Insert Chassis Albuquerque: The Butterfly Effect - Chapter 8: "The Almost Plane Crash"

5 July 2017

The Butterfly Effect - Chapter 8: "The Almost Plane Crash"

“THIS IS FLIGHT ZS4545, WE’RE DECLARING A EMERGENCY. REPEAT, WE’RE DECLARING A EMERGENCY."
“FLIGHT ZS454, THIS IS CONTROL, DID YOU SAY YOU’RE DECLARING A EMERGENCY?”
“COPY THAT. DECLARING A EMERGENCY.”
“WHAT ARE YOU, SOUTH AFRICAN? DON’T YOU KNOW GRAMMATICALLY YOU CAN ONLY DECLARE AN EMERGENCY - ALWAYS AN BEFORE A VOWEL!”
“NONETHELESS WE’RE DECLARING A EMERGENCY…!”
“HOLD ON THERE COWBOY, WHAT EXACTLY’S THE NATURE OF YOUR EMERGENCY…?”
“CONTROL, I’D LIKE TO SPEAK TO A SUPERVISOR.”
“THEY’RE NOT AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW, FLIGHT ZS4545.”
“WELL WHERE THE FUCK IS THEY?”
“THEY’RE OUTSIDE IN THE PARKING LOT, FUCKING YOUR WIFE…”
“CONTROL…!”
“NOW I JUST NEED A LITTLE MORE INFO ON YOUR SITUATION, FLIGHT ZS454, BEFORE WE CLEAR YOU FOR DESCENT.”
“THE NATURE OF THE EMERGENCY IS WE’VE LOST ALL CONTROL OF THE AIRCRAFT AND ARE DESCENDING RAPIDLY TOWARD THE GROUND…!”
“BAD GRAMMAR ASIDE I AGREE WITH YOUR ASSESSMENT FOR THIS SITUATION. ZS4545, CLEAR FOR RAPID DESCENT. ALL AIRCRAFT BE ADVISED, WE’VE A LOOSE BIRD IN THE SKY, DESCENDING…”
Control and Flight ZS4545 discuss the technical requirement of the EMERGENCY as the plane drops from the sky.
Wolffe Gunstormer looked out his window at the horizon. They were fast approaching a layer of clouds. Clouds are beautiful things, Wolffe reflected, the way they’d change shape and wisp away as if having never ever existed. He began the process of analyzing what had gone wrong since taking off - two things had happened. First, he’d taken a leak, a very bad experience for him and he didn’t want to talk about it too much.
But he did.
He’d noticed a porthole in the loo which was strange as it - as a design feature - was probably a safety hazard.
Of course this was in 1981, passenger aircraft design was still ascending a steep learning curve. Anyhow, Wolffe was taking a leak when a man's face appeared over the porthole on the outside of the plane. He was wearing what looked like a pilot’s uniform - Wolffe knew this because he was a detective.
“I think it may have been the pilot,” Wolffe told the stewardess.
“Not to worry, sir, probably just doing some routine in-flight maintenance on the fuselage of the plane. Very common,” she said.
Secondly, a while later the pilot came on over the PA system and announced they were having engine trouble just above London or Moscow, which was odd as they'd left New Mexico bound for Downtown Tokyo, New York (Downtown Tokyo is a lot like Chinatown, only Japanese).
So either the pilot was drunk or the navigation system fucked.
When Gunstormer raised this issue with the same stewardess she screamed that he should return to his seat immediately, fasten his seatbelt and wait for further instruction.
Wolffe demanded a drink.
He lit a cigarette while he was waiting.
The stewardess returned with a bottle.
Everyone else had entered a state of suspended disbelief.
While Wolffe poured himself a drink.
He should call somebody on his cell phone (something his missing brother had often referred to when they were youngsters) but then realized it was just past 1980, the cell phone hadn't yet been fully, properly invented and was still just a crazy idea in someone else's head.
Instead here he was about to die, a feeling he resented but embraced - there was little to do about it and Wolffe had seen it all before anyway.
It was like truth, truth’s often one of those things people always feel compelled to tell most times you've a gun to their head and their asshole’s on the line or, appropriately, a family member of theirs is hostage and therefore some other asshole’s asshole is on the line.
Looking around, there were some ugly looking passengers on board, screaming their hearts out.
"Can you believe it? Can you?”
“There’s no alternative, I mean, Jesus, not even one?” they pleaded with one another.
“Not even one!”
“We gonna die!”
The individual next to him, who whilst statistically quiet pondering their fatal circumstance, sat with her long, beautiful legs crushed together.
There was a noise like a small duck laughing.
Wolffe realized she was crying; still, he hadn’t really appreciated how there was a certain amount of promiscuity over in her dark corner, huddling.
“Have a look if you want, sure is beautiful,” Wolffe offered, gesturing out the window.
He wanted her to see the view, because he'd been in love before, which he knew less about than being a drunk.
"Sometimes I think. You know…?" the woman said to him.
But he didn't and dared touched her hair. She’d never know, her body was flooded with chemicals, she’d taken drugs and her perception had altered.
The plane practically inverted and the other passengers became apoplectic.
It sounded as if people were being gutted with grief in their seats.
"You look trustworthy, drunk, but trustworthy,” the woman said fighting the terror overwhelming other passengers.
“I'm not drunk,” Wolffe said.
“I’m a nurse, so I know all about drunks,” she said as Wolffe noticed her whoring bipolar eyes, that look of San Francisco in them and the sound of casual bigotry in her voice when she leaned over him and said absently: “Oh, isn't that so pretty!" and the zipping gray-green-blue-and-black earth rushed up to meet them.
“You have any regrets?” she wondered.
“Sure, I’m a man, aren’t I?” Wolffe said.
He’d had regrets. He’d wanted to go see the Beatles performing in concert but they’d been broken up for a while and now John Lennon was dead; which reminded him he'd always wanted to learn play piano.
Curious about this formation in the woman’s eyes he kissed her.
She removed his hat.
And the aircraft leveled out a few meters above the ground, the fuselage straining under the massive effort and the engines screaming and then began hauling itself skyward again. Passengers applauded and hollered what a great job the pilot and crew had done. The woman responded by pulling away and telling Wolffe a pretty erotic story instead while the stewardesses strolled the aisles again pushing their trolleys while straightening their hair and passing out drinks to the terrified passengers pretending they were all fine again.