Wednesday, April 28, 2010

No need to panic.

No need to panic.

Down. Down. Down.

The plane isn’t quite pointed into a direct nosedive towards the ground. The pressure in the cabin is still at a comfortable level while the screams of panic fill the air. Luggage falls from the overhead compartments out onto the aisles.

Finding my seating for the five hour flight wasn’t half as hard as the trip to the airport. Shoving past row after row of empty seats with my tiny carry-on bag, until hitting a wall of oversized body mass. A large man stands between me and my assigned number. Seated below the giant rests a smaller man sipping a diet coke while watching the show. Hefts of weight press against a seat as the unnaturally immense person attempts to stow his bag overhead. Double checking my ticket I’m reassured, knowing my seat is at least three more rows behind this three-ring circus oddity. Politely I excuse myself from the intriguing spectacle and take a seat accordingly along the aisle.

Descent steepens into a arc of collision increasing with momentum.

Three dozen oxygen masks descend from the heavens onto the passengers. Malfunctioning equipment drops masks sparsely throughout the cabin leaving seats without. On either side of me, there are tears of terror, and rushes of anger from frantic people. Three rows up the giant and his small companion have opened up a suitcase to remove an unusual object. Shiny. Metallic.

Blue-eyed blonde bombshell located on either side of the plane. One in front of my aisle carries the floatation device like a hand grenade. Her fake smile wears the face the same way a mask hides a secret. Tan skin matches the color of her dyed alligator come-fuck-me pumps. Silicone breasts permeate the plunging neckline of the unnaturally snug-ugly uniform. I’m certain she could float without assistance in the event of a water landing. Miss Fake America explains the process of locating and pressuring the device before moving onto the oxygen mask and finishing up the presentation with the finesse of a Game Show hostess, she points to indicate the nearest emergency exits. Both bombshells retreat back to their assigned seating. Aisles are clear in preparation to take off.

A pause for a brief moment of clarity. An instant when the plane dives straight downward then rights itself and you aren’t falling fast anymore, but this isn’t that moment. We’re still spiraling out of control at an angle of guided descent.

The seat buckle sign goes off once the plane has reached its optimal flight elevation. In front of me, a small girl stands upon the seat and turns backwards. As she looks downward I can see a dozen freckles across the small face. Adjacent to our seating, a woman calmly takes a puff from her inhaler. Blondes in ugly tight skirts began to distribute unhealthy choices in nutrition. The woman takes a small plastic cup vodka martini and a sandwich. I opt for water and leave the food alone.

Terminal Velocity is the point when there is no going back. We haven’t reached that moment.

According to the voice over the intercom, this is just a spot of turbulence and ''it will all be over soon enough.' Not soon enough, as the pair standing several rows forward work diligently amid the moving sea of chaos. That shiny assembled device begins to match the make of a homemade AK-47 with a pretty diamond like grip.

Whenever you watch a movie about an airplane there’s a moment when someone needs a doctor for an emergency. You think, ‘that will never happen in real life’, until it does. Seated next to me the asthmatic woman has keeled over onto the floor prompting the two inept stewardesses to scramble through the cabin asking for a doctor. Row after row begins the indiscreet search for medical assistance. This incites a small crowd around the body. I’m wiggling in my aisle seat attempting to keep a barrier between me and the busy-bodies. One by one they bend down to look at her twisted face. Someone mentions that she is still breathing. Captain’s voice comes on the intercom and issues a statement sending everyone back to their seats unless they are medically trained. Once the sea parts, two large men and a stethoscope accompany the unconscious asthmatic to the back of the cabin.

Uncontrolled descent steadies out into a balanced line. A temporary balance as the air shifts outside the plane.

Unstable craftsmanship no longer resembles a piece of metal. Attached to the diamond like grip is another bar. The device now a deadly framework. Shiny. Weightless. The busied pair seems to slowly halt production of their equipment as the seated begin to calm adjusting to the bumpy ride.

“Parsley,” explains the stewardess to a passenger two rows behind me. She’s been giving row by row answers about the situation. “She was allergic to the parsley in the sandwich. But she will be ok.”

The pair of circus refugees has nearly completed the complex framework. Attached to metallic body is a scope of a sort. Something that can guide or target. The device rests mid-aisle.

Shake. Tremor. Dip. Turbulence is the least of the worries. The giant and small man, take to the aisles with the oversized instrument of intimidation. Shakedown of the entire flight manifest.

“Jewelry and wallets please.”

Indicator sounds surround as the ‘fasten your seatbelt’ logo lights up. Voice reaches out to explain the uncomfortable chaos. Not without its dramatic moment the flight has now hit a bit of weather. Remain seated indicates the voice as a man gets up and runs through the aisle towards the restrooms. Liberating himself from the overwhelming situation at hand. The two bombshells move stealthily to stop the madness and re-seat the man as the sound loudly breaks through the chaos. Almost instantly the plane plummets downward.

No one saw what was coming. Someone should have told him to cooperate. Should have handed over the goods instead of running. No one could imagine a bullet escaping out of aircraft would cause that damage. Stray fragment ricocheting off the wing sending the number two engine out of commission. Actions and reactions, hurling the plane out of control into a sharp descent.

“No need for panic.” This is the part where you start confessing sins to your God. Asking for salvation. Making those phone calls. Telling your loved ones the truth. Perhaps the end is upon you as the plane descends down. “Remain seated. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

This was pretty much created on my 12-hr? flight to Spain last year. There’s never really been an appropriate moment to put it up. Everytime I’d wanted to… someone I knew was on a plane. Should have been up Last July. But… one friend was flying in from France while another was headed out to New York. And that would’ve been in very bad taste. Anyhow, my flight has been delayed which couldn’t be better timing as now I can pull together an ensemble for the occasion. Lovely. Enjoy? m.

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