Projects > Story-of-the-Day > eta
ETA"Excuse me. Can I ask you something?"
I wake up and groggily look over. The face of a young boy is about six inches away from mine. He is clearly agitated. I look at him for a couple of seconds trying to process what's going on, "Uh, sure. What do you need?"
"Do you know how long we've been flying? It was supposed to be six hours but it's been too long."
"Well, I was just sleeping so it's hard to say." I looked over to the next seat and see a woman sleeping, "Maybe you can ask your mom over there." I close my eyes and try to go back to sleep.
I hear, "No, she won't help" as I drift off to sleep.
I wake up to the distinctive beep you only hear on planes. I see a stewardess looking at me and hear the sound of the young boy again, "How much longer is this flight?"
"I've told you. The flight remains on time. Now please remain in your seat with your seatbelt fastened and we'll be there before you now it." She walks away.
The young boy turned to me and sees that I'm awake, "You notice how she didn't answer my question? It's because we've been flying for a few days. Something is really wrong."
I half roll my eyes, and nod my head. I pull the Kindle out of the seat back pocket and start reading 1Q84. I get completely absorbed by the book and don't notice anything at all. Just when I learn that Aomame is pregnant in the book, the boy taps on my arm. I look over and he's looking at his clock. "Hey, you've been reading for six hours. You started after we were already flying, and we're still up. See, something is wrong."
"Well then we're almost there. Just take a nap and you'll wake up on the ground." I put the Kindle back in the seat back pocket and take my own advice.
I wake up and feel fairly refreshed. The boy next to me is asleep. Hmm, we're still flying. This is kind of strange. I feel pretty stiff so decide to walk around and stretch. As I get to the back, I see the stewardess from earlier, "Hi, I was just wondering how much longer the flight is."
The stewardess looked me over scornfully and says, "I've told you repeatedly, we're nearly there. Now if you're not going to use the bathroom, please take your seat and fasten your seatbelt."
"Sorry, I was just wondering."
The stewardess just continued looking at me so I just back away and go back to my seat. It was kind of weird that she didn't answer the question though.
I sit back down in my seat and the boy wakes up. He looks at me, "See, we're still not there."
All right, this is getting too weird for me. I push the call button and the stewardess comes up next to me. "Do you need something?"
"Yes, could you tell me how much longer the flight is?"
She now looks really mad. "Sir, I've told you repeatedly. We are almost there. I'm going to walk away now and you are going to stop calling me over here for this nonsense. Do you understand?"
"Yeah, that's fine. Could you just answer the question? How much longer will it be?"
The stewardess looks at me sternly and walked away. A minute later, a large man with a coat walks back through the aisle. He stops in front of me. "Are you the man who keeps pestering the flight attendant about when the flight will end?"
"Uh, I asked a couple of times."
He flashes a badge at me and looks at me without blinking, "I'm an Sky Marshal on this flight. I'm going to need you to stop bothering any of the attendants on this flight. Can you do that for me?"
I'm starting to feel a little agitated. "Look, I just want to know how much longer the flight is. I've been talking with this young man and we both have the feeling that the flight has been way over the six hours."
The marshal looks over at the boy, then stares at me for several seconds. Finally, he says "Sir, are you feeling ok?"
He points back to the seat, "There is clearly nobody sitting next to you. There is an empty seat between you and the woman sleeping in the window seat.
I look over and the boy seems scared. I look back at the marshal and can feel adrenaline being released. The marshal must have noticed and pulls me up by my arm. "Sir, for your safety, I'm going to detain you for the remainder of the flight." He pulls my body around and I hear the clinking sound of handcuffs.
Out of instinct, I start struggling to get free. I accidently kick the woman in the window seat. Where did the boy go? She starts waking up and beings processing what's going on around her. I yell out, "Something's wrong with this flight! Everybody check the time. It's taking way too long!"
The woman who I've kicked looks at me with panic in her eyes. She grabs her purse, "Oh no, honey. Did you take your Haldol? I fell asleep and forgot to give it to you." She looked at the marshal, "Please, he didn't mean whatever he did. He just need his medication."