Flash Friday 30/05/2014: Pilot Episode
The man clearly didn’t appear to want to be on the airplane any more. His smart attire contrasted with the worried face and pasty skin, dripping with sweat. The man kept looking out of the window, just in case the plane had decided to teleport from one country to another and not bother with that whole flying nonsense. Unfortunately, there was a whole lot of sky where he was going, and he clearly didn’t want to be a part of it. The fact he was a nervous wreck before the plane had even taken off was a testament to how bad he was.
“It’s okay.” Paul put a hand on the man’s shoulder, causing him to snap around. “I was once afraid of flying, too.”
“No, this isn’t the same.” The man sunk into his chair, wiping away sweat. “This is a deathly fear.”
“Well, when I undertook therapy, I was told that you should always change what your mind is dwelling on, think about something else. So, let’s have a chat, shall we? What’s your name?”
“Good, good. And what do you do for a living.”
Paul was about to go into his ‘oh, really? Well, I work with children, and let me tell you…’ piece. David’s comment, however, had left him staring at the back of the seat in front of him, trying to work out if the universe was going to go easy on him today or not. He made a small groaning noise, regaining his courage.
“Sorry.” Paul turned back, a smile on his face. “For a moment there, I thought you said you were an airplane pilot.”
David nodded with wide eyes.
Paul grimaced. “No, sorry, that makes no sense. How can you be a pilot and afraid of flying?”
“Because I’m not the one flying.”
“Why does that matter?”
“Do you have children?”
Paul leant back a little from the out-of-the-blue question, but dared to dip his toe into the pool of conversation. “Yes.”
“Do you have an expensive camera?”
“Well, it’s not the best, but it’s certainly a pricey piece.”
“When you have the camera in your hands, you feel safe and in control with it, don’t you? You can take photos, go to places, use it. Now imagine you come home from work, and your child is holding the camera in one hand, and a jar of open peanut butter in the other.”
Paul winced. “I can see why that would be bad. But, why does this equate to you being a pilot that’s afraid of flying?”
“Because, right now, we might have a baby smearing a gear stick with sandwich spread in the cockpit. When I’m the one doing the flying? Absolutely no fear whatsoever. Why would I be afraid? I know I can pilot something like this. I know how much experience I’ve had. The person flying this plane? Might as well be a dog.”
“So…you’re afraid not of flying, but of other people flying you somewhere?”
David nodded as if his chin was about to fall off. “Exactly. Exactly that. I can’t trust them.”
Paul leant back into his chair, giving a relaxed sigh. “I’m sure they wouldn’t give the job to a monkey. A lot of reputation and lives are at stake. I’m sure everything will be fine.”
“You’re right.” David started taking deep breaths. “I’ve nothing to worry about.”
A cheerful, four-tone tune played over the intercom. The sound of quiet static came through the speakers.
“This is your pilot speaking,” came a young male voice. “I’d like to welcome you to this flight today. To be honest, I’m a little nervous, this being my first ever commercial flight.”
Paul’s reflexes were faster than David’s. By the time the blur that was once David had bolted from his seat to use the emergency exit, Paul had held out a hand to stop him, placing David back into his seat.
“Remember,” Paul said, emphasising each syllable, giving David a cold stare. “We’re going to be fine.”
“Right.” David started fanning himself with his own hand, sinking into his chair. “Nothing to be afraid of. The moment we hit turbulence, though, I am storming that plane and hijacking this trip for the greater good.”
Paul sighed. This was going to be a troublesome trip.