I reach the World Trade Center with 5 minutes to spare. Running up the initial walkway of the South Tower, I go inside the building and make my way to the elevator, coffee in tow. Crammed with at least 10 other people, I hit the button for the 80th floor and listen to the dull elevator music.
With each floor being stopped at, I look at my watch. Crap, I think. 8:30 glares at me from my timepiece. I'm late.
Finally, the moving room reaches my floor. With an exhausted sigh, I punch my time card and head to my desk. The clock on the wall reads 8:34. Great.
"Hi ya John!" I turn instinctively to my co-worker and friend's voice.
"Hey! What've you been up to Dave?"
"I should be asking you that exact question. What've you been up to, walking in here four minutes late?" He gives his characteristic sarcastic smile and lowers himself into his office chair. He lays his weathered hands upon his round belly and laughs deep and hearty.
I also settle down, putting the briefcase on my desk and throwing my jacket over the back of my chair.
"The wife made breakfast, how could I say no?" I throw back.
"You've got a real fine girl with you John."
Dave pulls down his usual sweater vest and redistributes himself in the chair. In his early fifties, you could tell he was on his way to becoming a short, large grandpa. His eyelids lay heavily on his cheekbones and over all you could tell he was getting a bit soft. His eyes were growing a darker shade and his thick head of hair was slowly graying and balding. But don't let his appearance trick you. Under all of that skin lays a joker. He was a class clown through and through. If you found a tack on your chair, you can guess who in the office did it.
Logging into the work's software, I search for the advertisement I am working on. There is supposed to be an assembly later today about God-knows-what and the boss man told us to get right to work.
A normal office day would include humming machines, busy printers and the exhausted footsteps of others. Except, there was a total stillness that came over my co- workers and maybe even the rest of the world. Like we were all holding our breath. For what we had no idea. I look at the clock, puzzled, thinking that it can possibly tell me something I did not know. 8:46.
"Oh my god."