Paul Scoggins arranged a few things for his part in the proceedings. Ray II was removed from his traveling bag and stuffed into the smallest possible box. Paul could carry this under one arm and never attract a bit of attention. He never did. Out of sheer luck, there was a work light and some cord in a storage area two floors below the roof. Paul made his way to it, and spent the rest of the early morning quietly shuttling equipment to the roof. One piece at a time, in unmarked boxes. Even tested the light before he opened the door to the roof and stepped out. It worked. Lucky Paul. Even more luck: Paul found that he actually had enough extension cord to go from the outlet just inside the door to the opposite side where Ray II was going to go flying. Oh, happy day.
The one thing Ray and Paul had working for them was this: It was indeed April Fool's Day. Theirs wasn't the only prank to be played that day. And while some pranksters did have the patience to wait all day and spring their trap in the afternoon, most went for the fast strike first thing in the morning. This meant that their most suspicious observers would be too busy arranging their own mayhem to see what others were up to. And the patient ones? They'd be too concerned with appearing nonchalant to notice anything. So far, so good. Everything was in place and that meeting on the fourteenth floor was gearing up. Executive types were wandering in with a forced casualness and a great tie. It was a waterhole on the Serengeti, with all the animals in three piece suits. And even without the impending flash of Ray II, they didn't have a clue. It was business as usual.
It was a warm front. Ray was happy. The weather forecast on the 'net showed that by late afternoon the clouds would give way to sun, the temperature would be up and tonight would be beautiful. Just right for dining out, and maybe a stroll under the stars afterward. With that good news firmly in place, Ray checked his more mundane messages and work requests. There were only a few, but enough to keep him jumping if he let them. Not today, folks. Things to do, places to go, people to panic. Scanning down the work list, he picked the job on the lowest floor first. The better to be seen there when the time came. It was a simple job, maybe twenty minutes if it went badly. Ten if it went good. Either way, it gave Ray plenty of time to schedule the jobs on the appointments calendars of all concerned to keep him in the public eye all morning. Except for that fifteen minute window that would allow him to catch Ray II, get him hidden, and move on to his next job. A piece of cake. Crumb cake, but cake none the less. By ten o'clock, this place should be a mad house. Would some one call the police? That would be a first, and they'd be assured of the prize. If they weren't arrested. Would Barbara post his bail?
Paul was standing at the door on the roof, and realized there was a problem. A big problem. He knew he could use this door for his escape, but the earphones were wired up to hook in by the other door, closest to the drop area. Certainly no time to re-wire the earphone line. He'd have to use both doors. The earphones would have to come out of the original door, but he would still have to make his exit through the other door on the other side of the roof. He would have to drop the dummy, yank the earphone cord, close and lock the first door, then run across the roof with the light and the cord, bundling up the cord as he went. And that light would be hot. He'd then have to get through the other door and down at least a floor or two before anyone came up the other way and saw him. Oh, boy. It's never easy, is it? Paul liked a challenge, but he also liked a little time to play with it. There was no time, but he was up to the challenge. He had it figured out. And it could work.
ORIGINAL FICTION: "Climbers" (Chapter Four)