Imagination takes flight

On the bus, the man sitting next to me was reading a book about helicopters. Not a story but a text book, a manual with diagrams and bullet points and what have you. I wondered if he was just studying aeronautics or if he had his own helicopter, just a little Robinson or a great big Chinook…. Maybe he was planning on building one, (remember that brave man who fled the Eastern Bloc in a homemade flying machine with his little boy on his knee?) or perhaps he was in the RAF and, if so, might look dashing in uniform, and he might be involved in any number of important expeditions, from conveying royalty to important dos to saving lives in London car crashes. How exciting! I had to speak.

“I say, your book looks terribly interesting,” I began.

“Not really,” he said and he got off the bus.

Currently unavailable for purchase

Possible entry for the current Flash Fiction challenge, although I have another idea that I may yet write up….

Another true story, I should add. I feel the disappointment even now.


  • charliethetramp
    charliethetrampalmost 3 years ago

    lifes missed moments,can be strangely ironic
    the things that may or may not have happened or could have been
    the possibilties are endless multiple parrallel lives maybe
    the bread and butter of fiction for sure

  • You could be right. Taking imaginative inspiration from other people’s everyday lives holds richness indeed! In a yoga class, I was once given a spoon to focus on during a breathing exercise, the reason being that it was a dull object that wouldn’t allow external thoughts to creep in. It didn’t work! I kept thinking about Mr Myburg in Cold Comfort Farm speaking of the joys of eating with a spoon, and how spoon was the one word of English an Italian friend had when she moved to the UK. Oh dear.

    – Tuliptree

  • Yampimon
    Yampimonalmost 3 years ago

    This reminds me of a train journey I made about a year ago.
    After getting seated a very tall man sat on the seat beside me, who I recognised as a local TV reporter, I couldn’t recall his name but I’d seen him countless times on the box.
    He opened his briefcase and pulled out a magazine and started reading through it, apparently very interested and continued to do so through the entire hour and a half journey.
    When we arrived at our destination he put the magazine on the table collected his briefcase and got up to go. ‘Excuse me’ says I ’you’ve forgotten your magazine’
    He turned, looked me straight in the eye and said ’it’s not mine’ and walked off.

  • Glad this made you think of your own experience! The things that people say off the cuff can be so odd. It’s also interesting how (for me, anyway), I can end up doubting what I saw – was he actually reading that magazine or has something changed of which I was not aware?

    Thanks for reading!

    – Tuliptree

  • shootback
    shootbackalmost 3 years ago

    I relate to your thought process leading up to the question…unfortunately, I can relate to the Q & A portion too. Really good stuff, Charlotte.

  • Thank you! One person’s delight is another person’s banality. I’m really pleased this resonates with you…but I don’t think circumstances like this are any reason to dispense with delight!

    – Tuliptree

  • TheWanderingBoo
    TheWanderingBooalmost 3 years ago

    great write

  • Thanks, Boo! Happened with a backdrop of Elephant and Castle, if you’re interested! :-)

    – Tuliptree

  • ian osborne
    ian osbornealmost 3 years ago

    I like the way your imagination took flight here Charlotte, only to be shot down in flames. If only we could always retain that innocent wonder. I suppose even flying a helicopter can become a dull routine.
    They took a tree down outside the house the other day. It wasn’t that big and I’ve worked for years in that field so I’ve seen huge ones come down – hundreds of them.

    Fran (flushed from being out in the cold and watching the work) “They’ve got it down. It didn’t half make a thump!”
    Me (scarcely looking up from what I was doing) “Yeah, I heard it.”

    I promise to watch the next one with appropriate delight and shout “Oh mighty tree! Lay your length upon the earth! Bow your head down in the dirt!” (borrowed from Mr Johnson by Joyce Cary)

    Good flash story which set me thinking. Thank you!

  • Hi, Ian! I’m so glad I set you thinking. This seems to resonate with three out if its four known readers so I think I’ve done something right – how gratifying!

    I wonder if the helicopter man would be more interested in the heart-shaped potato I bought on Thursday….

    – Tuliptree

  • Jenifer DeBellis
    Jenifer DeBellisalmost 3 years ago

    Perception is everything, and sometimes better left in the daze of admiration, eh? Interesting take on the challenge. :)

  • Yes, imagination can run unchecked until it is shared, and also has so little room for the mundane. I wonder if the man from the bus will read this…. (rats, rats, shared something in my imagination, now Im going to be disappointed if he doesnt!). Thanks for reading! :-)

    – Tuliptree

  • Coleman A. Riddle
    Coleman A. Riddlealmost 3 years ago

    It’s amazing what Elephant & Castle can inspire ;) I was left heartbroken at a bus stop in E&C once. Anyhow, I digress…your knowledge of helicopters is impressive and is only outdone by that droll, cutting end.

  • So sorry to hear of your elephantine emotional experience. I dont imagine the setting helped your delicate state. Very glad you liked the end – so hard to get right but well worth it when you do. The helicopter knowledge is directly linked to being the mother of a six year old boy.

    – Tuliptree

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