Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Write in the HUMOR genre (04/12/07)
TITLE: No Laughing Matter
By Marc Smith
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The desperation in Trish’s voice, and the increased size of her smoky, blue eyes, attested to the fact that this was her first in-flight crisis. The weather forecast had been clear and calm this morning; however, about an hour after take-off, they ran into a violent squall that had formed right in their flight path. Thirty minutes and countless mistakes later, the plane was plummeting to the ground, with tail smoking from a lightning strike, one failed engine, and two unconscious pilots. Trish had seen better days.
Frantically scanning the cabin, Trish yelled, “Does anyone know how to land a plane?”
The increasing buzz of confused passengers had grown into a dull roar, as orange-masked faces swiveled back and forth, looking for answers. Through the chaos of motion and noise, Trish spotted a raised hand.
Trish hurriedly grabbed the oxygen mask next to her and raced down the aisle. Thrusting the mask in the man’s face, she commanded, “Put this on and follow me.”
The stranger slipped on the mask and followed Trish, stabilizing himself from the shifting and swaying of the plane.
“In here,” Trish instructed, pushing open the door, revealing the two men slumped over in their chairs.
“Well, there’s your problem, your pilots are sleeping. Might wanna wake them up,” he jested.
“I have no time for jokes! We need you to land the plane!”
“Well then, we’ll need to move them ‘cuz they’re just making me nervous.”
After moving the pilots to the cabin, the new found pilot sat down and put on the headset. After a few seconds, he removed the headset and placed them on the floor next to him.
“Shouldn’t you keep those on?” Trish asked.
“Na, after the first sentence or two it’s just ‘blah, blah, blah’.”
Just then, a brilliant flash, followed by an ear-splitting crack, snapped Trish to attention. The strobing effect of the lightning and thunderous drumming of the rain on the top of the plane had made Trish more than unsettled, but the most recent activity sent her into panic mode.
“Are we going to be ok?” Trish beseeched.
“Little lady, you need to calm down.”
“Calm down!? We are in a smoking metal tube with wings, plummeting to our death at mach 12! How in the world am I supposed to calm down?!”
“You could get me a ginger ale. That meal didn’t settle at all.”
“Alan,” he interrupted.
“Alan. My name? It’s Alan.”
“Ok, Alan. We have 300 other people on this plan that will perish if you don’t concentrate!”
“Good thing for them I’m a pastor then, huh?” Alan winked.
Trish huffed in frustration, “How will you see the runway through all that rain?”
“I have a runway? Well then, this should be easy.”
“Where did you expect to land?” Trish confusingly inquired.
“Oh, you name it, I’ve landed on it. Ponds, fields, building roofs...”
“Oh, yes, but my favorite was landing the C-5 on that back road. Now that was a nail-biter there. You better take your seat. This isn’t going to be pretty,” Alan instructed.
Through the rain distorted image, Trish made out what appeared to be the straight line of blue lights marking the runway. Panic-stricken, she jumped into the seat and, with fumbling fingers, buckled the belt. The whir of the lowering landing gear filled the room as the runway raced closer. The squeal of the rubber tires vibrated in her ear, and she felt as if her shoulders would be driven through her hips. Then, a horrendous snap was followed by the teeth clenched scraping of metal on concrete, as the plane slid sideways down the runway. After what seemed to be an eternity, the plane came to rest, rocking ever so gently from the flex of the wings.
“Whew! That was rough. I usually like doing my landings in better weather.”
“How do you stay so calm in a situation like that?” Trish breathlessly asked.
“That’s easy. I know God, and I know that He is in complete control. I guess humor is just my way of dealing with the fear. But regardless, that was much harder than landing on my simulator at home,” Alan smiled.
“You mean you’ve never landed a real plane before?”
“’Fraid not,” Alan shrugged.
The next thing Trish remembered was waking up in the back of an ambulance with a pounding headache.
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