For much of the flight, the gentleman in 13A noticed nothing out of the ordinary. He smiled at the stewardess. He enjoyed beverages. He made use of a pillow. The normal hum of the cabin helped him along quite nicely. In fact, he’d always found the normal hum of the cabin to be rather comforting.
Then something went BANG! and the normal, comforting hum of the cabin erupted into something else entirely. The overall chord, if it can be called that, began to rise steadily in pitch, and became a bit, well, discordant, if you will.
This combined with the fact that the gentleman’s stomach felt as if it were falling out of the sky (which in fact was precisely what was happening) led him towards a state of some mild apprehension as he woke.
“Oh dear,” he said, blinking his eyes, and coming out from under his blanket. “Is this bird going down?”
The passenger in 13B lowered his copy of Equus and peered over his spectacles. Tray tables were rattling, and a good number of beverages seemed to be quivering about and falling to the floor.
“Yes, here we go,” said the passenger in 13B, returning to his magazine.
This struck the gentleman in 13A as odd. “Is it not typically in a much more controlled fashion?” he said. “After seatbelt instructions, and announcements regarding local weather and such?”
“No, I wouldn’t expect any announcements,” said the passenger in 13B, cocking his head to get a better look through his lenses to the page.
A scream arose from the rear of the cabin. It wasn’t exactly one of terror. In fact, when the gentleman in 13A turned round, he saw the screamer, arms upraised, with a big grin on his face. “Wooo,” said the screamer.
Across, the aisle, the woman in 15C stripped off her clothes and straddled the man removing his pants in 15D.
A terrible screech ripped through the cabin, as if a great swath of fuselage were being torn off the plane. That was, in fact, exactly what was happening. An explosion of wind sucked a number of laptops and James Patterson books into the night sky. Some of the owners of these followed right after, and some of those who remained behind let out a cheer.
“Ah, well done!” said, the passenger in 13B, glancing up from his Equus.
“I say,” said the gentleman in 13A. “Are you not at all frightened?”
The passenger in 13B looked over his glasses. Then he removed them, letting them dangle from the chain about his neck. His copy of Equus flew out of his hand, leaving him holding only the bottom corner of a page. He sighed and let this too go, then folded his hands in his lap and turned back to the gentleman in 13A. “And what do you suppose I might be frightened of?”
The gentleman in 13A shifted under his blanket to fully face the passenger in 13B. “Well, it would seem that we might all be about to die.”
“Yes,” the man stated, as if stating the obvious.
The gentleman in 13A blinked quizzically. “Does that not concern you?”
“Look here,” said the man in 13B, as the starboard wing broke off and the aircraft went arse over teakettle. “What did you think this was going to be like?” He gripped his armrests as what was left of the plane began to tumble towards the planet below.
The gentleman in 13A shifted defensively under his blanket as the atmosphere ripped through his hair. “By that do you mean riding this piece of aeroplane to my grave? Because I hadn’t anticipated that.”
“Look here,” said the man, shaking his head as he realized he’d started his last sentence the same way. The wind caught his cheek and pulled it back towards his ear. “What I mean is, where exactly were you expecting to touch down?” He was shouting now. To be heard over the din.
“Why, Gatwick, of course.”
“Ah, well. I am sorry. This plane was never bound for Gatwick.”
“Is it possible I’ve gotten on the wrong plane?” yelled the gentleman in 13A.
“It’s likely,” cried the passenger in 13B, as the wind wrapped his face around the back of his head. “We’ve all one way tickets to – ”
The passenger in 13B did not finish his sentence, for at that moment, the plane touched down. A bit more aggressively than the gentleman in 13A would have liked, and a thunderous ball of fire consumed them both.