Better than Fiction! (creative non fiction)
This Is Your Captain Speaking
by Fred D. White
Good morning and welcome aboard our nonstop flight to Las Vegas! Now that we have reached cruising altitude, flight attendants will soon begin serving you beverages and our prized mini pretzels. I have two announcements. First, on behalf of the flight crew, let me thank you for flying Amen Airlines. We know you expect your carrier to uphold the highest standards in safety, and I assure you that we have done so to the best of our ability—cross my heart.
Second, those of you seated on the left side of this aircraft may notice a slight shimmying of the Number 3 engine—the finest jet engine in all of aviation, I assure you. I also assure you that there is no cause for alarm at this time. Engine mountings inevitably become loose or frayed, especially on an aircraft of this vintage. But, according to the last inspection report, the mounting should hold up. Worst-case scenario: if the mounting does fail and the engine breaks away, we should be able to land with the remaining three engines. Heck, I bet I could land this baby with only two!
Now then, there is a slight possibility that the engine in question, if severed, could smash through the fuselage, especially if it strikes a window. Naturally, this would depressurize the cabin, and everyone seated on the left side could be sucked out, and possibly be mutilated by the turbine blades as well. That is why, in the interest of total precaution, I am ordering all those seated on the left side to move to the right side. This will undoubtedly create an awkward reseating problem, given that this flight is ninety-eight percent full; but we at Amen are well-versed in handling problems like this. Those of you on the right side now have a rare opportunity to become Good Samaritans by allowing a passenger from the left side to sit on your lap—male-to-male; female-to-female, if at all possible. Your seat belt should extend far enough to accommodate the extra bulk.
Fred D. White’s fiction and humor have appeared most recently in Praxis, Clockwise Cat, Deep Overstock, Fiction Southeast, and The Citron Review. He lives in Folsom, California.
Perhaps you are saying to yourselves at the moment, “That is all well and good, but what about the rapid and violent depressurization at 37,000 feet? How will you compensate for that, O High and Mighty Captain?” Obviously, by deploying the oxygen masks. Yes, yes, I know, there won’t be enough oxygen masks for everyone on the right side of the aircraft, with everybody doubled up. Not to worry! Your highly trained flight attendants, who can function at near-full mental capacity for an entire minute and a half without oxygen, will connect extender tubes to the oxygen masks on the left side, and pull them over to the right side. Believe it or not, we’ve simulated this, so there’s no real danger of asphyxiation. Granted, it will be awkward, but hey, it’s better than the alternative—and, my Vegas-bound friends, your chances of survival will be a lot greater than your chances of coming out ahead on those tight-ass slot machines.
Now, once the oxygen starts flowing, take a deep breath, and say your prayers. The good people at McCarran Airport have already cleared a runway for us, and emergency vehicles are already in position—how’s that for readiness? All set folks? Then down we go for a shaky but mostly survivable landing!
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