The Reunion Show – part 19
By now, you know the rules.
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My phone rang again.
“SCOTT!” I heard clicking and static as the plane got closer and
“Mike! Mike! I’m—“
BLAMM!!!! The airplane flew right into the other tower near a
corner of the building, and the blast carried through the other face of
the structure. I stood there with my mouth wide open, phone next
to my ear. People around me were screaming and backing away from
some of the debris that had been blown away from the building.
There was no sound on the
phone. “Scott?” I said, my voice wavering. “Scott, are you
there!” I started sniffing uncontrollably as the tears
flowed. “SCOTT!! SCOTT ANSWER ME!!!” A few people
watched me as I stood there screaming into the phone, looking up at the
twin towers, crying almost hysterically.
I dropped to my knees and sat on my
heels with my face in my hands. A stranger slowly walked up to me
and put her arm around my shoulder. She was crying too. I
sobbed and shook like a baby in her arms. As I did my phone
slipped from my hands and hit the ground. She picked it up and
handed it back to me. I looked at it—it was blank. I tried
turning it on. Nothing. In a rage I screamed out and threw
it against the building next to me, shattering it.
I kept on crying, keening
actually. My insides hurt. I couldn’t breathe. I felt
like the bottom had dropped out in my life. I didn’t want my life
I knew Scott wasn’t going to be
* * *
* * *
To this day I have no idea who the
woman was who stood by me, holding me, on that street. “Baby,
it’s gonna be alright. You just hush now.” I know she was
trying to be comforting but I tuned her out, looking up at the burning
buildings. I don’t know how long I stood there watching when I
spotted something falling from the floors above where the planes had
“Oh. My. God.” I
whispered. She looked up to see what I was watching and her hand
flew to her mouth.
We were seeing people falling.
Can you imagine the horror of making
I think that my mind sort of shut
down at that point. I took my eyes away but my feet were rooted
to the sidewalk. I couldn’t move. I’m not sure if I really
wanted to move and I have no idea how long I stood there. At that
moment I wanted to be with Scott. I’d rather be in the building
with him then out here.
What got my attentionfinally was a
rumbling in my chest. I looked around puzzled and then back to
the buildings. That’s odd, I thought. My mind was playing
tricks on me. Then suddenly I realized, along with the people
around me, what was happening.
The second tower to be struck was
beginning to collapse.
Sheer, basic instinct took over my
body and I turned and ran. I ran as fast as I fuckin’ could back
toward my hotel. My knee was killing me and it slowed me down a
bit, but not too much. People all around me were screaming and
running in the same direction. The sound was absolutely
tremendous. Living in the south I’d heard a tornado roaring
through my neighborhood. But this sound was unbelievable.
It sounded like a thousand freight trains colliding at once.
I had run about five blocks when the
dust cloud hit me. I turned at the first cross street I came to
and ran in that direction.
It didn’t matter.
At the block ahead of me I saw the
dust cloud billowing around the corner and heading in my
direction. A bunch of us were trapped and before we knew it, it
was like a brown-out, or a dark gray fog.
I couldn’t see a fuckin’ thing and I
was having a hard time breathing. I held the bottom of my shirt
up to my mouth. All I could hear was the sound of thunder echoing
around and through the canyons of buildings that make up
Manhattan. My eyes were burning and I kept having to blink and
squeeze them shut. I
could vaguely make out a shop or
storefront of some sort and ran in that direction. I never saw
the fire hydrant. I smashed my hurt knee into it and the momentum
from my running spun me around. I lost my footing and was rolling
across the sidewalk.
The last thing that I saw before the
whole world went black was the wall of a building.
I came to and thought that I had
woken up in hell. You could barely see a goddamn thing and it was
like a dust storm. The air was brown and orange and there was
dust and dirt everywhere. Two men had apparently picked me up,
each one taking an arm across their shoulder, and ran with me.
Later I found out that I had rolled into a building where an exclusive
men’s clothier was housed, and two of the patrons came out to help me.
My head was bouncing on my shoulders
and it throbbed like a mother fucker. I tried to help run but I
couldn’t. I passed out again.
When I came to, the three of us were
nearing a hospital, and then I heard the sound again. That low
rumbling again. The guys stopped and we turned to look in the
direction of the towers but had a hard time seeing anything because of
the dust cloud. You could make out the top of the first tower
that was struck as it started to drop. “Oh God,” I muttered and
passed out again.
I woke up some time later in a
hospital bed, an i.v. in my arm and my head wrapped up in gauze.
People were running everywhere. Nurses. Doctors.
Interns. Security people. The whole place was a mass of
My head hurt.
I closed my eyes and drifted off to
I woke up again later calling Scott’s
name. I remember a couple of nurses and maybe an intern or a
resident coming into the room I was in. One of the nurses put a
syringe into my i.v. and I drifted off to sleep again.
Scott sounded so far away. I
had to get to him. I tried so hard to open my eyes. Finally
I did. I was in a hospital.
“Mr. Logan.” I looked over to
the voice. A man was standing there gently shaking my arm.
“Now we’re talking,” he said with a slight smile. “Come on Mike,
The fog slowly lifted from my
head. Very slowly.
“Where am I,” I groaned.
“You’re at Saint Vincent’s. I’m
Dr. Sheffield. You banged your head pretty well, sir.”
I weakly nodded.
“You have a slight concussion.”
“Head hurts,” I mumbled.
“Yes. We can give you something
for the pain.”
Anything he said after that was just
muttering. I was miserable, emotionally. I didn’t care
about a fuckin’ headache.
“When can I leave?”
He looked at me a second. “You
should probably stay the night.”
I shook my head. “No. I
need to leave.”
“You’re sure you want to do that
sir?” he asked.
I looked him dead in the eye.
“I have to get out of here.”
He slowly nodded. “Okay.
I’ll have the discharge papers in a bit. In the meantime, here’s
a prescription for that head. I’d suggest that you not do any
flying soon but you couldn’t do that anyway.”
“Why not? What’s happening out
“It’s looking like terrorists have
hijacked four planes. Two of them were flown into the World Trade
Center, one flew into the Pentagon and the last one crashed somewhere
in Pennsylvania. The FAA has closed all airports until further
I was stunned and my mouth dropped
open. Scott was dead because some bunch of fuckin’ crazies hated
this country….I couldn’t even think.
“Um. I lost someone in the
towers...” My voice stalled out. “How…what do I do?”
His face dropped a bit. “At
this point nobody really knows. The Port Authority and Giuliani
are trying to assess…” and I shut him out.
About an hour later a nurse came in
to remove the i.v. “Your discharge papers have been signed.
You’re free to go, Mr. Logan.”
Free from what, I thought. I
wasn’t free from misery. I wasn’t free from loneliness. My
soul felt empty. It was like someone had taken vacuum and sucked
out my insides. I had that constant feeling of a lump in my
throat. You remember when you were a kid and your mom or
dad yelled at you about something, then right before you started crying
you felt a huge lump that hurt at the back of your throat? That’s
how I felt the rest of that God awful day.
As I limped out of the hospital I
found out where to go to try and find…remains. Christ. This
was all happening so fast. Remains, for cryin’ out loud. I
had just watched my partner die. Along with thousands of other
I was a complete basket case as I
wandered around the streets of Lower Manhattan trying to find the place
to register Scott’s name. The area was like a war zone. My
head hurt so I sat down on a street corner. A stranger walked up
“Are you…okay?” he asked, putting his
hand on my shoulder. It’s amazing, you always think of New
Yorkers as short tempered and impatient, with no time for anyone else.
Not on that day.
My mouth turned down like I was about
to cry. “I’m trying to find where you can register…the
names….” I couldn’t finish my sentence.
“Hey, c’mere pal. Follow Lou.”
I looked up to see who Lou was.
He was this great big burly guy, older, probably in his late fifties,
dressed in construction-type clothes. My instant thought was
‘grandpa.’ He helped me off the curb and walked me the five
blocks to the place I was looking for.
When I got there I turned and looked
at him. “Thanks, Lou,” I said. And then I lost it. I
started crying again, which didn’t really help the pain in my
head. Lou held me as I cried. This complete stranger held
me as I grieved. I clapped him on the back and thanked him again.
As I turned to go into the building
he asked, “You gonna be okay?”
“No. I doubt it.”
Once I registered Scott’s name I left
and headed north. I needed to get out of there. I couldn’t
take it anymore. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t fly;
who knows how long the airports would be shut down. Hell at this
point all I wanted to do was get out of the city. They weren’t
gonna find Scott. It was a lost cause. I felt horrible
because I felt I had given up on him. At
one point I was pissed a little
bit at him. Why in the hell would he leave me and go into the
World Trade Center without me? It didn’t make sense. But
then again, nothing at that time did. I had to leave New York
City. And I had to do it, alone.
Since air travel was out of the
question I tried going to the train station. I was able to buy a
ticket but I couldn’t leave until Thursday morning. I had
actually checked the buses, but it was a longer wait.
On Wednesday I distracted myself by
volunteering near Ground Zero with a group that was preparing food,
sandwiches, drinks, whatever for the people helping out with the rescue
efforts. I felt that if I was near as I could be to Scott I might
feel better. I didn’t feel better, just distracted. My God,
the horror of everything. I remembered seeing people falling to
their deaths; firemen going into the towers as people from the
buildings filed out. Every time I saw a fireman I got choked up.
Thursday couldn’t come quick
enough. I was still such a head case that I had forgotten that I
didn’t have a cell phone any longer. I didn’t think of things
Wednesday night I went to our hotel
and packed all of our bags. Every time I picked up an article of
Scott’s clothing I held it to my nose, trying hard to smell what I
It was agony.
Thursday morning the bell captain got
our luggage. I was the only one checking out. As I signed
the credit card receipt the man at the desk was saying something.
I don’t know what. I looked at him blankly. I saw his mouth
moving but no words were coming out.
The hotel shuttle took me to Grand
Central. Any other time I would have been awestruck by such
Today it was my gateway to home.
I had gotten a room on the
train. I needed to be alone. I probably shouldn’t have been
alone with the state my mind was in, but I needed to be away from
people. I sat there staring out the window as the world slipped
away. I couldn’t cry anymore. My head was hurting a little
bit. I took the bandage off. I remember thinking how stupid
it was to have on one in the first place. Just like years before
I took a look at the bottle of pain
killers in my
hand. I thought, it would be so easy right now to down this whole
bottle and just go to sleep. But then I knew when I got to heaven
Scott would kick my ass. I had to smile at that. I took the
prescribed amount and laid my head back to rest. When I woke up the train had stopped
for it’s layover in Washington D.C. I had to wait there six hours
before it left to go to Atlanta. I wished Scott was there.
I thought about calling the place where I’d registered his name but
remembered I didn’t have a phone. It was smashed to bits.
Finally, Friday morning the train
pulled into the station in Atlanta. As I waited for a taxi I
looked at all of the luggage. Those suitcases had been everywhere
with us. Alaska. The Mississippi. All of the places
we had gone. I remember thinking, Logan, you’re nuts to carry on
Scott’s name for me.
Oh Scotty! I thought as we pulled
away from the station. I started crying silently. The cab
driver looked at me. “Where to?” he asked softly. I gave
him the address. “Are you visiting Atlanta?”
“I just came back from New York City.”
“Oh.” What else was there to
My heart was killing me as the taxi
pulled up in front of our house. I felt empty inside. No
words can describe it so forgive me if I don’t try. The driver
helped me in with the suitcases, I paid him and he left. Slowly I
looked around at all of the work that Scott and I had done on the
house, making it beautiful again.
Numbly I went upstairs, took some
more medicine, and laid down. I lay there crying until I finally
I woke up and it was getting dark
outside. I shuffled downstairs and turned on a couple of lights,
then headed into the kitchen to fix something to eat. Not that I
felt like eating at all. The answering machine was
blinking. Fourteen messages, huh? Oh well. Can’t deal
with that now. I fixed myself a grilled cheese and a Coke, then
sat down in the den.
Flipping on the television I wound up
on the celebrity tribute where they were raising money for the victims
of 9/11. There were celebrities taking calls and a bunch of songs
were performed in the studio. But they were pussy songs, I
remember thinking. What a bunch of sappy bullshit! I was
angry. Some bunch of anti-American assholes had killed Scott,
along with thousands of others, and they’re playing these slow,
Fuck that! I wanted to hear
“Born in the USA” or “Little Pink Houses” or "Proud To Be An
American." Something to get
people to their feet in anger and pride!
Then came the part where they showed
the different countries around the world observing a minute or two of
silence. Complete strangers in other countries, even countries
that hated the United States, grieved for us. That killed
me. I lost it and started bawling around my sandwich. I put
my face in my hands and sobbed like a baby. My heart was ripped
out. My soul felt empty. I couldn’t be alone. Not
I picked up the phone and dialed my
parents. Dad answered.
“Mike?” he said, sounding exasperated.
“Daddy..” was all I said. I was
an absolute wreck.
“My God are you alright.”
“I’m…I’m…okay. Scott didn’t….he
didn’t….he's gone....I’m alone…will you please come over?” I know
I must’ve sounded like a five year old, but I had never experience that
kind of loss.
“We’re on our way.” I clicked
off the phone and sat there watching the horrific images of destruction
as the planes crashed into the Trade Center. Then the one image
of the South Tower starting to collapse and the dust and debris rolling
through the streets of New York. The people running for
safety. I sat there transfixed wondering where was Scott when all
this happened. Was he hurt initially? Did he know what was
Did he know I was trying to get to
I was still crying when the phone
rang. I couldn’t talk to anyone and I started hitting the machine
with my hands. Just then I heard someone on the front
porch. Thank God, my parents were here. I left the kitchen
to open the door for them and I heard a “beep” from the answering
“Mike, it’s me.” I spun around at the
sound of Scott’s voice. “Man where are you? I tried calling
you on your cell—“ and the connection ended. “Tuesday, 9:12 a.m.”
from the answering machine lady.
I heard the front door knob rattle
behind me and the machine beeped again. “Oh man Mike, I’m scared
man.” You could hear his voice wavering. “If you get this
message…God I hope you call the house…can’t get through your
cell. Oh my GOD!!—“ and the connection ended. Again.
Tuesday, 10:05 a.m.” The first tower collapse. I was in
shock. I didn’t even think to call the house phone. Things
were just so fuckin’ crazy.
The machine beeped again.
“Logan. I love you.” He was breathing heavy. “I just
saw you and you disappeared! I lost you in the dust cloud.
I could have sworn I saw you go down this street. God DAMMIT
where are you.” How could he see…”Tuesday, 10:08 a.m.”
I heard a key in the door as I stared
at the machine. “Mike, I don’t know where to find you.” At
this he was crying. I started crying too. “Just know that
if you get this message go back to the hotel. I love you.
I’ll be waiting for you there.” The machine read off the
time. “Tuesday, 10:45 a.m.” That was after the second
collapse, I thought as I heard the front door open.
I turned around and thought I’d have
a heart attack.
I couldn’t move. God was
playing a trick on me. My mind was still fucked from the
medicine. I know it was my dad but it looked like…
“Logan.” He said.
It was Scott. I stood
there. I couldn’t move. My eyebrows started doing that
crazy thing they do when I cry. My lips quivered. I thought
I was all cried out but I was wrong.
“Scott?” I whispered. I started
to walk towards him and it felt like the house was getting
longer. I didn’t think I’d ever get there. He ran up to me
and grabbed me.
“Oh God, Logan!” He was bawling
and I was stunned. I had my arms around him but I couldn’t say
anything. This wasn’t happening.
Slowly, or it seemed slowly, it sank
in. I held him tight and kept saying “Oh God” over and
over. I wanted to climb into him. I wanted to melt myself
into his body. I couldn’t let him go! We stood there crying
for what seemed like hours, then I stepped back to look at him.
Nobody ever looked so good. I held his face and kissed him, then
I hugged him again.
“I thought you were dead,” I repeated
over and over. When I looked up my parents were coming into the
house. They were shocked and came over to hold us. We were
all blubbering like idiots.
After about ten minutes of crying
with joy I sat down on the stairs, taking Scott with me. We each
had an arm around the other one. I wasn’t letting him go.
“What in the hell happened?
Where were you?” I asked.
“Oh my God! When I called you
to wake you up I was downstairs buying a newspaper—“
“A newspaper! Say what?!” I was
shocked. “I thought you said you were at Windows.”
“No, I asked if you wanted to eat
there for breakfast.”
“Right, but you were singing that
damn song when I asked where you were,” I said.
“What song?” Mom asked.
“Top Of The World,” we replied in
unison. I continued, “I assumed that you were already up there
waiting for me.”
“No. No, no, no.” The
tears kept rolling down his cheeks and wiping at his face with his
upper arm. “I think on the phone I said something like, ‘well,
not quite.’ I was in the lobby as you bolted through and out the
doors. I called your name but you didn’t answer.”
I remembered. “Oh hell, I
thought somebody said Mister
Logan, not Logan.”
“No babe, that was me.” He
smiled. “I’ll tell you what, man, I’ve never seen you run faster
in my life.”
Turning to Mom and Dad I said, “When
he called I thought he was in the Trade Center as the plane hit.
I saw it hit from our balcony. And I had no clue which building
the restaurant was in so I just hauled ass down there.”
“Our hotel was about a dozen blocks
or so from Ground Zero,” Scott said. By now that’s the moniker
that the World Trade Center had been given. “My God, he ran so
fast I couldn’t find him. I wasn’t sure which street he went
“And that’s after I busted my knee
too. I went down West Broadway, by the way.” I squeezed him
to me again. I still couldn’t believe he was here.
Alive. “When I got down to the Trade Center my phone started
ringing. I had dropped it on my way off the terrace and thought
it might be broken.” At this I started tearing up again. “I
saw the second plane coming in as Scott was saying ‘Mike, Mike.’
Then it smashed into the South Tower. The phone went dead.”
“Oh man. I was trying to tell
you that I was looking for you. The connection must have died.”
“Please,” I said to him, “don’t say
the word ‘died’ right now.” They all looked somberly at me.
Scott continued his story. “I
was running around trying to find you but I couldn’t, and you weren’t
answering your phone—“
“The phone quit working. I got
mad and threw it against a building. Which was stupid of me.”
“Then when the South Tower started to
collapse I started running. I saw you,” he said, turning to
me. “Logan, I saw you running with the crowd. You were
about a block ahead of me and I was screaming your name but it was just
so damned loud. I
thought I saw you running into a side street
but then the cloud blinded me.”
“Yeah, that wasn’t good. I was
running to some kind of shop and smashed my knee, again, into a fire
hydrant. I flipped over and hit my head on the building.”
“Oh Mike,” my mom said.
“Luckily, two guys were in there and
they helped me to a hospital.”
“Saint V’s.” Scott said.
“How’d you know?” I turned to him.
“Man, I checked every place I
could. Saint V’s just happened to be the last place and you had
already checked yourself out. They wouldn’t tell me details about
why you were in there though.”
“Oh my God,” Dad said.
“Dad, it was horrible. Not only
did I think I had witnessed his death,” my voice cracked at this point,
“but to watch those poor, poor people who jumped. I’ll never get
that image out of my head. Never. God, and then think of
the firemen.” The tears were rolling again at that. “I
found a place with the help of Lou—“ and I smiled at the memory.
“Who’s Lou?” Scott asked.
“Oh, during one of my basket case
moments" I sniffed "I sat down on some street corner and this older man
came up and asked if I was okay. He helped me find he place to
register Scott’s name in case…any remains were found.”
“Oh, Mike,” Scott said, crushing me
against him. “I called so many times on your cell and even left
messages here, thinking you’d check the house voice mail.”
“God, man, I was…well, I was out of
my mind. How did you get home?”
“I rented a car.”
“You’re kidding me.”
“No. I went to the hotel and
you had checked out already. Logan, I swear I was always one step
I kind of laughed and shook my
Mom came over to us and grabbed us
both. “I’m just so glad that you’re both home.
Alive!” She held us like that for a minute then stood back.
“Well, would anyone like something to eat?”
“I’m starving,” Scott and I
said. We both laughed and walked off to the kitchen, arm in arm.
One heartbeat. Different names.
Well, the year’s 2005. Scott
and I are still together. Surprise, surprise! The horrors
of 9/11 and what we each personally went through only strengthened our
been together for eight years now and honest to God I have never been
at more peace in my life and in my soul than during the time we’ve
shared so far.
There are lots of things we want to
do in life. Since we have plenty of money I decided a couple of
years ago to go to law school. I want to do pro-bono work for
people who are getting screwed by bad U.S. Supreme Court decisions,
like the one about eminent domain. But don’t get me started
because I’ll never shut up.
Scott started singing barbershop
with me but after a couple of years we both quit. We always are
looking into trying new things in life, whether it’s hiking a different
mountain or possibly opening up a restaurant. Who knows.
Anything’s possible with us.
Because we have each other.
One hear beat. Different names.
God I’m such a sap!
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* * *
Read this part or I’ll kick your ass.
Alright guys, I wanted to dedicate
this last chapter of The Reunion Show to Nick, Michael, Don and “John
Walsh.” Especially Nick, because he puts up with all of my
e-mails and yentering. LOL. All four guys have written
awesome stories and their style, as well as their tomes, have motivated
me to write this down.
Lot’s of you have asked, hey Mark,
how much of this story is true. Well, Mike’s history is my
history. The times growing up, the musicals.
Everything. My music is in here, obviously. (Do I
hear…howler monkeys???) The things that Scott’s character did
while I was growing up actually happened to me. The way I banter
back and forth with people is exactly like the way Mike does. I
honestly believe that if you met me on the street you would recognize
Mike from this story.
Obviously there was never a Reunion
Show. This is just a story. I got the idea about ten years
ago when MTV did a Real World where they put about 6-7 people in a
house for two weeks leading up to their ten-year reunion. That
concept stayed in my head for a long time. Then I watched parts
of Real World San Diego and I remember thinking that the guy Brad was
really hot. I thought, hell, what if I was put in that situation
and started falling for a guy, he was falling for me, how would we
handle it, yadda, yadda, yadda. Different ideas in this story
have stemmed from that, like Scott making Mike the cd to get his point
across to him without coming out of the closet completely.
Ironically, I’m really not an MTV fan, I just happened to catch those
shows while flipping through channels.
Oddly enough there are songs that I
hear from time to time and I think, hey, if there was a movie playing
this song in the back ground, what kind of dialogue would be happening
right now. What would have led the characters up to this point,
etc. Hell, maybe I was meant to write screen plays. Or
direct. Yeah. Right.
I’ve had an incredible time writing
this but the hardest thing was how to handle the 9/11 sequence. I
tried to portray it as accurately as possible and I know that it stirs
up memories. Unfortunately I think that too many people have
become complacent again, and have forgotten. Personally, I wish
every news telecast would start and end their broadcast week with
footage from the attack.
Thank you all so much for your kind
words and compliments, and your encouragement. I hope to be
writing another story soon, and I might even be able to collaborate
with another author in the future. I’m keeping my fingers crossed
on that because I think it’ll be cool.
Anyway, take care and God bless!