Tuesday, 4 October 2011

33) Emergency Drop

    Aboard the private jet ‘Banana Flapper’ the senior CFO of Rhenium industries slept soundly and loudly, his snores echoed through the opulent cabin. The sun was shining and the sky was blue, but his body clock was still on Hong Kong time and for him it was three in the morning.
    The jet’s pilot, one Bert Mackelby, was keeping half one eye on the instrument panel and one eye on his latest issue of Pork Weekly when all of a sudden one little warning light went off. He put down the magazine mid article, something about cooking bacon at the base of Mt Everest, and checked the control panel. The warning was a magneto, used for picking up objects that flew along the Earth’s magnetic lines. Usually it was a flock of geese and usually they were well below the plane’s cruising altitude.
    Bert flicked on his communication deck and typed the warning light and his position. The command came back to call Air Support. His closest was hi hub’s air traffic control node in Texas.
    Bert dialed it up and put on his headphones.
    “Texas 1 niner this is Bert Mackelby of the ‘Banana Flapper’, I’ve got a red light on my magneto and she says to call you. Over.”
    The reply came in a beat, “Good Evening ‘Banana Flapper’ this is Texas 1 please state your coordinates.”
    “Texas 1 I’m over the middle of the Atlantic Ocean,” he gave them his coordinates, “And it’s morning here.”
    The reply took a little longer this time. “‘Flapper’ we advice you drop altitude immediately.”
    “Why Texas? What am I going to hit?”
    Just then there was a soft ping followed by several more. Bert looked up and saw a yellow black gooey smudge on the windscreen.
    “Bugs, Banana, lots of bugs. Go now, you should be just entering them now. If you get into the thick of them they’ll clog up your turbines and then you’ll really drop some altitude.”
    “Ten Four. Thanks Texas.” Bert said and closed the com. He flipped a few switches and pushed down on the flight stick. Bugs continued to pitter patter on the windscreen. When he looked up momentarily he could see a black fuzzy cloud ahead. He’d never seen so many bugs before, never even imagined there could be so many in the world. He pushed harder on the flight stick and the plane dove.
    Bert heard yelling from behind him and pounding on the door, that damn executive must be up, he thought. He switched his headset from radio to intercom and said, “My apologies sir, but we’ve hit a bit of turbulence, please return to your seat and we’ll be steadying it out soon.” The yelling continued but Bert returned his focus to their dire situation.
    He didn’t think they had been that low, but the ocean was coming up too quick for him. He yanked the stick back and was pushed violently into his seat. He felt bad for the executive in the cabin.
    They’d shed several hundred miles per hour and several thousand feet of altitude. Bert breathed a sigh of relief. They had gotten past the worst of it.
    Then several warning lights snapped on and a high pitched alarm went off. Turns out the damn bugs had already gotten into the engines. Bert watched as the fuel gauge started to fall too. He swore and crossed himself. They were probably toast. He switched on the emergency beacon and spoke into his microphone, “My apologies sir, but we’re going to have to make an emergency landing. Please refer to your emergency instructions in the side pocket and assume the proper positioning. This may be a little rough.”
    Bert pulled back on the stick and tried to get them some altitude. For a moment through the light dusting of clouds he could see a dark green smudge on the water, but he couldn’t tell what it was.
    Quickly the engine gave out and the fuel red lined. He said, “How running into bugs busted my fuel line I’d like to know. Damn-it.”
    The engines gave one last sputter and then the plane began to dive. Bert expertly crashed into the water. It was rough, but decent enough. He made sure the emergency beacon was still going, grabbed his pack, threw on a life jacket and went back into the cabin.
    The whole place was a mess. The stupid executive had obviously not read the information brochure on what to do in an emergency and panicked. His suit jacket was on one side of the room and his pants on another, and he was laying quietly face down in a pool of his own blood and sea water.
    The plane tiled and swayed. Bert quickly kneeled down next to the executive and took his pulse, there was none.
    He buckled up his pack and opened up door and dropped the door down into the water.
    The day was beautiful, warm and sunny, water lapped at the bottom of the open door.

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