Tear The Roof Off, Part II

Part I can be found here.  Note that there’s some strong language in this story.

That shaking wasn’t just from the people jumping to the beat.  Thirty seconds into the song, I realized that I could feel it coursing up through my fingers.  My computer was hopping slightly on the table, dancing around in little circles from the vibrations coursing through the club.  “Tear the roof off!” broke in the chorus, and I actually looked upward.  Even as the song switched to the bridge, the vibrations weren’t dying off.

The door to my booth was thrown open, and I turned to see Titian, his perfect hair mussed for the first time and his eyes wide.  “Kill it!” he screamed at me.

I stared back, uncomprehending.  I had never seen a single hair of Titian’s out of place, and now they were all askew.  The world had to be ending.  “What?” I stammered stupidly.

“The song!” he yelled back at me.  “Something’s going wrong!  The whole place is cracking up!”  One of his hands stabbed accusingly at the ceiling.  Following the finger, I looked up, and was shocked to see bits of sand falling down, raining on the unaware crowd below.

I threw my hands on the master switch, the one that I never touched, the switch that I usually had a piece of duct tape over so the newbie DJs wouldn’t completely drop the music by mistake while they were cavorting around in the booth.  With a swift yank, I pulled the switch all the way to the bottom of the board.  The music cut out with a shrill screech.

Down below the booth, the crowd came to a confused halt, conscious thought returning to the throng with an unwelcome jerk.  Almost immediately, cries of dismay began filtering up to the booth.  I knew that bottles would soon follow.  I looked back at Titian, not sure what to do next.  Both of our eyes tracked upward to the ceiling.

Unfortunately, TItian’s alert had come too late.  More sand was falling down, now with increasing frequency.  I looked back at my boss, and in a flash of insight realized that he was just as lost as I was.  “We have to get people out of here,” I said hoarsely.  “If it falls, it will take them all out with it.”

Titian nodded, seeing the problem, but he still stood motionless.  I yanked off the headphones and shoved past him.  Outside the booth was an old fire alarm.  I had always scoffed at it, claiming that it was probably just a prop put up by the owners to make us feel more at ease.  As I yanked down on the handle with all my strength, I prayed that my jokes weren’t true.

For a split second, nothing happened, and my heart leapt into my throat.  Oh god, I’m going to die in a shitty nightclub.  But then, the shrill alarms cut through the silence, and the old, rusty sprinklers on the ceiling erupted into showers of water, pouring down on the screaming and indignant crowd.

Titian and I stood on the stairs, he hiding inside the booth to protect his damn hair and me out under the pouring water, uncaring.  We watched the patrons stream out of the club.  “Well, tonight’s a bust,” he commented.

I wasn’t really listening.  My eyes were on the ceiling.  “Does it look like it’s still cracking?” I asked, staring upward.  Before Titian could answer, the question was resolved; a large chunk of concrete, the size of a watermelon, landed two feet away from me on the stairs.

“Shit!” I cursed, and sprinted for the door myself.  I didn’t look back; if Titian had any sense, he would get out, and if he didn’t, it really wouldn’t be too big of a loss.  As I stepped outside, however, I turned to see him behind me.  I guess that his legs can move when he really needs to, the roach.

We stood on the sidewalk, surrounded by complaining clubgoers, and stared up at the building.  From the outside, several large cracks were evident, and I could see them slowly growing and spiderwebbing by the minute.  I don’t know if it was the near-death experience, the slowly growing realization that I was about to become jobless, or just the humor of the situation, but I all of a sudden couldn’t hold in my laughter.  It came out in an unattractive snort, bursting through my nose as I doubled over.

Titian glared at me.  “What’s so funny, shithead?  There goes our jobs!”

I smiled back at him through the laughter, tears eking out of my eyes.  “Tear the roof off!” I gasped out.  “That song was a warning!”

I slowly managed to regain control, but as we waited for the fire trucks to arrive, TItian silently fuming and me still stifling the occasional giggle, we watched as the roof of the building slowly caved in.

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