Tag Archives: fiction

An Airplane Story

As Monty Python used to say …

And now for something completely different.

Once upon a time, there was a pilot who had to fly an airplane very far, far north.

The pilot had done lots of flying before, but not very far, far north.

The pilot was looking forward to this trip.

On the morning of the flight, the pilot was up early in the dark darkness of the northern winter. It was very cold, but the airplane was in a warm hangar.

The pilot got the airplane ready as passengers gathered in the waiting room with their bags, boxes, a bunch of freight, two hamsters and one dog.

Now, this dog had to travel in the passenger cabin because … well, because there’s no freight compartment on this particular aircraft type.

This airplane is what’s called a combi – it carries a mix of passengers and freight, all on one level.

The pilot went inside to talk to the owner of this dog. It was a really big dog. A Great Dane. Its hair was really short and it was wearing a coat. It looked cold, miserable and scared.

It was shivering and shaking.

The pilot asked the owner to make sure that the dog had done its business before getting aboard.

It was a three hour flight; it’s not like there would a place to pull over and stop.

The owner assured the pilot that the dog had pooped, peed and burped.

Okay, thought the pilot. Let’s load and get this show on the road, so to speak.

40 minutes later, all was loaded and everyone was taxiing along just as the sun was coming up over a northern winter horizon.

The pilot applied power and started the take-off roll.

A satisfying back pressure as the aircraft lifted off …

Reaching altitude … settling in … And then, and then …

What is that God-awful stench?

If you took one of Lebron James’s basketball shoes after a number of heavy practises, stuck it in a vat of boiled cabbage, buried it under a chicken coop, and left it there for several weeks … then maybe you can imagine this malodorous vapour.

The pilot sent the co-pilot back to investigate.

He came scurrying back, turned green and promptly threw up all over the radios.

Chunks started to befoul the throttle levers as they slowly slid down the panel.

The pilot, floating by now on the ghastliest sea of odiferous gases, directed the co-pilot to do what he could to clean up himself and the cockpit.

With the autopilot on, the pilot went back to take a look, and … almost threw up too.

For there in the first row, the very large Great Dane had pooped a mutant-sized mound of poo. And was sort of standing in it. A baby elephant would have been proud.

The owner sat there, unreactive as the entire cabin starting collapsing into various stages of tummy trouble. He pretended not to notice.

Retching slightly, the pilot told the owner to clean up the mess.

“With what?” he snarled, “My bare hands?”

“If you have to, yes! Don’t you have any poo bags?” the pilot snarled back. “My co-pilot is sitting up there with a major case of the heaves. Now start cleaning this up!”

“I don’t have anything to put it in. I don’t have anything to pick it up with. What am I supposed to do?”

But a chorus, a groundswell, began from the back of the plane. Items starting finding their way to the front. Bags, hand sanitizers, towels and even a plastic spoon.

Sometimes, on your journey through life, you encounter twits with giant mounds of poo. But often, there are ordinary people who will help out with whatever they have, and will give you the hand sanitizer out of their pockets.

(And everyone lived to happily disembark the poo plane.)

You? What poo plane have you had in your life?

Tummy Trouble (Three Word Challenge)

This post is in response to Brian Lageose’s Three Word Challenge. The idea is to write a story based on three words that Brian has assigned. Mine are: elusive, bawdy and trampoline. For whatever it’s worth, here’s the result (and yup, I’m still thinking about the personal implications of that word assignment … 😉 ) And do be sure to visit Brian’s site – https://brianlageose.blog. You will be happy you did. 🙂

Jack kept squirming in his seat. For some reason, he was uncomfortable. He vaguely felt as if he might throw up, which was really odd, because his girlfriend had just made his favourite pasta for supper, carbonara. He loved carbonara and always enjoyed it.

He considered the situation.

Suddenly his stomach gurgled and then he really did feel close to yakking, but somehow he also didn’t feel ill sick. It was more like … like … what was it? Guilt sick?

Why would I feel guilty, he asked himself.

Jack examined the last few days for any signs of a moral hangover but couldn’t think of anything.

“Is everything okay?” his girlfriend asked. She sounded a bit alarmed. “Have I done something to upset you?”

He stopped the ferocious gnawing he was administering to his fingernail and regarded her. He realised that he had been chewing and vacantly staring. “Oh no. Everything’s fine. I just am suddenly not feeling very well. My stomach is bothering me. That’s all.”

It occurred to him that he wanted to keep this one. She was always so pliant and concerned about pleasing him.

“Okay. Is there anything I can do for you? Get you an antacid? Carbonara is pretty rich.”

“Not really. I think I just have to ride this out. Sometimes my stomach bothers me and I don’t really know why.”

Suddenly, Jack leaped up and sprang for the bathroom, slamming and locking the door behind him. He just made it to the toilet before bringing up the morning’s toast and everything else but his shoelaces. He heaved until he was empty and then draped himself over the edge of the toilet. He was exhausted and sweating.

Finally, he leaned back against the bathtub and hoped that he was finished.

Ten seconds later, a wave of nausea wracked him again, and he scrambled desperately for the toilet.

If he could just remember why he felt so guilty, he could stop feeling so sick. He thought he had a piece of it, but it slithered elusively into his mind’s attic.

If only this heaving would stop, I’d be able to think clearly and then … and then I would have the answer and then I wouldn’t be sick, he thought.

Thoughts bounced around in his head like they were springing from a trampoline.

What did I do?

What was it???

A dress. A green dress.

Emerald green. Yes. That’s it.

But what about it? Why did I think of it?

You know why, said the mouse.

It peeked at him from around the edge of the toilet bowl brush, its delicate white whiskers trembling knowingly, its wise gaze unflinching and unruffled.

Did that mouse just talk to me, Jack asked the room.

Yes, said the mouse, I did. Don’t you remember me? We talked a lot about that green dress. Or more specifically, about that bawdy relic who was inhabiting it. She was way too old for you. And way too forward. And besides, finding women in bars was never really your thing. Don’t you remember?

Ohhh yeah, Jack said. Yeah. I remember now.

Just then his girlfriend rapped on the bathroom door.

“Are you all right in there? Is there anything I can do?”

She rattled the door handle.

Jesus Christ, thought Jack. Can’t she leave me in peace when I’m sick in the bathroom? Just leave me the fuck alone, he raged silently.

“Jack?? Are you okay? Are you able to answer me?”

He heard her fiddling with the handle, trying to get the door open.

Fuck this, Jack thought as he started furiously ripping up floorboards.

He forgot about the mouse.

He forgot about the green dress.

He forgot about everything.

As the floorboards came up faster and faster, a heavy, clear plastic glinted at the edge of the light.

It covered something green.

****

Jack awoke to the sound of a sports recap show. He was stretched out in his recliner but felt uncomfortable and cold and his neck hurt. He was ravenously hungry.

He rummaged in the fridge and found some leftover pasta from dinner.

He vaguely remembered having had a fight with the maker of the dinner and he somehow thought she had left, but just then he was too hungry to think about it.

He finished his plate and began to shuffle off to bed, the notion that he was forgetting something twitching at the edge of his memory.

He felt so tired!

But tomorrow is another day, he thought. I’ll think about it then.

Betrayed

A Crabeater Seal graces an ice floe in the Pen...
A Crabeater Seal graces an ice floe in the Penola Strait, Antarctica. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The dreams of adventure consumed her every night before sleep claimed her. Wrapped in the thick comforter as the heat from the downstairs fireplace lent the last vestiges of warmth before cooling, the ticking of the contracting timbers further lulled her entry.

The hero charging the menace and saving the town. The crowd cheering in grateful abandon.

The rescue of hundreds from a dense jungle.

The rush to save the boy trapped on an ice floe.

She had done it all.

And always, the gratitude, the beaming congratulations, the modest thanks.

Hard work in the morning. Helping her father with the hay, the sheep, the cows, running, hauling, pulling, sweating in the sun.

And, staying out of her mother’s grasp. The tight, hot kitchen with its endless jobs repulsed her. The real work was outside. But somehow, her mother’s company appealed to her, even as she hated it and fought it and forced herself to help her father.

Outside was important. There were many possibilities there.  But you had to prove yourself. Prove your strength.  Prove your mettle. Prove your unemotional goodness.

Inside was different and to be avoided at all costs. It wasn’t important. It was …  it was …  it was less.

But there anyway. Forced into it. Dragged into it. Her father ordering her back to the kitchen and telling her that her mother needed her.

Listening to her mother’s stories of long-ago dances when she was pretty and admired, the dream shifted. She became concerned about what she might wear to the jungle. How would she look? What would she do about her hair?

And later …  she was the one being rescued from the jungle.

But still … but still. The desire for more!

To be able to choose. To choose to accept.

No. You’re a girl.

But working outside … yes.

No. You’re a girl.

She didn’t know when the crying started.  Why are you crying, her father asked.

She couldn’t answer. Inarticulacy choked her. Shut off the air. Tears rolled down her cheeks.  Women, her father muttered before stomping off.

Later, she dreamed that she was trapped on an ice floe.

There was no one to rescue her.

She

Barcelona Despierta
Barcelona Despierta (Photo credit: morpheus17pro)

Being raised as she was it all seemed normal. No one around her hankered after more and she pretended not to, either.

She made do with the undercurrents of desire that at times made her jaw clench in frustration. A tiny square of soap from Barcelona.  A coyote pin covered in rabbit fur, rubbed almost naked.  A rock containing small, gold-coloured flecks that were pronounced as “real” and left in permanent idle uselessness on a mantel-shelf.

On her knees scrubbing the kitchen floor and hanging out the newly washed denims and shirts in the sun to dry, the barely controlled dreams charged each other in a mind-jumble.  Her bed with its rough-smooth sheets and the extra pillows sometimes clenched between her legs and the hot water bottle against the cramps. The closet with many work clothes and one Sunday dress.

To leave. To get away.

To love. To experience a passion that could inspire novels.

To eat mysterious foods and drink from green bottles.

To wear silk. Even though she had only read about it and had never touched it in her life.

But.

How to get there.

Already her mother was eyeing the environment. Sizing, evaluating, casting off, considering.

The boy with the crooked leg. The screaming widower who already had four small ones.  A friend from school – a brother, really. The men with the muscles and grins of youth who fished and hauled lumber. There were many of them.

She could envision all of them in her dreams, encoiled.

And not happening, nothing at all. Except scrubbing floors. And hanging fresh laundry in the sun. And killing chickens. And remembering when anything was possible.

Even staying.