Famous Musician

You’re taking a business trip and, as luck would have it, you’re upgraded to first class—something you’ve never done before. As you sit down in your new, more comfortable chair, you notice that the person sitting next to you is a famous musician. Write this scene.

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  1. kathleenmagner

    The bawling ricocheted off the plane’s curved bulkheads, underscored by a piercing shriek.

    Grant winced and plodded along, hoping with each row the wailing and sobs might subside or he might bypass their source altogether. Seat numbers increased along with the decibels until the plastic windows seemed about to shatter.

    Reaching 43, Grant peered up and met a round face as red as a stop sign. The banshee scream bellowed into the aisle from the kid’s maw, the tone warbling in time with the bouncing knee of his mother. In the window seat a ball-caped fellow Grant assumed to be the father rocked a sobbing infant swaddled in canary yellow blankets. He had his eyes closed, head bowed as if he wanted to vanish into the bill’s shade.

    Between them the cushion for 43B seemed to shrink.

    Sighing, Grant unshouldered his backpack, the rustle against his denim jacket drawing the mother’s weary gaze.

    “Is this you?” She tilted her head toward the middle seat, the motion freeing more frazzled tendrils from her pony tail.

    “I’m afraid so,” said Grant.

    He squeezed against the aisle chair as a passing couple grumbled about the lack of space in the overhead bins and the mother traded her son to her opposite knee.

    “We were hoping you might be willing to move.”

    Grant’s hopes shot into the stratosphere. “Move?”

    “They said they might have a free spot.” The mother arched and peered over the headrest toward the back of the plane.

    Following her bend, Grant spied an approaching red haired stewardess. She smiled, a strained stretch of her ruby lips.

    “If you’re willing to move sir, I can offer you a seat up front.”

    “Um, sure,” said Grant, “whatever I can do to help.”

    “Follow me, please.”

    Grant shuffled into the nearest row, earning a scowl from the suited man in 42D, and allowing the stewardess to tromp up the aisle. When he started tailing her, Grant felt the spikes of envy launched through the air like the infants wails. Hunching his shoulders, he weaved by the other stragglers working bags into bins, beneath the seats in front of them and cinching belts low and tight across their laps. Murmured conversations noted the noise, although they grew more sympathetic with every distancing step.

    Gazing over the seats, Grant sought the vacant one fate had provided. Bald heads, dark-haired ones, Medusa curls, knit caps and slicked hairlines poked above the tweed headrests. None, however, appeared empty. Worry about some kind of mistake simmered, but he held onto hope as he followed the stewardess through the curtained divider, past the galley and into first class.

    A stout steward straightened from his distribution of glasses sweating from the ice water within, his loafers gleaming like swooping bangs.

    “From 43?”

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