a kidney transplant. Kimmy's one working kidney was failing fast, and if she didn't get a new one soon...well, the prognosis wasn't good. Poor Kimmy already had to endure regular dialysis treatments. Despite her condition, though, Kimmy was always smiling.

"The Smiler" was how the doctors and nurses at the hospital always refered to her. They poked her and prodded her, hooked her up to machines, and yet never managed to keep the smile off Kimmy's face for more than a few brief moments. She was an uplifting sight to see during her regular hospital visits, a poor little girl, dying slowly, yet always in good spirits -- always smiling.

It continued to rain throughout the day and on into the night. At 2:34am (Janice knew the exact time because of the huge alarm clock beside her bed), the phone rang. It was a doctor in Chicago -- a donor had been secured, and it was thought to be a perfect match for young Kimmy! Janice was overjoyed as she ran downstairs and flipped on the outside light to look out. There was only one problem -- the water had risen dramatically during the night and was now lapping right at their front steps. The road, which was several feet lower than their house, looked to be covered in several feet of water.

"I don't know if we can make it!" Janice said over the phone, distraught. "We're having a major flood here, and I don't think we can get out!" The doctor coldly informed Janice that she had 11 hours to get to Chicago. Chicago was 1100 miles away from their small, flooded town. It seemed hopeless.

Near tears, Janice called up Jodi Bunker, the rich old widow who lived in the town and had already arranged to fly little Kimmy to wherever she needed to go on a moment's notice on her private jet.

"Janice," Jodi said in her kind, matronly voice. "Wake up Kimmy and get packed. I don't know how, but you're going to make it to Chicago."

Janice hung up and quickly got young Kimmy out of bed. Despite the lack of sleep, Kimmy was smiling when, three hours later, four men paddled right up to their doorstep in a large canoe.

"Janice, Kimmy?" the man in the front said. "Mrs. Bunker sent us. With most of the town flooded out like this, we're the only way you're going to get to the old Edinburgh Bank building." The men helped Janice and Kimmy (who was still smiling) into the canoe.

"That old bank has been deserted for years," Janice said as they paddled down the street. "What are we going there for?"

"Old Lady Bunker contacted her jet pilots, and they said they knew a guy with a chopper who could get you to the airport to meet them as long as we can find him a place to land. The old bank has a large, flat roof, big enough to land a chopper on. We found the only guy in town who has a key to that old building, and he's going to meet us there to let us up on the roof."

The six of them paddled on through the darkness, until, ahead of them, the water started to recede. They were going uphill now, and the water had not risen all the way to the highest points in the town. Thankfully, the old bank was nearly on top of the highest point in town. A mile or so from the building, the canoe beached itself, and they all got out and walked the rest of the way through the torrential downpour. Janice was shocked at the sight when they got closer.

The entire fire and police departments were out, keeping the area around the bank building clear of the many townsfolk who had braved the storm to see the amazing rescue effort that was underway. In addition to this, the fire department had huge spotlights trained on the top of the four story building, giving the chopper a lighted landing pad.

Janice and Kimmy waited in the back of a police car for the man with the key to the building to show up. An hour later, he still hadn't shown up, and Janice was getting upset. Kimmy, however, was still smiling her sweet, innocent smile.

Finally, the fire department took action. With their battering rams, they broke down the front door to the building and escorted Janice and Kimmy up to the roof. They had to smash down the door to the roof as well, but finally they were standing on the large, flat area.

The firemen lit flares and spaced them around the roof to further aid the chopper pilot in his landing. A huge roar went up from the crowd gathered below when the chopper was spotted. The police, who were in radio contact with the chopper pilot, talked him down onto the wet, water covered roof.

Janice and Kimmy ran to the chopper as the pilot opened the door for them. "Welcome aboard Flight 001 to Brahma, with continuing service to Chicago!" the pilot said with a smile, as the two ladies piled in.

The firemen stood around, waving and beaming smiles all around. The people on the ground roared their approval as the pilot readied his aircraft for departure. Kimmy sat smiling away.

Without warning, the old roof of the condemned building creaked and sagged. The pilot jolted, whipping his head around to see what was the matter. The firemen outside fell over, grappling for the nearest support. The old building sighed and gave up under the strain of all the water and the chopper on its roof. The chopper, the firemen, the roof, and several tons of water plummeted four stories, killing everyone above and below.