Chapter Description: Images for this story can be found at the following web...... https://sites.google.com/view/comedy-ars-characters/home
Miami International Airport (MIA) was both very large and very busy. The security line looked to be about a 45 minute wait, as passengers snaked through the winding maze of ropes and posts.
But Sammnatha and I were in great spirits, relieved to have twice dodged the government authorities on St. Thomas. Hopefully, no one would ever discover the truth about my world record ‘Blob’ … and secondly, Sister Aurora Archangel would never get close to putting her fingerprints on my penis again.
As we got closer to the front, patience was beginning to wear thin with some of the tired passengers in the queue line.
Sammantha asked me, “Are you sure you still enjoy traveling, sweety?”
I was in such a great mood, I smiled broadly and replied, “I’d go anywhere with you, Mom.”
And that just set me off. As silly as it sounded, I ducked under the ropes into the open central area of the queue and started singing aloud my favorite song from ‘Oliver Twist’.
“I know that I’d go anywhere,
For your smile, anywhere,
For your smile, everywhere,
Instantly, many of the crabby people in the queue began chuckling. Sammantha didn’t miss a beat. She too, ducked under the rope and slid right in to the second verse where we alternated question and answer with a slight dance to our steps.
“Would you lace my shoe?”
“Paint your face bright blue?”
“Catch a kangaroo?”
“Go to Timbuktu?”
“And back again.
I’d risk everything,
For one kiss, everything,
Yes, I’d do anything,”
“Anything … For you!”
We bowed to the audience. I’d like to say they gave us a standing ovation … but they were already standing. It felt good to unleash some pent up energy. And our line mates were kind enough to keep our carryon bags moving forward as we performed.
That was the high point of our homeward bound journey. We still faced a long layover and a long flight back. An old conversation popped up.
“Sweety, now that our vacation is over, maybe it’s time for you to start seriously thinking about going to school in the fall.”
“I don’t know, Mom … It just sounds scary to actually do it. I would feel so out of place being a little kid playing ‘school’ with a bunch of other little kids. And what if I run into bullies?”
“Derrek, I know you’ve always had this dream of playing sports in school because you missed all that when you were growing up. This would give you a real purpose for going back to school.”
“But Mom, they don’t have any teams for ten-year-olds. I would be a fifth grader.”
“Not necessarily. We could make you twelve so you could play on the seventh grade middle school teams. I know you’d enjoy being a couple years older.”
“What about my problem with water?”
“We just keep telling people you have ‘Aquagenic Urticaria’. You’re allergic to water. It makes you break out in hives and swelling. You try to avoid it, but if it happens, you hide under a blanket while I race up to the school to get you.”
“Mom, it still sounds scary.”
“We can talk about it later, sweety.”
Nothing else exciting would happen on our flight … until we were about to land in Buffalo.
A weather front was making its way across the country, kicking up thunderstorms as we entered western New York. There was a lot of turbulence bumping the passengers around, and I could hear some worried voices around me as the captain came onto the intercom.
“This is your captain speaking. Make sure all your seat belts are tightly fastened as we make our final approach into the Buffalo-Niagra airport. The turbulence could cause some overhead bags to shift—“
The captain’s announcement ended abruptly when we felt a large jolt to the airplane that caused all the lights in the cabin to turn off. All the electricity in the plane went out. Worse yet, all the engines were lost. Our plane was now a glider.
“Brace! Brace! Brace!” yelled the flight attendant. “Do not panic. We are still on the glide path but we have no electricity. Everyone bend forward and put your hands behind your head.”
Sammantha and I disobeyed part of the order. We locked two hands tightly together … my right with her left. We were sitting by the exit doors to the wing on the right side, so at least that was good. Sammantha was in the window seat. I could look past her and note that the engines were silent.
Everyone prayed that the pilots would land the plane safely … but now, more disaster came. The tip of the right wing near where we were sitting was struck by lightning. Nearly all the passengers screamed, but not us. That’s because the bolt of lightning traveled down the wing and through our bodies … and through the two passengers on our left, while finally exiting the plane via the tip of the left wing.
I am not an expert on electricity. I get confused when reading about volts and amps and how much of each would be required to kill a person. In my first childhood when I was eight, I was in line, watching the dodgem bumper cars at the state fair. My hands were holding onto the chain link fence that surrounded the ride. For about four seconds, the power cable must have touched the fence and I was ‘electrocuted’ (but not killed). My hands were magnetized to the fence and I couldn’t let go. My brain couldn’t think during those four seconds. I was lucky it stopped, but the pain was incredible.
That pain was similar to what I just experienced on our plane. Our hands were magnetized. We couldn’t separate until the electric charge departed to the left. The screaming passengers settled down and the praying resumed. There were some who were crying, especially kids.
Sammantha and I looked at each other but didn’t speak. My brain was kind of in a fog and I assumed hers was too. It was almost anti-climactic when the plane touched down safely and on time in Buffalo at 10:31 pm.
We were instructed to remain in our seats while a pushback tractor attached itself to our plane and towed it back to the gate. Without a word, we got up and stood in the isle and Sammantha reached up to grab our two carryon bags. As we exited, the flight attendant asked if we were okay, but we both passed by her without responding.
Upon walking one hundred feet further, it was apparent that the terminal had also lost power and was now operating in low light with emergency generators. We continued walking toward the airport exit.
Anyone watching Sammantha and me proceed down the terminal corridor could have accurately described us in many ways … listless, languid, sluggish, tired, apathetic, fatigued, spiritless, languorous, slothful, sleepy, lethargic, drowsy, dullardly, torpid, bewildered, unmindful, unaware, unenergetic, unresponsive, oblivious, zombiefied, and stupefied.
It’s a wonder that we were able to stumble upon our car in the parking lot. We tossed our bags into the back seat and got in. I was barely conscious. When Sammantha started the car, I reached across the front seat, for no reason, and tried to grab the steering wheel. Sammantha, with her greater strength, easily pushed me back.
We still wouldn’t speak to each other, and yet my irrational action repeated itself three more times on the way home. I just didn’t know why I was trying to grab the steering wheel.
Miraculously, we made it back to the apartment without causing a major traffic accident. When we got out of the car, we grabbed our carryons and began rolling them toward the door … except Sammantha grabbed my carryon, so I just grabbed hers.
We discovered that our building had lost power too, and the elevators were operating by emergency generators. Our suite was on the fifth floor, and when we stepped into the elevator, Sammantha finally spoke one word.
I should have thought ‘Why the hell would she say bunnyrabbit’? But I was too tired to think anything, too exhausted to care. The elevator door opened and we walked quietly down to our apartment door. She inserted the key and we entered the dark living room.
For a full minute, we stood motionless. I guess we really were a couple of zombies. My brain was still in a fog. I stared at the floor in the dark.
Then Sammantha began to slowly move. She bent down and unzipped my carryon suitcase, fumbled around a little, and took out bunny rabbit. Then she walked around the corner, feeling the walls, and entered the nearest bedroom … which happened to be my boy’s room. I didn’t know what was going on. Then she shut the door and I heard her plop her body onto my bed.
Well that sucks. She took my rabbit and my bed. But I was too zonked out to protest. I walked down to her larger bedroom, closed the door about half way, and dropped myself onto her queen bed … and I was out for the night.