Pinwheel to Oblivion
By Mike Stevens
Larry Scrub was a nervous wreck. He had checked and rechecked the parachute that he had strapped tightly to his back. As the airplane carried him higher and higher, he once again thought,
'What the hell am I doing?'
He had recently celebrated his 30th birthday by making a deal with himself. Life was going by, and there were so many things he wanted to experience, but was too afraid to try. No longer! He was no going to let his fear keep him from trying things he’d always wanted to try, and skydiving was the first test of his new determination. He was doubting the wisdom of his decision, however. As he gazed out the window and saw how far down the ground was, and they still had a ways to climb, he was losing his resolve to jump. Was he insane? He’s all-but-decided to not jump, when the plane leveled off, the door was slid open, and it was time to jump. Inside, he thought to himself,
'Don’t be a pansy; just make yourself go. Now is not the time for wussing out. Your whole life, you’ve always done the sensible, cowardly thing. Time to forget your fear and just do it.'
This thought was immediately followed by another inner voice, telling him,
'Just keep your butt as far away from that door as you can. Look how far down the concrete slab of the ground is!'
He suddenly got very angry at the words his last inner voice was telling him, and walked to the plane door, and without thinking about it, flung himself out into the blue. There, for better or for worse, he had done it!
He was streaking downwards toward the unforgiving Earth. As he looked through his goggles, he was suddenly overcome with the sight he was beholding; it was indescribably beautiful! The white clouds against the pure blue sky. The green squares of the cultivated fields, surrounded by the brown of the earth. He looked up at the disappearing spec that was the plane he had just jumped out of. Suddenly, he was glad he made himself do it.
'See, what you’d have missed if you’d have been too afraid to try it?'
He felt so alive! He enjoyed the fall, the rush of the wind against his body, for a little while longer, then reluctantly decided it was time to pull his ripcord and open the parachute. He reached up to his chest and pulled the ripcord. Nothing happened! He panicked for a few seconds, then remembered the emergency chute. He quickly remembered where the ripcord for that was located, and frantically gave that a pull. Nothing! He was streaking unchecked towards the ground.
As he listened to wind sheik a terrible song in his ears, he lost control of his bowels, and screamed, but his scream would do him no good. There was no one to hear it. He was completely alone, sailing to his doom! He knew he should have listened to his last inner voice telling him not to do it. It was just another example of his bad luck; only it was the last piece of bad luck he would ever have. A rush of adrenaline ran cold through his veins as he realized this was the end. He saw with terror the rock-hard ground rushing up faster than he thought possible. As he neared it, he frantically, and with absolutely no hope of anything happening, pulled the ripcord one last time. Suddenly, he was jerked upwards as the chute opened and filled with air above him. He was saved! As he lazily drifted downwards, Larry Scrub could see the rescuers sent to in all likelihood scrap what was left of him into a garbage bag, running below him. He laughed to himself as he thought, not today! He knew he was one lucky bastard. He glided in for a landing in the middle of a large field.
When he landed, a guy came rushing up to him, and started to say,
“Mister, are you alright? You’re extremely lucky that your chute opened when it did. Any lower, and... Otherwise--- ahhh, what’s that smell?”
It was then that he remembered he had loaded his britches in pure fright. As the others sent to help him came running up, the first guy to reach him said,
“Stay back, unless you enjoy the smell of fear!”