Spiderman crawled along the gigantic video board on 8th Avenue. His two-story-tall figure in a cat-like crouch, peered down at the New Yorkers who scurried past underneath. His masked head panned the street, looking for easy prey.
But the locals were not the bad guys in this episode.
No, Spidey was here to protect his city from a far more dastardly foe.
There went one now!
Moving slowly – almost hesitantly – and staying stealthily close to the towering skyscrapers, a 50-ish jogger slipped under the web slinger’s gaze. The nerve of this skinny balding bastard! In broad daylight yet!
His unscrupulous sidekick, a fetching leotarded damsel with flowing blonde locks (of course), hung close to his side in rhythm step.
What no-good deed could these two Public Enemies Number 1 and 1A be up to?
I covertly followed them up 8th Avenue toward 57th Street, where they took a quick and unexpected right turn. Obviously, this was an attempt to lose me. I broke into a trot to keep pace.
After a block I was closing on them. Their conversation was now audible. But their words were strange. Were they speaking in code?
No, but still something foreign to my ear.
Was it…Dutch? Russian?
As we turned north on Broadway and headed toward Times Square, even more of these scantily clad invaders descended upon us. Joggers from every nation, speaking in tongues and sporting colorful villainous costumes made of special sweat-wicking fabric (that does not actually wick but does sweat).
Was there a mass meeting of these scoundrels planned during Friday afternoon drive? Was their goal to tie up traffic in this holiest of meccas and brotherly love – sweet, innocent New York City?
The sun was fading now. My not-so-Spidey-sense stomach tingled to signal me it was close to dinnertime. Were these sweaty rogues waiting for the cover of darkness to commit their crime on the innocents of New York?
And as quickly as it had begun it was over.
A television reporter brusquely jumped in front of a petite male Asian jogger, possibly the maniacal brains behind this bunch. The reporter and his cameraman stopped him dead in his small tracks.
“What do you think about the mayor cancelling the marathon,” demanded the TV man of the diminutive (but obviously dangerous) runner.
The Asian appeared confused. His evil plans were now known and being broadcast to a live tri-state network audience.
“Ahhh, no mar-at-hon?” replied the likely descendant of Tokyo Rose.
“No marathon,” snarled back the TV reporter.
He wielded his oversized microphone like a hammer of justice as he positioned himself in front of a covey of Peruvians, all out for a late-afternoon jog and likely up to no good.
“What are your plans now that YOUR marathon has been canceled?”
The Peru travelers were taken aback – more by the TV reporter’s Thai-laced breath than the news.
Knowing that their plot to run 26.2 miles through the five New York boroughs was now thwarted, the runners fell silent. Not one was brave enough to offer a reason or explanation for their selfishness.
Or maybe they just couldn’t speak English. These joggers will stop at almost nothing, you know.
A spotlight appeared in the New York skyline, high above the Sandy-twisted crane on 64th Street. It appeared at first to be the outline of a gymnast. Maybe two? As the sky darkened, the figures became more evident and showed movement as well.
The spotlight showed the two heroes of the day – Mayor Bloomberg and the president of the New York Road Runners, Mary Wittenberg! What I had taken for gymnastics was actually the good mayor and Mary taking turns doing flip flops for the people of New York. A cheer rose from the masses the likes reserved for war heroes …or maybe even Yankees!
As I made my way back to my hotel, I spotted large groups of runners making plans to leave New York and return to their orderly lives, insanely precise schedules and the January edition of Runners World.
The city that doesn’t sleep (but nods off incessantly) would be safe again from these underwear-wearing freaks of nature.
“Let those bastards run someplace else,” an NYPD cop was heard to say. “We’s gots us a crisis on our hands here-a!”
Just as the last jogger was leaving the pricey hotel, the cop called out with a final plea.
“Any of youse guys got Knicks’ tickets for tonight you ain’t gonna be usin’?”
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