WE WERE POINTED in the wrong direction as he lasered past us. Emily hopped the curb as she U-turned after him. I was on the radio, screaming the recent happenings, when the biker screeched to the left north onto Amsterdam. The biker swung off the street onto the sidewalk and into a city park. It felt like the axle broke as Emily hopped curb number two directly after him.
“I guess this means we’re not maintaining tailing distance anymore!” I yelled as we violently off-roaded on the uneven grass behind the dirt bike.
The rider skidded to a stop beside a city pool. He left the bike and began booking with the money into the trees. I didn’t have time to say, “You’ve got to be shitting me,” as I jumped out after him.
I made it through a break in the thick brush and gulped as I spotted where the guy was headed.
It was the High Bridge pedestrian bridge, which connected Manhattan to the Bronx. Built in the mid-1800s, the thirteen-story narrow stone walkway that spanned the Harlem River had originally been used as an aqueduct that carried the city’s water supply down from upstate. Now it was an abandoned structure just south of the Cross Bronx Expressway that city administrations debated whether they should renovate or tear down.
Motorcycle man swung the bag onto his back, hopped onto some ancient scaffolding, and started climbing. In a moment, he hopped over a break in the razor wire and was hightailing it toward the Bronx over the bridge’s weed-filled cobblestone pavers.
“Call the Bronx!” I radioed my backup. “The Forty-fourth Precinct. The crazy son of a bitch is headed over the High Bridge walkway toward the Bronx!”
“And so’s this one,” I mumbled to myself as I tucked the radio into my pocket and pulled myself onto the scaffolding.
I paused as I hopped down from the fence onto the bridge itself. It was maybe ten feet across, with only flimsy, waist-high cast-iron railings between me and a horrifying fall to my death. Talk about vertigo.
Motorcycle man was going flat out at the other end of the bridge when he shrugged the bag off his back and chucked it. I thought it would hit the river, but I saw it land with a puff of dust on the Bronx side between the Major Deegan Expressway and the Metro North train tracks.
“He tossed it!” I called. “Get somebody across the river and down by the train tracks. The money is next to the Bronx-side tracks!”
When I looked up, I saw the motorcycle man running in a new direction. Directly at me!
He had his jacket off and was grasping something in his hand now. It had wires coming out of it. They seemed to go over his shoulder toward his back.
Bomb!? I thought, drawing my Glock. What the-?
“DOWN! NOW!” I yelled. The guy was a bad listener.
“ON YOUR KNEES!” I yelled.
He kept coming. The sight of him, silently running at me for no conceivable reason, was beyond surreal. I was about to squeeze off a shot, when he did it. The craziest thing of all.
Without pausing, he veered to my left, bounded up onto the low iron railing, and dove without a sound off the bridge.
I think my heart actually stopped. I ran to my left and looked down. The guy was plummeting toward the water when there was a strange bloom of color that at first I thought was an explosion. I thought he’d blown himself up, but then I saw the orange canopy of a parachute.
Son of a bitch! I thought. He hadn’t committed suicide. He’d base-jumped off the bridge. I knew I should have shot him! I debated whether I still should as he sailed up the river.
“Get Harbor and Aviation up!” I screamed. “The son of a bitch just did a James Bond off the bridge. He parachuted off. I repeat. He just parachuted off the bridge!”