An April Fool

I joined a creative writing group at the Eldredge Library in Chatham when we moved here in February. This is one of the prompts we had to write about:

An April Fool

Wow! What a loaded prompt!  Have I ever acted like a fool myself?  What are SOME foolish things I may have done?  In only a thousand words no less?  I could end this story right here and right now by saying just four words: I AM A GUY!  I rest my case.

The Official Records of the War of the Rebellion consumes 128 volumes.  The Civil War lasted four years, on average, 32 volumes for each year of the war.  If I were to compile a similar catalog of my dubious achievements, taking a mulligan for my pre-teen years, beginning when I turned 13, and devoting the average 32 volumes per year, I would be at volume 1,664 now.  I am expecting to be honored with a Life Time Achievement Award in the near future.

Starting with the letter “A”, I will relate an incident that occurred on an airplane on April 1, 2000.  I was in Pittsburgh, awaiting a commuter flight that would take me to Knoxville, Tennessee.  The plane was one of those regional turbo prop jobs that sat about 70 people.  I had flown it many times before and it was a nice short flight.  I boarded the plane and took my window seat, pulled a folder of notes from my briefcase, stowed it under the seat and began to watch as others boarded the flight.  A woman working her way down the aisle caught my eye because she looked almost ill, her complexion the color of oatmeal.  She took the aisle seat next to me, I said hello and she nodded briefly.  My thoughts were that I am going to be sick before I return from this trip.  I surreptitiously looked to see if there were barf bags in the seat backs, there were.  But, my word, when did they get that small?  I hoped for the best and began looking at my notes for the meetings I would be involved in. 

The 30 or so passengers on the flight were all soon seated, pre-flight announcements made and the pilots began to start the engines.  The right engine sputtered to life and then the left engine.  After a very short time, the pilot shut off the left engine, which was odd.  When the prop stopped spinning, the pilot started the engine again, stopping it again after a short time.  Some men came to look at the engine.  The pilot started a 3rd time, then stopped the engine yet again.  The ashen faced woman sitting next to me asked if I could see what was happening.  Being April Fools Day, I thought I would answer with a cute joke: “There is a guy banging on the engine with a broom handle, after he hits it about 3 or 4 times, he yells to the pilot “Try it now””.  The ashen face turned to a brilliant white, as bright as sunlight on a glacier.  I had to squint because of the brightness.  In the middle of this glacier where two deep, blue pools like lakes, but they kept getting darker until they were almost violet.  Out of these violet lakes, a cloud of daggers began to fly towards my face.  Soon a crevasse opened in the middle of this glacier.  Sounds began to pour from the crevasse.  Speaking in a very clipped manner, as though there were periods after each word, the woman said: “”  I began to apologize, the glacier was replaced with a forest of soft gray and silver curls, the apology being addressed to the back of the poor woman’s head.

We were soon informed that we would have to leave the plane.  We were going to be placed on another plane within the half hour, when the boarding began we would be able to return to our original assigned seats.  Except for me.  Back in the gate area, I was asked to report to the gate agent.  I approached the agent, the flight attendant was standing next to him.  I was asked if I would mind being moved to a seat farther back, that weight adjustments needed to be made to balance the luggage placements.  I was startled and as I fumbled to question why, I noticed the flight attendant’s eyes shift in the direction of the person I offended.  I understood and answered “Of Course”. 

The new plane arrived we boarded, me earlier than most because my seat was in the back of the plane, last row before the bathroom.  The flight attendant came back to thank me for being understanding.  I said no problem, but I guess I am lucky that there are not seat belts on the toilets, or that was probably where I would be spending the flight.  My former aisle mate may have heard that exchange, because I noticed her head shaking.  I vowed to speak no more for fear that my next seat assignment would involve bucking and gagging and being situated in the luggage compartment.

Ernie Stricsek – Creative Writing 4/1/19

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