Sunday, March 14, 2010

Writing Prompt #2

Writing Prompt #2:

A flight attendant learns that one of the passengers has brought a weapon on board.

His eyes never looked up as he walked past her, his hand clutching the hand of the tall woman walking beside him. Amber watched him walk by, then he was lost in the line of people squeezing down the small aisle to find their assigned seats. Shrugging off the strange behavior, she turned back to the boarding passengers, happily greeting them. The last passenger stumbled on, struggling under a bag that would obviously need to be checked. She would leave it to one of the other attendants to deal with. After making sure no one else was scurrying down the tube, Amber pulled the door shut and latched it.


The seatbelt light flashed on. Amber strolled down the aisle, shutting the now filled overheads. In the back of the plane she would see one of her fellow attendants was arguing with the passenger who had the over-sized carry on. Amber just chuckled. The plane rumbled, then Amber could feel the ground beneath her feet start to move as they taxied down the runway.

“Ladies and Gentleman, welcome aboard Southwest Airlines, flight number 32.”

Amber took her place in the aisle as the attendant on the speaker started the usual welcome aboard greeting. She smiled at the people in the seats next to her, only two of which were actually watching her memorized movements. “Please make sure that all carry-on items are stowed either in an overhead compartment or completely beneath the seat in front of you. If you have problems with the proper stowage of your items, please let a flight attendant know and we will be happy to help you...” In the back of the plane Amber could see the passenger who had had to stow their bag sitting glumly in their seat, arms crossed as if they had been thrown into a time out. The greeting continued, then clicked off.

Amber took her seat next to the other attendant, still disgruntled from having to deal with the now angry passenger. Amber knew she would hear about it later, so didn’t bother asking. The ground rumbled underneath, the engines spinning up to a loud roar as the plane jetted down the runway, then suddenly, it was smooth. They lifted into the air, soaring up into the puffy white clouds.

The flight was quiet. Most people just stared out the windows at the tiny buildings far below them. Or passed out, leaning to one side, their mouths hanging slightly agape. Amber repeatedly found herself stifling yawns. Finally she had had a enough and walked down the aisle, in the sore attempt to keep herself from joining the gaping mouthed sleepers.

Near the back she saw him again. The one who stared so intently at the ground as he boarded the plane just over an hour ago. Now he sat in the seat, lips tight and a scowl on his smooth face. Amber felt a funny feeling stir in her stomach, but she just shoved it to the side with disregard. The woman next to him was dozing off, her bun slowly coming undone, causing small strand of hair to flutter around her thin face.

“Could I get you anything? A pillow maybe?”

The woman looked up, blinking her eyes as if in surprise that someone was talking to her. “No, no thank you. I’m fine.”

Amber smiled then looked at him. “How about you sir?”

All he did was scowl. The woman looked at him tensely, then snapped “Don’t be rude.” He looked at her a moment, then sighed and looked back at Amber. His eyes bore into her a moment. Amber wondered what was making his day so bad, but knew it would be very inappropriate to ask.

“No ma’am.” He muttered. Amber smiled and straightened herself, turning to head back down the aisle. As her eyes swept over him one last time, she saw his hand slide down into the pocket of his baggy coat, gripping something tightly. Curious, Amber pretended to fix the storage compartment above his head. His hand fumbled a moment, then pulled the object slightly out as if checking to make sure it was still real. Amber saw the handle of the gun briefly, then it was shoved back into the large pocket.

She froze a moment. Her mind spun, thoughts pummeling through it in a frenzy to find a solution for what she just saw. Slowly she made her way back down the aisle, barely noticing the feet that now jutted out into the walkway, causing her to stumble occasionally. The scowl now made sense. How he was avoiding eye contact. The snap in the woman’s voice. Everything came together. Amber made her way back to her seat in the front and sat down, hands smoothing her pencil skirt as the moment replayed through her mind.


She looked up and saw the other attendant standing over her. “Oh, hey Jane. What’s up?”

“Uh, nothing with me. But what’s on with you? Looks like your mind is in another terminal.”

Amber chuckled. “Feels like it to me too.” He eyes scanned to the back of the plane. He still sat, hand in pocket, the glare never leaving his still young face. “Naw, I’m fine. I just - ” He squirmed in his seat. Amber stopped mid-sentence, her eyes glued to his pocket. He leaned in and said something to the woman next to him. She looked down at him, then snapped something back quickly. Huffing, he slammed his head back against the seat, shutting his eyes a moment in frustration. Amber could see his hand squirming in the pocket.

“Amber. Earth to Amber…”

“Huh?” Amber looked up. Jane was looking down at her with worry etched on her tan face.

“Whatcha looking at, huh?”

Amber licked her lips. “Jane, in the back. Next to the tall woman. Have you noticed him?”

Jane glanced back a moment. “Oh, him? Yeah sure, why?”

“What do you think?”

“I think he is having a bad day and lady next to him only is making it worse, that’s what I think. What’s going on Amber?”

“Nothing. Nothing. I was just wondering. Its ok…I’m fine.”

“Fine, whatever. Landing in ten.” Jane scanned her eyes over Amber one more time, then wandered back down the aisle, trash bag in hand to collect the plastic cups and peanut bags that were now littering the aisles and trays.

Amber knew what to do. Her mind calmed, the decision almost bringing a smile to her now calm face. Walking over to her small locker, she opened it and pulled out the small package inside. It had been a present from her sister. She had just thought it useless, but still stowed it away wherever she went. Her sister had claimed you never knew when it would come in handy. Amber had just laughed at the time. Now she quietly thanked her sister for the foresight.

Disappearing into the tiny bathroom a moment, Amber unwrapped it and held it in her hands. This would have to do.

Clicking the door shut again behind her, Amber made her way down the aisle. He was now staring across it at the passenger who was still pouting over having to check their bag. Amber could see his hand turn to a fist in his pocket, wrapping around the handle. His eyes didn’t leave the passenger, who was oblivious to his angry glare that bore into them like blades. As Amber finally reached his row, he started pulling his hand out of his pocket, still clutching the small handle.

“I wouldn’t do it if I were you.”

His head snapped up to Amber. She stood over him, staring now at his bewildered face.

“Do – do what?”

“I think you know what I mean.”

He looked over to the woman next to him. She had dozed off, her head leaning again the small window. Then he looked back up to Amber’s calm face. “You cant stop me.”

“You sure about that?” Amber slowly pulled her hand out from behind her back, pointing the small gun in her own hand at him. His eyes opened wide.

“You wouldn’t.”

“I would. Trust me, I would. That person there, across from you…they are obviously having a bad day. Don’t make it worse.”

He looked one more time to the passenger, then chuckled to himself and started to lift his hand. “Maybe this will make it better.”

“I’m warning you.” Amber’s voice stayed calm, speaking slowly and carefully.

“Whatever.” His smart reply cut through the air as he smirked at her, then he aimed his gun at the passenger across the aisle. Amber didn’t hesitate. She pulled the trigger.

A thin stream of water shot out of her gun, drenching the boy’s face. He busted out laughing, wiping the cold water out of his eyes.

“Hey, you shot me!”

Amber chuckled. “Can’t say I didn’t warn you.” Smiling, the boy swung his gun to her and pulled the trigger. Warm water shot out, hitting Amber on the shoulder. Amber laughed again, causing the woman next to him to jar awake. She looked up and saw Amber standing there, water dripping over her shoulder. Then in shock looked down at her son.

“What did you do!?” Her face tightened in anger as she reached out to grab his water gun away from him.

“Ma’am,” Amber interjected. “Its alright. We were just…we were saving the day.” She winked at the little boy. The woman looked in shock at her one more time, then her face softened as she saw Amber twirling her own small water fun on her finger. “We will be landing in five minutes. Make sure to fasten your buckles.” She looked at the boy, who was still smiling up at her, water hanging off of his small nose. She winked at him, then added with a smile on her own tired face, “And have a good day.”

(Word count: 1656)