The wind shrieked, cutting through every man-made fibre and finally through the skin itself. But then, it should. At the top of Shanghai's Jin Mao Tower, just about thirteen hundred feet up, the climate is not likely to be temperate.
Right back through history, all of the dumbest ideas must have sounded good to someone. This was no exception. The Eiffel Tower, easy; Grand Canyon, so-so. But this! Why the hell did he give a reply of 'yes' when his brain suggested this. 'Jin Mao Tower? No way!' That's what he should have said.
The man was a junkie, that was the answer. Only if he can be called a man, of course. If a man is defined in terms of age only, then yes, he is a man. But add responsibility and maturity to the equation, and he would probably have to admit that no, he isn't. Just look at him! Still chasing after a quick thrill, when most of his friends are chasing a family.
He's going to do it anyway, he knows that. Standing on the ledge, an eighty-eight storey drop that would kill the Terminator beneath him, he can feel the adrenalin; the rapid beating of his heart, totally different from that induced by exercise, and the surge of blood pumping through his veins. Not even the skin-tight wingsuit and sleek skydiver's parachute on his back can calm that pulsating organ.
As he mentally prepares himself for the drop, the crash of a door being thrown open startles him, making him drop to a squat, clinging to the ledge with both hands. A member of the PLA, the People's Liberation Army, walks towards him, neither fast nor slow, but pointing a pistol in his direction.
'Get down! Get down!' And then, just in case the shout hadn't been heard, it is given again. 'Get down.' They are the only words the officer uses, there is no attempt to enter into a negotiation. Perhaps they are the only suitable words known to him in English.
Now the adrenalin is flowing...fast. On the ledge, the man is still squating, thinking about the fall and about that gun. What did the officer think he was going to do with it? One shot and a dead body would be falling eighty-eight stories instead of a living one.
The PLA officer was still walking towards him. There was no more time to think. But time wasn't really needed. He could either jump or he could get shot and fall. There was only one obvious answer.