Ah, my first vacation in years! What a thrill! What a delight! Anxiously, I board the flight, shoving other passengers out of my way, shoving people off the airstair, shoving children into the overhead storage, just shoving shoving shoving.
But all of this changes when I take my seat and meet the guy sitting next to me. He immediately launches into some boring story, a story about murder, deceit, sabotage, and betrayal, a story of the risks one is willing to take to make it to the top, a story that shows that with hope, faith, and guts, even one ordinary man can change the world of small-town politics... forever.
“Boy, that’s pretty wild!” I say, and then I instantly fall asleep, because face it… when you’re running on no sleep, well… you go to sleep eventually. Right? AM I RIGHT?! And how are all these thoughts coming out of my head when I’m clearly asleep? I mean, I just said that I fell asleep. But did I really fall asleep? Or am I bluffing? Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am bluffing! I’ve always been a good bluffer, especially at sleeping. In fact, it looks like I’m sleeping, but I’m not. I’m just sick of this yahoo next to me blabbing on about some terribly dull story, so I shut my eyes. But I am actually very tired, so after about 30 seconds, I really do fall asleep.
I wake up sometime later (not sometime before). The sky is black outside the window, the lights on the wing flashing intermittently. A little… too intermittently. Something is wrong. No, it’s not. I don’t know what got into me there.
My neighbor to the left of me, the one who was blabbing on about something or other earlier, is fast asleep, his tongue lolling out of his mouth (LOL!). Just then, the flight attendant walks up. “Peanuts?” she asks. “Oh boy, peanuts!” I reply, and this means that I want some, so she dumps a bag of peanuts on my lap. “By the way,” I ask her, since I have really been wondering. “Where is this plane going?”
“DOWN!” she yells, and then pulls a detonator out of her pocket. I can tell it’s a detonator. I’ve owned a few.
“I knew it!” I cry, pointing at her with my crooked finger. By this point, many of the other passengers have awoken from their slumbers, and they are mumbling in a worried manner. “I knew it! I knew it all along! I knew you were a terrorist! From the moment you pulled out that detonator! I knew it!”
My neighbor to the left of me marvels at my deductions.
“Well,” says the flight attendant. “You may have guessed correctly this time, but that doesn’t matter anymore! You’re all going to die!”
Many passengers scream. There are a variety of screams. Some high, some low. Some fast, some slow. Some guy screaming who has no idea what’s going on, demanding to know why the beverage service is late and if he could get some V8. Another lady screaming at her 6-year-old who keeps complaining because his iPod died and he wants to play Pokeyman Crush Saga or Flappy Crush or some such ridiculous vidiot game on her phone. The flight attendant screaming as she’s waving the detonator up in the air, with a crazed look in her eyes. I’ve had enough of this madness.
I pull out my ear-buds and crank up Destiny’s Child, then settle back and relax. They’re my favorite band. My neighbor to the left of me nudges me. “Hey, we shoulda booked first class,” he says, and then we have a good laugh. Well, mostly just him because I’ve got Destiny’s Child on full blast, so I don’t really hear him. But I think that’s what he may have said. Or something along those lines. He may have said something completely different. But we both laugh, me a little bit, him a whole lot, tears streaming down his cheeks. Eventually, others join in the laughter too, including the flight attendant, who did NOT DIE. Then the pilots come and join in, and everybody holds hands, and sings “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” and a more heartwarming and inspiring scene I have never known, in all my days.
“And that’s how your old grampy saved Christmas,” I say, shutting the book, a large tome of thousands of gilded pages and a mysterious seal of a snake on the cover.
“Wow Grampy, that was a really great story! Can we read it again?” my grandson Billy says, his eyes gleaming like only a child’s eyes gleam.
“Maybe tomorrow kid,” I reply, in my thick raspy Ukrainian accent. “Now be at peace.”
At this point, I pull his blanket up to his chin, then reach up and shut his eyelids for him, since he’s not able to do it himself, having a very rare form of eyelid paralysis.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION (to be discussed as a loving family unit):
1) Why does Grampy feel the need to share his incredible true story with Billy? Who does Billy even think he is anyway, taking up Grampy's valuable time?
2) Describe the influence that Destiny's Child has had on the modern-day libertarian movement.
3) Name 3 events that occur in the story that are critical to understanding the psychological motivation of the passenger who demands his V8.
4) Does anybody still drink V8? Why did anybody ever drink V8 in the first place? Explain.