The Fourth of July - Chapter 13

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Blue Crack Supplier
Jul 21, 2000
Melbourne, Australia
Thanks everyone for your comments, any and all feedback much appreciated as always. :)

I've re-jigged the chapter breaks again... the result being that the remaining chapters are bigger, but fewer. In fact, this chapter has turned out to be the second-last one :ohmy: ... not counting the little epilogue/denouement/whatever thing that I can never seem to resist tacking onto the end of stories. So, this should be finished before Christmas after all! And before I get so busy chasing U2 around Australia that I can't post for ages. :shifty:

Disclaimer: It's all made up... which is probably just as well.
Also, drama warning.

And, funny you should say that, sue4u2... :wink:

Chapter 13

"Hello, Dublin airport? ... I'm fine, thanks. Look, I'd like to report a defect on one of the planes due to take off today... No, I'm not a mechanic. I mean... Natasha Coleman. I'm a reporter, and I have reason to believe that flight DV 428 has something wrong with its starboard engine. ... The Irish Independent. No, I can't reveal my source... Look, there are dozens of lives at stake here, can you just make sure someone inspects it properly? ... Yes, I'm sure they're doing a wonderful job, but unless someone takes a closer look, that plane is going to crash! ... No, I am not making a threat! ... For the love of... Fine. You can explain to the world why you let Bono and twenty-something other people all die for no reason. ... I told you, I'm a reporter. I know things. You want the lotto numbers? Seven, fourteen, two, eight, and nineteen. Supplementaries twelve and five... Yes, I'm perfectly serious. Will you please get someone to go over that plane with a fine-tooth comb? Whatever maintenance routine you usually have isn't good enough. ... Because I've seen it happen!"

Natasha hung up the phone and swore.


By midday, two very nice policemen had arrived at the Independent's office and taken her to the station for questioning.

By ten past four, the plane had crashed and twenty-five people were dead.

By 5:59am, Natasha was thoroughly sick of being interrogated by menacing or sympathetic cops and couldn't wait for her alarm to go off.


"Hello, Dublin airport? ... I'm fine, thanks. I'd like to make a bomb threat, please. Flight DV 428 at four p.m., bound for London. Very big bomb; nasty stuff, let me assure you. Bound to kill everyone on board. ... No, I'm afraid I'm not going to tell you that, you'll have to find it yourself. It's very well hidden. ... I wouldn't trust those sniffer dogs to find it. You'll have to ground the plane and take it apart piece by piece. ... Why? Oh, something to do. We immortals get bored with learning different languages."

Natasha hung up the public phone in the village of Ballyspittle, in county Cork, and got out of the phone booth without touching any surface with her bare skin. She didn't particularly want to spend another day locked up or being interrogated.

Four p.m. came and went. Four-thirty. Natasha was driving aimlessly through south-western Ireland, keeping her ear on the radio and hoping her plan had worked. She also hoped she wouldn't be caught by the police if it did, since she would be stuck with the consequences of making a fake bomb threat if time resumed. But that was better than making a real one, right? And hopefully in searching the plane, they would find the fault that made the plane crash...

Five p.m., and the dreaded news came at last. The plane had been the subject of a bomb threat, delayed, thoroughly searched, and then sent aloft with an all-clear. And it had crashed, killing nineteen people. Bono and several others had taken alternative flights when the plane was delayed. The police were treating the crash as suspicious, and appealed to any witnesses to come forward.


More direct action was needed. After several days of surveillance, Natasha succeeded in sneaking onto the runway where the hapless plane was waiting. When someone saw her from a distance and told her to come away from the plane, she opened her jacket to reveal what she hoped looked like a home-made vest bomb.

That was enough to get the first group of people to back off, but then the proper security guards arrived, and the police, and they had binoculars. They walked right up to Tasha and arrested her, hot dogs and all.


The next day, Natasha chained herself to the plane and demanded to speak to Bono when he arrived, but she'd made her move too early, and there was very little to prevent the police from cutting her loose and arresting her long before Bono would have been anywhere near the airport.


Once the plane had crashed, as expected, the tone of her interviews with the police changed dramatically. Natasha almost knew the routine by heart.

"Where did you put the bomb?"

"What bomb? Just because I knew it would crash, doesn't mean I made it crash. You're gettin' your cause an' effect mixed up," Tasha told the overbearing cop who was leaning over the table. His scowl deepened.

"Sure, an' you saw it all in a dream, did you? You knew that plane would crash because you planted a bomb. Where and why?"

"No, I knew it would crash because it's been crashin' every time this day's repeated. Hundreds of times. The first time, I didn't know it was gonna crash. It was as big a shock to me then as it was to everyone else."

"Where was the bomb?"

"Was Bono on the plane?" That was the only thing Natasha wanted to know. The only thing that had any chance of being different from one day to the next.

"Where was the bomb, Natasha?"

"What happened to Bono?"

"Why did you do it, Natasha?"

"Is Bono okay?!"

"Where did you put the bomb?"

"Did Bono die again??"

"Was he your target? You missed, Natasha. Bono never showed up at the airport. He wasn't on that plane. You killed twenty people, but missed your target. You failed, it was all for nothing. There's no point maintaining this fantasy of yours, just tell us what happened. Where did you put the bomb?"

Natasha smiled, incredulous. "He remembered," she said, mostly to herself. And only twenty?

"What does that mean? What did he remember? Are you trying to say he was in on it?" The cop looked at her dubiously. He was probably hoping she wasn't going to make an insanity plea.

Tasha's gazed sharpened on the cop. "You're a feckin' idiot," she told him bluntly. "You've been havin' the same day over an' over again hundreds of times, and you've got no idea. Until I started tryin' to stop that plane, you were living the same 24 hours in the exact same way, and if you had any déjà vu or funny dreams, you brushed it off and dismissed it. You can't see over your own tie, let alone stretch your brain around what's really goin' on here. If I killed those people, it was through inaction, because I haven't worked out how to stop that plane takin' off yet. But I'm workin' on that, and so help me, I'm going to figure it out. Are you going to help me save those lives? Can you tell me how to stop the plane? No, of course not. Can you tell me why I'd be trying to stop a plane if I planted a bomb on it? Christ! Can't you just knock me out until six a.m? I'm so sick of this shite."

The cop frowned, Tasha's words bouncing off him as they always did. "You tell me why, you'd know more about how terrorists think," he snapped. "You're only making this worse for yourself. Drop the fairy story and tell us the truth. What were you trying to do?"

Natasha put her head in her hands. "All I want," she said wearily, "is to stop that plane crashin’, and wake up tomorrow morning, on the fifth of July."


Bono had been driving aimlessly for half the afternoon, trying to escape the déjà vu that had followed him since before he'd woken up, and was threatening to drive him completely insane.

He didn't know what was wrong with him, but something was. He'd slept poorly, starting awake from a disturbing nightmare that he only remembered in snatches. And he remembered only remembering bits of it, even though the rest of his brain was sure he'd never had a dream like that before. Not recently, anyway.

He hadn't been able to concentrate on anything during the morning, nor had he been able to remember the song he thought he was halfway through composing. The notes he usually took for half-formed songs were nowhere to be seen, the lyrics stubborn about being jogged loose from his memory. Then he'd nearly broken down when Ali went to take their sons to Norman's place, irrationally sure that he would never see them again.

Bono had also been sure that Ali would laugh his paranoia off, but then her smiling facade had cracked, and her fear had been evident in the way she clung to him inside the front door. That had frightened him even more, and even the boys had been more fearful than revolted by the display of parental affection.

"I wish you didn't have to go to London today," Ali had said.

Bono didn't think he'd ever done anything harder than letting her go, after that.

The déjà vu had chased him to Edge's place, and the guitarist had been irritable, also complaining of bad dreams and déjà vu. Rather than share his experience with his friend, Bono had stayed barely long enough to give Hollie her present and wish her a happy birthday, before leaving again.

That Edge had been rattled like this too did nothing to reassure Bono. He'd been driving ever since, hardly paying attention to where he was going, or what time it was.

Consumed by trying to dispel the haunting feeling of repetition, Bono almost forgot where he had to be that day. He supposed he would be driving himself to the airport for a change. He was always driven there, usually by Allen, or sometimes Janine. Or that new girl, what was her name? Bono could see her face, heart-shaped with thick blonde hair and intense brown eyes. She was petite, too, shorter than him. No, he was thinking of a fan he'd met, with that face... but where? The airport... except he hadn't been there much, recently.

"Shite..." Bono swerved to avoid a stone wall.

When they'd got back from Morocco it had been night time, he remembered, and he definitely remembered this woman by daylight. In a red dress... Or a smart suit? Wasn't she a reporter? Natalie something... She'd interviewed him about the summit, and then they'd talked about philosophy and literature, and music, and the Bible, and Achtung Baby, and half a dozen other things... and she'd slipped and fallen, and tried to kiss him...

Bono remembered her driving the car that picked him up from Edge's. He also remembered meeting her at the airport, having been driven by Allen, and her interviewing him. He remembered her wearing a red dress, and a suit, and casual clothes. He remembered them talking about theology and time travel and lyrics, he remembered her asking for an autograph, and flirting with him. He remembered signing the autographs, over and over.


He remembered her warning him that the plane would crash. Every single time, dress or suit, reporter or driver or fan, she warned him about the plane crashing. She asked him not to get on it, begged him, argued, reasoned. He remembered her kidnapping him; remembered her driving him away from the airport, not to it. And he remembered hearing the news.

And then he remembered her sitting next to him on the plane as it went down. He remembered his dreams, he remembered the crash; the screams of the plane and the passengers alike, the feeling of falling. The impact.

A horn honked, and Bono started violently, sweating and cursing. He realised his car had stopped in the middle of the road, and shakily started it again and pulled over, visions of death still vivid in his mind.

The passenger of the car behind glared at him as it passed, then goggled. The car's brake lights went on, and Bono prayed that they would leave him alone. Fortunately, the lights went off again and the car continued on its way.

Trying to get a grip on himself, trying to make sense of the flood of contradictory memories of things that hadn't happened yet, Bono knew he wouldn't be getting on that plane today. How could he warn the other passengers? Did he really believe the plane would crash, or was he just indulging his own paranoia? Had he finally snapped?

Bono looked at the clock in the car and realised he was already too late.

He got out his phone and called his wife.

"Hi love, it's me..." Bono cleared his throat, wishing his voice would stop shaking. "Look, I won't be catching the four o'clock flight. I'll go a bit later... Yes, I'm glad too. ... I don't know. I've just been driving around and time got away from me... Yes, I'll call them and let them know. I called you first... Love you too..."

After making a few more phone calls, Bono turned the car around and started back towards the airport. He flipped on the radio, still in a numb state of disbelief at what he was thinking and doing.

A few minutes later, the radio programme he hadn't been listening to was interrupted by a news bulletin.

"... chartered passenger jet has crashed just after take-off from Dublin airport, a few minutes ago. Eye-witnesses report seeing a large explosion after the plane seemed to drop from the sky as it was climbing. There are unconfirmed reports that rock star Bono was scheduled to be aboard, but didn't check in. There were twenty-one passengers and crew confirmed on board, but while emergency crews are on the scene, survivors are unlikely..."

Bono turned the radio off, a shudder interrupting his numbness. He heard Natasha's voice in that false memory, followed by his own.

"It should have been twenty-four..."

"It should have been


Natasha had realised that Bono wasn't the only passenger sporadically not boarding the doomed plane. Most people seemed largely oblivious to the repeating day, but a few must be remembering by now, she reasoned. And even random people she saw in the street were starting to look tense and twitchy, although that might have been her imagination. Ted the barman was certainly showing signs of strain, as were the people at the Independent.

With the ease of a well-rehearsed bank robbery, Natasha once again broke into the restricted area around the runway near the boarding gates, carrying her bag of gear. Lengths of chain, padlocks, a small megaphone with a cheap external speaker. And a gun. She had learned that simply chaining herself to the plane achieved nothing but tedious arrests; and fake bombs or guns would fool no one, and make the arrests that much less pleasant.

So, Tasha had managed to track down her original gun dealer, after several days of surveillance, and convinced him to sell her a gun before lunch.

This was not her first armed attempt to stop the plane, but she hadn't exhausted all her contingency plans yet. Threatening airport employees from a distance hadn't worked, since she couldn't aim, and she didn't want to shoot anyone anyway. She wished she could understand how they could all be so sure this plane was safe. Surely a fault so severe it would cause an engine to explode should be obvious? Maybe she should have been reading Zen and the Art of Aeroplane Maintenance instead of learning Irish.

She had to be careful with her timing, too. Too early and she would be arrested before Bono got to the airport... she wanted to get his attention, to lend credence to her claims. She was sure she could make him remember.

Camouflaged in an airport-issued high-visibility vest, Natasha chained herself to the plane's front wheels, where it was waiting outside the gate. By the time someone spotted her, she was firmly locked in place, and had her gun and megaphone out.

"Don't mind me," she called to the stunned baggage-cart driver. "Just send Bono out when he gets here, would you?"


Bono had been on the point of asking Allen to turn the car around several times during the trip to the airport, the sourceless anxiety that had been dogging him all day almost over-riding his common sense. He'd made a few phone calls to try to take his mind off it, but had stopped short before calling the last number, remembering suddenly that the journalist at the other end of it was in Australia and fast asleep at that moment. He could imagine exactly how that conversation would have gone...

He could imagine it far too clearly. Bono shook his head, trying to dislodge what couldn't be a memory.


Natasha checked her watch – it was time.

"Excuse me," she said on her megaphone to the police that had set themselves up between her and the gate, behind the baggage cart. Rob the negotiator had been trying to talk her into giving herself up, or at least throwing the gun aside. Natasha was starting to get to know him quite well, although he was getting as predictable as anyone else.

Almost anyone...

"HEY BONO!" she called on her megaphone, directing it at the gate and the airport's innards beyond. "BONO, I NEED TO TALK TO YOU! IT'S NATASHA!"

"We told you, Natasha, Bono's not here," Rob called over the better-quality police megaphone.

Natasha couldn't be sure that Bono would hear her, but she had to try.

"I bet he is. He wasn't here yesterday, and he's never not here twice in a row. He should be arriving now... BONO! YOU REMEMBER NATASHA? YOU REMEMBER THIS? I know a girl, she's like the sea, I see her changing something every day for me..."


As soon as Bono set foot inside the airport, two security guards appeared, and shepherded him to a different waiting area to usual. All they would say in response to his questions was something about a "small situation". Just as he went into the waiting room, he heard amplified voices faintly in the distance. He thought he heard his name.

"What's that?" he asked, stopping in the doorway.

"Nothing you need to worry about, sir," one of the guards said. "The police are dealing with it."

Bono was left to ponder how the cocktail party effect worked even when he should be thoroughly used to hearing his name over any amount of noise.


"COME ON BONO! DON'T LEAVE A GIRL WAITING ALL DAY..." Natasha cleared her throat, and wished she'd thought to bring more water with her. Shouting for an extended period was more tiring than she'd expected.

Rob took advantage of the momentary pause in Tasha's yelling. "He's not here, Natasha. Why don't you believe me? You're sitting out there, chained to a plane, just to speak to Bono? He would have heard you by now, you know that. If you come with us, we'll see if we can get a message to him..."

"Don't give me that shite," Natasha snapped. She was starting to worry that Rob was right, about Bono not being there. Did that mean that he'd remembered twice in a row? But the cop's constant exhortations to give herself up were getting tedious.

"I'm chained to the feckin' plane because I'm trying to save the lives of twenty-five people, or twenty-four if Bono's a no-show. Maybe less."

"If you've seen this all happen before," Rob said reasonably, "surely you know how many people will be on the plane?"

"It keeps changing, I told you!" Natasha was losing patience. "Get Bono out here now. I know he's in there. BONO! BONO, I KNOW ABOUT YOUR DREAMS...!" She didn't want to give Rob the satisfaction of thinking he'd convinced her Bono wasn't there. He must be in there somewhere...


The longer Bono waited, the more the memory of that faint voice echoed in his head, repeating his name. The more it stirred up the unease and déjà vu he'd been fighting all day, along with images and scenes that had to be dreams. All those things couldn't have happened in this one day.

All of a sudden it became too much. He had to know what was going on. Bono stood up and made for the door, and was intercepted by a security guard.

"I need the men's room," Bono said.

"I'll have to get someone to escort you, sir..."

"For God's sake, I can get to the toilet and back without hurting myself!" Bono pushed past, and either his celebrity or the guard's uncertainty kept the guard where he was.

"Bono... are you there? Or have you remembered again?"

Bono cast about, and followed the faint sound of the voices. Soon he was approaching the departure gate, and saw an array of flashing lights in the distance, on the tarmac outside, around the plane.

"Give yourself up, Natasha."

That was a different voice, coming from closer to the tinted windows. There was a group of armed policemen behind a luggage cart, and a hundred feet away, a small figure under the jet plane.

Bono froze. He knew that name... and that voice....

"Shut up, Rob. I need to speak with Bono, if you don't believe there's something wrong with the plane."

"There was nothing wrong with it when it was inspected this morning. Why don't you tell me what's wr--"

Natasha cut the negotiator off. "Get me Bono, or someone dies."

Bono rushed forwards, but uniformed cops formed an unyielding barrier. "Sorry sir, it's not safe..."

"Did you hear her??"

"We know you don't want to hurt anyone, Natasha. Aren't you trying to save lives?"

"I didn't say I was going to hurt anyone else. You think I can't shoot myself? I've done it before, and I'd do it again..."

"Natasha, I know you're upset. But the maintenance crew won't come out while you're waving a gun around..."

Natasha ignored the negotiator and started singing.

"I know a girl, who's like the sea, she changes something every day for me..."

It was the song Bono had been trying to remember that morning. Not even the band knew those lyrics. They had never left the inside of his head... except now this woman who he knew but had never met was singing them, chained to an aeroplane and threatening to shoot herself.

"WAIT!" Bono shouted. "I know her! Natasha! I know a girl..." He fought, struggling against the policemen. "She said Infinity's a great place to start..."

The policemen didn't budge, and more came to help them.

"Fuck. I guess he's really not here."

"NATASHA!" Bono roared, but he had no megaphone, no massive concert sound system to carry his voice this time. He thrashed desperately, but the policemen held him firm. He was beyond caring what they thought.

"That's right, Natasha, that's what I've been trying to tell you."


"We'll get the plane inspected again, I promise. Just put the gun down, Natasha..."

"I believed you once, you know that? But you're lying, or your inspectors missed something. Every time, it crashes. I'm not going through that again. I'm not going to be arrested again."

Bono saw the small figure under the plane's nose raise her hand to her head, elbow held outwards. Something dark was in her hand. Her other hand was holding the megaphone to her mouth.

"Natasha, please..."

"WAIT! STOP!!" He didn't know how, but Bono wrenched free and flung himself towards the glass doors. Fifty feet had never looked so far away. An eternity of smooth paving lay across his path; he felt like he was running through molasses.

"I'll see you tomorrow."

"No, Natasha! NO!!"

Bono watched, horror-struck, as Natasha's body flopped to the ground. The sound of the gunshot and a wisp of smoke hung in the air. Natasha's megaphone rolled and came to rest, shrieking and squealing, against the speaker.


((Coming up next, the (sort-of) final chapter...! In which there is more drama. ))
Good grief! This is the best chapter thus far! So intense! I like how other people are getting a bit of the "odd" feelings as well. It shows that Tasha isn't going completely mental. :wink:

And only one-ish chapters left? :sad: This has been an excellent adventure!
I may be mean and evil....but I had to laugh at the "Is Bono ok?!"
:uhoh: You're not the only one.

I'm gonna be afraid of July 4th for the rest of my life. :lol: This is so great

:wink: My mom wouldn't appreciate it if I did, as it's her birthday. :lol: Well it would be fun the first few times of doing your birthday over and over again, but I guess the novelty wears off after a while.
Yeah, I think partyeveryday will be boring within a few days... Doing a U2-concert over and over again would be a better option.:hmm: You could try every spot so you'll get pulled up on stage.:hmm:
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