“I Know I’m Supposed to Keep This a Secret, But …”

The plane lifted off the runway and into the air. The person next to you turns and quietly whispers in your ear, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.”

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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158 thoughts on ““I Know I’m Supposed to Keep This a Secret, But …”

  1. bilbobaggins321

    I was halfway across the Pacific ocean on some rusted metal contraption with only one bathroom. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? I was trying hard to prevent myself from grabbing one of those parachutes in the corner and fleeing for my life.
    Let’s just say that I’m a world traveler who enjoys recent technology and with insider links into particular companies overseas. Yes, let’s put it nicely. On the other hand, what if I was to tell you that I was a secret agent for the CIA? Now that’ll put a shiver up your spine.
    I was trying to look as inconspicuous as possible, with my casual clthing, baseball hat, and bulky breifcase that I used for my “paperwork”. My agency had gone too far on that one, piling me on some 1950’s plane to cross the Pacific with these tourists. My destination? China.

    While the tourists were busy snapping pictures of empty ocean, I pulled out my cell and dialed the number for my headquarters. “Password,” some gruff voice said demandingly. I punched it in, and I got my briefing done. Apparently I was going deep into the Chinese new nuclear system, the “Banzai Plan.” Just as I finished, some random guy in a ballcap pulled impossibly low slid up next to my seat.
    “I just can’t help myself. There’s something urgent that I need to say,” he said low.
    I couldn’t even see who this guy was, but my curiosity drove me on. “Continue,” I said.
    After a long pause, where he looked around warily, he continued.
    “This plane is not safe. The Chinese managed to follow you. They are determined to make sure that-”
    A solid, crisp gunshot resonated, and the guy in the ballcap slumped over in his seat.

    End of Part One- Please Comment

  2. Haley

    Don’t Tell Anyone
    The plane lifts off the runway and into the air. The person next to me turns and quietly whispers. “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone. It wouldn’t be fair to you, dear, if I didn’t”
    I look down into the sweet old ladies face. Her muted grey eyes wrinkle deeply in the corners as she smiles politely and waits for me to acknowledge that she’s spoken. I set my book down gently on my lap and smile back at her, encouraging her to go on. What possible secret could she have? Did she smuggle some Pepto Bismol on board?
    “Well, my dear.” She says, “I’m a lover of exotic animals, but they’re just so hard to find locally.”
    “Uh huh.” I nod to fake my interest. I’m paying more attention to the way she’s erratically jerking and wriggling and she speaks to me. Poor old lady, it must be so hard to grow old and lose control of yourself like that.”
    “So once or twice a year,” She continues, “I take a little trip to visit my friends.”
    “Ohhh-kaaaaay.” I reply. My eyes widen as I notice movement within her paisley-printed dress.
    “…and occasionally”, she shrieks very excitedly now, “I SMUGGLE A FEW HOME WITH ME!!”
    Suddenly a red, black and yellow snake peeks from the armpit of her dress. Its piercing eyes fixed on me as its tongue darts in and out of its mouth. I throw myself back against my seat in fear and stare helplessly at the tiny window. I have no means of escape. A second snake slithers out from beneath the ladies beige, knitted shawl and I begin to hyperventilate.
    My heart starts racing and I begin sweating profusely when I spot a large, hairy tarantula in the woman’s purse and two tiny, bright blue, frogs peering out from her pockets. My book falls from my lap with a thud as I pass out and slump over in my seat. It lands face up. “How to Get Over Your Fear of Snakes and other Creatures”.
    When I come to, the “sweet” little old lady is patting my shoulder as the flight attendants prepare to take me to the sick room. “You’ll be ok dear. Everyone gets a little nervous when they fly.”
    “Whaaat?” I croak. My eyes quickly scan her over as I’m hoisted up by two flight attendants. There isn’t a single snake or critter on her. As they begin to carry me down the aisle, I watch the little old lady slide nonchalantly into my seat. She winks at me and quietly whispers, “I always did prefer the window seat dear.”

  3. InsanelyMe

    I shifted around in the uncomfortable seats of the cheapest airplane I could find, wishing with a passion that I wasn’t so lower-middle class. I attempted to tuck my outrageously inexpensive carry on bag under the seat, but only managed to anger the woman (at least I think it was a woman) sitting behind me so I gave up.

    As I turned back around to face forward, the plane lifted off with a shudder and a concerning squeak, and I became aware of a very sickly looking man buckling himself into the seat adjoined to mine. When he caught me staring, he flashed me a toothy grin and leaned over, mumbling something.

    “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that, can you repeat it?” I asked him. He obliged, and said in a considerably louder voice, “I know I’m suppose to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.” I looked at him and he looked back at me expectantly.

    I sighed. “And what would that be?”

    “I’m a vampire.”

    I squeezed my eyes shut and massaged the bridge of my nose. “One day, I’ll get it through my thick head to stop being such a churl.”

  4. demigirl12345

    As the plane lifted off the runway, I settled back in my seat hoping for a pleasant and peaceful flight. I glanced around at the other people on the plane. There were a lot of buisness people and elderly. As I looked across the isle I saw three children. The oldest was staring out the window and the two younger children were talking quietly. I saw no adult with them so I leaned across the isle and whispered to the youngest child, “Honey, where are your parents?”
    She looked at me and smiled timidly. “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret,” she said slowly,”but I have to tell someone.” she grinned sheepishly and looked behind her to make sure her older sisters weren’t listening. I waited.
    “We are running away. My older syblings have been planning this for months. My mom . . .”
    Just then her older sister turned to talk to her. I quickly leaned back into my seat. I sat there a few moments stunned. Then when the older sister got up to go to the bathroom, I followed her down the aisle. On her way back I sat beside her in one of the open seats. ” I was told by your younger sister that you are running away. I want to know where you are going and if there is any way possible I can help you.”
    She cringed. “No one was supposed to know. My mother is a drunk and she abused me and my sisters. My father . . . well, I don’t know him. We are going to London to try to start again. I’ll be sixteen in two months and then I can get a job and provide for my sisters.” She looked down shamefully. I gave her a hug and sent her back to her seat. Later in the flight I passed her a note. It read, “Listen, I know you and your sisters probably wont have a place to stay. I just bought a house in London. I’ve never had kids, but you are welcome to stay with me. My name is Hannah.” She smiled as she looked up and nodded at me. She wrote back, “My name is Kelsie. My two sisters names are Gabby and Thalia. We would love to stay with you. Thank you.” I smiled at her. When the plane finally landed, her sisters grabbed my hands and she followed me as we walked off the plane and into the afternoon sunlight together.

  5. CJKEats

    The plane lifted off. I was in the middle seat in economy class, not the aisle seat in business class, as was the norm for me. Nonetheless, I prepared myself for food service and the morning paper. Then I noticed the attractive woman sitting in the window seat. Her long blonde hair cascaded smoothly down her back. She wore impeccable makeup, which was not immediately visible—I liked that. She appeared to be in her mid twenties. Her obviously lithe young body filled out a stylish blue blouse that matched her piercing eyes … I caught myself staring.
    This might actually be a pleasant flight.
    The plane leveled out. As if on cue she leaned in provocatively and quietly whispered in my ear, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.”
    Ignoring the tingling sensation suddenly creeping from my ear lobe down my neck and into my stomach, I managed to get out a strangled “R-really?”
    “Yes … really,” she whispered with a conspiratorial wink. She puckered her eyebrows in a tiny, pretty frown, motioning with her hands that I should speak lower. Instantly I had an image of how I might appear to her: eyes eager and wide, mouth gaping, grinning inanely, possibly even drooling a little. I shook off that unflattering self-portrait, and assumed a look that I imagined conveyed complicity in her subterfuge—one eye squinting slightly, opposite brow raised—then nodded and whispered back: “What is it?”
    She shivered slightly, made a delicate moue, reclined in her seat and said at regular volume, “Ooh, now I’m conflicted! Maybe I really shouldn’t say.”
    Now I simply had to know.
    “Oh come on,” I pleaded, “you can’t leave it at that! You can’t pique my curiousity and then just hang me out to dry!”
    “Oh … can’t I?” she asked, tilting her head to look at me coolly.
    “No. It isn’t fair. You get me interested and then don’t deliver. That’s cruel. Unless …”
    “Unless …?”
    “Unless you’re trying to pass the time on the flight, and enjoy a little game you can run on a schmuck like me.” I said angrily. “I get it, don’t worry. Yes, you are beautiful, everybody wants you, but nobody can have you, especially good old Mr. Average Businessman. Well I have some news for you, darlin’: I don’t actually want you. I am quite happy the way I am.” I was nearly shouting. “I don’t need to know this little secret of yours, anyway. In fact … you can shove it where—”
    I didn’t get a chance to finish describing where her secret would end up, as there was a loud bang, and the plane suddenly dropped. Weightless for a split second, I crashed back in the seat painfully on one hip. Oxygen masks popped down from the overhead bin, but neither of us grabbed for them. My eyes locked on hers. I grimaced in pain and fear. She smiled triumphantly. I was about to learn all about her little secret.

  6. Mackie

    Sitting happily in 3a – 3b unoccupied beside me – I relish the chance to stretch out for the three hour flight. I scan the aisle to check for late arrivals. Just as the gate is about to close, a guy suddenly enters the plane with lots of huffing and puffing; a real oddity, but not in any malign sense – just strange. He is of average height, pot-bellied, with a face as round as a soccer ball. Seated on his balding head, but slightly askew, is a black toupee, my impression aggravated by his suit of yellow polyester, matching waistcoat, and white loafers. Aha, I thought, a Time Traveler from the 1970’s. My uncharitable notion is amply rewarded when he plopped his bottom into 3b.

    He brandished a paper bag in front of my face. “Just in case I am sick,“ and chuckles, but then leans in conspiratorially to whisper, “I know I’m supposed to keep this secret, but I absolutely must tell someone. It’s about my fate.” What could I do? I was strapped in with a nutcase beside me, the plane soon to speed down the runway for take-off..

    “It goes like this,” he said, assuming the silence an invitation to continue, “A while ago I was at a fair. The usual thing,” he added, “carnival rides, cotton candy, a hundred ways to lose money. Pretty boring, except for this old tent set off in a lonely spot, ‘Madam Zorkowski, Teller of Fortunes,’ a sign said. It only cost me 20 bucks.

    I was about to suggest that it was better to burn a 20 dollar note – at least it’ll give off heat – when he resumed. “She was a strange old bird who looked me up and down, glanced at my palm, and asks, “So you are the hero?” and laughs. “In death?” I asked my fellow passenger with a hopeful tone, but he misses the sarcasm. “Nope!” he said with a grin that shifts his toupee downward, “In a plane crash where everyone survives!”

    I started to reach for the call button for the flight attendant – time to change my seat – but my seat-buddy discerned my intentions and said, “Look, I’m not a maniac. I mean no harm. But there’s one thing I need to know. The old fortune teller also said that I wouldn’t be the only hero on the day; there is also someone else. She gave me information about this person, which I wrote down. I wonder if she’s on the plane?”

    A piece of paper was pushed over to me, which I read. There, in neat print, was my name, address, age, and occupation – the whole nine yards – dead on the mark.

    Chilled suddenly, I looked around the plane, scanning to see if there were any empty seats near an emergency exit. My fellow hero, I knew, would stick to me like glue.

  7. Dennie756

    I stared across the empty seat watching the bar cart roll to a stop in front of me. The flight attendant smiled graciously.
    “Can I get you something to drink?”
    I hesitated momentarily.
    “I’ll just have a Diet Coke, please.”
    Sipping from the small cup, I remembered when a couple of those tiny bottles of the good Captain enhanced my beverage. Sighing, I looked out the window, watching the setting sun transform clouds into puffs of spun gold.
    Feeling movement beside me, I glanced over to see a young woman settling herself into the empty seat. She gave me a shy smile.
    “Sorry to disturb you. My mother says I’m like a bull in a china shop.”
    “You’re fine, you didn’t disturb me.”
    “Oh, good,” she said. “I don’t think the flight attendant is of the same opinion, though. She sure gave me a dirty look when I bumped into her cart.”
    “You just missed her,” I said. “If you want a drink, I’m sure she’ll stop on her way back.”
    “Oh!” Her face suddenly blushed deep red. “I don’t want a drink. In fact, I hope she doesn’t even ask me.”
    The young woman looked at me as if she had something to say. I smiled at her and sipped my Coke.
    “I know I’m supposed to keep this secret, but I absolutely must tell someone. I don’t know you, but something about you seems so nice and well, I thought what better time than now, and I’ll probably never see you again anyway.”
    Suddenly, I had the feeling I knew where she was going with this. She inhaled deeply, closed her eyes and breathed out.
    “My name is Natalie. And I’m an alcoholic. God, it feels so weird for me to say that! I wonder if I’ll ever get used to it. As she turned in her seat to look at me, her eyes filled with tears.
    “I was an awful person when I was drinking. I hurt so many people, and did so many shameful things….oh, God; I don’t even know why I’m telling you this…this is a mistake.”
    I touched her arm.
    “It’s okay, go ahead.”
    I nodded. And so for the remainder of the flight, Natalie spilled out all of her secrets, her dishonors, disgraces and her shame to me. Recanting stories of her years of drinking seemed to exhaust her and when she was finished, she looked at me and sighed in deflation.
    “That was a very brave thing you just did, Natalie.” I smiled at her. “I remember how it felt for me when I finally let go of my secrets. It’s very liberating.”
    As Natalie stared at me, open mouthed, I reached into my purse
    “There are no coincidences, Natalie. I’ve been keeping this for you.”
    I pressed into her hand the first coin I’d received in sobriety, some fourteen years earlier.
    “Your journey has only begun,” I said, smiling. “Enjoy the ride.”

  8. Krillb

    Please feel free to comment:

    British Airways Flight No.977 lifted off the runway and rose majestically into the air.
    Gordon realised his nightmare was unfolding. Forced into economy thanks to a ‘system error’, sat next to him was the worst stereotype of an American Tourist. Almost absurdly obese, the man was wedged into the seat so tightly that his fat created two raised arm-rests. A garish clothing combination also helped conjure an image to horrify most Americans, let alone a po-faced English gentleman such as Gordon.
    ‘I shoulda bought two seats, huh?’ said the American.
    ‘Patently’ replied Gordon, looking straight ahead.
    ‘Hi, I’m Steve’ continued the man, blissfully ignorant, ‘We’re going home after a great week over here. It was pukka, as you Brits say.’
    The Englishman’s eyes widened, he was mortified at such condescension. He continued to look ahead.
    So where are you headed, mate ?’
    Gordon’s eyes narrowed as he turned to his tormentor. ‘New York, unless the pilot’s got other ideas.’ He reached for the in-flight magazine. Surely this buffoon would take the hint now?
    Apparently not.
    ‘That’s my family sat over there,’ said Steve, grinning. ‘My wife Terri, and my kids Corey and Diana. We named our daughter after your Lady Diana.’
    Gordon shuddered. ‘How dignified of you’ he said. Christ, he thought, the girl only looks twelve. The stupid bint’s death must have really affected this lot. Buy the record, get a brat’s name free.
    ‘Do you want to know why we named her after Diana?’ asked Steve.
    Gordon snapped.
    ‘No, I fucking well don’t! ‘ he whispered loudly, ’What is it with you people, why do you feel you have to ram your vacuous little existences down the throats of everyone within a mile radius? I have a meeting in eight hours where millions of my pounds are at stake, your little sob story couldn’t be further down my list if you traded down with ‘remember to cut my toenails’! ‘
    Gordon slid back in his seat like a snake recoiling from a strike.
    Steve leaned away, then gritted his teeth.
    ‘She’s called Diana because your Princess Di was patron of a charity for a condition that only affects 4000 people worldwide. My Diana has that condition. ‘
    Gordon blanched.
    ‘Now’, said Steve, ’can you keep a secret? I just have to tell someone.’
    ‘Go on’ said Gordon, still pale.
    ‘Diana always dreamed of being a dancer at the Olympics, you know, with the ribbon. The Good Lord decided she couldn’t. For her sixteenth birthday I’ve saved enough to get her to London, to see these gymnasts dance. It’s a surprise. Sir, she doesn’t have many months left. Please don’t be angry, I’m just proud of my little girl.’
    Gordon blanched again.
    ‘Steve, here’s my card. Phone me in two weeks, I promise to help make your trip to London very special indeed. Little expense spared. Just one condition though,’ said Gordon, half smiling.
    ‘What’s that?’ replied Steve, stunned.

    ‘Don’t talk to me for the rest of the flight’

  9. jessik

    We had just taken off the runway and my eardrums were doing that thing where they try to turn violently inside out, like those little rubber popper toys my brother was always setting up to startle me. I was leaning back against my seat trying not to think about “Lost,” into which I had gotten 4 seasons deep (in three weeks) on Netflix, and the lines were starting to blur between Kate’s life and my own.

    The man in the seat next to me leaned in slowly. I tried to pretend I didn’t notice; I don’t like people in my space, and I don’t know how to handle it when they insist. He didn’t move, though. He waited patiently, inappropriately close to my face, while I pretended to remember something, and then spent almost 2 minutes pretending to consider the very important thing I had just remembered. He was still there when I ran out of things to consider, so I turned my head slightly, and put on a big show of surprise to see that he was waiting to catch my attention.

    “Oh! Sorry, did you need something? I was just trying to.. think about.. I can’t remember, cuz for.. something I was supposed to do.”

    This is why I hated strangers. They made me sound like an idiot. Inside my head, I’m capable, tough, and intelligent. But put someone in front of me that I’ve never met before (or even someone I’ve met lots of times, for that matter) and I sound like a stroke victim on marijuana.

    The man spoke in a really quiet, surprisingly sexy voice.
    “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.”

    My imagination went beserk. We were going to crash… there was a serial killer on board… I was pregnant… The Matrix was real… he was going to rape me… I was adopted… I hated this guy. He had no way of knowing, but while I’m pretty normal-looking on the outside, my wild thoughts had a way of holding me captive, and stimulus like being trapped on a plane with a secretive stranger had the potential to send me into a full blown panic attack or monkhood or who knows what.

    “Oh. Yeah?”

    The man seemed painfully unaware of how much I wanted to get up and run away, not hear his stupid secret, get off this plane, become a hermit, never talk to anyone ever again. I waited, with what I hoped a normal look of human interest on my face.

    “Yeah. See, I’m really bad at… people. And I joined this… thing. Club. Like a…talking to people club.”
    His voice was gravelly and low, and he was shifting in his seat, like it caused him physical pain to get this out.

    “So, its our first assignment.. We have to… meet someone. On the plane home. But here’s the thing.. I don’t want to meet you. You… I like your… think you’re pretty, and probably have… really interesting too, but.. I don’t want to meet you.” Deep breath. “Ok?”

    I broke out into a wide grin. He looked shocked, and afraid of what I might do.
    “I would love it if we didn’t meet. I’m terrible at… people.” He looked immensely relieved.

    I asked about this club of his, and he started telling me all about it.
    And that’s how I met my husband.

  10. J K Lovelace

    Ten minutes into Clarence’s flight home, he watched the stranger seated next to him in seat 12a power up a small notebook PC and begin typing. Clarence couldn’t help but glance at the man’s screen. One memo began, “Re: Nuclear Iran,” followed by a memo listing dates, each followed by a three letter acronym. A new blank memo opened up and the stranger typed the words, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone. Can I trust you? If yes, cross your arms.”

    Caught in the act, Clarence’s face turned red. What the hell, he thought, and crossed his arms.

    “Good. Now whatever you do, don’t acknowledge our communication, we are being watched. They want me dead and will kill you too if they suspect you know anything. The person sitting behind me is one of them.”

    Clarence turned toward the stranger just enough to glance through the crack between the seats at the executive looking woman with black hair in 13A. His neighbor pounded on the keyboard, “DON’T LOOK YOU IDIOT! I think she might try to kill me through my seat. If she does I need you to pass the following message to my handler, code name ‘Gazebo,’ at Langley. Memorize this phrase, ‘The geese flew south.’ He will know. Whatever you do, leave my body alone, pretend I’m sleeping, and exit the plane as fast as possible…”

    The corner of Clarence’s eye caught movement between the seats. 13A appeared to reach forward and lower her tray table, but his neighbor’s body stiffened, then shuddered with chest convulsions. Clarence pretended to play with the air vent above his seat, which afforded a clearer peripheral view of his neighbor. The stranger’s head rested, eyes closed, against the window. His dark three day beard framed a mouth hanging partially open. To all appearances, the man slept, but Clarence knew better.

    For the rest of the flight Clarence sat stalk still. Sweat soaked through his shirt until his corduroy sport coat and his hair hung cold and dripping, as though Clarence just emerged, fully clothed, from a swimming pool.

    “Are you alright sir?” asked the flight attendant as she made her final trip through the cabin.

    “Yes, fine, I…I just have a severe fear of flying,” lied Clarence.

    The moment the door opened, Clarence darted off the plane. As soon as he got home, he googled the news, but found no mention of any bodies discovered at the airport. Finally, he googled the phrase at the top of the stranger’s first memo.” A link entitled “Nuclear Iran – Dates” appeared. Clarence’s heart raced as he clicked. A website for a new indie band called “Nuclear Iran” opened on the screen. He recognized the bass player. Beneath the heading, “Tour Dates” he found his city next to tonight’s date.

    Clarence clicked on the link entitled “Tour Blog,” and found the most recent entry, posted only minutes earlier.

    “…and to the soggy man in 12B, after I woke up from my nap I never laughed so hard in my life. Sorry about screwing with you, but that’ll teach you to keep your prying eyes to yourself. But hey, mention that secret phrase to the ticket office tonight, and I’ll comp you two tickets.”

  11. SED826

    “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.” The old man, a desperate rasp to his voice, clutched Nick Andretti’s arm as the plane lurched again.
    “Look, buddy, I ain’t the kinda guy you wanna be tellin’ secrets to.” He wasn’t warm and fuzzy and didn’t want an intimate conversation with a stranger. Plus, the man had a touch of halitosis. Nick leaned away.
    “You’re sitting next to me. It’s you or no one. I have to tell.” His accent had a Scandinavian inflection.
    “This ain’t a confessional.” Nick had secrets and if anyone needed confessing, it was Nick.
    “I’ve done something amazing.” The old man’s watery blue eyes begged from behind frameless bifocals.
    Nick shrugged. His mind was focused on another problem. Minutes before, the pilot announced a patch of turbulence. Nick was smart, observant. A guy in his profession didn’t make it long if he wasn’t. There were noises, as if the plane were groaning in pain, and if it were routine turbulence, the flight attendants would still be walking up and down the aisle, handing out drinks and telling people to take their seats. Instead, they were in strapped in their own seats.
    “I’m Dr. Lars Andreason.” The old man stuck his hand out. Nick gave it a good pump, surprised by the man’s grip. He looked frail but his hand was solid.
    “Nick Andretti.”
    “Interesting. Our names are similar.”
    “What a coinkidink.” Nick didn’t believe in coincidences. He understood why the man wanted to talk, though. This was the end. They both knew it. As if to reinforce that thought, the plane shook, moaned, and dipped from side to side.
    “So, what amazing thing did you do?” Nick figured his last few minutes on earth could be spent indulging an old man.
    “Maybe you should go first.”
    “I don’t intend to divulge any secrets.”
    “You thought first of confession. There must be something you feel the need to confess,” the man said.
    As a hit man for the mob, Nick had killed 43 people and was on his way to Chicago to do in #44. “Ain’t nothin’ I’m gonna say out loud. You might as well tell your secret.”
    Andreason nodded and began talking again. “I’m a scientist.”
    He paused and looked at his laptop, running a wrinkled hand over the plastic case. “All my life’s work is right here, on this computer.”
    “No backups?” Nick wasn’t an expert but he knew enough not to have a backup.
    “I always backup.” He pulled a portable hard-drive from inside his coat. “I’ve kept this on me since I started my research. I thought it’d be safer if I kept it with me. Now, however, I see the fault in my thought process.”
    The plane jumped again, emitting a grinding noise, metal on metal twisting in the wrong direction.
    Andeason continued, “I found it. I finally found it.”
    “What? What did you find?” Nick asked, intrigued at last.
    “I’ve discovered…

  12. markfaith

    Any feedback is appreciated, Thanks, Mark

    “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone” the gray haired woman leaned into me and whispered as she removed her eyeglasses and seated herself next to me while the plane lifted off the runway.
    I had just successfully delivered my quarry, Leo (aka “The Wind”), to a bondsman one hour before. He payed me in cash, the grand sum of one-hundred thousand dollars, which was unusual but if he wrote a check for over fifty-thousand dollars it would require his partners signature and that would have delayed my departure. I hadn’t slept for over forty-eight hours and my brain cells were bashing up against one another like bumper cars. I reclined my seat and at the risk of being rude lowered my Mets cap over my face. The lack of sound from her seat was deafening.
    I tilted the barrier off of my face and peeked at her. She was leaning back looking straight ahead. She wore a two-button camel coat, with tan cuffed pants, brown leather penny loafers and a fringed red neck scarf embroidered with cats. A blue nylon duffel bag was on her lap. She turned her gaze toward me and smiled halfheartedly. Her face beamed kindness in spite of my callousness. She was a portrait of my grandmother(God bless her soul). She reminded me of oatmeal cookies and bedtime stories. This impression penetrated my armor and I reluctantly gave in to whatever trace of energy still existed within me.
    “Secrets are like vampires. They suck the life out of you, but they can only survive in the darkness” I said. “Are you sure you want to tell me?”
    Her smile widened, displaying some state-of-the-art bridgework. She casually placed her hand on mine.
    “My name is Angeline but my friends call me Angie.”
    “Pleased to meet you. My name is Derek, my friends call me Dare.”
    She positioned a blue duffel bag on her lap and rested her arms on top of it.
    “Can you be trusted not to let the world in on our little secret?” she said.
    The hair stood up like tiny soldiers on the back of my neck. This always happened first, before the left eye tic, then the twitching in my left leg. It was my early warning system, more reliable than native drums beating in the distance.
    “I’m a bounty hunter. We have all sorts of secrets,” I said.
    “I don’t know about that. Unless your a kind one. The ones I see on T V cuss a lot. Like Hog the Bounty Hunter.” She looked across the aisle. I thought she wanted to share her secret with someone else.
    “That’s DOG the Bounty Hunter.” I said as I reclined again and pulled my cap over my face.
    My cash reward was hidden inside my carry-on which was padlocked and cuffed to my wrist. Someone would have to amputate my hand in order to make off with the money. I was on the verge of dozing off when she piped in.
    “Some one is following me,” she said.
    I lifted my cap to see a worried look on her face. “What did you say? I asked.
    “Some one is following me,” she repeated. “Three rows back on the right, window seat.”
    I turned and saw a gentleman staring back. He looked away and stared out the window.
    “He was outside of my townhouse when I left this morning. I don’t know who he is but I know he is following me.”
    “Why would someone be following you?”

    She looked around the plane and unzipped a duffel bag which appeared to hold at least one-hundred thousand dollars.
    “Where did you get that?”
    “It’s my life savings. All that I have. If I invest it in gold through a High Yield Investment Program I can more than triple my money in just a few months. I know it sounds risky but I have to help my grand daughter who has a rare cancer and my daughter’s health insurance won’t pay for a new life saving treatment in Mexico. I’m traveling to Des Moines to invest the cash before time runs out for her.”
    “I am sorry about your grand daughter’s illness, but I need to warn you against dumping your life savings into something that sounds too good to be true.” I said. “Besides what do you know about these people?”
    “They did tell me to keep it a secret and now there is that man following me. I’m afraid he is going to rob me!”
    “I’ll keep an eye on you. Once we get to Des Moines I’ll take you to a bank and you can wire the cash back to your account. You’ll think of some better way to help your grand daughter.”
    She sat back in her seat and wedged the duffel bag between us.
    “Thank you,” she said.
    My body craved sleep so I gave up my battle with staying awake. I thought that Angie would be safe until we reached the airport. I would escort her off the plane and go with her to the bank. Later I woke up to the instruction of the flight attendant informing passengers to prepare for landing. I panicked when I did not see Angie. The man who was following her was gone also. I asked the flight attendant where the woman who was sitting next to me had gone. She looked at me quizzically for a few seconds then told me that no one had sat in that seat. I tried to shake the sleep from my brain. Was it all a dream? Had I been so exhausted that my mind played a trick on me?
    I sat in my seat until the plane was cleared of passengers. The flight attendant came out of the lavatory carrying some clothes; a two-button camel coat, a pair of tan cuffed pants, a pair of brown leather penny loafers along with a red fringed scarf embroidered with cats. Hair stood up on the back of my neck as I unlocked my duffel bag. I was relieved to see that there were stacks of money in the bag. My early warning system continued with my left eye tic and my left leg twitching. I picked some money out of the bag and fanned it through my fingers. I repeated this ten times. Each stack had been replaced by paper with a counterfeit bill on top.

  13. pop

    It reminded me of an automotive garage. The smell of stale motor oil. The dingy, mustard colored cement block walls decorated with aged, dusty photos of single engine Cessnas and last year’s calendar, hanging slightly askew. Atop the cracked, circa 1972 orange Formica countertop sat only a rather dated electric adding machine, complete with grimy keys, a yellow No. 2 pencil, and a receipt book. The second hand of the wall clock tick, ticked into the otherwise silent room. Two-twenty pm. Or, shouldn’t I say, fourteen hundred twenty. My nervousness was slowly morphing into mild irritation as I waited to, as the brochure said, “take off on one of the greatest adventures of a lifetime.” I was here to extend my horizons, find new challenges, etc., etc. “Hello…hello?” I peered again through the doorway under the clock; the tick was really starting to annoy me. The adjoining hanger was as dark and quiet as it was 10 minutes earlier. Just as I was mentally composing my refund request letter, I heard a door open, the echoing clank of a dropped tool, and the sound of wheels headed my way. A man pushed a metal mop pail right past the doorway, then startled, backed-up. “Oh hello – are you here for a lesson?”
    He was thirtyish and trim in his dark blue coveralls with the name “Ted” embroidered over the left pocket. He indeed appeared “most friendly and experienced” just as the brochure had promised. Reassured that things were looking up, we walked the tarmac to a very, very small looking Cessna 182 as he regaled me with stories of his jumps. “You know, I find that my students are hooked after one flight. I mean, you are actually going to fly this plane today!” Exhilarated, I climbed in. “I’ve already completed the pre-flight checks – I’ll run you through all that after.” Within 10 minutes, I had been oriented to the gauges, the foot pedals and I was in control of the plane, taxiing down the runway. Unbelievable! We gained the necessary speed for take off and we were airborne! The altimeter climbed and climbed as the buildings and trees shrunk beneath us. Ted mentioned something about an “adequate AGL” but I was so focused on the instrumentation that I barely noticed. He had slipped on a funny looking backpack. For some reason he had cracked the door. He slid off his earphones, leaned toward me and lifted mine. Above the din he yelled, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone. I am not really a flight instructor.” And then, he was gone.

  14. Kobi

    As the plane taxied towards the runway for takeoff, my palms were sweating profusely under the jacket draped over my hands and forearms. I was wedged into the center seat between my male traveling companion to my right and a morbidly obese man in a cheap suit to my left.

    The attendant glanced cautiously toward our area as she proceeded to her seat after spouting her pre-flight announcements. I calmly grinned back as she scurried up the aisle.

    My shoulder ached as the rotund gentleman to my left leaned into my ear and whispered “I know I probably shouldh’t say anything ma’am, but I just have to tell someone . . . . ” his voice trailed off as I broke in. “Really, sir, I’d much rather just kick back and rest during the flight.”

    ” . . . . but . . . ” he insisted. “The feds are supposed to be transporting a maniac fugitive on this flight. Going to Folsom to be executed tomorrow!”

    “Oh really?” I questioned, as I tried to lean closer to my companion, who had slumped into his window seat. Cheap Suit’s breath smelled of rotten garlic. “I can’t believe they would transport a killer on a commercial flight”

    “Oh I know”, continued Mr. Cheap Suit, as he scanned back and forth along the seats. “I wonder what he looks like. I heard that he’s killed three or four people.”

    “Hmmm, dunno.” I replied, as I fidgeted with the hidden handcuff key.

  15. TEMiranda

    My parents always manage to have all five of us sit together on a flight, so today when I sat by myself at a window seat behind my dad I did everything possible to hide my joy so I wouldn’t hurt their feelings.

    My dad sat in front of me in the two-seater isle and my mom in front of him, each with one of my baby twin sisters. For the first time I felt like being the odd one out worked in my favor. The seat next to mine was empty until a little freckled boy with blond curls squealed “Hi!” at me. His big round glasses reflected the sun shining through the window. “My name is Harold. I am five.”

    Harold’s mom apologizes for his behavior. Although I didn’t quite understand why I just accepted her apology and introduced myself back in a high-pitched voice, dragging on each word. “Hi Harold, it’s nice to meet you. My name is Gracie. I am ten.”

    When the plane takes off Harold stretches across the aisle to poke his mom in the shoulder. She does not move. Harold giggles and whispers, “She’s asleep.” I smile and we giggle at our private joke. I stare at the dimples on his cheeks and the two buck teeth overlapping his bottom lip. He’s so adorable in a geeky-little-boy sort of way.

    “I have a secret I’m not supposed to tell. Want to hear it?” He whispers.

    “Sure.” I whisper back.

    “I can see what’s going to happen later.”

    “You mean you can see into the future?”


    “Really? Are you sure? It’s not nice to lie.”

    “For real.” He smiled and nodded with excitement.

    After battling him with a smirk, I remind myself that Harold is only five and decide to play along. “Ok. Show me. What’s going to happen to me?”

    Harold looks up into the air and blinks a dozen times. “You are going to cut your hair short.”

    My hand could not stifle the giggles bursting out of my mouth. “That will never happen. I love my hair.”

    “I just see you with short black hair.”

    “Ok. When will it happen?”

    “Today,” he frowns, “and you are crying about it.”

    “Will never happen.” I roll my eyes.

    “You’ll see.”

    Four hours later, after my dad managed me through the double doors of the airport salon with my long black hair tangled in the blades of a small, plastic desk fan from Baggage Claim Office, the hair stylist mumbled the words I was afraid to hear, “We have to cut it.”

    “If I had known that fan was right behind Gracie’s head I would have never complained to the woman about how stuffy it was in that office.” My mom whispered with a frown.

    “Honey, no one could have known this would happen to Gracie.”

    I whimpered, “Harold knew.”

  16. Jamie

    The plane lifted off the runway and into the air. The man next to me turned and quietly whispered in my ear, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.”
    My eyes popped open as I turned to him and asked the loaded question, “What?”
    “The president is scheduled to die today,” he whispered.
    My jaw dropped, and with shocked indignation I asked, “Excuse me?” As a presidential aide, this was a very touchy subject for me.
    My eyes scanned the man, trying to profile him into one terrorist group or another. I found no flaws. Literally. He was dressed in a crisp navy-blue business suit with a tidy knot in his pale-blue tie. Not a blond hair out of place on his head. Even his shoes were polished to a shine.
    His eyes darted around the cabin, then he leaned in again, whispering, “It’s a government plan. He’s destroying the country with his policies and forced beliefs, so he’s being taken out. They don’t want to rely on citizens to vote him out.”
    I was utterly appalled by what this man was saying. How could he think our government would take out our president? He must have been crazy, a mental patient of some kind.
    Deciding this was the logical explanation for the man’s ludicrous claim, I laid my head back and closed my eyes. It was a short flight to DC. I could just lose myself in the music streaming from my iPod. Maybe the wacko would leave me alone if I pretended to be asleep.

    Once in DC, I met my contact, Joseph, at the baggage claim. Wacko was there, too, bypassing the luggage belt about twenty feet behind me. I wasn’t the paranoid type, this guy had my nerves tingling.
    Joseph and I walked in silence until we were inside the armored sedan waiting at the curb. Wacko waved to me as the door closed.
    “Friend of yours?” Joseph asked.
    “No. Just some wacko I sat next to on the plane,” I said.
    “Yeah. He thinks someone is going to kill the president today.”
    “Oh,” he said, “One of those.”
    We started going over everything that was to be done that day. What was on schedule. What wasn’t. All in all, everything seemed to be running smoothly. We were meeting with the head of the president’s personal Secret Service guards in a few minutes. We would notify him of what the crazy man said. After that, it was out of our hands.

    Hours later, I attended the president and his wife at a meeting with some worldly ambassador. The vial in my pocket would disintagrate in water, leaving no trace, but my job was complete as I placed the president’s drink in front of him, standing back to watch as he took a healthy swallow.
    Maybe that guy wasn’t so crazy after all.

    All comments welcome. Thank you.

  17. gargi

    I hated air planes. They made me sick but this was a trip I had to make. I could only hope it would be uneventful and predictable. I carefully made myself comfortable on my window seat as the plane took off. Take offs always made me funny in the stomach. There was something about being lifted off the ground when seated in an unknown enclosure that made me very uncomfortable every time.

    I wanted this to get over fast and I was in no mood for any conversation either. My co-passenger, however, seemed to have different plans. He startled me with his deep voice when he said, “I know this has to be a secret but I have to tell someone. I was waiting for the right person and you fit the bill”.

    “Excuse me?” I said trying to bring some expression. God, please make this easy and quick.

    “The man behind your seat. I murdered him and you are going to have to take the blame for it. If you don’t, my accomplice will raid your home and then, god save your lovely daughter”, he smirked.

    “What the..”, my mouth dried up and my mind was numb with dread. God is this real.

    My daughter! I wished she wouldn’t have again forgotten to switch the lights off when she went to bed, else I would have to strictly reprimand her when I reached home. Oh dear lord, what was happening to me? I was supposed to be focusing on what the man was saying and not keep thinking about admonishing my daughter’s absentmindedness.

    I barely heard him as he continued, “You are going to have to give your handkerchief which I am going to plant as proof against you when the cops look for evidence”.

    “What the hell is this about? Why did you kill him? and why do want me?” I managed to bring words out of my mouth. The AC inside the plane was making me colder than it ought to. Why were airplanes so ill designed?

    “Stop stalling and hand over the handkerchief” he repeated. My hands went numb. Damn the AC. I tried to focus on the present thinking I would comply with his wishes now and hopefully figure something out later. All those Agatha Christie novels had to come into use some day, dang it. Though I had no idea how. Oh hell, I didn’t even know where my handkerchief was. Goodness I was in a mess.

    “Why the hell is it taking so long”, he growled.

    “Um.. er..”, what the hell was I supposed to say.

    And then from nowhere came an abrupt, exasperated voice that broke the tense silence.

    “Cut! Cut! Cut!. For heaven’s sake, can’t you memorize 4 simple lines?” It was my director. I had forgotten my lines again. Being an actor was tough thanks to my wonderful memory.

    We had to redo the shot all over again… right from the sickening air plane take off. Sigh.

  18. rob akers

    The Secretary of Defense climbed out of the air conditioned Suburban and shielded his eyes from the dazzling sunlight. It only took 7 steps until the sweat beads formed on his bald head and 10 more steps before he felt the drips running down the inside of his bullet proof vest. He entered the crew door of the gray whale sized C-130 and continued up the short latter to the flight deck. In his wake three aids and two bodyguards made their way to the back of the aircraft and sat down in the red cargo seats. The Loadmaster showed them how to buckle the seatbelt and walked outside to man her position while the engines were started.
    On the flight deck, the Navigator gave the man of privalige a headset and showed him how to operate the intercom.
    “Bill, the Secretary is on headset.” The Navigator announced to the Aircraft Commander, Major Bill Rimes a native of West Virginia and generally regarded as the best pilot in the Squadron.
    “Good afternoon Sir. Hope you like the accommodations. Did Gary get you all set up?”
    “Yes, he did.”
    “I understand that we are to take you to Kirkuk?”
    “That is correct.”
    “I have a couple of things to brief before we depart. Have you flown on a Herc before?”
    “No I have not.”
    “Latest Intel indicates that we are safe here in Baghdaddy. That is not a fact, Sir. We had a missile in the air prior to landing. There ain’t nothing safe in this country so don’t expect us to fly like Delta Airlines. We will stay low and fast for a while. If you hear the Missile Warning System go off expect me to rapidly maneuver according to our tactics. You will hear something that sounds like the side of the airplane is being hit by a hammer. That is the flares being deployed and it is normal. Start counting to 10, if you get to 11 then it missed us and you can go back to sleep. If you don’t make 10, then I hope you are current on your prayers. Okay?”
    “Not to state the obvious, but it is 152 degrees here on the ramp. Some people think it is easier to cool off by sticking their head in an oven and using a blow dryer as a fan. It is very possible that you will get airsick today. All we have is warm bottled water to give you. So here is the secret, if you decide you are going to vomit, please preflight the airsick bag and make sure it is closed at the bottom. Some guys like to play jokes and they slice the bag open so you end up making a mess on your clothes.”
    “I will be just fine.” The Politian stated confidently.
    19 minutes later, the Civilian’s shoes were covered with Meatloaf. Bill smiled as he won beer cards from the Co-Pilot and the Navigator.

    All comments are appreciated. Thanks.

  19. RachelBeth88


    I sit back and fasten my seat belt as I go through my checklist.

    Purse, check. Medicine, check. Passport, in my hands. Heart, a little broken.

    A creepy guy from the karaoke bar last night sits next to me. His hair is grimy and crunchy. He wears a Steelers jacket, the same one from last night, not my favorite team. The dead drunk smell from that night radiates from him. I wish I was somewhere else in the country on the way to a well deserved vacation in Ireland. I was ready to see 40 shades of green against a blue sky.

    Suddenly, my fears are confirmed. The slow gathering of speed. The shake of the plane. I worry about either the engine exploding or the plane stalling in the air and crashing. Did I take my medication this morning? I’m pretty sure I did.

    Then the smelly guy next to me says, “Hey missy, I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but the bottle in your purse isn’t what you think it is.”


    “Someone switched drug bottles with you. That Valium or whatever that is, is not Valium.”

    “How would you know?” I pull out my bottle of Haldol, which I took for mild anxiety, and check to see if he was telling the truth. He takes it from me and shows me the unmarked pills. My eyes widen.

    “See? They’re not marked.”

    Gulp. “Do you know what they are?”

    “I don’t know, pain killers, narcotics; I think they might be amphetamines.”

    I start to sweat. I uneasily unfasten myself and get up, heading for the cockpit. “Stop the plane! I need to see a hospital!”

    “Miss, please take your seat,” the stewardess says. “We’re already in the air.”

    I’m hyperventilating and one side of my body is trembling. I can’t control it. “No, I need to get off! Stop the plane!”

    Then there he was on the other side of Coach. He stood up, waded through the seats, and took me in his arms. “Honey, shh. It’s ok.”

    “What the hell are you doing here? Get me off the plane!”

    “Hey, I’m here. What’s the matter?”

    “I think I took something I wasn’t supposed to.”

    “No you didn’t. That guy was messing with you.”


    “That’s Jake from the bar. He’s always playing pranks on people.”

    “Then why are you here?”

    “I’m here to take you on our vacation.”

    It hits me. They both got on the plane to get me back. They knew how to get to me. Brad was the doctor dissecting and manipulating my feelings into thinking I was insane. I kept having anxiety attacks because of him and he never helped. I used to love him. Now I fell into another one of his romantic traps and I had just started seeing real doctors for help. This was my chance to take charge.

    “You dirty son of a bitch.”

    With that, I leave him and he tries to get his hands on me, but the air marshall stops him from getting close. And thankfully, I’m seated in first class while both crazy men are in handcuffs. Plane, on the way to Dublin. Sanity, returning. Heart, healing.

  20. jakennard

    I was feeling slightly nervous. This was my first plane ride and, after the horror stories I’ve heard on the news, it was not something I was looking forward to. Luckily the security guards were very kind, telling me I had nothing to worry about and that flying was the safest way to travel. I held back my snide retorts and allowed myself to be grateful for their would-be-comforting words.
    When I sat down in my window seat I was filled with a strange exhilaration, almost like eagerly anticipating a thrilling roller-coaster. I hadn’t expected that. I hardly noticed someone take the once vacant seat next to me in my eagerness for our ascent into the vast skies above.
    I gripped the arms of the seat for dear life as the plane lifted off the runway and into the air. I was starting to feel slightly nauseous when the plane leveled and the “fasten seatbelt” sign was turned off. Just as my heart rate returned to normal, the person next to me turned and quietly whispered in my ear, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.”
    I looked at her, wondering for a moment if she thought I was someone else.
    “I’m sorry, but do I know you?” I asked, hoping I didn’t sound rude.
    “Not yet,” she said. “But I think you’ll get to know me very well in the next few hours.”
    “What do you mean?”
    She glanced around nervously, as if she expected an alarm to go off at any moment. I looked over my shoulder for good measure, but all seemed calm.
    “I think I’ve done something terrible.” Her eyes were wide with terror and she bit her lip nervously.
    “Don’t you think you should tell the flight attendant?” I asked, hopefully.
    “No, it’s got to be you.”
    I closed my eyes and prayed for something good to come out of this strangest of stranger’s mouth, and said, “Sure, go ahead.”
    “I don’t know what happened. One second he was right beside me waiting in line to board the plane and now…” her voice trailed away as she apparently summoned the courage to say the next part out loud. “I realized that my eight year-old son is…”
    “Missing?” I suggested, as she continued to struggle.
    “No, I wish,” she said. “I don’t know how this happened. The pilot passed out while he was having a tour of the cockpit and… well… now he’s flying the plane.” My jaw dropped so far it could have been dragging along the safe, sturdy earth 10,000 feet below us.

  21. Deiland

    I clocked the distance between the entrance of the plane and the emergency exit above the wing. As I passed the wing exit I noted 20 steps and reset the counter in my head. I made my way to my seat and I noticed the few passengers who were on the plane. I hated flying; too many variables to account for. Ten steps and I was at my seat, the man sitting next to me was normal. God, how I wish I could be that. He looked like he worked at desk — not that he was out of shape, but he didn’t look like he got out much. He seamed nervous, but just like a man trying to get somewhere. Probably a business man running home to his wife, or away from her.
    I slid my bag under my seat and sat down. There seemed to be an extreme lack of passengers on the plane today. I held my book tight in my hands. It wasn’t just for me to read, not that I hadn’t read it, but a book is one of my favorite weapons. People often overlook the versatility of a hardcover book, making it the greatest weapon to take on a plane.
    The captain came over the speakers and let us know that it was time to take off. The turbines roared to life and we began to move. I felt the force of the movement press hard against my chest. The pressure in my ears built as we climbed.
    The man next to me leaned over to me and whispered, I could barely hear him over all the static of the world. “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell you. We are with Blackbird and we’re here to take you in.”
    My ear popped and I chuckled.
    “What so funny?” he said.
    “You must be new.” I listened as a familiar set of footsteps walked up the aisle behind me. “I’m offended that you would send a rookie to retrieve me.”
    “Budget cuts,” Jim Gulf said as he walked passed me in the aisle and leaned against the seat in front of me. His suit as dressed and pressed as ever. “Besides, you would have spotted a vet the moment you boarded the plane.”
    “That’s true, they would have looked just like me — sad and sorry.” I tightened my grip on the book in my hands.
    “What chance could you possibly think you have?” Jim said as he watched my hands.
    “Well, you did bring a lot of rookies with you.”
    “Let’s be smart about this” he said as he stood up straight.
    “I don’t know Jim, I always was a fan of stupid.”

  22. tlubbers

    I assumed the flight home would be boring until a cute redhead took the seat next to me. I looked out the window and tried not to stare at her legs. She leaned over to me and whispered ” I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret but I absoulely must tell someone.” I turned to face her and she put her mouth close to my ear. Her hair brushed my face as she whispered “The Batman is on the plane with us.” She pointed over to the row across from us. There was a very large man wearing a long shirt unbuttoned and bulging underneath you could see a batman t-shirt at least a couple of sizes too small. “Yes, you’re right I feel safer already.” She laughed at this and I gave her points for using the phrase “The Batman” as any true comic book geek would. We made small talk over a couple of drinks and before the flight ended we exchanged phone numbers.
    Over the next several months dating gave way to living together which in turn led us to tying the knot.
    It was on our honeymoon in Hawaii when we saw him again. My new wife insisted that the extremely large waiter serving us was “The Batman” from the plane when we first met. I wasn’t so sure but when the check came there was a note attached. It said “I hope you two enjoyed your meal because it’s the last one you’ll ever eat. The poison works very fast. I remember people who have a laugh at my expense and I always get even.” I was lucky the paramedics were able to save me but my wife didn’t make it. They never did find the waiter.

      1. Jamie

        I like how you didn’t end it with “happily ever after.” I read romance, but I do get tired of everything always working out. Very cool and unexpected twist.

  23. SweetBohemia

    Warm Hands

    I hate my Mother. I hate Chicago. I hate flying. I’m still wearing my funeral suit as I board the plane. “I’m in the middle seat,” I mutter to the woman sitting in the aisle seat of my row. Last minute tickets always mean bad seats.

    The woman stands up with a smile that spills over her lips. She looks vaguely familiar, but I’m too tired to place her. I sit down, lean my head back and try to relax, but my anger keeps brewing. Mother’s final act of control was impressive. Her will stated that I could not sell any part of her estate. I must move back to Chicago if I want anything. Mother always disagreed with my life: she was embarrassed by my job in a Harlem hospital.

    We’re barely in the air when the woman turns to me. “I’m so sorry to bother you. I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.” I’m indifferent to hearing a secret, but welcome a distraction from my thoughts.

    “What’s up?” I ask.

    “They’ve found my daughter! She’s been missing for 6 years and they’ve found her, alive and well. My baby girl… I’m going to get her.” The tears well up in her eyes and I realize why she’s familiar. We were attending the same medical school, some years ago, when her toddler went missing. She was all over the news pleading for the girl’s safe return.

    “You’re Katie Burke?” I ask. “I remember you. I was actually studying at Pritzker at the time of your tragedy.” The years have not been kind to her. We must be roughly the same age, but she looks a decade older. Her clothes are as weathered as her face. “Wow! Her name is Molly, right?” The news reports had been plastered with “Baby Molly”. At the sound of her daughter’s name, she squeezes my arm. Her hand is warm. My Mother’s were always cold.

 “Yes! Molly!” she answers, the name lovingly rolls off her tongue. “But don’t say anything. There’s an investigation.”

    “Of course,” I say. “Where’s your husband?” The two were inseperable on the news.

    “He gave up hope…he couldn’t take the pain anymore. He has a new family now.”

    “Oh…Sorry. So, did you ever finish medical school?” I ask, changing the subject.

    “Nah, my life has been dedicated to finding Molly. I’ve been staying with friends. I maxed out my last credit card to buy this plane ticket. But it doesn’t matter. All that matters in the whole world is that my daughter and I will be together,” she answers.

    We spend the rest of the flight in quiet, giddy conversation, detailing the fun they will have, how she will give every last ounce of herself for Molly’s happiness. I wish her the best as we part ways.

    From the taxi, I call my Mother’s lawyer. “I know that I may not sell her estate, but how about giving it away?”

    “Your mother is rolling over in her grave,” he replied. “She worked so hard her whole life to give you all of this. If you give it all away, you’ll be severing the ties she spent her life making.”


  24. LittleBird87

    I was just settling into my aisle seat when a tall, slender man walked up to my row, boarding pass in hand. As he reached up under his green John Deer cap to scratch his head, his eyes moved back and forth from the letters printed under the carry-on bins and back at his boarding pass several times.

    “Are you in this row?” I asked him, since he looked so unsure of himself.

    “Ah…I think so, ma’am…that is…well, I…” he mumbled into his chest. His clothing was a little bit on the shabby side, and I immediately thought it might be his first airplane ride, or possibly he was dyslexic and was having trouble reading his boarding pass.

    “This is row 28,” I offered. “Let me see what you have there…yes, this is your seat right here.” I stood, indicating the window seat next to mine. I stepped out into the aisle to let him pass and take his place. As he brushed past me, his clothes smelled faintly of life on the farm—a mixture of hay, manure, and sweat. Great, I thought, wrinkling my nose.

    He sat down, fumbled with his seat belt. I fastened my own and proceeded to pull out the book I had brought along, turned on the overhead light. The man next to me fidgeted in his seat, and he jumped slightly when the plane lifted off the runway and into the air. I unwillingly glanced at him, to make sure he was alright (and not going to toss his cookies onto my lap). He smiled a big, toothy grin at me. I smiled back out of politeness and went back to my book.

    He turned to me, leaning over slightly. “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone,” he said.

    “Oh?” I said, not really wanting to talk, but he seemed nice and I didn’t want to be rude.

    “I’ve just won the lottery!” he whispered gleefully, his eyes shining.

    My eyebrows shot up—it’s not every day you hear someone say those words. “That’s wonderful!” I exclaimed, trying to keep my voice down. “Congratulations to you. Do you mind if I ask how much you’ve won?”

    The man shook his head, still smiling. “Eighty-five million dollars!” He sounded as if he still couldn’t believe it himself. “It was one of those, whacher-callits, Powerball ticket-things.”

    “Wow! That’s really incredible. So…what are you going to do now?” I said. “I mean, are you travelling to Washington D.C. to visit family, to tell them about your win?

    He looked at me a bit perplexed. “No, ma’am. I’m on my way to the Central Lottery Processing Office, at…,” he pulled out a piece of paper. “…1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The nice lawyer I met in line at the gas station said the President would take care of everything.”

    I immediately felt devastated for him. “Sir, where’s your lottery ticket right now?”

    “He’s got it, why?”

  25. darkwinter09

    “Mr. Lucey, correct?” asked the man next to me.
    I was surprised by his sudden interjection and that he knows my last name. After we boarded the plane, he has not spoken a word until right after lift off. He appears to be on a business trip to our destination in Dublin with an all black suit with a black tie.
    “Yeah, why do you ask?” I asked.
    “Visiting family?” he asked.
    “I’m visiting Cork,” I said. “Where my ancestors lived before they immigrated to America.”
    “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone,” he said. “You in particular. Your family history may seem humble and ordinary, but you have inherited their entire global enterprise.”
    “I have never heard of this,” I said. “I have researched my family’s genealogy. There is nothing in their history such as that. Who are you?”
    “I am an agent with BBF Global,” he said. “This is a very powerful security organization the size of a military.”
    The agent lies out a folder with many files of information. Inside are many files on my family’s history, memos of this corporation called BBF Global as well as their weapons and targets, my name being one of them and the most important. The agent shows me one particular memo which reads as such.
    From: BBF Global Headquarters
    To: All agents and employees
    Mr. Lucey will be boarding the next flight from JFK to Dublin. Three agents will board his flight and supervise him through undercover surveillance. Once he has landed in Dublin, he will immediately be arrested by our agents and escorted back to our headquarters for interrogation. Once we extract the code from him, the entire multi-billion dollar fortune will be ours.
    “I’m going to be arrested as soon as we land?” I asked. “What should I do?”
    “Worry not, Mr. Lucey,” said the agent. “I am a spy within BBF Global and really the head of security at Lucey-Connors, your inheritence. I will escort you to safety, but you must do exactly as I say. They have many resources there so we will surely be pursued by security forces. As soon as we land, we must make a run for it.”
    “Wait, we’re going to be attacked?” I asked.
    “Your life, you company’s future, and world security is in danger,” said the agent. “The trip to Cork will be met with lots of danger, but once we arrive, the corporation is yours.”
    The agent lays out another file right on the table stand.
    “Lucey-Connors is a $80 billion corporation,” said the agent. “Once the company is yours, you will have access to the largest security team next to BBF Global. Here’s a pen. You must sign some papers.”
    “Security?” I asked. “Agents? My own private military? A corporation? Billions of dollars? I don’t understand it all. Can you explain more?”
    “Well, we have a long flight to Dublin,” said the agent. “Don’t we.”

    1. Brian A. Klems Post author

      Sometimes yes. I have to go in and approve all of them (to stop spam) and, while I try to hop on regularly so no comments are waiting too long, I do get caught up in meetings, assignments and feeding my kids dinner. :-)

      But rest assured I try to get them up as quickly as I can.
      WD Online Editor

  26. Tanya77

    The passenger sitting next to me kept muttering softly under his breath. Sweat was dripping down his face onto a box he held tightly on his lap. Suddenly he started crying noiselessly, tears streaming down his face, his body rocking back and forth. I couldn’t stand it any longer.
    “You need help? I can call a hostess to–”
    He cut me off.
    “No, don’t cal anyone. I can’t… This is supposed to be a secret! But I need to tell it to somebody, I need to…”

    His voice trailed off, and he started muttering again. Suddenly he turned on me.
    “You see, before we embarked, my wife and I were captured by two men. They still got my wife and if I haven’t done what they said, they would have killed her. So I agreed to bring this box with me. It’s a time bomb. They told me so. I didn’t want to see my wife getting shot in front of me.”

    I stared at him, my body rigid. A bomb? We were going to be blown up? When?
    Looking at the box I studied it. It looked like a normal box to me.
    “So where’s the timer?”
    “Under the lid. If you want to see it, you need to gently pull it up.”

    The man was looking straight at me again, his eyes bulging out of their sockets. My hand was shaking so badly, I didn’t think I could lift the lid gently. But I had to see how much time remained. So as gently as I could I lifted the lid. I jumped out of my seat as the jack in the box jumped at me.
    People all around me started laughing hard. The man next to me was now crying with laughter.
    “Oh man, you needed to see your face. It was priceless!”
    Something was shoved under my nose. It was a microphone. And a camera was directed at me from my side.

    “Surprise. Smile you’re on candid camera”

  27. T.Rob

    Man, I’ve been on a roll all day long. The old humor gene kicked into overdrive. Or maybe the stress of running late all day made me funny, I don’t know. But it started first thing this morning when I was checking out and dropping off my luggage. I had the bellman in stitches!

    Then at the keynote speech I had written a joke to open. I didn’t even think it was all that funny but the crowd howled! Even during the serious part of the presentation they kept on chuckling. Almost inappropriately. Threw me off my timing and then I was late for the breakout session I was teaching. But even flustered and late, that crowd loved me too!

    When I picked up my bags, the bellman from before brought out some of his friends and they were all laughing hysterically by the time I left. My taxi driver said I was the funniest customer he’d had in months and refused a tip! Can you believe that? What taxi driver refuses tips? Said he didn’t have the heart. Like I said, man I am on a roll today!

    My meeting was across town and I ended up late for that too. I thought that would throw me off my game but I had my clients rolling in the aisles. This meeting wasn’t supposed to be funny, there was a sale at stake. A sale I lost. Still, I ROCKED today! So what if I lost the sale? I may just give up my day job and go on tour.

    At the airport the gate agent was almost in tears. When I asked if any upgrades were available she’d said “Oh we’ll make room for you in the first row, right behind the cockpit. And I’ll tell the pilot to stop by and say hello.” It’s true, you really do catch more flies with honey. Free first class upgrade just for being funny!

    Now, I’m settled into my seat and can finally relax for the first time today. I hope they’ve got food because I haven’t stopped to eat or even take a leak since I woke up twelve hours ago. I’m starving and as soon as they close the door, I’m gonna hit the head. But until then, why is this lady next to me not amused? Okay, with the gray hair tucked under that pillbox hat she looks a bit too refined and proper to be my usual audience. But not only isn’t she laughing at my jokes, she won’t even look me in the eye.

    The door closes and I decide to stop trying to win her over and go take that long awaited restroom break. I’m in the window seat so I press my butt against the bulkhead and slide past facing, but not crowding her. Right when we’re face to face – or in her case face to crotch – she stops me with a wave.

    “Young man?” she asks in a confidential whisper.

    I bend over to her. “Yes?” I whisper back.

    “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone and it might as well be you. Your fly is open.”


    “Aren’t you a little old for Barney the Dinosaur?”

  28. ProducerFord

    While leaving the tarmac the man in the seat next to me leaned to my personal space with his boozy breath he whispered, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.”

    This simultaneously piqued my interest and repulsed me. That this disgusting lush was going going to be sitting next to me for the next two and a half hours was bad enough, but he also had no personal boundaries. As long as he managed not to touch me, it would probably be fine. Leaning away as much as I could without invading the space of the passenger to my left, I quietly gave a look of what I hoped was total stoicism, possibly even a failure to notice his presence. From my peripheral vision I could see his stained Miami Dolphins t-shirt and hairy skinny legs protruding from his too short shorts. This is the last time I ride coach.

    His loud belch brought me out my thoughts, and refocused my attention on his confession.

    “Pretty unbelievable eh?”

    Yes, I thought, unbelievable. It seems while I was busy being repulsed and worrying about the rest of this ride, I missed the only interesting thing this mad was going to say. This is going to be a long ride indeed. Coach class indeed. I hate the unwashed masses.

    1. T.Rob

      I’m terribly sorry about the belch. You see, I’d just been informed by a specialist that I’m radioactive and have 6 months to live so I got good and drunk before flying home. What I was trying to tell you was that you should really get hold of some iodine pills if you value your thyroid.

  29. ranjit23das

    The plane lifted off the runway and into the air. The person next to me turned and quietly whispered in my ear, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.”

    I had noticed when I took my seat next to her that she was excited and twitchy. People often get nervous when flying. A veteran of long flights, I had mastered the art of the cold smile and crisp eye contact, the actions that say ‘hello, please don’t speak to me or attempt to speak to me’. But something about the woman made me take an interest in her. This was not the usual air fright nerves.

    Looking the wrong side of fifty and rather plump she sipped her complimentary drink in a hurried fashion. Putting her drink down, she leaned into me and rested her hand on my arm. She spoke softly into my ear, “I have just won the lottery!”

    I looked her with raised eyebrows in disbelief. “No really, I am not kidding,” she retorted to my look of amazement. She hurridly looked around to make sure no one had heard her. “I’ve got the winning ticket in my bag. One hundred and three million euros! I can’t stop smiling,”

    “That is wonderful news,” I responded in an excited tone. “What are you doing here? Should you not be celebrating or cashing in your winning ticket?”

    “I know,” she replied, “but I only found out as I boarded the plane, see the winning numbers are on the back page of this” she said thrusting today’s newspaper at me. “I haven’t had a chance to call my hubby or tell another living sole except you. Perhaps I should order champagne for everyone and get one of the stewardesses to make a big announcement?” she beamed.

    Excitedly she opened her complimentary pack of nuts and began gulping them down, turning in her seat looking for the air stewardess to catch her attention.”I know!” she exclaimed whilst simultaneously trying to swallow her food, “I’ll get the captain to make the announcement!”

    Then it happened. Dropping the packet of nuts she put her hands on her throat and began to gag. In her agitated state, some of her food had gone down the wrong channel and she was choking. Her body convulsed and her face turned bright red. The veins at the side of her temple bulged. Her eyes swept from side to side. She clasped my arm as she opened and closed her mouth, trying to breath. The agitated actions had been noticed by the other passengers who began calling the air stewardess for help.

    A young man in a seat nearby announced that he was a medical doctor and quickly dragged her to the floor and began to administer mouth to mouth resuscitation and pound her chest. “Check her handbag to see if she has an inhaler,” he called out.

    Before the stewardess or other passengers could react, I reached down and opened the large red handbag. The first thing I saw was the winning lottery ticket. The passenger had obviously taken out the ticket to check her numbers against the winning numbers given in the newspaper and she had then thrust the ticket back into her bag. It was too easy for me to slipped the ticket into the palm of my hand and then search for an inhaler.

    “Get me some oxygen” the doctor yelled to the air stewardess, “and tell the pilot to turn the plane around, I am losing her.”

    She was not the only one who needed oxygen. I had just won the lottery.

  30. Egg

    It’s true we’ve got some weirdos Down Under, but this guy’s something else. His trousers glimmer, even in the artificial light of the cabin, and his shaggy hair is tinged green.

    Tappity, tap, tap. His fingers fly over the keyboard. His crazy eyes flick back and forth across the screen at what appears to be a garble of numbers and symbols. Every so often, he giggles into his hand, and glances down the aisle.

    Tap, tappity, tap. After another hour, I long to slam the screen down and break his knuckles. Instead, I pull on my headphones and close my eyes.

    I feel warm air against my ear. “Can you keep a secret?”

    I jump higher than a roo on steroids. The man’s ferrety face is so close to mine I can smell sardines on his breath and see bits of it in his teeth. “No mate, actually, I can’t. But thanks for asking.” I huddle against the window and pretend to study my reflection.

    “We’re in a time machine.” He giggles into his hand.

    My nose is squished against the cold window. “That’s good, mate.”

    Tap, tappity, tap. “Departure time twenty-four hundred hours….” tap, tap, “…wind velocity multiplied by the relative humidity plus ambient temperature divided by the power of the craft’s tangential velocity minus the atmospheric resistance….,” tappity, tap, tap, “…means we should be landing in Honolulu at approximately….” tap, tappity, “thirteen-forty-five.” He looks at me triumphantly. “Isn’t that amazing?”

    Now, we Aussies like a laugh, but this guy is a prawn short of a barbie in my mind. I look him square in the face. “You’re joking right?”

    “No joke. It says it right here.” Tappity tap.

    This guy’s taking the piss. Surely. “You do know there’s a twenty-one hour time difference between Sydney and Honolulu, don’t you, mate.” His face is blank, his fingers are still. “And since it’s a ten hour flight, we’ll land eleven hours earlier on the same day? You know that right?”

    “Time difference?” I think he’s about to cry. “I’ll have to recalculate.” Tappity, tap, tap, tap.

    Ho boy.

    “Correction. We should land at approximately thirteen-ten. Interesting.”

    The steward announces the dimming of lights, and I wrap myself in blankets with my back to the strange man with green hair and shiny pants.

    I am woken by a loud thud and bright sunlight in my eyes. We’ve landed. The wacko is leaning across me with his face pressed against the window.

    “Isn’t this amazing?” He’s grinning like a maniac.

    I hear another thump and I wrestle for window space. Dark-skinned natives in scanty attire are hurling spears at the plane. “Is this a traditional Hawaiian welcome?” I stammer. “Those guys look pretty fierce.”

    “Looks like we landed right in the middle of the Tahitian invasion. Thirteen ten, just as I calculated.”

    I can smell the sardines. “You’re joking right?”

    (Anyone who wants to ‘get me back’ – fill your boots!)

    1. rob akers

      very nice job. I love how you described the green haired man with the sardine breath and bits still in his teeth. You have one of the things that I am missing, the ability to describe a person or sceen with just a sentence or two. I can see this guy in my mind.

    2. T.Rob

      This is hands-down my favorite. The detail-per-word ratio is quite high and you keep the reader focused on the character’s unusual smell and appearance while setting up the surprise ending. Reminded me of a helicopter ride I once took to the Grand Canyon. The pilot flew low to the deck and had us all looking for cyotes and rabbits on the desert floor just before he flew over the edge of the canyon. We were so busy looking at the desert floor we didn’t see the canyon until it scrolled into view beneath us and my wife about lost her lunch. You did the same thing with the sardine smell and teeth – even to the point of me almost losing my lunch. Great job!

  31. BeckeMartinDavis

    The plane lifted off the runway and into the air. The Reese Witherspoon wannabe next to me turned and quietly whispered in my ear, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone. I’m not going to Vegas to gamble.”
    “No?” I knew the type. Ignoring her wouldn’t shut her up. I twisted my lips into an upward curve. “You’re getting married then?”
    “Married?” She tittered. “Oh, no, I’m working, actually.” Her drawl stretched the last word into about five syllables.
    It took a second for me to realize I was supposed to respond. “Are you a travel agent?” A stab in the dark—she was too wide-eyed to be a hooker or a hotel staffer, and not built to be showgirl.
    “If you promise not to tell…” Her squeaky voice dropped an octave. “I’m a reporter, on special assignment to cover FangCom.”
    My expression stayed the same as usual—blank. “Do tell.”
    “You must have heard of it!” She turned in her seat, facing me. Excitement brought a pink flush to her cheeks, and her breath quickened. My eyes wandered to the blue vein pulsing delicately at the edge of her jaw. “They say there will be real werewolves and vampires there, maybe even shapeshifters.”
    “Balls.” The metal armrest bent ever so slightly where my right hand gripped it.
    She jerked back. “You’re not a believer?”
    “In werewolves? They might have existed years ago, in the far reaches of Europe.” I forced myself to relax. “There are no werewolves today.”
    “You sound so sure,” she said, tossing her shaggy blonde hair, “but anything’s possible. For all you know I might be a werewolf. I could show you my claws, if you ask nicely.”
    She wasn’t, and she couldn’t.
    “Can’t argue with fact. Werewolves no longer exist, and they never did live in North America.” Because shapeshifters abounded on the Continent, and they were territorial cusses.
    “Well, if you must be so close-minded,” she huffed, tucking her hair behind her ear. “I might as well read. God help me from people with no imagination.” She dug out the latest issue of Cosmo from her overstuffed handbag.
    I had plenty of imagination, that was the problem. With her hair pushed aside, her carotid artery throbbed temptingly close to my mouth. My lips stayed firmly sealed as I ran my tongue over my lengthening incisors.
    Pointedly ignoring me, she thumbed the pages slowly, her eyelids drifting shut. Finally, her head dropped against her chest.
    The flight was half empty, the air hostesses bored and inattentive. We had hours to go before Las Vegas. Temptation beckoned, and restraint was such a boring virtue.
    I leaned over her sleeping form, licking my lips. “I’m supposed to keep this a secret,” I whispered in her ear, “but I feel I should tell you. It’s true—werewolves don’t exist.” I brushed my fangs against her luscious artery. “But vampires do.”
    Angling my head, I bit down.

    1. JR MacBeth

      Nice twist! Delicate delivery. No immediate hints of the fact that the vampire was aboard, but then, the subtle transition. I initially imagined a female to female encounter, but then saw the traditional male vampire emerge. Enjoyed it!

      1. BeckeMartinDavis

        Thanks, JR! After submitting I wondered if I should have made the sex of the vampire clearer – he is intended to be male, so I’m glad that came through.

  32. CheriPie

    “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.”
    Irritated because we had just lifted off after sitting on the tarmac for an hour, I gave the perky blonde with the svelte figure who was sitting next to me a blank stare. She obviously didn’t receive my subliminal message that I wasn’t interested in trite conversation.
    “You weren’t supposed to be on this flight, right?” she asked with a grin on her face.
    Of course I wasn’t supposed to be on this flight. None of us were. The snow that covered Chicago’s O’Hare airport had shut down every flight the night before. This was the first outgoing flight of the day and they reassigned all of us to this packed cabin. Judging by the silence when I boarded, I could tell none of the passengers were any happier with the situation than I was. All except my seemingly bubbly and perky flight partner.
    She leaned in a little closer and rubbed her shoulders next to mine. With a conspiratorial glance around the cabin she whispered, “Let me just say that you aren’t going where you think you’re going.”
    My irritation increasing, I looked back down at my novel and ignored her. I had been on a book tour for six months and I was ready to get home to Los Angeles and wrap my arms around my three-year old twins. My husband was even more anxious for my return.
    Perky glanced out the window and then turned her attention back to me. “You’re a writer, right?”
    She suddenly caught my attention. Although I had been on a book tour, I hadn’t conducted any major network interviews. I tried to recall if I had seen her at the book signing in Chicago.
    “I can guarantee you will want to write about this,” she nearly squealed.
    The announcement came that we could resume our use of electronic devices and Perky reached into her purse and grabbed her phone.
    “Almost time,” she said to herself at she displayed a text. “You’re twins are adorable.”
    My stomach flopped at the mention of my children. My palms began to sweat. My recent novel dealt with a young mother that had been killed by a stalker. Her husband had tracked him down and exacted his rage. Did I have a stalker of my own?
    Perky tucked her phone back into her purse and then turned and locked her eyes with mine. I opened my mouth to speak but she placed her finger on my lips and said, “Shhh…just relax.”
    Suddenly my heart felt as if someone had it in a vice grip. I began sweating. My heart was racing. I heard someone shout, “I think she’s having a heart attack.”
    I floated above my seat and watched the staff perform CPR on my lifeless body. Perky wasn’t in the seat next to me. Suddenly, I felt a hand on mine and Perky said, “Come on. It’s time to go home.”

  33. asia_moon

    At last, I was free of my family and my fickle friends and off to a quiet retreat in Amsterdam and I gazed out at the fluffy white clouds with a sleepy smirk as the plane rose above them

    “Excuse me sir,” said the little boy next to me. I turned to face him. He was all eyes, big emerald eyes. “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone,” he said. I shrugged. “What is it buddy?” I asked.

    The boy leaned in close. “They want to kill us,” he said in a shaky whisper. I laughed. “Who?” I asked. He unbuckled his seatbelt. “Pardon me.” He stood up and turned to walk away. “Wait, tell me more. What are you talking about?” The boy spoke with his back turned. “Please, don’t eat or drink anything they serve.” Then he walked down the aisle towards the toilets at the back leaving me perplexed.

    “Strange kid!” I muttered. The air hostess pushed a squeaky cart up the aisle. When she reached my seat, I smiled and shook my head. “No thanks miss,” I said waving her on. She smiled, revealing perfect teeth. “Are you sure sir? It’s a long flight,” she said sweetly. I shook my head. “I’m not very thirsty. Thank you,” I said. I probably imagined it, but her eyes narrowed. “Very well then, sir,” she said, all sweetness fled from her tone.

    I continued cloud gazing and realized that the boy did not return to his seat. I flagged down the same air hostess. “Are you ready for a drink now sir?” she asked. “No. But there is a little boy who was sitting here, he went to the bathroom ages ago and hasn’t returned to his seat,” I said. “Sir, no one has checked in for this seat and there are no children on this flight. You must be mistaken. Dehydration often causes hallucinations,” she said smoothly. I laughed. “I’m sorry. Are you sure? I talked to him, he was right next to me,” I said. She looked concerned. “Let me bring you some water,” she said and slithered away.

    I got up and walked toward the toilets and realized that they were both empty except, in one of them there was a paper bag with a sticky note attached to it. I went into the stall and locked the door as I picked up the bag. The note said, “Put this on and you will be safe, once you haven’t consumed their poison” I opened the bag and pulled out a ratty looking top hat. As I put it on my head, I screamed, the hat was gnawing at my head. Blood splattered everywhere as I fell, slumped against the door. Amidst my screams of pain and terror, I heard the little boy laughing.

    When the air hostess found my drained body she sighed. “You should’ve had a drink sir. Little Hans hates our special sugar,” she muttered as she signaled another steward for assistance.

  34. cb0825

    I got a crazy feeling when I woke up, it was something I couldn’t describe and had never felt before. It wasn’t fear nor elation, just something felt different.

    The plane lifted off the runway and into the air and I took a deep breath. They say the best time for a plane to crash is take off and landing, and so far we had survived 50%. The person next to me turns and quietly whispers, “Name is Jim…”

    I could tell he was waiting for a response, and since we had to be here for the next 3 hours I should be courteous. “Hi Jim, I’m Angela, it’s great to meet you.” He shook my hand.

    “I know I should keep this a secret but I absolutely must tell someone, I am going to die today, and I have $1.7 million dollars in my carry on.” My face must have been a mixture of horrified and kind of thanks for rubbing it in. It took everything I had, but I kept my cool.

    “OK Jim, let’s start with why are you going to die?”

    “Well, I have cancer, and it is just progressing no matter what I do. So, I’m taking this trip, one last chance to see Vegas, and I will kill myself there. As for the money, haven’t decided what to do with it yet: blow it at a craps table, maybe give it to some crazy homeless person, maybe leave it at the door of some kind of shelter.”

    This conversation lasted for three hours and ended up with no result, Jim was still set on killing himself and I felt absolutely terrible. The only thing that I could take away from this was Jim knew what he wanted and I was sure of that. “Well, Jim, I wish you all the luck in the world. I just want you to know that you and your story have truly touched me, and I will never take anything for granted again.”

    1 week later…
    I went out to check the mail, and there was a package with no return address. I opened it, it contained $1.7 million dollars and a note: Dear Angela, your pleasant words really showed me there are still wonderful people in the world. Please do with the money what you want, and when you look up in the night sky, know that I am smiling on you. Jim

  35. jenaleersc

    The plane left the runway, and I leaned back in my seat hoping the 30 minute flight would pass quickly. The ding from the fasten seat belt sign signaled freedom to roam around the cabin, and passengers wrestled with their bags pulling out electronic devices. A pretty brunette with freshly manicured nails sat on my right. Her fingers clacked against the armrest, pink polish dancing in rhythm. She leaned over and whispered in my ear.
    “I know I’m supposed to keep this secret, but I absolutely must tell someone. I just won $10,000 on a lottery scratch ticket. Wanna see?” She fished the ticket out of her pocket and I glanced down at the winning numbers.
    “Congratulations. What are you going to do with the money?”
    “I’m going to take my fiancé on a cruise for our honeymoon. He’s going to be so surprised!”
    She flashed me a wide grin and settled into her seat, returning the ticket to her pocket. Smiling in return I opened a book and read until the plane landed.
    The flight attendant signaled it was time to deplane, and I gathered my bag from the overhead compartment. I handed the woman next to me her pink duffle bag, wished her luck, and headed towards the gate.
    My friend met me at baggage claim, and we watched the conveyor belt spit out luggage.
    “How was your flight?” He asked.
    “Great, I made $10,000.” I waved the lottery ticket in the air and smiled. I picked up my bags and we walked outside, the stolen ticket tucked neatly in my back pocket.

  36. Tanya77

    Roger looked at his best friend as they were flying back home after a short fishing expedition. His friend looked edgy, his fingers tapping together. After twenty minutes Roger had had enough.

    “What’s wrong with you, Bill? You’re making me nervous with you.”

    “I can’t tell you. It’s supposed to be a secret.”

    “You’re keeping a secret from me? Your best friend for God only knows how many years now. Come on blurt it out man, before I send you flying.”

    “All right. I can’t keep it hidden much longer. Lean over so no one can hear me. And please don’t judge me or tell anyone. I kept it hidden for years, but I can’t now, not after you told me you want to ask her to marry you.”

    Roger looked at Bill. Was true he was going to ask Mary to marry him but he was clueless why Bill was acting so weird. He leaned over as Bill did the same, and their lips brushed. Roger thought it was accidental, but the other man grabbed him again and kissed him more thoroughly.

    “What the hell…!?”

    “Oh Roger. My heart broke when I knew you were going to marry your girl. I love you, always have. I didn’t want you to marry her without knowing what I feel for you.”

    Roger looked at him dumbfounded. He knew Bill didn’t date so many girls, but he never suspected it was because he was gay and in love with him. Also his reaction to Bill’s kiss had left him bewildered. Instead of feeling repulsive –another man had kissed him– he sort of liked the feeling of Bill’s lips on his. He shook his head, trying to make sense. This couldn’t be. He liked women, liked their soft, warm curves. He never was attracted to men in his life. And yet as their lips met he had felt–

    No he must not think that. He had a beautiful girl waiting for him at home.

    “Bill, I don’t know what to say. I’m confused. I…”

    “Hush, my darling. There’s no need for you to get confused. I’m happy now you know how I feel. That’s what I always wanted to tell you. Now I did and I’m happy. No need for anything more.”

    While he shushed him, Bill had placed a finger on his lips. Again the sensation he felt when they kissed came back. Bill let his hand fall from Roger’s mouth and clasped his hand instead.

    Again, if it had been any other man, Roger would have pulled his hand away. But the warmth of Bill’s hand was wreaking havoc with his mind. Bill had told him he loved him, and in a way Roger did too. They were always inseparable, always together and Roger never thought how he could live without Bill. He thought about the proposal, his life would change when he married. For now though, he wanted only to think of their linked hands, the other things could wait.

  37. UtahJackson

    — Secrets and Lies —

    She was a creature of perfection, crowned by an exquisite hat that gave her a mannered grace I seldom saw. She slid past me and sat down in her window seat.

    I pretended to look down the airplane aisle, unbothered. She made a quick call.

    “Just tell Danny, OK. It’s tulips and toenails with him.”

    She hung up and smiled at me. That was invitation enough.

    “West Palm is nice this time of year,” I said.

    “I prefer Jupiter,” she said.

    “Or Saturn,” I joked.

    “That’s clever.” She laughed with me.

    For the next 15 minutes we had a verbal frolic.

    We sketched our backgrounds.
    “I played football in college,” I said.
    “I was Delta Chi,” she said.

    We gave reasons for our trip.
    “I’m going to shop. Sometimes, it’s tulips and toenails, though,” she said.
    “I’m sorry.” I threw a hand up in surrender.
    “Oh-tulips and toenails. You know, good and bad.”
    “Oh, I get it,” I said. “I’m going to buy a plane.” She squealed at the notion.

    We talked about our pets.
    “Betsy is her name,” she said, scrolling pictures for me on her phone.

    I admired each. “No toenails there,” I said.
    “I recently bought a Czech Wolfdog. It’s part wolf, you know.” She gasped. I had no pictures to share.

    The plane’s take off interrupted our banter. After a few moments, she turned from the window and laid her hand on top of mine. My heart leaped.

    “I have a secret to keep, but I feel as if I must tell someone.”

    I tried to play it cooly.

    “Careful, Sandra” I said with a sly smile. “A secret shared is a secret bared.”

    “Oh, I do like that saying, Cal. I must remember it,” she said.

    “Peanuts, sir,” a voice said.

    The stewardess removed the mood for divulgence as she served refreshments, after which I quickly set to coax Sandra’s secret.

    I leaned towards her and covertly covered my mouth . “Now, about your secret…”
    She grabbed her purse. “Well, one of them is that I have to visit the ladies’ room.”

    She squeezed past me and took off down the aisle. By the time she returned, Karl, the guy across the aisle, had a death grip on my attention as he droned on about his life. He continued until we landed.

    Everyone deplaned and funneled up the concourse. I saw her vivacious hat bobbing in in front of me. I ran and caught up with her.

    “Sandy,” I said, panting.

    I convinced her to let me buy her a drink. She acquiesced but looked in every direction as we ducked into an airport bar.

    I selected a small, sequestered table near the rear. We ordered and soon I revived our rapport.

    “You know,” I said, “you still owe me something.” She looked down, thought for a moment and then spoke.

    “Cal, my secret is tulips and toenails. I never meant to trouble you, but I can see that I owe it to you.” She paused. I hung in space and time like a tethered astronaut.

    Just then a man approached our table. She saw him first.

    “Sandra,” he said. “We’re waiting for you.” She got up in silence and gathered her luggage. Before she stepped away, she deftly dropped a napkin on the table. Her took her by the upper arm and they walked out.

    At some point on the airplane, she had written a message for me.

    ‘Cal, Sorry for not telling you. After all, a secret shared is a secret bared. Thanks for the advice. Sandy’. She tattooed the bottom with a red imprint of her lips.

    I folded the napkin, put it in my pocket and left the bar. I smirked as I snaked through the concourse throngs, my own secrets- lies really- racing through my mind.

    In the airport parking garage, I found my car and got into my 1996 Ford Explorer. I stared into my duplicitous eyes in the rearview mirror.

    “Buy a plane, huh?” I said aloud. “Hell, Cal, you don’t even have a vehicle from this century.” I laughed all the way to the interstate ramp.

    1. UtahJackson

      It’s a little wordy…sorry.

      Looking for comments specifically related to the dialogue between Sandra and Cal. Also interested in comments with regards to the ending. Was it unexpected and/or satisfying?


      1. Egg

        (I find dialogue especially challenging – to read as well as write). I thought you did capture the flirtatious, playful tone well but agree that it was a bit wordy, and I felt like I’d missed something when I reached the end. I hope this helps.

        If you have any really good (and succinct) advice about writing dialogue, do share!

      2. ProducerFord

        I liked the flow of the conversation. The way you only doled out snippets without boring the reader with every detail of what was really a long period of meaningless small talk.

      3. trinick

        I’m new and actually just registered so I could post here. I was drawn in by your opening, and I was amused by your ending. Just some thoughts in response to your own inquiries:
        ~Dialogue–I could get a sense of the characters you were trying to create, but I’m not sure you quite got there. When Cal says, “No toenails there” as Betsy scrolls through the pics for him (nice touch–her not relinquishing the phone), the line doesn’t seem to fit. I mean I understand he’s saying nothing “bad,” but maybe he says it when she scrolls too far to a pic of her on the beach–then it’s flirty. I really like the ring of tulips and toenails, and I think you should definitely play with it more, but within the confines here, I felt like it ended up falling into stilted exchanges.
        ~”Peanuts, sir.”… “The stewardess removed the mood for divulgence as she served refreshments, after which I quickly set to coax Sandra’s secret.”….”At some point on the airplane, she had written a message for me.” As I read the last sentence I just listed, I started thinking the stewardess should have been picking up the trash instead of offering peanuts. Then the stewardess could have “removed the mood for divulgence along with our ….” (whatever creative trash), and Sandra could keep her napkin to take it with her to the ladies’ room, with a “a lady should always be prepared” sort of statement … I don’t know– was just seeing those pieces weaving together more.
        ~Ending–I didn’t expect it, but when he stares into his “duplicitous eyes,” I was expecting a bigger shock. So maybe it IS surprising that it ISN’T a bigger shock. Just a funny lie. I was just thinking his phone could ring (or he could get a txt)… Could be either his wife reminding him to get the model plane for their son, or his son saying that Mom said to remember to pick up a new model plane for them to work on this weekend.

        SORRY if this is too much! It may not seem like it, but I loved rolling around in between the lines of your story b/c it kept sending my own mind in different directions. Anyway, I may never return here, so I’ll just say thanks for sharing your talent. It ain’t all tulips, but it’s miles away from toenails! ;-)

      4. JR MacBeth

        Nice piece of writing, excellent dialogue, IMO. The attributions weren’t burdensome, but rather, just enough. The ending, not so sure, but it’s always hard with such a small word allowance. Utah, your skillful handling of dialogue is what stands out for me in this one. Great job!

  38. jacwrites

    I wish she’d tell the person to the left of her, I think to myself as I force a smile. People seem to tell me secrets every day… at work, at school, family functions. Recently my brother proposed to a good friend… the most loyal perfect match for him. Now I can’t reminisce aloud about the skeletons in either closet. My closest friend has been telling me her big secret for nearly two years, a mysterious crush. Up until last month the passionate not (yet) physical affair was with a faceless married man…until he became my boss. Her other closest friend (my other closest friend) after years of marriage is now in love with a woman. Neither friend will tell each other the secrets and I long for the days before the “call waiting” feature. Each of them simultaneously avoiding each other yet annoyed that the other is always already on the phone with me when they call. I have coworkers I barely know confessing to things I shouldn’t hear, a classmate I had to do therapy on (as an assignment) now as the professors assistant in my class this quarter. Which means the person who grades my papers can’t look me in the eye as she hands them back because I know that she banged two guys at once… and neither was her boyfriend. There’s family blending with friends, unexpected uncomfortable situations at school and in the office. With all the boundaries blurred, there is no one to hear my secrets.
    A soft vault is exploding at the seams. Doesn’t anyone know that a writer loves telling stories? Lately all I do is listen and bite my tongue. A loyal puppy and her chew toy. And now this. On an airplane. This is supposed to be my quiet place. My God place. I usually rest my head on the cold hard window as the plane rises with my consciousness. I lose myself in a single thought. My own secret. I silently tell my secret to myself and it somehow gets distorted in high altitudes. I remember every detail without fear or shame and I’m absolved. The secret becomes weightless as I grow clear. Every airplane for the past 3 years. Not today.

    And what is she going to tell me? With my luck, probably some disgusting story about a guy in Brazil who ends up being my father in law. Yes, I have a Brazilian fiance in most of my fantasies and if I meet him in real life, I can’t let her make it awkward. So, I turn my forced smile to the beautiful blonde in her discount suit. “Sure, go ahead. I’m all ears.” And for the first time ever, I tune someone out… which is rather easy, because as she speaks I’m audibly blinded by her whiskey breath. I smile and nod, look intrigued and nod. When she seems to be done, I say “Don’t worry. Everything will be ok.” It was quicker than I thought. Maybe I can get my fix, now. Just as I rest my head, it’s jolted backwards and forwards and back against the window. lights are blinking. stewardess running. Is stewardess not PC anymore? I wonder this to myself, frightened by the fact that this is what I choose to think about in crisis: the evolution of the airline lady job title. babies crying, people screaming… and the plane takes another sharp dive. my stomach is between my teeth “what the hell is going on?!”
    Blonde yells: “We should have stopped him!”
    “HUH?” my bewildered face says it for me as i lock eyes with my first (and last) tune-out. fully engaged this time.
    and just like that, a real smile is born. my laughter dances with their screams. the bouncing airplane jostles my armor. the seriousness with which i take myself flies backwards and the weight of a thousand confessions gets caught in someone else’s oxygen mask. everything that clung to me is up for grabs. with eyes wide open, i say it out loud: my own secret.

  39. hillsworth

    Too many bombs on planes, plane crashes and people who want to kill everyone. Not trying to take away from anyone elses writing, you are all doing amazing work, I just wanted to take a lighter, funny approach. Hope everyone enjoys it and maybe it will get you thinking of the last time you gave or received a ‘wet willy. Keep up the good work everyone. I so enjoy all the stories. I’m addicted to this site now.

  40. hillsworth

    There was a whir and a double thump as the landing gear nestled itself into its respective compartment. In moments, the ‘fasten seatbelts’ light extinguished and there was a slight din as many of the passengers unbuckled.

    Sitting to my left, Captain Thomas Stricklin was just putting the final touches on our ascent when he leans toward me and nods with his head for me to lean in, obviously so the two stewardesses sitting behind us won’t hear.

    I shoot a glance over my shoulder to see them looking at each others nails, completely zoned in on their own conversation about how good their boyfriends are, or what they had for dinner last night, or some other girly thing that women talk about.

    Leaning farther, still watching them, I meet the Captain halfway. He whispers, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.”

    “Okay, tell.” I say.

    “Promise you won’t say anything?”

    “To who?” I ask.

    “Anyone, them,” He gestures toward the giggling girls, “your wife, just anyone.”

    “Sure. Your secret’s safe with me.” Yeah, right, I think, not a chance.

    “Lean a little closer,” he says as he puts his hand up and cups it around his mouth and my ear.

    I lean even nearer and the arm of the seat is digging into my side. “My secret is…” he starts, but just then, he sticks his finger in his mouth and gets it all gooey with saliva up and rams it into my ear, giving me a ‘wet willy’.

    I jerk back to the right, instinctively sticking my own finger in my earhole trying to wipe it away. He’s braying laughter from the pilots seat and now the two stewardesses are laughing also. “You Dick,” I say, but I have a hard time keeping a straight face. It’s been a long time since someone has given me one of those.

    “Man, that was priceless,” he says, wiping tears from his eyes. “You fell right into it.”

    “You’ll pay for that.” I blurt between laughing spells. The rest off the flight was laugh after laugh as we told jokes, played tricks and acted twenty years younger. If the passengers only knew what really went on in the cockpit….

  41. rob akers

    The 727 climbed away from the runway and towards the moon like a home sick Angel. As the Vertical Velocity Indicator needle pointed upwards and the Altimeter showed a climb the First Officer confidently spoke the required verbiage. “Positive Rate.”
    The Captain was an old school type of pilot, who liked his whisky cheap and his women young never replied. According to regulations, the First Officer repeated his call out of positive rate and once again the Captain sat in silence. Both the First Officer and the Flight Engineer looked at the Captain who was drenched in sweat and even in the dark flight deck was pale to the sight. The Frist Officer and the Engineer exchanged a look as the FO raised the gear and was preparing to take control of the aircraft. At the same time, the Engineer reached out and touched the Captain’s shoulder asking if he was ok.
    The startled Captain jumped at the touch and saw that the two younger men were ready to declare an Emergency and bring the jet back around to the Springfield airport. He shook his head to clear the cobwebs and smiled sheepishly. “I’m good boys, After Take-off Checklist.” He turned to the assigned heading and continued to climb to altitude. Passing 10,000 feet he looked at the FO and asked if he was ready to fly. The FO was surprised by the request but quickly recovered and responded that he had the aircraft. The Captain turned on the overhead light, he face was flushed and he was still sweating.
    “Boys, I thought that I had done everything possible in an airplane. I have dropped bombs on the Viet Cong and the Iraqis; I have landed on an Aircraft Carrier. I have flown in all kinds of weather and for the last 25 years I have enjoyed a nice career here at UPS. But guys, tonight is going to be my last flight. I am not sure how I am going to survive because of the 5 ex-wives, 12 children with 7 of them still in high school and my girlfriend who loves to spend what little money is left over. But I cannot ever do this again. I am done.”
    The FO and Engineer exchanged a look and the Engineer had to ask. “Do what again?”
    The Captain smiled and asked the two men if they knew what the definition of a good trip was and both shook their heads no.
    “A good trip is when the Captain has a good bowel movement, the FO reads a good book and the Engineer gets lucky. A final trip is when the Captain has a good bowel movement at rotate speed. Excuse me while I go clean myself.” As he twisted in his seat the smell was released and there was no denying that it was time for the man to retire.

    Any comments are appreciated.

    1. Egg

      I enjoyed reading this – you sound like you know your way around a cockpit. And as always, your analogies are original.

      The only suggestion would be to look at your punctuation, (keeping in mind that it’s YOUR punctuation, so if you want it read how you’ve written it, don’t change a thing).

      1. rob akers

        Thanks for the kind comments. I have been trying to improve my style and craft but I think my two biggest problems are word choice and punctuation. I am so fortunate to have found this website with the writing prompts. I have only been writing for the last year so I have so much to learn.

        I know my problems relate directly to wasted time and a real lack of focus as a youth.

        Can you suggest a book that would help me learn the mechanics of writting?

        Again thank you for the review


        1. Egg

          Lack of focus as a youth – sounds familiar.

          For the ‘touchy feelie write from your soul’ aspect, I found Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird” inspirational. For concise technical pointers, I loved Roy Peter Clarks “50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer”, and of course, short story master John Gardner has great advice in “The Art of Fiction.” They were all in my small-town library so weren’t hard to find.

          I hope this helps. Keep it up.

    2. TexIrish

      Great story, however, if he had been at UPS for 25 years, he would not have been able to drop bombs on the Iraquis, assuming the story occurs today. The first Gulf War started in 1990, so unless the Captain was doing double duty for UPS and the USAF, that would not be possible. Perhaps it could be that he dropped bombs on the Chinese (Korean War) and the VC. Doesn’t detract from your excellent handling of the everyday activities in the cockpit of a commercial jetliner that most readers are not aware of and are happy experience, but nevertheless, factuality is important. Enjoyed reading your work – nice job!

  42. Matt

    This was my third trip back east in the last two months so I decided to splurge and get an upgrade to first class. I was taking the red eye to Dulles and was looking forward to a nice comfortable seat to sleep in. At 11:15 the announcement was made to board the plane, a Boeing 757. For once it was nice to be the first in line. My boarding pass was scanned and I was on my way. I entered the plane and was met by Jim the steward, he flashed a smile and welcomed me aboard. I nodded back and quickly found my seat, 6B near the aisle. I stowed my bag in the overhead bin then sank into the oversized leather chair of first class. I didn’t think I could ever go back to coach.
    I pulled out my newspaper and started to read as the plane began to fill. I didn’t pay attention as the people passed by but when I lowered my paper I did notice the women sitting across the aisle from me. She had short black hair that rested just above her shoulders, a diamond necklace and matching earrings. She wore a sleek black dress that rested just above the knee and had a slight scent of perfume. She also had the slight smell of alcohol.
    Before long we were at cruising altitude and Jim was taking orders. I was nursing a rum and coke and reading the paper while Tina, as I overheard her introduce herself to Jim, asked for her third screwdriver. A few minutes later she leaned over to me and whispered, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.”
    I lowered the paper and noticed she was quite tipsy and I was really afraid to respond, God knows what she was about to confess and I wasn’t sure I wanted to know. Jim brought me another rum and coke and a fresh screwdriver for Tina, like she needed one.
    “He’s not going to win you know,” she slurred in a loud whisper as she pointed to the paper.
    The cover story was about Senator Collins, a picture of him, his wife and two young children in Portland on the front page of the Oregonian. They were in town a week before the election for one last campaign stop. He was the darling of the American public but only leading by a few points.
    “How do you know?” I said angrily as I liked Senator Collins.
    “I slept with him an hour ago and it’s going to go public,” she finished by downing her drink.
    I noticed a partially dissolved pill in the bottom of her glass. Within minutes she was unconscious and Jim was smiling. What the hell was going on I thought and that’s when I noticed the pill in the bottom of my glass. Jim then looked at me and ran his finger across his throat.

  43. RGV

    Title: Blockage
    David wasn’t so sure his seatmate was sane. The man boarded the plane muttering to himself. Every few seconds he’d snap his fingers and tell whomever happened to be near him, “it’s all about the doorway!” before he moved on. David could see the relief on everyone’s face as the man passed their row. He was sure everyone could see the irritation on his face when the guy slid into the seat next to him.

    Snap, snap, went his boney fingers. With a jerk of his head, the man looked David in the eye and whispered, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone”.

    His breath was rank. David blinked quickly to clear his senses and reached for the attendant button.
    “Don’t touch that!” the man hissed.
    “ I know I sound crazy.” said the man as he adjusted his knit cap. David saw a bit of tinfoil sticking out. “But you gotta listen to me. I just got a message from my superiors!”
    “Christ,” thought David. This was going to be a long trip.
    “It’s all about the doorways!”
    The plane took off. The attendants did their usual song and dance and everyone settled themselves in for an uncomfortable flight.
    The man jiggled his legs nervously.
    “Not long now” he said to the seatback in front of him.
    “I’m not supposed to tell because they said things happen for a reason.”
    “Sure” said David.
    “But they said I should tell the son of a shoemaker about the doorway”
    David jumped. His last name was Schoenmaker, Dutch for shoemaker.
    The guy looked at him and David realized the man’s eyes weren’t crazy at all.
    “Look for the doorway, Shoemaker”
    Just at that moment the cabin went dark as the plane jerked sideways. The flight attendants ran up the aisle as if they were just hurrying to the bathroom.
    “Nothing to worry about!“
    David looked at the man.
    Snap, snap.
    David looked for the emergency exits. To his surprise he was sitting at the one over the wing.
    Outside the window the flames over the wing grew brighter and David could see emergency vehicles swarming towards the landing strip.
    There were screams as the plane skidded to a stop. A fire engine rushed up and doused the flames. The Captain gave orders to leave in a calm and orderly fashion through the emergency exits, which everyone did. David himself opened the doors and helped the crazy man slide down to the tarmac.
    Everything was fine. The man must have been nuts!
    As they walked into the terminal, David looked at the glass doorway separating the departing passengers from their rides. Standing closest to the opening were his wife and daughter waving madly. She smiled at him through her tears.
    “David! Thank god you had to come back. We’ve got to get to the hospital before it’s too late.
    “Honey! They found you a new heart!”

      1. Tanya77

        The ending after everything was fine looked a bit weird to me. Maybe i din’t read it right but if what the man said happened, why he still called him uts? and if you have 10 more words use them to advantage. Sorry i shouldn’t critisize since i’m new at this but was left slightly wondering about that.

        1. RGV

          I felt that way when I wrote it, but I didn’t want to be predictible with a plane crash and jammed door. I think it needs to be a longer story to get resolved. it doesn’t take experience to have an opinion and I appreciate yours!

  44. CharlieGirl77

    The plane lifted off the runway and into the air. The person next to you turns and quietly whispers in your ear, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.”

    Her breath is warm and quick as it blows the words past your ear.

    Do not ask, you tell yourself. Just get to Atlanta. This meeting is way too big to get distracted with the secrets of this crazy, albeit beautiful, woman. What, is her sister pregnant? No, she’s having an affair. Whatever it is, there is no time for someone else’s drama right now. Just focus. Once you get through the meeting this afternoon you can indulge in whatever fantasy strikes you.

    “Can you keep a secret?”

    “Of course,” the words fly out as if by reflex. “What is it?”

    Figures, an attractive woman asks you if you can keep a secret and you lose your last two hours of prep time. This is only the biggest pitch opportunity you and Tom have ever had. The business depends on it but, hey, she’s attractive so he’ll understand when you show up a fumbling mess, right?

    “Well, I just feel so guilty. Like I have to do something to keep this guy from getting hurt but if I do, I’m afraid I will lose out, big time.”

    Yup, she’s having an affair. You really can’t trust any of them.

    “Do you love him?”

    “Well, since I haven’t met him yet, I’m going to go with, no” she replies tilting her head and frowning. The look on her face says she may have made a mistake choosing you as her confidant du jour.

    “Sorry,” you throw out quickly with an awkward half-chuckle that screams of embarrassment. “I thought you were going to tell me you were having an affair and were afraid of hurting your husband or lover or someone. So, how exactly do you hurt a man you haven’t even met?”

    “Well,” she sighs as much as says. She says “well” a lot. “That’s just it. I’m supposed to meet him today, in Atlanta. We are scheduled to get together this afternoon.”

    “What’s so secretive about that? Are you meeting on a park bench to sell State secrets or something?”

    “No, of course not, I’m supposed to meet him and his partner with our IP people. Uh, IP is . . .”

    “ . . .Intellectual Property.”

    “. . .Intellectual Property.”

    Somehow saying the phrase in unison makes you feel as if you have known her longer than the half hour you have been sitting next to each other. Get a grip, it’s not like you both finished the sentence with “Illiterate Puppies”. Lots of people know IP is short for Intellectual Property. She felt it too.

    “You know, I . . . I shouldn’t be talking about this. You have your laptop out and I’m just rambling on and on about nothing. Just pretend I never said anything.” And with that she turned herself forward, crossed her legs, and buried herself in a copy of Better Living.

    You give a half shrug and chalk the whole thing up to another crazy woman. God knows you have met enough of them to recognize one. You go back to preparing for your presentation and forget all about the great secret. In fact it does not even cross your mind until that afternoon when you enter the conference room and she is seated next to you again.

  45. cekensinger

    How bored can you get waiting to board the plane and make your flight? As a writer, I like to watch people, converse with those next to me or just listen to conversations. I always have a small camera I can operate inconspicuously if something newsworthy happens. Sometimes I even turn on my pocket recorder to boost my memory.

    So I was not disappointed when my aisle mate whispers to me, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone that my boss is on the plane with me.”

    “Who is your boss?” I asked casually.

    “President Obama,” she said with a straight face.

    “Why aren’t you flying on Air Force One?” was my ready question.

    “He doesn’t want anyone to know where we are going?” she came back quickly.

    “Why not?” I queried.

    “Because we are having an affair and he wanted to slip away from the press and the Secret Service.”

    We continued our conversation till the end of the flight. Because we were at the front of the plane, I watched as this pretty young lady retrieved her carry on and deplaned. I kept my seat and watched everyone else head out the door. I’m not sure, but one man in sun glasses and dressed in a dark blue suit kept his head down, and looked the same build as the president.

    I checked my phone for news reports and learned that Mrs. Obama and their daughters had left the day before, going to Hawaii for the Christmas holiday. The President was in Washington, but would leave later in the week for vacation. Then I searched for a picture of the President’s secretary. It was the woman who had sat next to me.

    And I had not started my recorder.

  46. cekensinger

    I’ve enjoyed everone’s stories. JDH247, keep on writing and sharing with others. Do not let anyone discourage you. Something I enjoy doing when I have writer’s block is to pick up something I wrote years ago and find the main premise, like this prompt, and come up with something new from the original idea. Here is my version.

  47. waggins

    We met while waiting at the airport for the plane to board. Already delayed for more than two hours due to the weather, we watched out the window onto the tarmac as the storm passed. Just 30 minutes earlier, the rain had been torrential, but now the black, billowing clouds were replaced with a powder blue sky as we heard the announcement, “Flight 106 is now boarding for Washington DC”. I couldn’t wait to get home! What a long week it had been down in Houston, but now my work was done and it was time to go and put into practice what I had learned at the conference.
    “Glad we can finally be on our way”, she said, as she gathered her things to board the plane. “I don’t really like to fly, but it’s the quickest way to get around!” For some reason her comment made my mind drift back to Texas. I thought about the old west and how long it must have taken people to get around back in those days without planes. I decided I was very tired and ready to go and sleep, happily, in my own bed.
    She held her carryon bag tight as we lined up to board the plane, and once we were onboard we discovered we had seats next to each other. I really wanted to try to close my eyes for a while, but she seemed fidgety and wanted to talk some more. I thought that if it would help her to relax a little bit so I could get some rest, we could talk, just for a few minutes. “Is D.C. your last stop?” I asked. “Yes”, she said. I have some family business to tend to”. “Good or bad?” I asked, trying to be polite and make conversation, but hoping I hadn’t invited too much information. “No, it’s good”, she said. She stopped there, but it seemed she wanted to say more. “That’s good”, I said, and tried to settle in as we prepared for takeoff.
    Finally, we made it to the runway where we were next in line for takeoff. She still seemed wired, but I chalked it up to being nervous about the flight. The plane lifted off the runway and into the air. She turned and quietly whispered into my ear, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone. You may see me again in a couple of days on the news.” “Holy crap, what do you mean?” I asked, “Why will I see you in the news?” “No, it’s good” she said, “I found my adopted brother about a month ago, you know who he is….”

      1. Egg

        Personally, I think intriguing details about the characters in place of details about the weather may have helped build the suspense a bit more. Just my opinion, of course. What do you think?

  48. Icabu

    As Samarah boarded the airplane, her dark eyes scanned the other passengers’ faces. There were several other Arabic women already seated. All of them wore the demure jilaabah; the colors muted and style unflattering, much like their faces. The hijab lent to more personality; one was in a wild, wicked red, like her own lipstick.

    She saw several of the women flick a glance toward her, although never directly into her mascara-tipped, lightly shadowed eyes. She knew the look and had had it herself a few short years ago. She no longer felt guilt and only had respect for the women.

    Samarah found her seat on the aisle and settled into it. The woman with the red hijab sat across from her, head bowed. With a soft sigh, Samarah crossed her legs and pulled her iPhone from her purse to check for messages before having to turn it off.

    “Excuse me.”

    Samarah looked up to see a handsome man standing by her seat.

    “I have the window seat.” He gestured with his ticket to the seat beside her.

    “Oh!” Rising, she stepped aside, bumping into the man and then the woman across the aisle.

    “Please, I beg your pardon,” she said sincerely, knowing the transgression would be more trying to the woman. As expected, Samarah received no acknowledgement from the woman. The man didn’t seem to notice that anything had occured and settled into his seat.

    Hopping back into her seat, Samarah couldn’t help gazing out the window for the last glimpses of her homeland.

    “Would you like to be by the window? I’ll trade.”

    The deep voice snapped Samarah’s reverie. “Oh, no. Thank you.”

    “I don’t mind, really,” he offered.

    She smiled at his kind, caring face. “I’m fine. I just won’t be coming back.” She shrugged. “Taking a last look.”

    “Ah,” he said in a knowing way. “I’m Jim.” He held his big hand out.

    “Samarah,” she answered, shaking his hand.

    While the flight attendant reviewed the safety procedures, Samarah leaned back and remembered growing up like the woman in the red hijab. She’d memorized the Qur’an like all her classmates and wore her jilaabah to work at the oil facility. She smiled. That’s when she’d met William, now her husband, and when her life changed. She’d been missing something and William brought it into her life.

    “Where’re you headed?” Jim asked congenially as the plane taxied.

    With a conspiratorial glance around the plane, lingering a moment across the aisle, Samarah leaned close to Jim. The plane lifted into the air. “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.”

    Jim’s eyebrow lifted.

    “I’m a Christian,” Samarah whispered, smiling. “I’m the happiest person in the world and I’m going to live with my wonderful husband in Texas.”

    Jim smiled and winked at her. “Good for you,” he said.

    A blush deepened the natural color of Samarah’s cheeks. She sat back in her seat, still smiling. Yes, she thought, good for me.

  49. scanny24

    I couldn’t wait to get back to New York. I had flown in and out of Miami on numerous occasions for work and always hated it. As the airport faded further from view and we began our assent, I took a deep breath and settled into my seat.

    “Nervous?” He asked. He was an older gentleman, sitting in the seat next to me. I shook my head no and went back to looking forward. “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone,” he said as he leaned forward.
    “Ok,” I said, a little surprised, but intrigued.
    “I used to be in the mafia.” He said with a smirked.
    “Is that right?” I tried to play it off, like his statement was no big deal. I didn’t know how to take him.
    “Yeah, I made my play with the feds decades ago and went into hiding. But now I’m an old man, sick and tired of living in obscurity. Shuffle board ain’t really my thing.”
    “Why are you telling me this?” I asked, finally looking into his blue eyes. Deep blue eyes.
    “Cause I had a few belts and now I don’t give a crap. Besides, the mob these days, they don’t care about honor. They care about themselves. The guys I put away are all dead now. Plus I had this ridiculous plastic surgery so they ain’t gonna recognize me anyway.” He talked to me for the whole non-stop flight, regaling stories of his youth. The people he had swindled. The respect he had garnered. The violence he had perpetrated. Finally we were picking up our bags at JFK and heading toward a waiting yellow cab.
    “Do you mind if we split?” I asked, pointing at the taxi. I couldn’t get enough of the old timer. I needed more time with him.
    “Nah, hop in kid,” he said, climbing in. We both gave our destinations, of which mine was the first stop. We pulled up to the desolate street I had instructed to be dropped at. The cabby looked in the rear view as if to question if I had given the right instructions. I quickly hopped out and walked to his window. As the cabby rolled it down I asked if he could roll down the back one as well, so I could say goodbye to my new acquaintance. He obliged and my new friend leaned towards the opening.
    “I just wanted to say goodbye,” I said looking into his deep blue eyes as I reached into my jacket. The cabby held out his hand waiting to be paid. “Oh, and Blue,” I said, pulling my hand back out of my jacket as a look of confusion crossed his face. “We still care about honor.” I pulled the trigger and watched the bullet enter his forehead. Then I pulled it again and watched the cabby slump forward. My ride pulled up and I got in. “It’s done,” I said as we drove away.

  50. jonrussell

    “I know I’m suppose to keep this secret but I absolutely must tell someone. I’m going I’m on my way home from staying with my brother in L.A. and I’ve lost my… my essence. I think my parents… that they will be able to see it. Can you tell I’m not how I once was. Do my eyes betray me? Certainly, if a stranger could tell, they will know for sure.” What a small and pretty girl she was too. Blonde curly hair and a pretty ribbon that was blue like the sky behind her. She lifted my heart, while the plane lifted we two. What a small pretty girl. That’s what I thought.
    “You see, they…umm… my parents, sent me out to see my brother. He had always been such an… example to me. He worked hard and had gone far in his acceptance into the church. He had loved God so, and but they hadn’t been able to make it out to see him yet so… for my birthday and his, you see their not wealthy people but build up their treasures in faith, but and so they sent me to see him.” And it was funny how her lip quivered with what she said. Like invisible bubbles were coming from underneath her tongue. I don’t think I’ve ever seen lips such a natural red and inviting like to tiny little bean bag chairs. But filled with honey instead of beans.
    “And my brother had always been a sort of teacher to me. Someone I could talk to, you know. Because no matter how good anyone’s parents are there are times when you hate them. And I remember when we were younger he had taught me all about the Greek alphabet drawing each one on the small chalk board at our grandfathers house. And he had made it almost to the end but broke the chalk and so the last two and a half letters were in different colors and we laughed until our bellies hurt. And I don’t know why we thought it was funny, but when you’re younger some things just make you laugh. And then he had told me about the Greek gods” And here the plane hit some turbulence jolting her little body. So she paused a minute in her story and looked at me for some sort of interjection but I simply gazed into her little eyes of churning chocolate, almost able to taste it’s sweetness on my tongue.
    “So when I got to see him so much about him had changed and at first I turned from him and told him I wanted very much to go home. But you see he is my brother and I love him very much and he just wanted to be honest and talk to me and what he said about God did make sense. And just because Grandpa didn’t believe the same things we did doesn’t mean he wasn’t a good person. He was a good person. And why shouldn’t God reward that. But so, I sort of lost myself with trying new things and feeling new things while I was there and my brother was spending a lot of time with this girl… but so can you see it, Mister? Can you tell?”
    Her skin was porcelain.
    “Don’t worry child, I’m sure we can have you absolved of everything. I’m a bit of an expert in this area. Tell me more of what happened.”
    And then she said: “Thank you, Jesus”

  51. Chilo

    I’ve been waiting for this trip for a long time. Too bad my cousin was not available to go along with me. The beaches are supposed to be better in Hawaii. I’ll just relax my head on this pillow and wait for the plane to steady itself. We just lifted off the runway and into the air. This is the part that gets all my insides to tumble.
    “Excuse me,” the girl with peppermint glasses turned to me. She had been washing the stewardess the whole time we got on this plane. I was hoping for a quiet flight.
    She leans closer and whispers in my ear, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.”
    Oh, God. She’d better not say I’m her type.
    “This plane is not heading for Hawaii.
    “Shhh, please, I don’t want to cause a scene.”
    “I’m sorry. A minute there I thought you said this plane was not going to Hawaii.”
    “That’s right.”
    It seemed that the sentence she was able to disperse from her lips gave her all the satisfaction it needed for she neglected to give a reason for the change. Why should I bother? She definitely seems a little tipsy. Yet, what if she’s right?
    “Well, what?”
    “Where is this plane heading?”
    “I’m not supposed to say. I could die.”
    Heaven forbid this girl die!
    “What are you trying to pull? You obviously are in need of medical attention-”
    A voice through the speakers began to say: “Passengers of flight 007. Welcome aboard! Please buckle yourselves up and allow us to transport you to dimension Westcort. It was a lovely earth, but it has outlived its usefulness…” and an explosion was heard from the distance. It shook the plane to the point where its vibrations remained in my teeth.
    “I told you so,” the girl scoffed.

  52. Juneta2u

    Nice twist. I enjoyed reading it. Now the question in my mind is what happens next? Will the wife confront him? Will she tell the girl who she is? Is the wife what the husband told the girl, or is just playing her? Will the wife work through it or walk away? Is the ending of marriage, and beginning of another story for the wife? Yup, great twist IMHO> Nice little short story, or hook for a much bigger one. Well done.

  53. Justme70

    As the plane taxied down the runway, I looked to my left at the small woman in the asile seat. she seemed rather nervous and frightened. I casuly asked if she were frightened of flying and could I help in any way.
    She replied that she was frightened but it was not the flight that was scaring her.

    Nervously she looked about as if in search of someone. I patted her hand and told her that all would be well. she smiled and we both sat back as we were pushed back in our seats with the take off. she began
    to sob softly. I could not help but lean toward her and offer her my encourgment. she looked about her and then bowed her head. Seeing her distress, I again asked if I could help her with something.

    she leaned over and hiding her face into my shoulder stated:

    “I know that this is to be a secert but I have to tell someone. My son is the co-pilot and he plans to blow the plane up. I thought that there would be a detective aboard that could help. ”

    “I am that detective and will go to the cockpit and see what I can do.”

    Before I could rise from my seat, she pulled a bottle of clear liquid from her purse. she looked over at me and smiled.

    “I told you it was to be a secert. Now that I know you are the detective-”

    With that comment she threw the bottle of liquid against the seat before her. It was sudden, None of us had a chance to live. The smoke and fire from the explosion rocked the entire plane. The decend was rapid and the last thing any of us felt was the cold water as it covered over us.

  54. jdh247

    I am trying to be true to my new year resolutions, and this is the first step. This is the first time I have ever let anyone read anything, and I am so nervous. Please give me feedback, and please be honest. I know it will make me a better writer. Thanks so much.

    1. DRoberts

      I know what you mean about being nervous sharing your work. It took me a while to do that, too. I still get nervous. Your story was well written. Great ending. Well done.

    2. skdunning

      I know how difficult it is to put yourself out there. I did the same six months ago. Good news is it’s going to be easier from here out.

      On that note you’ve got something to be truly proud of. This is an excellent story and you have a strong voice. You do a great job establishing the change of emotion for the protag. I would suggest cleaning the opening paragraph. The transition from the set up to the conversation is a bit abrupt, I’m assuming its because of the word count limitation. All in all though, this is a fantastic “first time out”. Great job!

      1. jdh247

        Thank you for the kind words, I appreciate them so much. I am glad to hear that it gets easier because pressing that post button was surprisingly hard. You are exactly right about the beginning and I did condense things down due to the word count. Im learning so much from everyone here, and I feel like this is one small step in the right direction.

    3. UtahJackson

      Nice piece. I definitely liked the plot twist. My biggest suggestion is to read about dialogue between characters- specifically how that should be crafted and structured. With a little more touch this story could have been special because the twist is so good.

      Imagination is your greatest resource. Craft is your hardest lesson.

      Good job and keep posting. Everyone here is just trying to get better.

      1. jdh247

        Thank you for the feedback, that is exactly what I needed to hear. I will definitely do some reading up on dialogue structure and apply it to my next story.

  55. jdh247

    I was thirty minutes into a three hour flight; I had taken on a whim. Normally I would just grin and bare my husband’s absence when he traveled for work, but I didn’t feel like being alone on our anniversary.
    I had just begun reading an article about spicing up ones sex life when the young woman sitting beside me burst into tears.
    “Are you okay? Are you afraid of flying?” I asked.
    She looked up through swollen eyes, “No, I’m not scared.”
    “Oh. I just assumed…” I cut myself off, remembering the old adage about those who assume.
    “I’m pregnant.” The young woman confessed suddenly. “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.”
    She pressed her face into her dainty hands hiding a fresh wave of tears.
    “Is that not a good thing? Having a baby I mean?”
    The young woman looked up, tears still streaming steadily down her cheeks. “No…it’s wonderful.” She paused. “I’m so excited to be a mom. I’m just nervous about telling the father, he doesn’t know yet.”
    I handed her a tissue.
    “He’s married.” She explained, shooting anxious glances at the other passengers, before looking back at me.
    “I can see how that would be stressful.” I returned trying to keep the judgment from seeping into my voice.
    “He’s unhappy.” She justified quickly. “He wants out of his marriage. He hates his wife.”
    I didn’t answer, because my response wouldn’t have been polite. I was much too busy picturing the heartbroken wife.
    “He’s out of town on business.” She continued. “I’m going to surprise him with the news.”
    “Well I guess it is the kind of thing you should do in person.” I agreed.
    “His wife is unable to have children.“ She whispered gravely. “He says she’s as barren as her cold heart. Can you imagine how awful she must be for her own husband to say that? She sounds terrible, at least to hear him describe her.”
    “If she is so terrible, why is he still with her?” I couldn’t help asking.
    She sighed. “I don’t know, but he promised me he would divorce her and marry me. Then it will be just me, my Benjamin and our baby.” She whispered, rubbing her belly tenderly.
    An electric current shot through my body, shocking my heart into a frantic pace. “Who did you just say?” I asked.
    “Ben? That’s his name, Benjamin Jenkins.”
    I felt myself stand, though I hadn’t realized I had commanded myself to do so.
    “Are you okay?” The young woman asked.
    “No…” I whispered, grabbing the back of the seat for support as the cabin and its passengers began to spin. “No I’m not okay.”
    “What’s wrong?” she asked her voice thick with concern; her hand still resting on her pregnant belly.
    “Ben…” I whispered through clenched teeth. “Benjamin Jenkins… is my husband.”

    1. L. Peter Spinner

      I liked it a lot, actually. I too like to write with a lot of dialog to tell a story. Some experts say this is more of a screenplay style of writing, but I don’t know about that. My take is quotes or no-quotes…if the story is told well then the writer has done their job. I’d say you did very well with this effort. Congrats!

    2. Mango

      I love this story! It is very well written, and I love the plot. It was very interesting! The only suggestion I have is that it was a little predictable. From the beginning I know the father was her husband. Why? Just because of the nature of a 500 word piece. There wasn’t much time for the plot to come back around and relate to the main character, so I took the most obvious and direct route possible. In longer pieces, it would be much easier to conceal the ending. It also means that you have good endings, and you are able to tie everything together nicely.

      It’s probably not that predictable for everyone. I just have a “knack” I suppose you could say for figuring out the endings before I’ve read them. I would just say add a few details to throw the reader off. Red herrings, if you know what I mean. I get that it’s pretty impossible with a limited word count, and it’s nothing against you. Just a little tip. I’m not sure how you could have made it less predictable and still kept within the limit, but it’s something to think about for future writing.

      Otherwise, I love this! I’m so glad you posted, it was a joy to read. The plot ideas is creative, and that’s half of writing. A lot of prompts have “predictable” endings, or ways you would expect them to go. When writers take a completely different spin on things, it makes it a lot more fun to read. Keep up the amazing writing!

  56. Leond

    I was just finishing a chapter when the woman sitting beside me on the airplane tapped me on the shoulder. The man in the aisle seat had gotten up to join the line for the bathroom, and so the two of us were siting alone. She was a funny looking woman, with straight, black hair, about a year older than me. I closed the book.
    “Can I tell you something?” she said.
    I shrugged, slightly curious.
    “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.”
    “The world’s going to end tomorrow.”
    It wasn’t quite the sentence that I expected. I decided to play along.
    “What makes you think that?” I asked.
    “Well, because I’m going to end it. I know it’s supposed to come like a thief in the night and all that, but I just couldn’t stand sitting next to someone for four hours and not mention it. I should introduce myself, though. I’m Famine. The second horseman of the Apocalypse.”
    I nodded. “So you are.”
    “Pass me that bag of peanuts.” She pointed to the one I had just gotten from the stewardess. I put it in front of her and she touched it with his finger. A second later, the bag crumpled. She passed the empty bag back to me. I examined it, as she continued speaking.
    “Sorry for the showiness. So, tomorrow is the agreed upon day for the little unpleasantness. Before then, I’d just kind of been hanging out. I never found a job where my ability to cause famine would be really useful, like Death, but I got a pretty decent life just sort of traveling for a while. Then I settled down as an accountant and saved up for this. Tell me, what do you think you’re going to do with the last day of your world?”
    “I don’t know,” I replied, somewhat stunned. “I’ve never thought about it.”
    “Well, if you’re going on a business trip, you should consider skipping it. As for me, I’m visiting someone.”
    “I had a boyfriend a while ago that I want to see before the end of your world. A nice guy, but we met under strange circumstances. The two of us were passionately in love for a few months, but I left him, because I could see he didn’t want commitment. A few months later I had a baby. The father’s name is Plenty. I hope you’ve met our child. His name is Love.”
    “Plenty lives in Memphis?”
    “Just outside. It’s complicated. I need to say goodbye.” She looked at me. “I have to ask you not to tell anyone else about this. It’s rather confidential, and it will lose its effect if everyone knows about it. And I’m sure the others would just kill me if they found out that I blabbed.”
    I assured her that I would say nothing, just in time to be interrupted by the return of our neighbor. And I wasn’t going to say anything about it either. Pestilence had already asked me not to either when the two of us had met on my transfer flight where he was visiting some doctor named Judy. Everybody needs somebody, I suppose.

    1. Juneta2u

      Great story concept. It did leave me asking what happens next? Did the world end, or did love save the day? And the question, “Tell me, what do you think you’re going to do with the last day of your world?” If it were a bigger story, could also be a hook for another story or inner story for the main character. I enjoyed the tale. Great start to build on a bigger story with more details about the characters, the parts they play, and the cause and effect of the whole thing. Nice short story. Nicely done.

    1. Egg

      Good characterization. I really liked the ending but think it could have been a bit ‘punchier’ (perhaps leaving out “the case was given out last year to their employees” – it slows down the joke by explaining something the characters would already know and the reader doesn’t really need to know). Just a thought – what do you think?

  57. carey303

    I had already seen the woman standing in the line at the airport, she was chatting with the people in front of her. She was very animated and excited about something and at that moment I said a silent prayer to please not have her sit by me. I needed quiet time to pull my thoughts together after my visit with my mother and her new very young, very annoying boy friend.
    I settled into my window seat and of course guess who sits right next to me. She smiled at me adjusting her tailor made suit. She was one of those women who never seems to get wrinkled, sweaty, or has a bad hair day. She also did not have a mark on her face except for a beauty mark, perfectly placed by God next to one of her amazing brown eyes.
    As the plane lifted off the runway and into the air she turned to me and in a very throaty whisper she said, “Excuse me, miss, I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely have to tell someone, I noticed in the airport…”
    I raised my hand in stop sign fashion and firmly said, “Stop right there, you may have mistaken me for a person who is interested in speaking with perfect strangers about things they shouldn’t be talking about, but let me correct you right now I’m not. I do not have conversations with taxi drivers, beauticians, or the man at the deli. All I want from them is a ride, a haircut, or some pork chops, so don’t take it personally I just don’t care. I have my own problems that I need to address as well as happy exciting things in my life so I do not wish to chat about what you are dying to tell someone. I am going to get a martini from the flight attendant as soon as possible and then drift off where I won’t hear anything about anything. Again don’t take it personally it’s the way I am.”
    She turned her perfect profile away from me and after finally gaining her composure she opened a book and proceeded to read. I had my drink and nap and the rest of the flight was to my liking. After we had landed I began to gather my things and noticed her staring at me. I was not about to apologize for my behavior as I surmised she expected by her bewildered gaze. She was the one who should apologize for trying to invade my private space.
    She tapped me on the shoulder and as I turned to her she curtly said, “I merely wanted to say that I noticed you had a carry on bag compliments of the Winderson Accounting Firm; the case was given out last year to their employees. Although it hasn’t been announced, I have been appointed the head of Human Resources and my main interest is in getting people in the organization interested in each other and becoming a more compassionate, and caring group of people. I have a feeling we will be having that chat you didn’t care about in my office on Monday morning, have a nice weekend.”

    1. Juneta2u

      I like the twist. The surprise at the end, and the way it made me smirk, in an ‘ah-huh’ kind of way. I didn’t know what she was going to say, but a definite reflection of the times. I was not sure if I liked it at first, but the twist made it for me. I’d like to be a fly on the wall in the office Monday. It made a nice short story.

  58. Niles Manning

    Three and a half hours till Washington. Three and a half hours till I’m free and away from this strange smelling citizen who just happened to be seated next to me. Three and a half hours of catching glances of his dirty blonde short and adult acne infested face decorated with the ugliest pair of shades ever Made in China. And of course, three and a half hours till I’m released and off duty away from his cheap Axe body spray and heavily starched button shirt; oh the horror.
    Almost on cue, he started talking. I made my bathroom trip early in hopes that I could peacefully sleep the remainder of the flight. I guess in attempts to ‘1 up me’ he took one as well. When he returned, before he could even buckle back in, he leaned over and whispered something into my ear.
    “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone. I have a bomb in my carry-on luggage… so I hope you didn’t make any plans for the rest of the day. By the way my name is Lance.” He said and faded back into position with an evil grin. I sat speechless and just stared at him while my brain interpreted what my ear drums had just received. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak, my eyes even failed to acknowledge the nature of blinking. I just sat there with pupils of stone and a physique to match.
    “Oh, and in case you’re feeling heroic, I’ve already predicted that. So while you were in the little boys room freshening up, I slipped a paralyzing poison into you’re lovely cup of Sprite. Tasty eh?” He said with the most demonic grin I’ve ever seen outside of a Steven Spielberg scene. I didn’t know exactly what I was feeling or if I was actually feeling anything at all, but I knew I had to do something; I couldn’t just sit here a die with the only intelligence available to stop a current terrorist attack.
    The guy just leaned back in his chair and acted as if he had merely told me the time of day. It was written on his face that he was ready to die for his cause. But there was one problem… I wasn’t.
    After I built up enough energy within my concrete muscles, I somehow leaned over into his ear catching him fully off guard.
    “There’s something I should tell you as well. The flight attendant initially gave me the wrong drink… I drink Seirra mist…”
    The shock in his eyes was priceless. That very moment, I spoke for everyone on board, everyone against terrorism, everyone on land with loved ones who have lost their lives or would potentially loose theirs now. I spoke for souls of lost Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, Navy seamen, and anyone who has every stood up, or spoke up, against terrorism… and it felt lovely.
    “By the way, my name is Air Marshal Clemmons…”

    1. coco4bee

      I think this is a really good piece, given that the details are followed with terrific reasons. In other words, there was a high volume of detailed text that supported the next line and next, amazingly well. It was fun to read the vivid descriptions from physical appearance to physical reactions…as the reader, I could see this scene in my mind. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Egg

      Very nice story. Technically, I would suggest reading aloud for punctuation. (What’s that example? “Let’s eat, grandma!” vs “let’s eat grandma!”). Start with “Casually leaning the man….”

      Keep at it.

  59. K2T4e2n6

    The plane lifted off the runway and into the air. Casually leaning the man next to me whispered, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.” His words stirred inside my ear as well as my heart as I braced myself for his revelation. A cart pulled up next to me cutting off his words.

    “What can I get you to drink?” The flight attendant flashed me a big toothy grin and the man quickly turned back to the window leaving me to decide between soda, or something more potent. I decided to just stick to my diet and chose a tonic water to accompany my free pretzels. The flight attendant gave me one last smile and swung her cart back into the aisle continuing her mission.

    I turned back to my companion mentally ticking down the time we had left in the flight and surmising what he could possibly have wanted to tell me-and if I could stomach listening to it for the next few hours. Deciding I needed to know more than I needed to be quiet I cleared my throat in what I hoped was an obvious “let’s talk” manner. I looked over at him and sat patiently. He slowly turned towards me. Peeking around the plane and apparently deciding the other passengers were properly engaged in their own conversations, he leaned back over to me and whispered:

    “She’s my daughter.”

    She? “The flight attendant” I whispered back, watching the receding figure in the distance.

    He nodded. I looked my companion up and down noting his straight, chiseled features and deep-set gray eyes. The next time she came around I would need to look at her more closely. She had gray eyes I at least knew that. “Does she know?”

    The old man shook his head sadly. He explained to me he only had a picture of her from when she was years younger and that time and bad circumstances had separated them. He had never known what happened to her. He had gone on with is life, but continued to think of her. One day a long ago friend of his, a police detective, had come across the girl at a hotel while attending an out of state police convention. She looked enough like the picture that the detective decided to look into it-and it was her. He had immediately called his friend, the old man I talked to now, and reported his finding. The old man immediately booked a flight to her town hoping to convince the adoption agency to schedule a meeting so he could meet his long lost daughter.

    Imagine his surprise when, upon boarding the plane, the little girl with the gray eyes showed him to his seat.

      1. LaurenJaye

        Great story, it kept me hanging and I felt my heart race along with the girl!

        I wish I had the ability to write suspense like this. Well done.


    1. Egg

      Very creative as usual, (and I have personal reasons for loving the punchline).

      I do notice there’s a few passive verbs in here that may be more effective if made active. ‘A loud bang was heard’ is a noticeable one. Not a criticism, just something to think about.

  60. jmiff328

    The plane was headed for Los Angeles by way of Louisville. I was seated in business class, putting my final touches on a presentation that I was to give the following day. The plane lifted off the runway and into the air. The man sitting next to me was sweating profusely from all areas in his body. I have a tendency to suffer from air sickness so I said a silent prayer that he had put on his Degree this morning, and went back to my work. I was interrupted minutes later when my neighbor whispered into my ear. “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret but I absolutely must tell someone.” I turned my head toward my greasy companion and nodded gently. He continued “My name is Anderson, and I know that we are going to crash.”

    My face betrayed me immediately. I was terrified and it showed. I asked him as quietly as possible “How would you know something like that?” He stuck a piece of chewing gum in his mouth and pushed his fingers around in his ears, trying to get them to pop. He must have succeeded because a small smile creased his face and he whispered back. “This is an experiment. It’s some CIA of FBI thing I think. They told me and a few other people. They are trying to see how people react in a crash. I was paid handsomely for getting on this plane.”

    My heart rate was way above average and I had become more sweaty than Anderson. I stood and searched the cabin for the air marshal. I couldn’t spot him but I did see three other people standing and looking around with the same intensity. I locked eyes with one of them, a woman in her twenty’s with blonde hair and a pink velour sweat suit. Once our eyes were locked I assumed we would try and stop this disaster. She screamed while pointing at me, “He’s going to make us crash! He’s got a gun or something.” I looked around at the other passengers. About half were afraid and the others were ready to kill me. I glanced down for Anderson to explain but he was gone.

    A loud bang was heard coming from first class and then screaming. A man with a pistol parted the curtains and came back to our seating area covered in blood. “ I killed him!” he said. Two men jumped on him immediately pulling the gun away. Another loud pop from the front of the plane was soon followed by the masks of oxygen dropping from the ceilings. Everyone ignored them as chaos spread. The plane was out of control and I knew that Anderson was right. We were going to crash.

    Secret Bunker- Washington D.C.

    The man with the grey beard turned off the computer screen after the picture went black. “The plane has crashed sir.” “Yes, Thank you General. It seems that our experiment was a success then. These damn Americans just can’t keep a secret can they?”