“I want to tell you a story, man.”
“A story. I want to tell you a story.”
I leaned back on my in-flight pillow with an eye in this fellow’s direction. He spoke to me as if he knew me, confident that I, or anyone who happened to be sitting in this seat, would certainly want to hear what he had to say. He must have been someone of some importance, I concluded, for only a man with a history of success and authority could wear that hair and moustache.
I acknowledged with a nod that I was indeed listening and that he should go ahead with what ever it was he wanted to tell me.
“How old are you?” He asked.
“Have you ever been close to death?”
I shrugged. “I suppose...”
“I mean really looked it in the face, you know?”
“I’m not sure.”
He adjusted himself comfortably in his seat and took a sip of his rum and coke.
“Riding on this aeroplane today is making me a bit nostalgic, I think. When I was a boy, my brothers and I loved music. My father had some money and was going to help record and promote us as a musical group. At the time, my brothers were with him in Australia and my father sent for me in London. I was to take his company plane to meet them in Sydney. Well, off the coast of New Zealand, the plane went down. Crashed. There we were, floating in this little silver tube in the ocean. I thought the pilot was dead. I tried to revive him, but keep in mind I was only twelve years old. Maybe he was dead, maybe he wasn’t. I’ll never know. When the plane started to sink, all I could think of was that I had to stay alive. Just stay alive.
“I knew enough to get the life raft, expand it, and get some rations. I got it all into the little boat and watched the aeroplane sink, right before my eyes. It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. I then floated for several days, thinking the pilot must have told them where we went down. I rationed my food and water but no one came and I just told myself, you have to stay alive, man. Just stay alive.
“Well, I came upon an island. I know it was an island because I walked around it several times before I realized I was going circles. I went towards the middle of it to try and find some food. I did find water and some fruit. I built myself a shelter and had some supper and on that first night, I lay on the sand and knew I had to stay alive...”
I put up my hand to stop him. “Ok. Hold on. This is amazing. Did this really happen?”
He laughed a spastic, girly chuckle, like a dog trying to bark with its snout taped shut.
“No, man. It was this really long, crazy mind trip I had in ’77. I used it in a song, though.”
Story-a-Day is an attempt to bring a small bit of humor and amusement to Mrs. ~brb and Audrey as they fight very serious illnesses. If you have a short, amusing story, please send it to kersley.fitz at yahoo dot com. If you'd prefer, you can drop it in the drop.io (password: challenge) and email me to let me know it's there.