My Boldest Moment: Thrown Off A Plane

I entered a contest!  We were supposed to describe our Boldest Moment. 
I didn't win. But I spent some effort on this, so why not?

 Caveats: (a) Do not try this Post-9/11, because you'll end up at Gitmo and your folks will never see you again; (b) NC-17 rating for language...C Word and everything; and (c) I felt all bold and stuff, but I possibly was just an asshole.

My Boldest Moment: Thrown off a Plane

Flying home from a Syracuse Die Fledermaus, a week before my wedding. It was -- I’ll say it -- USAir, those bastards.  I board last. The guy in front of me, a very mild, small, Winnie The Pooh-shaped man, has a rollerbag he’s carrying on.  Behind him - between us - is the attendant, hectoring him that his bag is too big for the overhead. She’s insisting he give it over, getting nasty.

Can I just try? Let’s just see, he says in his small, mild voice.

As he gets to his row, she jerks him -- hard enough to knock him off balance-- by the arm.  Insists again that it won’t fit. Finding his feet, he says again, Please, can’t I just try?  He tries.  Naturally, she is right, it is her job after all. So he’s got it over his head, it won’t fit, and she reaches over him and jerks it out of his hands, her gesture almost flings it into the opposite row. Lady is livid.

Almost inaudibly, he says, You don’t have to be a bitch about it. 

She loses it. Snaps at him with teeth bared, You’re off this plane. Get off this plane. You are ejected.  He is shocked, the whole plane is shocked. He has to follow her  (and me, who is in their path) up front, in disgrace; at the door I step out of the way, she shoves his case at him, and he goes. 

I’m taking all this in, and she takes me aback when she turns to me with a too-bright smile. I”m sooo sorry for the disturbance, would you like to take your seat?  I check her out; her cloven hooves are well disguised but I nevertheless take my seat forth-fucking-with. As I sit, the pilot is overhead, apologizing for the drama but saying - and I’m quoting here - that they won’t take any “backtalk” from us. That goes right through me; now there’s trouble in River City. 

I have a gigantor two-hander coke with which I’m about half done. The stewardess is doing her head count, and she asks, Can I get that out of your way? Which, as we all know, is code for, Give me that.  I say, teasing, If I refuse, will you throw me off the plane?  She draws back, unamused in the extreme. We have these policies in place for your safety! It’s for the safety of the plane and everyone on board! I take a sip of my coke. No, it’s not. It was a pissing contest, and you had the Trump Card. 

She leans into my face, and positively snarls, Now, YOU are off this plane. You’re out of here!!

For a mixed metaphor? Little harsh, amirite? I mean, don’t you think?

You get up right now, you’re off this plane.

No.

What? You have to.

No, I don’t.

She reaches out like she’s going to take me by the arm. I put a hand up and look her in the eye. Danger, Will Rogers, for real. She hesitates. I’ll call the Air Marshals!  

Ok.  Good solution: I’ll get up for them. I settle back. The plane is horrified; you could hear a pin drop. She turns, walks up the aisle a few steps, turns back. I will call the police. I will call the marshals.  

Do it. I’m not getting up for you.

They will arrest you.

I’m aware of the possible consequences of involving law enforcement.

You’re holding up this plane and all these people!

No, I’m not, you are. I’m no threat to this plane. You can put us in the air any time you’re done with your tantrum.

I don’t want any more of my coke but I have no choice but to keep sipping. Minutes pass. My fellow travelers get restive. The guy next to me: You should get off.  

No way; not happening.

You’re making us late.

I’m doing this for you. Aren’t you tired of this shit?

Right now, I’m tired of you.

Great. Well, I’m willing to martyr myself for the cause. I put a fist in the air.

A few rows behind: Get off, bitch.

Now it’s me against the world. I take a long slug of coke and wait, shunned.  The stewardess comes back: The marshals are on their way.

Did you tell them to hurry? Baby banker here is about to have an aneurysm. 

It’s all over her face: She wants to hit me.  She walks back up front instead. Minutes pass.  Syracuse is a small airport; they probably only have one Marshal, maybe dealing with an actual criminal.  It’s been twenty minutes, and cell phones are turned on. My character is assassinated, motivations impugned, descriptions of the horror that is moi disseminated to secretaries all over New York City.

Hopes are expressed in colorful, if not terribly inventive, language that I end badly. I slurp my ice.

Finally, at 35 minutes, a marshal, a good looking 20-something badass, boards. The stewardess is triumphant, tries to lead him to my row. He makes her wait up front, and comes to secure my person. When he gets close, I gather my stuff and start to get up.  Hi.

You coming now?

Yeah, of course.

Do I need cuffs?

Not unless you just like them.

I have to pee. So. Bad. He doesn’t crack a smile, but he relaxes. His face becomes a portrait in Really?  We make our way to the front. Cell phones are busy again: Crazy Bitch is on the move. We get to the front, and the stewardess is right by the door, I have to angle my body to get by her. She’s visibly gleeful. I push my coke into her hands.

Toss this for me, will you?

Here's where my formation fails.  I lean in and whisper right into her ear, making sure she can feel my breath: You little cunt; shouldn’t you be making the coffee?

She freaks. Fuh-REAKS.  Marshal hustles me down the stairs to the tarmac. She’s screaming like a psycho: You get her name! I want her name! 

It’s on my goddamned ticket, you moron!  Check your fucking records and give me a call, you cocksucking retard!  I promise you’ll have an eventful day! I’m yelling at the top of my lungs, the last sentence trailing off into the air as I’m all but carried sideways by my middle, across the concrete into the terminal. 

We get inside.  He parks me at an empty gate kiosk and gets out his notebook. I watch my nemesis fly away (I might have given the plane the finger, can't remember) as he takes my name and address. I’m not being dragged into a little room, so I take that for a victory and behave. He asks what happened, and tells me not to editorialize as I relate the events. He’s pretty pissed, but arrest is not mentioned. I get all smug.

Pull this shit again, and it won’t be funny.

How will they know it’s ‘again’? You’re not arresting me, so how will they know I have a history?

Are you arguing for arrest? 

I gather the shreds of my common sense about me and make my escape, rent a car to drive to New York.  I see Winnie-the-Pooh, Esq., arranging another flight, and offer him a ride. He declines, which saddens me; I had a little fantasy we’d become fast friends. Us against the world.

But no, I make my tired way home to New York, revisiting my quips, alone.

Roll Credits.

 

Kathryn Allyn

Jazz singer, political junkie, cautionary tale and nights'n'weekends Stig, on the Island of Misfit Toys.