Friday, March 8, 2013

Blog Tour: Frederick Lee Brooke Guest Post

Air Rage

by Frederick Lee Brooke

With family scattered around the fifty states, I do a lot of flying. I was on a flight from Sacramento to Chicago when I had my own personal air rage experience.
The man in the row behind me was talking on his cell phone the whole time we were still parked in the gate in Sacramento. While the flight attendants went up and down the aisles checking people’s seat belts and tray tables, I learned all about this man’s aging mother.
“Just tell her she’s got to move there. Just tell her,” he said, his already loud voice rising. I gathered he was talking to his sister. I gathered his sister had the dirty work of convincing their mother to move into a home for seniors. “She’s already broken her hip. Where she lives there’s no one to help her. Make her be reasonable.”
I heard grumbling from the other passengers. I half stood, turned, and stared at the man till he met my gaze. He had a little silver flask in his right hand and held the phone to his ear with the other. Not much over thirty, I judged, crew cut, polo shirt covering broad shoulders and heavy muscles. His breath smelled like turpentine. With a raising of the eyebrows he asked me what my problem was without interrupting his call. I made a gesture with my hand that said, reduce the volume.
A few minutes later we took off, and things were quiet for a while, but then Loudmouth got going again, this time talking to the woman he was traveling with. On the whole it was pretty one-sided. I could barely hear her soft responses, but I got every word Loudmouth said.
“It was a shame we had to let her go. She bawled her eyes out when we told her. The hooters on that woman, you really should’ve seen ‘em.”
I was reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stig Larsson, and I was having trouble keeping my eye on the page. The voice of Loudmouth was horning in on the voices of the characters as I read. I couldn’t concentrate. Everybody around me was rolling their eyes. Someone had to do something.
Just then the flight attendant came by to serve Loudmouth another drink. His supply from the flask must’ve run out, and he had been ordering drinks. He had called her on the call button. I half stood up and turned around to face him again.
“I asked you before to be quieter,” I said. “We’re all in a tight space together for the next few hours, here.”
“Don’t get your panties in a bunch,” Loudmouth said. He said that to me. The flight attendant was running his credit card, but I could tell she was listening.
“I asked you nicely,” I said. “And I think I’m not the only one here who feels you’re making too much damn noise. Anyone else here that agrees with me?”
An amazing thing happened. About twenty people all around us clambered to their feet. They undid their seat belts, put up their tray tables, stood up and glared at Loudmouth. It was almost like an airborne intervention. The kicker was when Loudmouth’s wife even stood up. Loudmouth had just gotten his card back from the flight attendant, and as soon as he got his meaty arm out of the way, up she sprang. Her dark brown eyes briefly met mine, then she focused on the floor.
“If you’re not going to keep this joker under control, I demand to move my seat,” I said to the flight attendant.
A chorus of other passengers, all standing, clamored to be moved as well. I wasn’t looking and didn’t look to see if Loudmouth’s wife was one of them. I was looking at the flight attendant, waiting for her to do something. She sized up the situation perfectly.
“Sir, if you want to be served another drink after this one, you’ll have to get along with your neighbors,” the flight attendant said, looking Loudmouth in the eye. Right, now she was speaking his language. Plus I thought it was admirable how she formulated it in a positive way. Twenty people all around us were still glaring at him. Loudmouth didn’t have the guts to answer.
In fact, I don’t believe he said another word all the way to Chicago.

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Genre – Mystery & Thriller / Horror
Rating – PG13
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