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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Potluck (Meal or Gathering) Deadline 7-26-12 @ 10 AM NY Time (07/19/12)

TITLE: Writer In The Sky
By Vicki J. Cypcar


I live in Tennessee and my folks in California both just entered a rehab center last week, so on Monday I packed a red suitcase the size of a Smartcar.

Before taking me to the airport my husband asked me if I had written an entry for the Faithwriters challenge. Feeling defeated I replied –no.

Mentally exhausted I trekked to the gate and awaited boarding – sat down, pen and paper in hand in hopes of pinning down some inspiration.

As a writer you always find yourself identifying and processing ‘characters.’ And airports are the ultimate cornucopia of ‘character building.’

Once the gate opened I funneled into the fuselage of strangers, my brain striving to make sense of the ambiguity.

Santa Claus is sitting in First Class. He’s wearing a Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts and sandals. His long white hair tethered in a ponytail.

In seat 7A is a tall and lanky college kid in a John Deere baseball cap. He sits down with a McDonald’s bag and the cabin is now permeated with the smell of fresh French fries.

A country girl with brunette braids is reluctantly surrendering her guitar to the stewardess.

New parents board the plane looking like zombies - their cute brown-haired baby wide-eyed and drooling.

A traveling yuppie family of four is equipped with enough electronic devices to open a Best Buy.

My neighbor resembles Paul Bunyan and smells of cigars and Old Spice– this is going to be a long flight.

Before takeoff the flight steward resembling Lloyd Bridges asked me if I would be able to follow the instructions for the emergency exit where I am seated, I replied with a weak ‘yes.’

One last text to my husband and daughter to tell them ‘I love you.’

I held my notebook as the plane taxied down the runway. A last ditch effort to come up with an entry. Potluck- gathering-food…

Now starving I look over and see the college boy devouring his fries in the midst of hungry strangers –Eureka!

The plane sped down the runway and took flight – and so did my idea for Writer In The Sky.

I gazed out the bubble window to see the shiny wing as we ascended above the cottony clouds- high above of flock of geese.

A blue lake filled with speedboats resembling tadpoles.

Cars on roads look like fleas on a Coonhound.

A cruising altitude of 30,000 feet, and the only thing between me and earth is an emergency exit and a lot of air - and I’m afraid of heights.

Mid-flight we were served a beverage and a choice of snack. At this point everybody wants French fries. ‘College boy’ has now moved on and is devouring a gargantuan chocolate chip muffin.

Strangers shouldered together with our trays folded down. We look like infants strapped inside high chairs as we await our meager feast of peanuts, pretzels, or Lorna Boone cookies.

An hour later the cabin no longer smells of French fries – it smells of soiled diaper and the baby is screaming.

Suddenly the scent of cigars and Old Spice doesn’t seem so bad.

Minutes later the diaper dilemma has been addressed and the entire cabin now smells like Johnson’s baby powder and the baby is cooing.

On the descent pockets of turbulence make weary heads bobble. Nervous passengers grip the arm rest as the baby giggles.

The plane lands, everyone eager to de-board. ‘College boy’ is calling his mom to let her know he has safely touched down in Sacramento - followed by an ‘I love you mom.’ Good kid.

I closed my notebook and gathered my backpack. Once inside the concourse we all dispersed like leaves in a fall breeze.

The gathering is over and a story is drafted.

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This article has been read 281 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/26/12
I enjoyed reading your thoughts. I too enjoy people watching and often concoct stories about who they are and what they are doing. The one thing you want to be careful about is not to mention the challenger or FW in your story because the Editor's Choices get selected for an anthology that readers may not know anything about FW and its challenge. Though your story isn't about a bunch of different types of food but of different types of people it is still on topic.. That's what really makes things exciting in life. Two people may seem similar just like two pans of baked beans but one might be quite sweet and tasteful but the other bland and dreary. Nice job.
Leola Ogle 07/26/12
I love it...a potluck of people. I struggled with this topic, not sure why as I have spent my whole life with potlucks of various kinds. Clever take on the topic, well written and great visuals. God bless!
C D Swanson 07/26/12
A character driven entry with startling recall and details. An all together delightful approach to the topic at hand. Great job.

I loved the "diaper dilemma" comment. Hahahahahaha.

Good stuff. Thanks.

God bless~
Helen Curtis07/28/12
Don't you just hate it when someone brings Macca's into an enclosed space! :-P

I really enjoyed this story. I possibly would have come along on the journey if the first p/graph was omitted, but I see why it's there (and I did love the reference to the red car-sized suitcase!).

Your style of writing is very personable and easy to relate to. Your descriptions aren't flowery or "OTT" but give us all we need, in a humorous manner, to make a very clear image of the situation, in this case the potluck plane passengers!

Well done on a great and creative entry!
Noel Mitaxa 07/29/12
Great touch of whimsy and self-deprecating humour. Wonderful evocative images that squeezed me into one of those seats near you - those that must have been designed by people who are unaware that passengers have legs.
Thanks for the trip. It was great fun.
Hiram Claudio07/31/12
This story was SO much fun! I completely enjoyed all the clever quips about the different smells and sounds ... especially about the "college boy's" meal of fries and chocolate chip muffin (only in college does that work).

I too thought the idea of a potluck of people was extremely creative and fresh. This was very well written and an enjoyable read. Nicely done!