Partner In Flight

Walking down the long steel tube I started the process of my ritual prayer for the perfect neighbor. I had done this a few times before and was becoming somewhat of a pro. Unfortunately, the only thing I could never control was whom I might be sitting next to, which would be my super power if I had one. Thoughts of a pretty girl, a rich businessman looking to share his wealth, or even an empty row pass through my mind, any of these would be more than acceptable.

As I make my way to the back of the 747, still several rows from my place of residence for the next 12 hours, I notice that my row is one of the few empty rows on the plane. My prayers had worked, the travel gods had smiled down and granted my one and only wish, or so I thought. Once I reached my row I realized why I did not see anybody. There, in the isle seat, was a man who probably defied half of the laws of physics. The archeological wonder could not have been any younger then 90, his head barely reaching the headrest. Dressed in a brown three-piece suit, the little bit of gray hair left on his head gelled and slicked back, he stands up to let me pass through to my window seat. I think I have seen grass grow faster than this guy.

Five minutes later, I am finally in my seat and unpack whatever I might need to make my trip slightly less painful. I leave my backpack, which contains enough electronic equipment to run a small country, in the middle seat not thinking that it would be in any danger from attacks by my lifeless, and already fast asleep, friend two seats away.

An hour or so goes by and the attendant comes by to offer drinks, I take my juice, as does the old man. Before he can even take a drink he is already asleep and still amazingly holding on to the cup which is now directly over my bag. Without any time to form a solid defense, I could only watch as the contents of the cup are being pored all over my bag, any reaction I might have being paralyzed by confusion and disbelief of the current situation. Just then the attendant comes back by and I quickly point to the man, she smiled and simply said, “He’s asleep.” “Thanks for the use of your keen observation skills Sherlock, but could you do something about the ancient being next to me and the small pond forming on my bag?” All right, I didn’t say that, but I wish I had.

My next adventure came a couple hours later when all the juice I had drank began to do something other than quench my thirst, I could not hold it any longer, I had to go. Trying to wake the cardiac time bomb might create a whole other set of problems, so I decided to do my best and crawl over the man. Being the small man he was gave the illusion that this would be an easy task; this could not have been farther from the truth. With the skill of a ninja warrior I moved and contorted myself into positions I never thought possible. I now had a small crowd quietly cheering me on, making faces like a child playing an action packed video game. Once on the other side I felt like a college graduate walking down the isle, receiving congratulatory admiration from proud parents and friends as if to say, “well done young man, well done!”

Partner In Flight

Micah Sampson

San Juan Capistrano, United States

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