‘Good morning passengers. This is your captain speaking. Firstly, I’d like to welcome you aboard Jubilee Airlines flight 337 from London to Los Angeles. We are currently cruising at an altitude of 36000 feet with an airspeed of 568 mph. The time in Los Angeles is 1:25 pm. As you probably know, there have been storm warnings in the North Carolina area, however at present we believe that these will blow themselves out prior to our arrival. The in-flight film will begin following a short after the cabin crew come around to offer you a drink. I’ll be speaking to you again shortly before we prepare for landing. Enjoy your flight, ladies and gentlemen.’
Captain Montgomery Rattigan, Monty to most people, flicked the intercom switch. Usually at this point in the flight, he’d have switched on the autopilot, but today he felt like enjoying the flight. He was in control of a machine that defied nature and occasionally that was a feeling of power that he chased.
‘Captain, storms are looking worse. We should head around it.’ His co-pilot, James Roland, said to him, looking over the instruments. ‘Low pressure system sitting right in out path. We head north and we should skirt the edges. A bit of turbulence and…’
‘Jim, I’ve been flying since before you were born. If storms are the wars of the gods, this is a scuffle. No, we’ll plough on through.’ Monty felt the currents through the controls, eased the metal beast through the air.
The journey passed in silence. Monty, in control, irritated by the presence of the upstart. Jim thinking that Monty was a dinosaur who wouldn’t trust machines and modern knowledge. The occasional patch of turbulence, nothing to justify a call through to the cabin but just the occasional wobble.
‘See, no problems. Nothing at all.’ Monty said as they passed over the US coastline. Jim said nothing in return, just stared out into the distance where the clouds were stacked, dark and brooding like a rebellious teenager.
The right wing tip dipped slightly, giving the whole plane a slight wobble in the air. “Captain…”
“Jesus, you’re that scared of a little thing like jump like that? Why’d you wanna fly if you’re gonna-” The plane dropped, suddenly. And again. “Get scared by something like that?” His last few words weren’t as confident as the start of his sentence.
Monty said nothing. Just undid his seatbelt and stood up. “Have you got this? I’m dying for a slash.” Jim looked blankly at him as he took a walk to the door, opened it and then disappeared from view. Jim placed both hands on the controls and gripped tight with whitening knuckles as the plane dropped again.
Monty walked down the plane, watching as the passengers fitted their seatbelts and held onto their children. Calmly, of course. Though inside, he was wracked with turmoil. Should he have listened to Jim and gone around the storm?
He looked down at his hands where they swung freely, loosely balled into fists as he patrolled his domain. He saw an empty chair next to a young woman and her baby and took a seat. “Hello, Miss.”
She looked at his uniform and began to panic, but she quickly quietened when he spoke again. “Now, Miss,” he continued, reaching for her hand, “there’s no need to worry.” He looked up towards the front of the plane, towards the cockpit that he knew Jim would be wrestling with the controls, listening to the instruments and fighting to keep the plane in the sky.
“There’s one of the best pilots I’ve ever seen flying this plane. We’re going to be okay.”
A short one today. I feel like I may have missed some parts of the story, but if I come back to this I’ll fill those in. More description on Jim and Monty. Perhaps Jim’s POV. Who knows?
The Idiot in Tin Foil