My gig was watching Jonah Hill. From a distance, that is; I was in hidden surveillance. He hung out at an intersection in the city, with a brownstone at one corner, an art deco skyscraper at the next, a small copse of bamboo — in which I’d encamped myself — opposite from the brownstone, and a white brick industrial building at the other. At the bottom floor of the skyscraper were the comic book store and sub shop Jonah liked to hang out at. He was talking to Seth Rogen, who stood on a black metal balcony on the second floor o the white brick industrial building. I couldn’t hear them but I could see the laughs. I could also see Seth startle, stand straight up, and point as the four ninjas swooped out of the shadows and snatched poor Jonah.
The black-suited ninja threw a big burlap bag over Jonah, slung the chubby bundle over his shoulder, and ran off down the street; Seth was yelling and pointing, but the pedestrians had cleared out, and he was complaining to nobody but the three remaining ninjas. Their muscled arms bulging in their sleeveless uniforms, red ninja ran into the first floor of Seth’s building, then came bursting out the French doors behind him, pushing him over the balcony railing into the waiting arms of yellow- and white-suited ninjas and their big burlap bag. Soon those three were carrying him off, slung over their shoulders like a log.
I knew it was time to make my move; the ninjas had gotten Jonah, but maybe Seth had key information on Jonah in his place. If I moved fast, I could grab that information before the ninjas had dealt with Seth and Jonah and get away scot-free. So I ran into the white brick building.
Inside, I climbed a wide stairway to the second floor, where Seth had a lovely wooden roll-top desk and green felt carpet, with a pile of newspapers in the corner. I slammed the door shut behind me, so that I couldn’t be seen, and grabbed a few important-looking envelopes from the roll-top desk. I found a take-out menu jammed between a few newspapers and put that in my inside jacket pocket as well; then it came time to find my way out. I couldn’t go through the front door, because the ninjas would see me if they’d come back, and then I’d be in a burlap bag too. So I ran up the narrow stairs in the back of Seth’s apartment.
The third floor of the white brick building was utilitarian and empty, a u-shape around the staircase, with a window on each side. In the back was a short, half-story spiral staircase leading to a blond wood door. Obviously, the ninjas would think of the door first, so I couldn’t escape through there; I checked the windows.
Both looked good. The first one — covered by metal louvers — led to a couple of chimneys, easily wide enough for a foothold and with many handholds as well. The second one led out to a sloped roof; with long strips of metal running horizontally along its red tiles. It would be easiest to climb out this second window and climb up the roof, past where I could easily be seen, but only if the metal was strong and would carry my weight. Otherwise, the roof was steep and three stories is a long way down.
I didn’t know if the ninjas were back, but I didn’t want to find out either. The blond wood door was worth checking, at least. I turned back to look at it; it had turned 90 degrees clockwise and now opened parallel with the ground.
The door downstairs slammed shut — the red, yellow, white, and black ninjas, maybe? — and suddenly this blond wood door opened, a blue light leaking out. A woman’s hand reached with it, in a purple, frilly sleeve; “come on!” her voice followed. I grabbed her hand and she pulled me in.