Departure by A.G. Riddle
In one hour, this plane will land, and I’ll be forced to make The Decision, a call that I may regret for the rest of my earthly existence. Depending on how it goes, chaos and poverty may follow. Or pure bliss. Fifty-fifty odds, I’d say. Not dreading it. Barely even thinking about The Decision most seconds.
Like most writers, I don’t get out much. Or get paid much. I fly economy, and nine times out of ten I’m sandwiched between a feverish person who coughs when I least expect it and a married man who inevitably asks, “So how’s a cute little thing like you still single?” I suspect the airlines have a flag in their system for me: “Not a complainer, reassign to misery row.”
Not this flight.
Approximately six hours ago I entered a magical world, a place that only exists for brief periods of time forty thousand feet above Earth’s surface: first class on an international flight. This joyous land that pops into and out of existence like an alternative universe has its own strange customs and rituals. I’ve taken it all in, knowing that this will likely be my last glimpse. The ticket probably cost two months’ rent at my microscopic flat in London. I would have rather had the cash, but the ticket was a gift, or more precisely an attempt at manipulation by the billionaire who laid down The Decision at our meeting in New York. Must not think about that now.
The flight time from New York to London is just under seven hours. Every fifteen minutes I switch the screen to check where the plane is, willing it to just keep going, to fly until we run out of fuel. Maybe I’ll slip the flight attendant a note: “Drop below 40,000 feet and it blows!”
“Hey, who do I have to kill to get a refill here? And what’s the deal with the Internet?”
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