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Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 04:04 pm
Here's a fragment of something I was playing around with on a long flight. The story itself was simply a slightly more creative way of venting, as well as an attempt to try and find the humor in it. The characters were vaguely (very vaguely) based on some friends of mine, but their personalities more reflect different aspects of my frame of mind at the time. So it was kind of a creative, but disassociative, way of commenting on it all.

Mary squirmed uncomfortably in her seat and gazed out the window. For all the scheming and pleading it took to get the window seat, it was turning out to be something of a disappointment. Clouds, clouds, and more clouds. Just one long shapeless field of white. She sighed, leaned back, and tried to maneuver her legs into a slightly more comfortable position. “I feel like a sardine,” she remarked.
“You feel like a sardine?” muttered her neighbor, resentfully kicking the chair in front of her. “How is it that I’m the tallest and yet I ended up in the middle seat again?”
“Oh, like we haven’t covered this fifty times already, Erin,” said a voice from the aisle. Mary looked up and saw Claire had returned.
“Manage to scavenge us any snacks?” asked Mary hopefully.
“They said they’d be serving dinner in an hour,” Claire said as she attempted to squeeze back into her seat as gracefully as possible.
“Look,” said Erin, “if someone as tiny as Claire can barely get into her seat, you know it’s gotten absurd. I could swear they move the rows closer and closer together every year.”
“It’s economy,” said Mary mildly. “And you’d probably be uncomfortable even in business class. That’s like one tiny downside to being as tall and willowy you are. We’d all trade in a heartbeat. “
Erin rolled her eyes. “Flattery will not make me stop complaining.”
“No,” said Claire, “That’d take a miracle.”
“How long have we been flying? We must be halfway there by now,” said Mary, a little desperately.
“Uhm....about an hour,” answered Claire.
Mary leaned her head against the window, silently praying for the strength to endure. She wasn’t sure she could stand another 9 hours of this.


“Hey, what’re you scribbling?”
Mary looked up to see Claire looming over her, craning her neck in attempt to read what she had written.
“A fantasy” she replied.
“About what?”
“About three people traveling on an airplane. Fantastic, I know. They actually go to the airport, and then get on the airplane, which then takes off. Eventually, they reach their destination.  I know, I know, it’s so surreal that it strains the very reaches of suspension of disbelief.” Mary set her notebook down on the floor beside her, and stretched her legs out, rubbing one hand over her face.
“Boy, someone’s in a grouchy mood. Is that why you’ve written us all bickering?” asked Claire, amused.
“We were not bickering! We were merely....exchanging banter. You know. To relieve boredom.” Mary flapped a hand around. It did not make her sound more convincing.
Claire hmmm’d skeptically, then shrugged.
Mary suppressed the urge to stab Claire in the foot with her pencil.
“If I am a bit tetchy, I think it’s only reasonable, considering.”
“Oh, come on Mary. It could be worse, and it’s kind of funny if you think about it.”
Mary gritted her teeth. “Please go away before I give into the urge to stab you.”
Claire laughed. “You know, I’d would have imagined you as the one to get all violent. Erin? Sure thing. But you! I’d have said serenity is your middle name. Like that time we ran out of gas and then locked the keys in the car. Your sister was ready to pitch a fit. Poor Greg was struggling not to pass out in the heat. Yet there you were, so calm and relaxed I wanted to check and see if you still had a pulse. What’s so much worse about all this?” she said. She waved her arm around in a vague gesture, so vague it was unclear whether she was indicating that “all this” encompassed the entire airport or the entire world. 

Mary crossed her arms and scowled. “We’ve been running around this circus for three days! On the plane! Off the plane! Off to some crappy hotel! Dragging our luggage all over hell and gone...lied to, deceived, delayed, condescend to, sent around on wild goose chase after wild goose chase, being the red-headed stepchild. I’m beginning to think we’re going to spend our entire vacation here.” She paused, and then took a deep breath, as if to continue.
Claire rolled her eyes.
Mary glared.
“Mary, that was a truly excellent rant. But I'm worried that if you don't relax, you're going to have a stroke. No, seriously. You're turning purple. Breathe, girl, breathe.”
Mary made a show of taking several deep breaths.
“There, are you happy? Now go away and leave me alone if you're just going to be annoying.”
Claire shrugged, shook her head, and wandered off.

Mary picked up her notebook, chewed on her pencil, and spitefully wondered how she could make fictional-Claire's life just that little bit more miserable.

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