because it isn't like it is on TV, where we bust down doors with our shoulders and run through the flames just to scoop everyone up in one dramatic sweep as if everyone on this planet is as light as a load of laundry—and I don't give a shit what any of them tell you because there's ain't a Jake alive who hasn't come damn near close to pissing themselves every goddamn time they're bullshitting around the pumper without a care in the world and they hear that box echo up and down the station and you realize how real and awful and tragic this world can sometimes be; and that's the reason why so many of us came out on our Kelly Days: not because there was so many "poor" people trapped at the top of both these fucking towers but because those are your brothers working with 3 million tons of swollen, melting metal above them and all you want to do is do everything you can to get them out from under there, so in those last few seconds while I could still look around and see the faces of my brothers and taste the ash and the soot in the back of my throat–and I promise you, you start to miss tasting the shit when the weight of a 110-story building is pressing into your chest and there's nothing left to for you to breathe—as I heard those first loud, booming cracks of steel and concrete slabs and the twenty-foot windows blew out all around me and as the ceiling of the lobby and the floor joists above them disintegrated and fell on top of me like snow or the crumbs from an asbestos-frosted cookie and I had only the shortest of seconds to take one last gasp of air before every inch of life and humanity was sucked from my body, I couldn't stop thinking about how absolutely fucking terrified I was and now matter how hard I tried I couldn't force myself to think about the things we'd like to imagine that we'd think about before we died, like the way our wives used to bite their lower lip and look at us, or of the first ear-piercing whines our daughters whined before we held their little hairy-and-pale bodies in the crooks of our arms, or of sitting next to our fathers in section 241 of The Meadowlands on that windy-as-shit January afternoon when Simms hit Manuel in the back of the end zone, or of our mother's shrimp scampi, or of everyone else we never got the chance to say goodbye to: no, right before it was all over, we cannot think of anything but Downtown Oakwood, and that if it were early enough and we had stopped into the corner store to pick up a gallon of milk so our oldest daughters don't bitch about not having any for her coffee (and in the back of your mind, you're wondering what the hell had happened between the years between her cereal-eating and her coffee-drinking) before coming home and going to bed right at the exact moment that our wives are waking up and getting ready for work, there would be no one around and, with the only noise being the faint buzzing of the neon green sign on top of the bagel store across from the train station and the only thing moving would be the faint streetlight flickering above your head it would be hard for you to remember your old neighborhood as anything but a fucking ghost town; it'd been a ghost town for years and you took the whole fucking thing for granted.

-C.V. Vini, Rescue 5