The giant green lady stood unbalanced, tipping backwards on the heels of her sandals. A dusting of snow covered her toes. Jake Morrison stared upwards, taking in her imposing figure. Although impossible, he thought that her inflexible neck had bent. Her lifeless pupils seemed to have rolled up to scan the heavens. From Morrison's view, the sharp rays of her crown, so far above him, appeared as parallel lines, each pair stretched out to where they met at the vanishing point.
Once the government proclaimed the Statue of Liberty a holy relic, they contracted the firm of Morrison, Kopovitz, and Shoemaker to install a four-hundred-foot tall cross to complement the sculpture and to affirm Lady Liberty's place as part of the One Nation Undergod's Daeo-Christian heritage. As a further design improvement, the statue's tablet was changed to the Ten Commandments which she now held at arm's length for all the world to witness.
The new structure, a massive thick-beamed cross, towered over and behind Liberty, dominating her; its bone-white bricks gleamed. But...
... but perhaps I shouldn't have used so much dynamite to excavate the foundation for the cross, Morrison thought. As a result of the blasting, the backside of Liberty's pedestal had sunk three feet below the center. The front, in turn, had risen three feet, enough to cause a fifteen-foot displacement at the height of the torch.
“She's going to fall,” Kopovitz said.
“Just a little bent,” Morrison replied. “Besides, look on the bright side: no one remembers the architect of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.”
“Bonanno Pisano,” Kopovitz whispered.
Shoemaker peered down on his partners from an observation window on top of her head, a flea on her scalp.
Kopovitz thought of his grandparents, all four of them arriving at different times at Ellis Island, just a stone's skip away. Lithuanian, Irish, Italian, and Armenian, all finding this nation and making a home, all passing this giant's torch, all finding each other, first as husbands and wives, then ultimately sharing the same descendants.
I can save Liberty, Morrison told himself. That chain at her ankles, symbolically broken, could be mended to serve as an anchor. Spikes could be driven through her feet to secure her to her base. The arm holding the Bible could be lashed to the horizontal beam of the cross for support and the wrist of the arm raising the torch could be nailed to the vertical column.
Strange, he thought, from this perspective her crown seemed to be made of thorns.
Martin Hill Ortiz, a native of Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a professor of Pharmacology at the Ponce Health Sciences University in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Martin has authored numerous short stories that have appeared in print and online journals, four mystery thrillers, and his 60-page poem, Two Mistakes, won the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid poetry award. He assembled and wrote the introduction to a three-volume anthology of the best short stories in English available through Rook's Page Publishing. He has also worked in theater, having run a comedy troupe in South Florida.