Random Ramblings While Flying

A bird flew into the left engine of my plane. While we rose higher into the night sky, the cabin circulated an air saturated with a scent of smoke. Nobody panicked as the noise escalated. We glanced over at our neighbor, eyeing them to verify that yes, the plane is having an unusual take off and no, this is not normal. Within ten minutes, the noise, the shaking, it is all still there when the pilot buzzes in, “well, this isn’t the first time this has happened to me, but it appears that the left engine has gone out and we’re going to have to turn back around and land back in Dallas. We expect to be back on the ground in about 15 minutes and we will determine then if we need to evacuate. We will be looking for an extra plane, but we may have to stay the night in Dallas tonight. Sorry for the inconvenience. We will know more soon.” Don’t fly American Airlines, apparently birds frequent their engines and engine failure isn’t much of a rarity. Happy flying.

Here’s a story that came to me while I ate a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie and black coffee in the Sea-Tac airport. Tully’s was out of plain old chocolate chip and O’Hare just seemed like a more predictable/busy airport for an old lady wearing paisley…

Never Trust Paisley

The shriveled elderly woman seemed out of place in her paisley patterned sun dress meandering through O’Hare in the wintertime. She didn’t march like the other ants who followed invisible arrows directing and controlling their formation. She didn’t weave in and out of this bodied traffic jam, she just stood there, solid still, forcing the anxious travelers to move around her flesh and bone traffic divide. With the sight of her my book grew significantly less interesting than real life and this was, of course, a serious rarity. There I was, just sitting there, staring through the window of a crammed airport lounge mesmerized by this spectacle. I couldn’t tell if she was lost, confused or if maybe she even had a purpose in her stance. For a brief moment I released myself from this view, peered back into the crevice of A Long Way Down and, once I looked up again, she had vanished into the swarm of hustled bodies, marching one by one. She had no idea that if she would have stood still for but only a moment longer she could have been free. Free to roam wild, from the constraining pressure hovering over us all. If only she didn’t fall into the trap of humanity, the one that guides your spirit along the designated identical path of 5.9 billion. I thought just maybe she was one of us, the unlucky million that saw through it all. Greed. Power. Status. Freedom. Slavery. All the ants go marching, one by one.


Psycho killer, Quest Que Cest? fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far better

The scene I’m about to post was derived in my reading and writing short stories class during one of my professors crazy activities. She thoroughly enjoys tossing us into these creative writing fits and this is another one of her “I’ve been sniffing glue” activities.

This is how it goes: two characters taken from different stories written for the class- a random setting in Des Moines-two random desires fitted for each character.

Setting: Des Moines airport security check-in the weekend before thanksgiving in 2001

Character/Desire: Clay-to go to sleep and Anonymous psycho killer- to meet jesus

Of course, the security check-in attendant choose me to randomly search. He groped the seams of my Wrangler jeans; I stared straight ahead vacantly at his name tag: Hello my name is Clay. In the aftermath of September 11th the number of Clays swarming around the airport terminal had doubled. He glanced suspiciously at the image displayed on the x-ray screen. It was probably ill-advised to be toting around a bag of human hair, but I wanted to take them with me wherever I go. Lucky for me Clay just raised his eyebrow, confiscated my citrus fruit, and waved me along unenthusiastically.

“Sir, can you please put your bag in the overhead compartment and place your tray in the upright and locked…”

At this point the stewardess noticed the French braids growing in my lap with my shirt collar up over my nose. The petite black woman in the aisle seat stared at me woozily and stumbled to the bathroom. The stewardess opened her mouth to admonish me for my craft project and I shoved the chloroform soaked braid  in her mouth like a horse bit. Battling through the throng of fainting passengers I thrust open  the cockpit door and  shouted “take me to  jesus.”

“Sir, you’re already on your way to Las Vegas.”