Fly By Night

Fly By Night

Buzz Fisher

I sit in the metal scrap heap that they tell us is US Air Flight 5130 – Pittsburgh to D.C. Aesthetics don’t interest me much – it could be a flying school bus and it wouldn’t bother me at all. I’ve got a window seat anyway. But I won’t be watching any clouds going merrily by if we hit some of that beautiful turbulence that some people hate so much. No, if we hit some great big potholes at 34,000 feet, I’ll be watching my fellow air coffin travelers. There’s nothing better than the sight of these (or others like these) muscle bound, anal retentive goofballs as they stain their shorts or use their little “lunch holding” paper bags a few hours after chow time. No, there’s nothin’ better.

If you ever get the opportunity to view this little carnival, (assuming you’re not staining your shorts or tossing your lunch – no, you don’t look like you scare easy) watch their eyes. Watch how their pupils get bigger and they suddenly get bloodshot as sweat (heavy, thick, wet sweat) pours off their brows and past their lids. Even the darkest tan turns the color of Holiday Inn towels all of a sudden. No sir, when you hit good turbulence – the kind that snaps that stick you call a spine – air passengers get whiter than the clouds floating by.

You can’t just watch their eyes though – that wouldn’t be much fun, would it? Of course not, you have to see the whole picture to really appreciate its’ beauty. The heaving of their chests as their lungs refuse to fill, the sweat so thick on their palms that they drip in anticipation of their demise, their knuckles as they clutch the seat ahead of them, (this is just barely possible with their sweat soaked palms) their forearms bulging as they put all their effort into holding on (as if it would make any difference) to their seat as well as their lunch. See what you would have missed had you just watched their eyes?

Really take a look at the other passengers when you get on. Try to figure out which one’s are going to be the most fun to watch. Are there any of those “nice boys” wearing rags with tennis rackets sticking out of their carry on Guccis? Those guys are a blast in turbulence. There’s one right there! The stewardesses love those little fuckin’ preppies.

“Mr. Benson? I brought the Perrier you asked for. Boy, it’s a good thing you called ahead. I’m real sorry that we couldn’t find you a First Class seat. You just sit back and I’ll take care of you. Congratulations on Wimbledon, by the way.”

Makes you want to puke, doesn’t it? Me too!

Look at that big, fat lady over there hyper-ventilating into her shower cap. She’s going to be a lot of fun to watch. Hell she might even have a heart attack and die.


“Excuse me, Ma’am. If you need anything during the flight and can’t get the attendants attention, just let me know. I’ll take care of you. Is this your first time flying? Yeah? You’ll love it – don’t worry. Just remember that we’re gonna probably hit some turbulence, so don’t get too excited if the wing out your window starts bending and bouncing. I think that they’re supposed to. If you happen to see any flames coming out of that engine over there, you let me know, okay?”

Did you see the look on her face? That was priceless!

You have to listen too. Everyone seems to have been stricken with an acute case of Hay Fever as soon as the fun begins. Listen to the engines as they kind of sputter when the air gets in there. That incessant “smoker’s cough” of the turbos refusing to cooperate. Isn’t it beautiful? Listen to the not quite confident voice of the flight attendant as she asks “Excuse me sir? Would you like anything from our beverage cart before we plummet 30,000 feet to our deaths? No? Well, if you change your mind, you just push the button over your seat. That one right there – the one with the picture of the person in a skirt.”

Kind of makes you warm all over doesn’t it?

Everyone suddenly becomes a contestant on ‘Let’s Make A Deal’ and Old Lucifer turns into Monte Hall, trading favors for promises and hope for souls. It’s times like these that I really envy Old Guy – what a fuckin’ blast, huh?


“My child, I am here for you. I shall be your provider and protect you from what you fear. You shall not perish today. If you are granted the protection that you are seeking, how will you repay my kindness?” HEH, HEH, HEH


HEH, HEH, HEH. “Your wish shall be granted. To repay me, you must take all of your money out of your savings, for if it were not for me, you would die today. You will take this money and send it to the United States Defense Department. You must tell them that it is to be used exclusively for nuclear weapon development. For to have peace – we must first destroy the enemy. If you fail to follow through on your obligation, your children will each be struck dead one week from today at twelve noon. Do you understand the terms of our agreement?”

More turbulence.


“All right, my child. Rest easy now. For you will be hearing from me again.” Sucker!

Beautiful, ain’t it? I remember when he used that one on this big-eared Texas Billionaire. That one paid for the Desert Storm War.

Some flights I’ve seen the Old Bastard get twenty or twenty-five souls. The Guy’s a fuckin’ artist. But, like I was saying before that little demonstration by my Old Buddy – you have to watch the whole scene to really appreciate it. That means that you should get lots of rest before flying – just so you don’t accidentally fall asleep and miss anything.

Of course, the most important observation you can make is your own feelings. Are you able to really feast on this carnage? If not, you should see a Doctor. HEH, HEH, HEH. No really, enjoy it for what it is – art. Makes Picasso look like he was using color by numbers, huh?

You have to get into the spirit, though. When you get on the plane, ask the flight attendant if the pilot is expecting a lot of turbulence. Ask her loud enough so the first ten rows can all hear. She won’t be able to answer but it gets everybody thinking. Watch the expression on their faces – see their eyes start to twitch? You can’t say too much before the plane takes off though or you’ll be asked to leave. Then you’ll miss the whole show. Don’t want that, do you? Of course not – you’d have to be sick to want to miss this? Right? Right! So, just sit and smile until you leave the ground. Watch the cute little blonde as she explains how to hook the seatbelt and where the exits are.

“In case we crash in water, the seat bottoms are designed to double as flotation devices. Simply turn them over, put your arms through the straps, and kiss your ass goodbye.”

Don’t tell her that if we crash in water between Pittsburgh and Washington DC the pilot sucks and I’d like to get off now, thank you very much.

Oh yeah, Lucifer’s a crafty one, all right. Like the time last year that plane started losing engines. The pilot ended up making this silent pact with him. He was pretty generous that day. Of course, that’s probably because the plane wasn’t full – not like this one. But Ole Lucifer made the pilot promise that he’d make good one day. The pilot was allowed to land the plane, but he’d have to bring a full one in exchange…exactly one year later. I, Mr. No Balls Pilot, had been only too eager to agree.

Susan, my wife, says that I’ve changed. Says she can’t understand me anymore. So, until I get my life together, she doesn’t want to be a part of it. She says that if I get it figured out, she’ll come back to me. Something (or somebody HEH, HEH, HEH) tells me that I won’t be seeing Susan anymore. In fact, I’d bet my life on it (if I had one, that is.)

“Pilot to Tower – Pilot to Tower – This is US Air Flight 5130 – We’re losing engines. Repeat – We’re losing engines. We’re going down!”


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