The Great Papa Beans
Patt Hornsberg is among the billionaires well known throughout the world, though being affluent didn’t grant her an appreciation or liking from people, especially those working for her. In a society in which the rich are categorized as “likable” or “adversary,” depending on their contributions to the world, Patt Hornsberg is both.
As a part-time philanthropist, Patt inherited a fortune from her father’s will after he died from a heart attack. Her father was both a landowner and entrepreneur, and founded an oil company long before Patt was born. The father had revenue of $54 billion dollars, and decided to pass it on to his only daughter, whose mother died of breast cancer after completing her college education.
Patt decided to help the needy individuals in North and South America, Africa and Asia, as well as providing funds for viable programs that would afford education and income to the poor. The only reason why she didn’t have enough fans—despite being a public figure—was because of her private life; privacy is the only thing she yearns to have. Despite being discredited by the media, she chose to ignore such ludicrous rants from people of all the like about her life.
Out of nowhere, over 30,332 feet above ground, Patt looks through the window of her private jetliner, contemplating on a bed of clouds that is blocking the sight of the sea as the aircraft flies to Johannesburg.
Patt, along with two companions—her sponsor and best friend—have been flying for over two hours now—it usually takes less than seventy minutes to reach South Africa. This trip, only intended for leisure, is Patt’s fourth time; the previous three had been for business purposes.
The woman calls the flight attendant for a glass of lemon juice, followed by a flirtatious attempt by Patt’s sponsor, Jerry.
“Hey, sweetie, aren’t you going to suck my lemon drops?”
Patt, sitting across from him, immediately kicks him on the knee.
“Ow! That was childish of you, Patt,” he says.
“Look at you talking, Mister it’s-okay-for-me-to-flirt,” Patt says. “This isn’t a whorehouse, Jerry.”
“Listen to the lady,” says the stewardess. Jerry frowns.
“So that means you’re not a lady, huh?” he says. The young college graduate serves Patt a glass of lemon juice. Leslie, her name, has served as a flight attendant of Patt’s for nearly a year. She’s working while attending law school at Harvard, though Patt never understood why an ambitious individual like her choose to work as a stewardess, even if it’s temporary.
The young woman turns to Jerry.
“Technically, I’m not a lady; I’m a prototype only men like you hate to flirt with,” she says. “I’m lesbian for your information.”
Jerry says nothing, followed by Patt and her best friend, Audrey, laughing.
The crew remains quiet for a while, each seems to be preoccupied by a particular task only to be particularly appealing to one but not the other.
The clock hits twenty minutes after nine in the evening. Moments later a voice appears from the overhead speakers, as the pilot announces: “Attention! Remain seated and strap on your seatbelts. There’s an incoming storm as well as few flashes of lightning ahead. Again, remain seated with your seatbelt strapped on! You will be further notified. Thank you for your attention.”
The message causes silence inside the airplane—no one decides to lighten up the mood.
Patt begins to interlock her fingers as a faint noise of lightning appears from out of nowhere. It’s dark outside, yet she couldn’t see a hint of the ocean due to the bulky clouds. She then decides to look away and pulls down the plastic closing frame, shutting her side of the window completely. Jerry does not reply in protest, but the only window that appears to remain open-view is that of which Audrey’s sitting next to.
Moments after silence comes the pilot’s voice from the speakers: “Attention! It appears the storm’s getting worse. We’ll be experiencing episodes of turbulence. Please remain seated.” Indeed, the plane begins to shake, though less violently, but Patt feels it’s only started. “The good news is, we’ll be landing Johannesburg in less than fifteen minutes. Thank you for your attention!
It’s been over three minutes past when the jetliner begins to shake ever so violently, raising the anxiety bar up high as the crew remains seated, in silence. Patt closes her eyes, trying to simulate the experience she has felt one time in Australia, when an earthquake of magnitude seven demolished countless houses, health care facilities, and so on.
Minute after minute becomes a violent turbulence, causing the aircraft to move in an unusual way. Up then down, right then left, down then up, and so forth. A moment later comes a violent impact that causes the jetliner to shift downward, as if lightning has stricken the plane. Patt realizes the aircraft’s on fire. The alarm goes off, followed by the tearing of the walls, as if a group of wolverines decide to use their paws and peel down layer after layer of the plane.
Patt and the rest begin to panic, while each uses the emergency oxygen mask. The pilot wails through the speaker: “We’ve been hit! Shit! We’ve been hit!” The plane suddenly accelerates at top speed, though it moves downward. The seismic movement of the aircraft causes Patt and the rest to be unsecured, removed from their seats as they constantly hit themselves against the walls.
Patt watches in fear as she looks for something to hold on to. One side of the plane’s gone—along with the pilot. Patt could see herself and the rest moving downward, fast, with the view of earth below the height of elevation at which air traffic is maintained.
The aircraft’s covered in flame, followed by the other side being separated from the main one. Patt opens her eyes and realizes the others are gone—Jerry, Audrey, and Leslie are all gone. The heavy smoke from the burning remains of the million-dollar- worth airplane swallows her until she’s out of air.
When she loses her grip, her body’s hauled on one burning side, following a violent bump on the head. Patt feels unconscious, unable to move. Am I going to die, is this my time? The woman thinks. She closes her eyes, wishing the collision wouldn’t be that painful. Though such experience is far too late for Patt to feel, as she’s already in the realm of unconsciousness—a place where realistic pain is not felt from within.
Patt wakes up from no dream but darkness. She finds herself lying on her back, on some grass. One side of her face feeling numb, the other side feeling the intense heat from the burning sun. The headache begins to intensify, as if her sudden awakening has become a signal for her body to begin experiencing pain.
Still on the ground, she feels incapacitated and unable to rise from the ground. She lies on the ground for a while, thinking about her current well-being before trying again. She could spot several bruises on her arms and knees, clothes entirely ripped to shreds, mostly burnt, her footwear completely ruined, and every joint in her body feels immobilized.
Patt inhales the new air in her surroundings; the air of Africa, though she couldn’t tell which part she’s in. Following the exhale Patt raises herself, slowly, until finally on her knees. She takes a deep breath, and gives a one last push to stand up from the burning ground. Unable to remain steady, she wanders not too far, until she finally comes across the midsection of the airplane in which she was; everything of it is burnt to ashes, and flames are noticeable on some parts.
“Help!” she begins. “Anyone, please! Help!” She couldn’t believe this is happening—why me? She would constantly ask herself.
Standing still, she ponders her companions’ whereabouts. They must’ve been separated right when the plane began to dismantle, she thinks.
Patt surveys her surroundings; it seems more like a typical amazon. Oak trees and other gigantic plants, some are dwarf in size whereas others like that of a skyscraper. Dense bushes surround the small perimeter in which she stands, and the sun shining bright onto vegetation until no water is left for the plants.
Patt removes her polyester-made blouse, which was already burnt from the fire, and leaves on a navy blue tank top. Her silky jean’s torn here and there, so she tears the bottom half from the knee to make it appear like a short. Then, giving another close inspection of her surroundings, she notices a vegetation-less trail ahead that leads through the bushes.
Although Patt is reluctant to find her way out of the site and search for help, she begins walking along the trail, passing through the bushes despite few scratches from sharp, wooden branches. She follows the trail nonstop, brushing her brunette hair backward constantly—it became messy the moment the jetliner was supposedly stricken by lightening.
Patt continues with hasty steps, unable to conclude as to whether the rest were dead or alive, if only there’s a sign that would keep her hopeful. Unable to tell time from her broken wristwatch, she assumed it’s early afternoon as the sun appears above the horizon.
All of a sudden Patt halts her steps, realizing the trail stopping in middle of some area similar to the one she’s been, only this one much larger. She looks around; the area’s larger, appears more like a circle with tree bushes outside its periphery, like a circular entity with a thick outer layer that protects it from harm. It looks more like an arena with only sand and rocks. There’s this hidden, ominous essence about this place, Patt thinks.
To her surprise, Patt’s heartbeat skyrockets when a sound appears from the bushes in front of her, then another from behind. Moments later she notices the bushes moving, as if someone’s about to appear from within. As expected, a man emerges into view; the man, more like a hunter, is almost naked, except a diaper-like fabric covering his private part. Tattoos are all over him, his nipples and face being pierced with rings and other unknown objects. He appears short, skinny, and the skin covered with tar-like mud from the ground—perhaps he’s on the hunt for something.
Patt thinks he must be a member of a tribe, but decides not to speculate things right now. The hunter has a long spear held by both hands, with the sharp edge giving a gleam from sunlight. The hunter begins speaking in a language Patt couldn’t understand, though his tone’s is aggressive as if angry.
“Excuse me!” Patt calls out to him. “Do you know where this place is? How can I find help?” The hunter continues talking. Another hunter appears from behind, followed one from her left and one from her right. It appears to Patt that they are about to take her captive. The four hunters approach her slowly, spears held in guard as to strike whenever ready. Patt looks at them, and without thinking she begins to run through an open bush.
The others are following her, and Patt runs as fast as she could even if she’s already injured from the crash. She screams while running, having no idea where she is going. After ten minutes of running she stops, catching her breath. She hears the sound of their voices. Patt removes her casual shoes and throws them afar, so they won’t pick up her foot trail. She begins running, turning right, then left, forward, then right, and so on. She has no idea where to go, but losing them is the only thing she ought to do.
After five minutes of running Patt stumbles on to something, causing her to fall down a hill. Her body rolls in a 360-degree fashion over and over again. It’s painful yet long. She keeps rolling down as if the hill goes on and on. Her head bumps onto small rocks, causing bruises everywhere. After a while she finally finds her lower body hanging in the air, as if coming across a fall. Holding onto the edge of something, she looks down and realizes solid ground far down—she has survived a fall, thought only for now.
Patt starts to feel her grip loosening gradually, raising her fear of death without anyone knowing where she is. However, the helpless woman doesn’t give up.
“Help! Help!” she screams. She tries to lift herself up but is too weak due to the injuries from the plane crash. She keeps holding on the cliff, eyes closed. She gave a moment of recollection about her life, her family, everything else that matters and that doesn’t. She feels fatigue having a toll on her, and fears her death right after fainting.
Patt cries, and feels numbness in all her fingers. Before she could let go of the grip, someone else grabs her firmly by the arm, slowly lifting her up. Patt looks up and realizes a man—appearing more like those hunters but different—wearing a smile. He looks handsome, muscularly fit and stronger than the others, and obviously tall. His features lead her to believe he isn’t an African native—he’s probably an outsider.
“Hold on, I got you!” the man speaks in English. Patt feels relieved, though wanted to be certain before she could faint.
“What is you name, mister?” she says in a low voice.
“Papa Beans,” the man says.
“What kind of name is that?” Patt asks but finally falls unconscious. It’s too late to hear his response, but Patt doesn’t miss the warming smile on his face before passing out.
To be continued…