Pilot

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
a pilot, through a series of events, is saved from 9/11. or is he?

Submitted: November 30, 2007

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Submitted: November 30, 2007

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A A A


 
 
I’m not a professional writer, so I don’t know how to turn my story into an award-winning novel. It’s not going to inspire directors to go and create the next box-office hit, nor will it spark the interest of millions and give children a reason to read. Heck, I’m not even sure why I’m writing this down right now. Maybe it’s so that when I grow older, I won’t forget the events of the past 24 hours. Although, it is very unlikely that I will ever feel the need to glance at this short piece of literature, for the ghost-like memory will never be far from my thoughts.
My name is Shawn Terrier. I am an airplane pilot, and have been employed as one for the past thirty years. I am fifty-four years old and I’m not married. I used to think love was something important, but now I’m not sure anymore. Love wasn’t what saved my life. I’m not too sure what did, but I do know this, if I ever meet up with it again, I would run. I was supposed to die, but I didn’t. This thing that saved me obviously wanted me for some important reason. This reason has yet to prevent itself, but that doesn’t matter. I should probably just start from the beginning.
I began the day like any other. As I woke to the low but persistent tone of my alarm clock, I climbed out of bed. Next to my bed were two cotton slippers, always there, always waiting for the warm sensation of my seldom-used feet. I popped them on and walked into my bathroom.
Flicking the switch, I squinted at the bright, fluorescent lights. Too bright, I thought. I stared at my self through the water-stained mirror. I looked around. My tile floor was none too shiny. Grime and dirt filled the spaces between the coral-peach tiles. There were cracks in more than a few of them. The sink was covered in dried toothpaste. Mint.
My head began to hurt, so I popped open the medicine cabinet. I pulled out a half-empty bottle of Excedrin and stuck two in my mouth. I dry-boned the pills; I have experience. As I went to put the bottle back in the cabinet, I accidentally knocked my hand against another bottle. From behind the bottle crawled a large, brown cockroach. I jerked back in disgust. I guess that’s what I get for living in a cheap motel room.
I walked over to the shower and cranked on the water. Hot, just the way I like it. I dropped down my bathrobe and climbed in, letting out a quick yelp as the cold water hit my wrinkled skin. I waited for a few uncomfortable seconds while the water began to heat up. I stared grudgingly at the stained water curtain. Ugly, I’ll need to buy a new one.
About ten minutes later, I got out of the shower. I was scheduled to fly today, so I’d have to be at the airport in about an hour. I quickly dried my self. I hated the part of my morning when I got out of the shower, the wet-to-dry feeling always made my hands itch. I went back into my bedroom and pulled out a fresh pair of socks and underwear from my dresser. Then I walked over to my closet and pulled out my uniform. I felt naked without it, even though, at the moment, I was naked.
I put on my clothes and headed into my living room and sat on the couch. My shoes were lying on the floor next to my coffee table. I slipped them on, pulled on my windbreaker, and headed out the door; I hate fall.
I climbed into my beat-up, old Honda and turned the ignition. Almost, almost, darn, no luck. I tried again, and this time it caught. Today’s going to be a good day, I thought. Man was I wrong.
On my way to the airport, I stopped by McDonald’s. I ordered a bacon, egg, and cheese McGriddle, two hash browns, and diet coke. I know what you’re thinking, if all the fat foods, why the diet. No big reason, sugar just doesn’t agree with me. I left the drive through with about 1000 calories making its way through my digestive system.
Reaching my destination, I headed into the parking garage. Pilots have special reserved parking right on the bottom floor. Fortunately for me, someone was parked in my space. Stupid teenagers and their lack of ability to read, I grumbled to myself. But as I was pulling away, I noticed something odd. The reservation sign said ‘Gregory Handel’. Oh well, it was odd but unimportant. I was running late already, about thirty minutes. Traffic was terrible; I probably shouldn’t have stopped for that breakfast. It took me another twenty minutes to find a spot.
When I finally got my spot, I left to go find the elevator. I was on the fifth floor, and I wasn’t young. I didn’t feel like walking five flights of stairs. When I reached the elevator, though, there was a sign that read ‘out of order’. Looked like I would have to take the stairs.
I was in between the third and fourth floor when I slipped on a puddle. It had been raining a lot lately, and the water was all over the stairs. Someone was bound to trip eventually. It just happened to be me. As I slid down the flight of stairs, I knew it wouldn't be good. I’m not as young as I used to be, my bones were brittle with osteoporosis, and I was going to break something.
When I hit the landing, I knew it was my ankle. It was already beginning to swell. I tried to move, but a shooting pain up my back made me do otherwise. I tried to shout for help, but my recent sore throat prevented this from going any further. There was nothing I could do except wait for some wandering soul to find and help me.
An hour later, a young lady, around 20 I guessed, found me. She phoned an ambulance, and five minutes later it arrived. I was taken to the hospital.
"You mind if I turn on the radio?" asked the ambulance driver. I didn't care, but I would soon enough.
A voice interrupted the music. "We interrupt this broadcast to bring you urgent news. Two planes have just crashed into the twin towers of the world trade center. We don't know how many have been killed, but the numbers are expected to be great. The two planes, 401 and 386, were high-jacked by a group of Iranians. Both pilots were killed."
401. That was the plane I was supposed to fly today. I could’ve been the pilot that died. The rest was a blur. I knew that the strange turn of events had saved my life, but I wondered. Could I have stopped the high-jackers? I thought back to all the events that led to this moment that saved my life. The long shower, the breakfast, the heavy traffic, the slip. All these events occurred so that I wouldn't die a horrible death. As you can understand, I sat in silence the rest of the trip.
 
~*~
6 days later
 
“So, who am I meeting with today?” Dr. Mark O’Connell asked the desk receptionist. He was a doctor at a mental institution. This call had been an interesting one.
“His name is Shawn Terrier. He claims to be a pilot, but really he’s been a school janitor all his life. Here’s the interesting part, he claims to be the pilot on flight 401. You know, the plane that was the first one to crash six days ago.”
“Did you tell him that the pilot on board that plane was killed?” Dr. O’Connell asked.
“Yeah, he says that he was the original pilot, but the one that was killed, Gregory Handel, was a sub.”
“Did you call the airport?”
“Yeah, they say Handel has been a fulltime pilot for thirty years. What a coincidence that this Terrier guy says that that is how long he’s been a pilot too. The airport says they’ve never even heard of the guy.”
“Hmm, it sounds like Shawn created a separate life for himself, the life of Handel. He must have hated his life so much. He’s probably got a crappy motel room or something. I’ll meet with him, interview him, and then see what medicine he should be prescribed. Who knows, maybe he’s not crazy, maybe he’s from a separate dimension or something.”
They both shared a good laugh at that one.


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