Sure and it's a fine St. Paddy's dawn in New York City, and beat cop Bragan is finishing up his all-night midtown shift and heading back to his family. Mrs. Bragan is making waffles today, and there's no school for young Mike, and they're all looking forward to the big parade. It's Bragan's day. He's got his buttons already polished. But he won't make it home after all. A scream pierces the daybreak, and Bragan looks up and gasps: Way up high, near the top of one of the avenue's fine hotels, there's a guy standing on a ledge, clinging to a cornice, looking down, teetering. Jumper. Bragan breaks into a run, straightaway gets up to the hotel's 15th floor, collides with the manager who's fretting that his suicidal guest is going to bring unwelcome publicity. "This is the worst possible thing that can happen to a hotel!" the manager moans. Bragan disgustedly shoos him out, and now he's alone with the man on the ledge, the first cop on the scene, and he leans out the window, high over the dizzying canyons. The jumper is a nice-looking young man, nervous, distraught, sweating. "Hey," Bragan says easily. "That's kind of a dangerous thing you're doing there, kid! You might fall off and hurt somebody!" They seem to make a connection, the two of them. It's clear to Bragan that the kid probably doesn't want to jump at all. He's just at some breaking point, needs to talk to somebody he can trust. "I'd hate to see you make a bad mistake," Bragan says. But now the brass hats have arrived, and they know how to handle situations like this, they don't need Bragan. "Back to your traffic," a captain barks at him, and Bragan reluctantly follows orders, going downstairs to help handle the crowds of gawkers and gogglers who are quickly filling the streets along with the radio reporters and the newsreel crews. He's a grand public spectacle, the man on the ledge, and suddenly half the town is here, clucking, standing vigil, snickering, making bets, waiting for him to decide if he's going to jump or not, whatever his problem is. The guy's name is Robert Cosick. He's got family issues: His overbearing mother has made it plain all his life that she never wanted him, and his old man is a hopeless lush, and he blames himself for everything. "I'm no good to anybody," he sobs. But he won't talk to anybody but Bragan, who struck him as a decent guy. Get Bragan back up here, the brass hats decide. And now it's just the two of them again, the cop and the jumper, on the ledge, talking things over, as all New York watches the unfolding drama on live TV.moreless
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