I'm sitting in a bucket seat in terminal B or F or D of some airport. I don't know where, but I don't try and find out either.
There are people passing me. They're rushing to get somewhere. One of them drops his bag, but he can't pick it up because people keep kicking it out of the way. He gets frustrated enough to the point where he explodes and starts yelling at everyone. He's saying things like, "You fucking assholes! Can't you fucking see I'm trying to get my bag? What the fuck is wrong with you people!" Then a little later on some security guards come by and wrestle him to the ground. He breaks his finger as they do so. A thick, clear lubricant of carbon dioxide and nitrogen is what makes the loud "popping" noise you can hear echoing throughout the halls. It's when you pull together, or apart, two joints and ligaments.
You think a finger is bad, you should hear a knee or an ankle.
They pick him up off his feet and carry him towards the back of the terminal. I never see him again.
I continue reading my book and glance up at the clock on the wall near the bathrooms. It says 2:30.
My plane takes off in a half-an-hour.
Nothing beats airline food. Peanuts, plastic cups of free drinks, maybe a pale steak or a rubbery chicken. Or, if you're lucky, sometimes you'll have a choice. Then it becomes like this sudden light that sheds on your world. It's like everything becomes one, like those old Buddhist teachings.
A choice of chicken or beef.
What a choice.
I'm sitting in a seat next to an old man who I swear is dead. He looks like he's sleeping; his eyes flutter every now and again, and his chest rises slightly, but, for all I know, that could be a postmortem chemical reaction. I ask the stewardess for a drink. I then notice a smell orbiting around this old man's body. It's like those warm, sour, dumpster smells you get a whiff of when you go behind a movie theater or a plastic surgeons office, where they dump all the extra fat from their operations. The smell likes to linger, as it stays on most anything it touches. And nothing smells worse than death than this old guy next to me.
I saw him earlier, when I was in the terminal enjoying a slice of cardboard pizza at eight bucks-a-pop, as he was chowing down, like it was his last meal, on this burrito smothered in a black sauce. I thought to myself, that was the smell.
His lower intestine mixed some sulphuric acid and some diotoxins and created basically what is known as battery acid.
But it was stomach acid.
It was bowel acid.
It was shit.
His stomach broke down the food, changed it to some sort of vitamin and minerals, used it for energy, stored it up, let it pass though his intestines, let it collect in his colon, and then some methane gas would build up to the point where it needed to be released.
This was a fart.
But he's dead. This is what dead bodies do sometimes: they release gas and other bodily secretions after they die. It's pretty common, I'm told.
Great. I'm stuck with a dead guy who farts. Perfect.
Next to him, though, is baby with a mother. The baby is going to scream, I think, I know it. It's going to cry because it's trying to get rid of that compressed air buildup in its ears. It doesn't know what else to do. I can't say to it, "Swallow something. Chew something. Eat something. Open and close your jaw quickly." I know I'm going to want to grab the baby after a while and just yell at it. Shake it a bit. But I can't do that. They have groups for that. Shaken Baby Syndrome, they call it. So I can't do that.
I remember when they first walked into the plane. Collectively, every ones' heads slumped and I could hear all sorts of grunts and moans and whatnot. Some of them were saying things like, oh great, another baby. Just what I need: something crying in my ear the whole damn trip. Why do they let people on with babies? They should be kept with the baggage; at least it would be quieter. Stuff like that.
Everyone knows the baby is going to cry.
Everyone knows this will happen.
They hope it doesn't, but I guarantee it. It's what babies do.
I have two carry-ons and one check in. The check in has all my clothes I need for my trip. It has, in order, from left to right, top to bottom: one suit jacket, one red tie, one brown tie, one red and brown tie, five white shirts, two pairs of black Dockers, one pair of formal pants, ten pairs of socks, five pairs of boxers, one pair of brown loafers, one Playboy, a small jar of hand lotion, one razor, a bottle of shaving cream, one pair of glasses and finally, one silver and black .57 Magnum with easy ejector and polyvinyl grip, custom made.
I'll explain the gun later.
My carry-ons are my laptop and my backpack that I've had since college. The backpack is filled to the brim with porno mags. My laptop has over half of its memory, that is to say over 32 MB, of hardcore porn. I don't mean your basic anal and money shot pornos, but I mean your piss-on-me and shit-on-me hardcore pornos.
The kind that's illegal in most states. Yet has the most annual income of all pornography sub-categories. Net profit, that is.
My view is: you can never have too much porn. They call that masochism.
Or OCD. I can't remember which.
I flip through some magazines as I wait for the other meatbags on the plane to board. All of them so indolent and quiet. All of them putting up fake smiles and listening to one another's bullshit sob-stories, then placating with fake-bereavement. Some of them charily laugh aside the others or pretend not to listen, just so the idiot with the food stuck in his teeth, talking too loudly and gesturing too much, would stop badgering them.
I pick up the Sky Mall magazine.
The first page I flip to says this: "Your dog has never had comfort like this!"
It's a pillow-mattress for your dog. It has custom made cherry velvet exterior, lined with a burgundy underbelly and egg-shell stripes in the center.
It goes for two hundred dollars.
They say it will make your dog never want to leave that spot. They say he'll sleep like he's never slept before. They say, the dog that roots around in your garbage when you're not at home; that licks its own feces off from under its ass after it takes a shit on your two thousand dollar rug; that eats processed cow intestines and pig ears in little bite sized bits; that cleans it own crotch with its mouth: will have heaven to slumber upon.
For two hundred dollars. Or twelve monthly payments of twenty.
But who's to say what comfort costs?
I wonder then, as we lift off, how many ways I could die.
The plane, as its turbines suck in air, compresses it, spits gas into it, then ignites; I wonder if maybe a bird would fly into the turbine, just as this process is happening, and ignite itself, turning into a small fireball.
The engine would most likely explode.
The sudden explosion would teeter the plane just enough off of its axes so it would sputter a few seconds, stalling in the air.
Then we'd fall.
At nine-point-eight meters per second, we'd free fall. At fourteen feet per second we'd free fall. At one hundred-and-thirty-three-screams per second, we'd free fall. When you free fall, some people think that you should, just before you impact the ground, jump. To slow yourself down.
This doesn't work.
You would only slow yourself down enough so you could see the futility in your mistake. You would slow down just enough so you could look down, and know that you're still falling.
And know that you're about to die.
Then the plane would hit the ground. It would seize up, like a spring-wound accordion, and the cockpit would be the first to go. Gasoline explodes at high temperatures, but electricity will do just the same when applied to it. Think of it as a makeshift Molotov cocktail running through the plane. Everything, within about ten seconds, will be ignited and flaming. The last thing I would smell would be my own charred flesh. And maybe those of others, as well. And then it would go black.
The stewardess comes around again, and I ask her for another drink. The man across the aisle from me, with his big belly looming over his pants and tray table that is not in it's "upright and locked position" as it should be, leans over to me and says, "You know that stewardess over there?"
Yeah, I say.
"I've fucked her three time before. In there, in the bathroom by the cockpit". I nod my head slowly and say nothing. He continues, "In the ass too. She likes it there the best."
The stewardess comes by again. The fat man smiles at me as she does so and makes a quiet slapping motion at her ass.
I continue to read my Sky Mall.
"A shower head that sings your favorite tunes! Only 39.95!"
I pray for a malfunction in the wings. The pilot falls asleep or something and leans too hard on the throttle. The other pilot tries to pick him up but hits a button that extends the landing gear.
The landing plops down.
The sound of chainsaws whirring and buzzing can be heard at the feet of everyone's floor. Everyone looks around like they don't know what to do. The pilot tries to close the landing gear, but it won't close. At that temperature, against the bare wind, the cable and brake fluid freezes. Oxygen masks pour from the ceiling and everyone scrambles to get one on. Some people push one another out of their seats, fighting for their air, their breath.
No one helps the children.
They're screaming and crying but that's soon dissolved when they start to pass out, one by one. At that altitude, the pressure on your head and limbs feels like you don't even have limbs anymore. You're weightless, so you're brain can't keep pumping fluid and blood like it used to. It goes into what computers go into, a sort of hibernate mode, and you pass out. You eventually go into shock, then a coma, then die.
One, two, three; like that.
After all of this, the plane can't support the drag by the landing gear, so it starts to tilt. Then it starts to spin like a gyroscope. Then it falls.
Then we're back at square one.
The fat man says to me, as the stewardess passes by one last time, "She's got a nasty case of crabs though. Watch out."
Thanks for the advice, sir. Would you like to see a singing shower head?
When I was a little kid, my father used to say to me, "You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you'll get what you need."
My father was Mick Jagger and my mother was Daphne from Scooby Doo.
To say I was raised by a shadow would be to say I was fed by neglect. Which is to say I was. Which is what I'm trying to say. My parents were never around. I was constantly dropped off at my babysitter's house, so my parents could go sell more drugs. Or sell kitchen appliances. Or be rock stars. They were never around enough for me to know what the hell they did.
My babysitter, Shelly, said they were nice people, but worthless. She said they'd probably die in a year or two. This was true, but they were my parents for god's sake, I thought.
Shelly was the reincarnate of the nurse from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". She'd often send me to bed with little in my stomach. She'd often not feed at all. She'd forget to bathe me, or clothe me. She'd sometimes just leave the house altogether and leave me there alone for a few days in my own filth.
I always liked Shelly.
It was too bad that she died in that car crash.
The crash happened as she was leaving a bar, I was told. She got into her car, was about to leave the parking lot, when a drunk driver smashed into her at 90-plus miles an hour. The hood of the truck pooped off instantly and cut through Shelly's windshield like a hot knife through butter. It decapitated her instantly, in less than a tenth of a second. In fact, she died so fast, when some people on the sidewalk ran over to her to help her out, her body was still capable of movement. Sometimes when bodies, like chickens, are decapitated quickly enough, they can still live for nearly a minute. And they can still move around, although slowly, too.
This is what Shelly did.
That was how Shelly died.
I was thirty thousand feet up in the air when I pulled on that red handle. It was like one of those big red buttons you see in old Monty Python sketches, or any English comedy, where they tell the one character not to push it, for any reason. The temptation, of course, bears too much, and it swells over the other character and then he pushes it.
I pushed that red button too.
I grabbed onto a metal nub that stuck out of the wall near the cockpit. In a matter of an instant, I was grabbed and pulled, and thrusted off of my feet. The stewardess, the one infamously deemed as the "Mile High Queen" by the fat man, came walking towards me as I pulled the door open. She looked at me, for only a brief moment, and the strained to say a word, but was sucked out of the gaping hole faster than she could blink. She hit her head on the way out, though, and a vibrant splotch of red goo lie wedged between the hinges afterwards.
Before I let go, I saw no yellow plastic buckets fall from the ceiling, nor did I see any emergency lights flash on. All I saw was fear.
I let go and flew out the hole with such speed, it nearly tore my arms out of my sockets. At first, it was louder than a steel factory. The turbines, the whipping air, the screams, the weird noises from the cockpit I could hear muted; all of these were deafening. But then, a sweet release.
I was free-falling.
The sound evaporated in an instant and I was left alone floating above the world. I tried to scream, I did, but the sound at that altitude can't carry.
Your voice can't carry. The air is too thin for it to.
Most people think you could write a whole letter by the time you fell from that distance and hit the earth. The fact is: you'd die before you could even grab a pencil from your pocket.
If you're on your belly falling down, you won't be able to breathe. Try to flip upside and you'll freeze in probably less than a minute.
It's about negative seventy degrees C at 35,000 feet above sea level. Since blood is composed of mostly water and plasma, it will freeze at about negative two to negative three degrees C, give or take a couple of degrees.
This is known as frostbite.
Soon your body will become a piece of petrified blood and bone, falling at nine-point-eight meters per second towards the earth. Think about it in statistical and arithmetic means, and it doesn't seem so bad.
Death that is.
"Personal Nose Groomer, XNG 3000! Comes in silver, pallid silver and cream silver! Order yours today! Only 217.97!"
The gun is meant for my death. You see, I'm going home to kill myself. But don't worry: this isn't a cry for help or anything. This isn't a religious awakening or falling out. This isn't about me, money, people, my job or any other superfluous shit like that. I don't want sympathy, empathy, or pity. I don't want remorse, hatred or love. I want solitude. I want peace. I want something new. I want to experience death first hand. And by my own hand. What would be better?
I tried, once, to kill myself, unsuccessfully of course, and because of it, I was sentenced (Yes, sentenced: it is a crime to try and commit suicide) to one year rehabilitation, some legal and housework fees (I'll get to that in a second), three years probation, and one year suicide watch. I had to call my counselor, just like a junkie has to call his, every time I felt the impulse to hurt myself.
Of course I never did call him, he called me. In fact, I pissed him off so much, that one time he called me and said he was, and I'm quoting, "going to fucking rip the lips off of your pathetic head and make you kiss my fat ass, you fucking twat".
The "twat" part I particularly liked.
Anyway, the reason I had to pay for cleaning and remodeling of my house was because I blew it up.
Not the whole thing; just my living room and a little of my bathroom.
To make an incendiary bomb, you need one of two key components: an incendiary device (i.e. gasoline or the like) and a catalyst, or something that will create the chemical reaction so the two or more substances involved in the reaction can ignite or explode. I decided to make a chemical bomb out of my toilet. Of course I disconnected the main water pipe from my toilet, as well as the main line from my house. I hollowed out the toilet so it held nothing but about three gallons of whatever I decided to put in there.
I decided to put in some gasoline I had stored up out in my garage.
I put down some paper around the base of the toilet so it would be able to catch fire when the bomb detonated, as well as powdered sugar on top of it. Rather than using a burning cloth to ignite the flammable liquid, I needed to utilize the very hot and very violent reaction between sulfuric acid and potassium chlorate, the main components in this reaction. When the container breaks, the sulfuric acid in the mixture of gasoline sprays onto the paper soaked in potassium chlorate and sugar. The paper, when struck by the acid, instantly bursts into a white flame, igniting the gasoline. The chance of failure to ignite the gasoline is less than 2%, and can be reduced to 0%, if there is enough potassium chlorate and sugar to spare. You can get these materials almost anywhere. You can even extract them from some household kitchen cleaners.
You can even make a bomb out of those, too.
In any case, when I tried to ignite this bomb, I failed. Killing myself, that is. Half my house went up into flames and I was court-ordered to undergo therapy.
Funny how that works.
Alas, the plane ride is over. We are now starting our decent. Everyone is restless, I can tell. The old man next to me still hasn't moved and the baby next to him still hasn't cried.
I wonder about that for a moment.
We begin our final decent into the airport and eventually onto the runway-tarmac.
But there is still one last ditch effort to be made.
Maybe the wheels and brakes will malfunction and lock-up on impact. Then we'll be hovering above the ground at about three or four centimeters, until, finally, we'll hit the ground and all of the landing gear will shatter in a brilliant display of fire-works. All of the people on board will realize the finality in life and hug their loved ones in a quiet respect and remorse.
Their four hundred dollar leather briefcase.
And then we'll start skating along the tarmac, completely oblivious to the engine and wing fires now erupting and engulfing the plane. We won't be able to stop and then we'll careen into the side of Terminal F or D or C, and then hit, oblong and belly up, smacking the windows and walls, covering the now gaping hole in the side of the building with jet-engine napalm and flying bodies.
Some people who refused to take the precautionary rules and regulations into consideration, and thusly did not buckle their seat belts, or stow away their luggage properly, or keep their tray tables in their upright and locked position, will now wish they did.
Bodies will fly through the air.
Tray tables will cut people in twane.
Luggage will impale the people under or above them.
The wings will explode vehemently, shaking the people pinched between steel and bone loose, letting their rag-doll bodies fall limp on the ground.
At almost any speed, a mass the size of a few school buses, carrying more than three tons of diesel, high-octane fuel, is a bomb in and of itself.
I would die a most horrific and mesmerizing death.
They would be sure to report it on the news that night. People would be sure to collect by the T.V. and eat their pork chops and potatoes in silence, watching as a large mass of rubble burns brightly into the brackish night air. They would be sure to wonder then, what happened to me. They would be sure to change the channel, for "it's too violent"; it's "too scary"; it's "too disturbing".
They would be sure to do all of that.
I'm sitting in a bucket seat in terminal B or F or D of some airport.
My life is an endless cycle of decay and renewal.
An endless cycle of infomercials on mute.
There was once someone who said, "I am the Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and the End."
On a trip from Dulles International to JFK International, one can't help but think that is so true.