At the bark of command from their officer, the four policemen sprang into action, dragging the vagrant to his feet and hurled him towards the sidewalk. “No blocking the roads, look at the crowds, man,” said the officer, gesturing at the ever increasing mass of bodies as they flowed into Times Square. The vagrant just stared at him, dazed and too drunk to respond. I dropped a ten dollar note into his pan and watched him clutch at it, peering at it with fascination, and perhaps, a tinge of suspicion, not knowing whence came this generosity. My friends stared at me, somewhat judgemental, but I ignored them, it wouldn’t matter anyway.
Clint steered us round into the shelter of a small shopfront, it was less packed here, and the people were less rowdy too. All around us party-goers were engaged in conversation, or dancing, or drinking, or just peering around and taking in the sights – the sights of New Year’s Eve at Times Square. Right in front of us rose massive skyscrapers, adorned with dazzling, blinking lights, reaching out from the ground towards a starless sky. I heard the chant begin, starting out thin and incoherent, but quickly gaining strength. “Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven…” People were pointing towards the huge numbers plastered on buildings. “Six, Five, Four,” Even my friends, red-faced from the beer, were counting down excitedly at the top of their lungs.
I was struck by how joyous the mood was, as if everyone expected something wonderful, something magical to happen as the clock struck midnight, this arbitrary second which humanity had somehow collectively ascribed particular meaning to; totally illogical. Hands were waving in the air, bottles of champagne primed and ready to blow, lovers already tightly snuggled in each other’s embrace. I guess no one knew what was going to happen besides me.
“Three, Two” I lifted my head and looked past the blinding outline of the buildings. There, that dark patch in the sky, it would start there.
“One, Happy New Year” The first fireworks shot up into the sky. As if on cue, the rumbling started, and there the sky quickly brightened. In a thunderous flash that drowned out even the biggest fireworks, it appeared. That big, monolithic ship, shaped like a giant dagger, perfectly balanced, floated down from the heavens. A hush descended upon the crowd of onlookers. The ship got closer and there he was, stand in the center of the transport, the big purple man clad in that regal armor. He raised his left hand – it was clad in a fantastic golden glove embedded with gems of various colours, and though I was still thousands of meters away, I could almost hear what was going to happen next.
The man smiled. And pressing his thumb and index fingers together, he snapped.