“Good morning, Robin,” said Good Morning America host Michael Strahan to his co-host sitting on the bright yellow couch.
“I saw that we’ve got Mark Metcalf live in studio, and if the folks at home can see, there are crowds like I’ve never seen before. We’ll cross to George Stephanopoulos who’s out in the crowd because of what we’re calling Metcalfmania!”
“I thought it was Markmania?” Robin questioned. “Either way, it’s crazy here today!”
“First, we’ll get you some weather from wherever you are, and we’ll be back after these messages,” Michael said as he waited for the red light to shut down off the camera. When it was clear he glared at his co-host. “Markmania?” He muttered just loud enough so Robin could hear. “Didn’t you get the memo?”
Mark watched from where the cameras were and turned to the producer who was orchestrating the whole show. “Are they fighting?”
“Always!” She replied. “He’s an idiot and she’s a prima donna. I didn’t say that, you didn’t hear it from me. OKAY PEOPLE! Mark is here,…and seemingly so are the police? What are they doing here?”
“Here to supervise Mr Metcalf and take him back to One Police Plaza when this is all done this morning,” said the lead cop as a dozen heavily armed police fell in behind him.
“Man, can’t you guys just let me be me?” Mark groaned as the producer ushered him towards the couches. He shook both their hands and sat down as the producer counted them back in.
"Thanks Zee," Michael said to the camera. "And now, the man who is literally THE NEWS, Mark Metcalf. Welcome."
"Thanks for having me here today. Good Morning America." Mark smiled and waved. Suddenly the was a massive explosion that shook the building. Mark ran to the large glass window and saw smoke and dust billowing into the air down West 47th Street. The massive crowd panicked like startled cattle. Mark tapped the glass with his knuckle and it showered down like razor sharp rain. He merely brushed it off and charged down the street to see what he could do.
“Need a hand?” Mark asked the guy in the hoodie who was holding up the building.
“Holy crap, you’re Mark Metcalf!” Howard Leach exclaimed, almost gushing like a fanboy as the weight of the building got slightly lighter. “Chronicle of Washington was really good.”
Mark grimaced, mainly from the strain of propping up the massive weight. “I can’t believe I’m meeting THE Impossible Man! I thought you were a gimmick like when Steve Seagal joined the police force. But...I thought you were dead? Or a hoax? Man, you’re real!”
Howard grunted back ignoring the question. “Got any ideas about what we’re gonna do with this building?”
“Is everyone out of it?” Mark asked as his feet sunk into the concrete.
“No idea. I heard the explosion and that was it,” Howard replied.
“You can fly right?” Mark stated. “And since you’re supposed to be dead, people seeing you will be dismissed as trauma. So, go look.”
Howard released his hold on the 33-storey office block and raced inside. He tore through the levels looking for injured people and stragglers opening doors and checking rooms at a blistering pace. He prised four people out of a stuck elevator, kicked out a window, and with them held tight he jumped over to the next door roof. The woman raised her cell phone and Howard gently but firmly crushed it in his hand whilst handing her $100 with his other hand.
“Sorry ma'am,” he said leaping back into the building.
Mark roared in frustration as he could feel the lactic acid churning through his muscles as he kept the building upright. “Come...on!”
Howard landed beside him and took up the strain. “I have an idea. It’s crazy.”
“I saw it once on an Instabook thread,” Howard answered. “The Jenga one.”
Mark groaned under the weight. “Dude, just do it!”
Howard slowly let go and then rammed through the bottom support columns smashing them to powder as he yelled. “Drop it!”
Mark released the 165,000-tonne building and it slammed down with a mighty crunch, concrete dust filling the air, but it stayed standing albeit with a few cracks and a storey shorter. As the dust cleared Mark looked around for Howard but he was gone.
“That was impossible,” Mark said as the crowd swarmed him. “Good job Howard.”
Mark slowly came too as the rapping on his window got louder. Wiping the sleep from his eyes, he saw Howard Leach sitting on the balcony rail of the 82nd floor condo he’d borrowed off Frankie Muniz.
“Hey yourself,” Mark glanced at his watch, 2am. “Um, how’d you find me?”
“Well, when you disappeared before all the cops turned up, I simply followed you. You were busy running and trying to keep yourself from being noticed you didn’t notice me tailing you. You ducked into the car park here. I have felt bad looking into people’s apartments trying to find you.”
“You climbed? I thought you could fly?” Mark welcomed him in. “That was awesome today, by the way. I kinda hate taking all the credit for it but until you tell me you’re not dead I think I’m supposed to keep that secret, right?”
“Yeah thanks, I’m not ready to re-join the world yet. So, you help prop up buildings often?”
“I was simply down the street filming a spot for Good Morning America,” Mark replied. “Seeing as it’s two am, you wanna drink or something?”
“Coke?” Howard asked as he looked around the amazing apartment. “Is this yours?”
“Nah, it’s a loaner from Malcolm in the Middle.” Mark smiled as he opened the giant fridge. “I got every type of Red Bull here along with some weird Mexican mineral water.”
“I’m good, I just needed someone...special to talk to.”
Mark quickly stood up and shut the door. “Um, y’know I’m straight right? I get that a lot from my first role in Death Date Camp. I always have to say I’m not a gay homo.”
Howard looked at Mark. “I meant special as in you held up a building and didn’t even break a sweat.”
Mark stopped and burst into laughter. “Jeez what an idiot I am! Sit, let’s talk. Man, this is surreal that I’m talking to Impossible Man.”
“Not as weird as me being in a movie stars apartment.”
“I promise I won’t go all Kevin Spacey on you,” Mark joked as he opened the fridge and pulled out two bottles of Mexi-water. “Too soon?”
“I’ve been a little out of the loop, so I’ll just nod and smile like I got that joke but I don’t really know what you’re talking about,” Howard sat down on the oversized ebony lounge that welcomed like a hug. Mark wandered over, put the bottles on the table and sat opposite.
“So Impossible Man, what can I do for you?”
“MARK! IT IS SIX!” Gupta Zardari yelled as he barged through the door wearing a white robe. “HAVE YOU SEEN THE TWITTER?” Howard froze like a rabbit as Mark’s agent locked eyes on him. “You are not Mark…but I know you?”
“It’s been real,” Howard hand slapped Mark. “But I better bounce.”
“Howard, Gupta. Gupta, this is Howard.”
“MR. IMPOSSIBLE! I KNEW IT!” Gupta yelled clapping his hands. “Dead my brown behind! Who honestly thinks the world is going to believe a localised meteor storm DURING THE DAY!”
“He’s my agent and a complete vault,” Mark assured Howard. “And why he’s dressed like an Arabic ghost I don’t know. It’s been great to talk, Howard. I haven’t really talked properly to anyone asides from all the media circus I do.”
“You need representation?” Gupta handed Howard his card. “Call me. Please. Your YouTube channel, brilliant.”
“Thanks,” Howard headed for the balcony when he saw three news helicopters buzzing skies. “Damn, I need to get out of here.”
Gupta smiled. “Allow me to show you how useful I can be Mr Impossible! You need an exit, Mark needs to be at Radio City! You will be security!”
“Trust me Howard, he got me through a sea of people dressed as paramedic,” Mark added.
Mark and Howard watched Gupta work his magic as he ordered a special delivery from Macy’s. And within twenty minutes everything that he’d asked for had arrived brought to the door by a smiley delivery boy.
Gupta handed the Latino man four one hundred dollar bills. “The Sultan thanks you for you speed and discretion. May Allah kiss you.”
Gupta slammed the door and placed the items on the table. Howard picked up and looked at what had been laid out. “Brown boot polish, sunglasses, large sized ladies heels, tea towels, bed sheets; what is all this?”
“Back before you were born, there was some clever British reporter who dressed up as an Arab. People thought he was a Saudi sheikh or prince. Nobody questioned it because he looked and acted the part.”
“But I’m not an actor!” Howard protested.
“You, my Impossible friend are going to hide in plain sight. Mark shall be the Sultan of Agrabah and I shall be his translator. Quick, we mustn’t be late.”
And so Mark Metcalf applied the polish and got dressed like Gupta and transformed into the newly appointed The Sultan of Agrabah accompanied by his translator and his bodyguard dressed in a slightly too big black suit exited 482 Park Avenue unbothered and unnoticed. A block from Radio City the limousine pulled to the curb and Howard got out.
“You’re pretty awesome,” Howard told Gupta. “Thanks again guys, I really appreciate it.”
“Any time,” Mark said shaking hands. “Don’t be a stranger.”
“Well if you’re ever in Chicago…” Howard paused as a police car with sirens raced past them. “Okay, I better go.”
And with that Howard ducked down some stairs into the subway and Mark continued onto Radio City for another round of talking to the media.
“How’s my folks?” Mark asked.
“Safe and sound,” Gupta replied as he looked at his new phone. “Your sister has just become friends with Taylor Swift on Twitter and she doesn’t HAVE Twitter friends!”
“Is that a good thing Amber’s tweeting away?” Mark asked as the car pulled into the Radio City VIP parking. "Its bad enough she invented the hashtag #MyMetcalves."