That helicopter is back, closer this time, loud enough that I can hear it over the clanky hum of the swamp cooler I installed specifically to mask outside sounds, even though back when I chose this room at the top of the building for my last stand and persuaded them — okay, bribed them, paid them triple up front and all in cash, everyone trying for one more win before it was all over — when I got them to punch big holes in the walls for bulletproof picture windows (the old insulation drifting down five stories into the abandoned playground like tainted pink snow) and replace the tired tar roof with triple-insulated plexiglass, they swore the whole thing would be soundproof, as impervious to noise as it was to weather and fire and whatever else, a solarium bunker — even back then I knew the end was rumbling inexorably nearer, a fact that was confirmed when the work crew just stopped showing up one day, their abandoned tools (a caulk gun, a level, a cordless drill with a broken bit) as bereft in an unfinished corner as the contractor’s useless voicemail message when I tried to ring him, his “We’re sorry but given the circumstances we can’t take on any new fortification jobs. Have a nice day and hang in –” cut off by a robot voice saying the voicemail box is full, the cell phone subscriber is out of range, service is no longer available; and now when the oblong darkness slides across the floor and stays there, I know without looking up from the enveloping thrum that it’s the chopper, its prop shadow flickering round and round like the ghost of a ceiling fan on the old kilim rug I dragged up here to double as floor cover and bedding, and when I finally force myself to tip my head back I can see the Vibram boot soles of the guy they’re sending down the rope toward me, and I wonder in the bright cool cacophony which will make a more persuasive weapon in my hands when he lands: the caulk gun or the drill?
Mickey Revenaugh is a fiction and non-fiction writer with a dual-genre MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College. Her work has appeared in Vice, Cagibi, Cleaver, Chautauqua, and Catapult, among others. Ms. Revenaugh has been a semi-finalist for the American Short Fiction Prize and a finalist for the Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative Nonfiction and the Penelope Niven Award at the Center for Women Writers. In addition to the MFA, she holds a BA in American Studies from Yale University and an MBA from NYU. Ms. Revenaugh lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Online: www.mickeyrevenaugh.com, @mickeyrevenaugh on Instagram, Threads, and X (Twitter).