Monday, June 15, 2009

Wasted Passengers

the Ridiculous is everywhere.

When I was a child, too young for many fears, yet old enough to identify the failing points of fear bearers:

I was on an airplane. I was shaking my head as a loud drunkard hassled stewardesses for more drink. There were supposed to be video games on this flight, but there weren't. So, I was stuck unable to read my comics in peace because an unshaven chimpanzee somehow got through security.


The Ridiculous sat down, next to me. "You don't want that window seat, kid," he said.

"I do. I like it," I replied, as indignantly as only a child may. "This is the only place where you can escape this mundane reality."

"Worth a try, worth a try."

My eyes became beady. "This isn't your seat. What happened to the old lady?" I asked. Who was this man? I tried to rise and yank my head back to see the line for the restrooms, to see if the old lady with red hair was there.

He laughed. "I am the old lady, pal," said the Ridiculous.

"No." Thoughts came into my head about evil kidnappers.

Whistling, he fumbled in his jacket pocket and pulled out a mess of orange strands. "Aged spinster red," he smiled. "Does the trick, most of the time." He stuffed it back in his coat. "Least when you don't want to be bothered by irritating little babies they bloody seated you with." He settled back and closed his eyes, napping.

"I'm not a baby," I said.


"I'm not! You - you wanna see a real baby?"

"Sure," said the Ridiculous, eyes still closed.

I waited till a stewardess passed us, and then nodded very slightly, like a spy. "There. That guy there - wailing bloody murder just to get another little shot of ... whatever."

The Ridiculous opened his eyes and looked. "That guy?"

"Yeah," I said. "He's such a pathetic little baby, he won't shut up! I can't even read!"

"You think that guy is a fool?" said the Ridiculous.

"He is," I replied, angry.

He shook his head, and though he was already smiling, I could see an *additional* smile settle into his face. "No, little guy, no."

I didn't say anything, and just looked at him. This was one of my child tricks.

"You think that guy is a dumb little chimpanzee? Doesn't know what he's doing?" said the Ridiculous, daring my child stare.

"Well, what would you say?"

"I know him," said the Ridiculous.

"What? You do? Well ..." I said, uncertain, "so what is his problem?"

"He is operating on a principle."

"Pfft," I laughed. "Yeah, right."

"He," said the Ridiculous, turning and facing me for the first time, "knows his place."

"No he doesn't."

"He does. And he knows he'll need to be really, really wasted before he feels alright," he smiled at me.

"That's dumb - he's making too much noise," I told the Ridiculous.

"No. See - he knows that they won't give him more drinks, unless the condition goes overboard. It's airline policy."

"That can not be airline policy," I told him. "They wouldn't have a stupid policy like that."

"It is," said the Ridiculous. "That's why you have to be loud and obnoxious, to really get through to these guys."

"But - but why does he need to get so drunk?"

"Because he's terrified of the flight," said the Ridiculous, beaming.

I looked around myself, around the cabin. "Of this?"

"The fear of the flight, to him, is so much greater, that he will surpass the boundaries of the norm simply to escape it!"

I looked at the drunkard. He was getting quieter now. They were coming in and serving him the drinks, and I watched his head gulp them down. Slowly, slowly I watched ... his neck get looser, his head roll back. I turned to my window, and I saw the layered clouds.

When I woke up, the pilot was saying we were about to land. I looked up at the Ridiculous, but there was just an old woman sitting there, with crusty fake red hair, giggling into her old womens' magazine.

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