The more seasoned of the two creates a game to pass the time. They
choose seven passengers and proceed to guess their names, age,
occupation, marital status, and personality. Later, they are informed
of severe mechanical problems disabling the plane, leading to a crash
into the sea. They survive along with only seven other passengers,
incredibly the seven people from the game they had just played. The
subsequent prolonged and horrifying adventure in a raft presents many
obstacles to their survival including sharks, severe weather, death,
hunger, thirst, declining physical and mental health, paranoia, and
pirates of the high seas. Their long awaited rescue from the ravages
of the sea is just the beginning of their trip to Hell and back.
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IT: A Head-to-Toe Guide Guide To Common Orthopaedic Conditions and
his first novel, YOU DEAR SWEET MAN.
Frank dallied in the rear for another three to four minutes, drinking slowly. He then waited for one of the bathroom doors to open and entered into the cramped cubicle. Ah, Homer would love to be in here, wouldn’t he? Just the right size for a Mr. Narcissist to live. After relieving himself and using the mirror to loosen his shirt and tie, he returned to his seat. Helen was awake and moved her legs gently aside to let him in.
“So, can’t sleep, eh? Want to continue the game?” she inquired.
He was never so happy to hear those words. “Sure, I can’t sleep anyway. You begin.”
“Okay. How about that guy?”
She pointed to a rather heavy-set, round-faced bearded man slouched in his seat. His tie was loosely fitted around his enormous bulging neck, sporting a thick, ballooning double chin. His hair rested irregularly on his head, highly suggesting a toupee gone awry. His arms extended well over the armrest, and he looked as if someone had tried to shove a round object into a square hole and succeeded in doing so. He was snoring with abrupt deep breaths followed by times of silence and then followed by a coughing episode. His neighbors were visibly annoyed.
“Um, let’s see,” Frank said. “Fifty-two and married. Three kids. Salesman, named Ernie. Irish, Scottish descent. Alcoholic, maybe. Definitely sleep apnea.”
“Nope. I agree with the age, but I think he owns a bar, maybe a few of them, divorced. Okay on the three kids, I guess. His name has to be Otto. Definitely of German descent. Too much spaetzle and potato pancakes in his diet,” Helen said.
“Spaetzle? You mean those little German dumplings or noodles? Hmmm, could be, but I think you’re wrong. You could be so far off here. I’m going to win going away, Helen.”
“How do you know you win? Do you interview these people after the flight?” she queried.
“No. Never see them again. Just a game to pass the time away.”
“Then don’t tell me you win,” she said without taking her eyes off him.
“Damn, you are serious about this,” he said, raising his eyebrows and pointing his finger at her.
“You know I’m going to win,” she said, laughing at his intent look.
“All right then. The game is on, girl!” Frank said. “Who’s next?”
“That couple there. Honeymooners, no doubt. Twenty-five for the woman and twenty-nine for the man. She’s a secretary, and he is in graduate school. His or her parents are paying for the trip. Nationality is an easy one. He’s Japanese and she Asian. Her name is…let’s say Soo Mi. I had a Korean at work by that name,” Helen rattled off.
“Well, I can agree with most of what you said. Her facial contour definitely is Asian. He could be Korean, but I’m voting for Japanese, definitely a Yuto for the guy’s name. One more,” Frank said, smiling.
“Really? Yuto? So lame! Where did you get that name?”
“Well, it is one of the most popular Japanese names. Y-U-T-O.”
“My, my, you sure know a lot. I would have never come up with a real name for him.”
“So, we have one more?”
“Let’s see. Jerko, the Jewish man, the heavy guy…the honeymooners, that’s only five. Wow, there’s two more,” Helen said, counting on her fingers.
Realizing he had picked one already, Frank remarked, “Well, I did get one while you were asleep.”
“Who?” Helen asked, looking around the side of her seat.
“That elderly lady across the aisle, down about four rows.”
Helen turned her head to look into the aisle, glanced down and spied the woman. “So?”
“Eighties, retired piano teacher, British, Maxine,” Frank quickly said.
“No way, Jose. Late seventies, retired but a private secretary for a corporate executive, and she is not a Brit. Italian, for sure, and her name would be…uh… Sofia. On second thought, maybe
you have the upper hand here. Now that I see her profile better, definitely English. Piano teacher, maybe, who knows. Love the name Maxine. Gotta go with that.”
“That’s only six people. Jerko, Israeli man, Maxine, the heavy guy, and the married couple. We need one more to complete the game,” he said, somewhat amazed that Helen had been taken
so much by the game. “Okay. Kimberly, attendant, thirties. From Chicago. Danish. There, we’re done.”
“No, French heritage. Way back, you know,” Helen said, yawning and rubbing her eyes. “I guess you’re right. Well, at least we do know what her real name is, don’t we?” Helen continued to yawn. “I’m really getting heavy eyes, and there isn’t anything interesting written on the back of my eyelids to keep me up. Here I go.”
“Well, I guess that’s it. It has been a pleasure playing with you. I’m going to try to get some shut-eye, but it’s going to be tough. Don’t let the bedbugs bite,” Frank mused.
“Goodnight, Mr. Mason.”
“Frank! Goodnight, Ms. Hampton.”
Frank glanced over to see her moving her head toward the aisle. She was asleep faster than anyone he had ever seen before. He was so jealous of this ability. He turned to the window, folded the pillow on itself, and pushed his head into it firmly. No sooner had he closed his eyes, he opened them to realign the pillow and shift his body in the seat. This scenario continued off and on for the next twenty minutes, much to his angst. It was as if he had ‘restless body syndrome’, somewhat akin to the ‘restless leg’ one. He would wiggle his ankle as fast as he could as if exercising would make him tired. This never helped, but he always tried it. There was not much room on these economy seats to do anything else. Then he tried pumping his knee up and down followed by the other, and then folded his arms across his chest.
Crap! Nothing’s happening!
Geez, I hate this.
He thought of Kate again. How was she doing? She should be asleep now. Oh, how he wished he could be by her side. He loved her warm body next to him, and the smell of her hair always captivated him. The warmth of their comforter added to their snuggling, altogether a feeling of safety and love nurturing them until morning. Nothing could make him fall asleep better than this wife by his side and in his own home. With this image in his head, he was actually finally able fall asleep on a plane for once.
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