La Cronica Aburrida

Capitulo Tres:

 Bilborekin dugun lourarik ederrenetako bat.

 6:45 am
November 9, 1997

The Emergency Services Unit of the New York City police are racing to discover the hideout of the terrorists who have abducted a group of high-school kids from the United Nations school. These are the sons and daughters of various ambassadors and other inter-governmental functionaries who work at the U.N. The terrorists are a small international band, made up of two Germans, six Mexicans and one Cuban. They are demanding the release of a group of prisoners being held in american jails as political prisoners. If their demand is not met, they will blow up the students. The ESU have only 30 minutes to solve this crisis. We have only 30 minutes to get to Bilbao.

 We're on the SociBus traveling north from Madrid to Bilbao. It's late Sunday night, and we're watching the on-board movie, which is a seventies american tv show, one-hour long, with the commercials removed. So far, the ESU team has rescued a would-be jumper from the 40th floor of a building under construction, saved a teenage boy who got himself trapped ontop of an elevator car after his friends dared him to try it, and saved a teenage couple from the East River when their car plunged over the embankment while they were having sex in the front seat. She bumped against the gear-shift, pushing it into neutral, and the car shot into the drink. 

The terrorists first hijacked the school-bus that takes the U.N. kids home. Once the bus was loaded with the students, no-one having noticed the new driver, the driver, the German, stopped to pick up his associate, the other German, a woman, who was hiding behind a mailbox and carrying an Uzi in her handbag. She pulls the gun on the students who freeze in terror, except for the son of the Panamanian ambassador, who immediately tosses his wallet out the bus window. The abductors drive the bus to a waterfront warehouse in Brooklyn where they meet up with the rest of their group. They drive the bus up and inside a semi-truck trailer which has been wired with explosives and hooked to a timer. The bus full of students is locked inside. Like Hansel and Gretel, the Panamanian youth has been tossing wallets out the window all along the way. With the help of various winos and a few good responsible citizens, the police soon have a clear trail to the terrorists' hide-away.

 For our part, we're about to get to Bilbao very late. It's a six hour bus trip and we tried to catch the 4pm bus in Madrid which would have gotten us to Bilbao at 10pm. Due to a combination of train and metro connections required to reach the bus station and not knowing exactly where the station was, we got to the station just after the 4pm bus had left for Bilbao. However, on the metro, headed for the area where the bus station is located, we asked a couple people for advice. The woman next to us, not only gave us explicit directions, but she got off the metro with us, walked us to the next metro station, got on the metro with us again, rode with us to the stop nearest the bus station, and then took us by the arm and walked us all the way there. I didn't realize until after she had left, that, as Lillian explained to me, she was on her way to Atocha metro station, which would have been the next stop on the line for her. I have found it incredible the way that people here have been so helpful and thorough in making sure that we don't get lost.

 The ESU, following the wallet-trail have now surrounded the warehouse where the kids are being held and are just about to storm the barricades. They must hurry because they only have 12 minutes left, as we can see from the LED's flashing on our screen every few minutes. I can see the lights of Bilbao in the distance. The police burst from their hiding places and in a horrible storm of machine gun fire and hand- grenades the terrorists are all killed and the truck with the bus and kids sealed inside is miraculously still intact, but the clock is still ticking. We are only three minutes from tragedy. The ESU have no time to figure out the bomb mechanism and disarm it. They have no choice, so they must cut a hole in the roof of the truck and another in the roof of the bus, without disturbing the motion detectors connected to the bomb. With barely a minute to spare, they manage to do just that, extracting all of the students from their hellish captivity. The Panamanian's son chooses to be the last on off the bus. As he and the captain of the ESU race across the lot to safety, the bus, truck and adjacent building are rocked by an enormous explosion, knocking both of them to the ground. With smoke and flames rising begin them, they walk away to join the rescued and the rescuers, who are all shouting and cheering their good fortune. We, on the other hand, are just pulling into the Bilbao bus station. It is 12:15am, or as it is known locally, 00:15. Now, we just have to find a place to spend the night.

 Chapter Four: El Musica del Futuro


Copyright 1998

Jan Galligan Jan Galligan c/o Sprynet
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Last modified Feb 28, 1998