Short Story: Emergency Landing
So... I figured I would do something different on my blog and share one of my short stories.
I hope you enjoy!
The aircraft landed intact but slightly sideways. As luck would have it, the wing was blocking most of the entrance to my apartment building.
The beautiful woman that was accompanying me suddenly took off, ran ahead and vanished into the gathering crowd. I tried to catch her, but I was slowed down by the people near the door and the plane wing. After attending to some business, I managed to squeeze through. I raced up the stairs. Other tenants kept looking at me strangely, as if they had never seen me before, or ketchup was pouring down my face.
The woman was nowhere to be found, but her scent remained. It lingered in my nose as I searched the hallways.
I spotted her through a window. Tight red shirt. Long dark hair. She was a couple of hundred yards away, bustling down an alley toward the rear doorway of a large building. The alleyway was grotesque. Not with plane crash victims or anything, but a tiny stream of plane fuel was flowing into it, past trash cans, a car on blocks, a homeless guy’s sleeping bag and a couple of rats.
I ran downstairs. Outside, the clouds watched the chase with amusement. Above one cloud sat a circular gray disk, and beyond that disk sat a son of the father. He seemed to me to be floating back and forth.
I had no idea how the woman and I had survived my emergency landing. All I could think was, how the fuck was I going to get my room key back from her?
As I reached the alley door, the homeless man next to it grabbed my leg and in a tired, hungry voice said, “Please, can you spare a dollar?” (I’m translating, of course)
I reached into my pocket and handed him a few centavos. It was not much, but he seemed satisfied. I swung open the door and heard a wolf howling – or was it a boy’s scream? The high pitch sounded similar.
Then I caught her scent once more.
You’ve been drawn in by a magical aroma before. Imagine that it belonged to a beautiful Latina: that’s how I was feeling. On the other hand, all I really needed was my damn key, since I had to move out of my place.
Now, in South America (Brazil, to be exact) this crazy game of chase might be considered normal, but I was not used to hunting a woman by smell. She had the distinct edge of knowing the layout of the land. I had the distinct disadvantage of being an American.
I made my way up the stairwell. The people in this part of town were not very appealing; they moaned and groaned and begged. They were scary, and a bad feeling filled my gut. I wanted to turn around, but I did not. I have always believed that I can do whatever I set my mind to, so I forged on. I bolted up eight more flights of stairs, then ran out onto the rooftop.
She was standing, back to me, poised on the edge. I could not help but notice her tanned legs, her nice round butt, and her scent howling in the wind.
“Rosalette!” I called out merrily, as if she were not trying to evade me. “I just need my key back, and then I promise I will leave you be.”
She turned her head slightly, glanced down at the alley, then out to the horizon.
“I apologize,” I continued. “I hadnʼt flown a plane in ten years, I had forgotten about downdrafts. But you are alive. We survived, we made it.”
“Flocko, you one crazy American,” she said.
“Now. My house key,” I insisted.
“No time. He is coming for me.”
“Who’s coming for you?”
She leaped off. I ran to look over the edge of the building and saw her scurrying down the fire escape.
I was relieved that I did not have to see a splattered body. While I chased her down to the ground level, one local woman threw a pan at me out her window and another sprayed me with cooking oil. I felt handicapped by my white skin, as odd as that sounds, for it made me stand out among the locals.
I dropped to the ground off a hanging ladder. I thought about giving up the pursuit, but her scent was stronger now. Rosalette wasn’t running that fast. I tore on through the heart of darkness, along the trickle of plane fuel, relentlessly following her. She was heading back toward the scene of the emergency landing. Even though running in fear, she was beautiful. Her blessed genetics made me crave her... and made me blush with embarrassment. With my lighter skin I could never be nearly as attractive.
“Rosalette! Just give it back, and I will take my plane and fly out of here and never bother you again.”
In front of the aircraft, she spun around and faced me. Those glowing eyes were the prettiest dark brown I’d ever seen. The kind of eyes that American girls do not have. Eyes that had known real poverty in the favelas, as well as real love. Those eyes had captured my heart.
But she turned away again and pushed through the throng of people, heading back into my building. As I approached, I saw the local kid I’d paid had finally learned how to pour fuel into my plane’s tank, not just all over the alley way.
I was frustrated and thirsty and tired of being stared at, so I too pushed and elbowed my way through the line upstairs, growling and making threats. Reluctantly they cleared me a path.
She had only taken me in a circle. On the fourth floor, I ran straight to my apartment, only to find the door locked.
“Rosalette!” I banged. “I know you’re in there. Stop playing with me. I need to get my shit out so I can leave. Come on, please.”
I thought about getting help, but I knew there were few honest policía on this side of town. From the hall balcony window, I observed something weird outside. A man in a distinctive blue suit was slowly walking around the plane like a detective. He bent down and touched the gasoline. He stood back up and ran his fingers down the side of the plane. He sniffed the air. When he looked up through his dark shades, he spotted me at the window. With an urgent wave of his arm, two huge henchmen appeared beside him and the three began muscling their way through the throng.
I turned in a panic and banged again. “Open the fucking door, Rosalette!” I hated swearing, I wasn’t a cusser, but I was scared shitless.
I was able to kick open the door in time to see Rosalette maneuvering her nice ass out my open window. The guy in blue must have seen her, too; as he arrived at the main door, he sent his cocksucking cronies around the side of the building.
After she had hopped all the way through, I followed. “The man in blue, Rosalette, he’s here!”
“Run, my Flocko,” she said. “Here’s your card.” She slapped it on the window ledge and vanished down the fire escape.
I picked the card up and tucked it into my pocket, ever more concerned about our pursuers.
When I reached the side road, she had gone back in that same alley door, and the man in blue was closing in fast behind us with his thugs. I barreled through the door, shouted for her in the still hallway and made my way upstairs past the moaning drug addicts and homeless individuals. A couple of them tried grabbing for me, but I was soon up on the eighth floor, opening the roof door.
“Rosalette!” I cried out.
“Flocko.” Her voice was solemn. “You shut up.”
“But Rosalette, I am here to protect you!” She laughed at me, a bit cruelly I might add. “What is so funny, my dear? I want to help you. Tell me, who is this man after you?”
“Oh, my dear Flocko. Your romanticism is endearing. Those men don’t care about ideals. All they care about is my body.”
“As do I, sweetheart,” I said, looking around, “I’m pretty sure that I was the one to notice your body first.”
“Yes, you did. But it’s the wrong time, and I am the wrong image of woman.”
“What does that even mean?”
I tried to grab at her dress, but my nervous hand found her leg instead. Her cry echoed as the roof door burst open. It was the man in blue and his goons. I reached for her hand as he strutted toward us, but she did not take it. She glanced over her shoulder, clearly frightened of him, then turned away, her face now open to the sky, peering up through the clouds and the spinning disk toward the son and the father...
A light rain began to sprinkle on our heads. The pursuer leaned over the ledge and stared quietly.
I looked down at Rosaletteʼs body. Smoke swirled through the alley air near her and seeped into our pores. A couple of locals covered and carried away her body.
The man in blue and his thugs did not care much about my presence and exchanged a few empty words.
I left up the alleyway, removed the few possessions remaining in my room, and headed back to my plane.
I paid the gas delivery kid a few extra centavos and boarded my aircraft. In a dark mood, I blotted out everything I thought meant anything. At least the locals were no longer staring strangely at the wayward Yankee pilot. In fact, they had migrated a quarter of a mile down the dirt road and up a hill, atop which they stared skyward at something else I had not noticed.
The man in blue walked past the cockpit in silence and disappeared.
I put the plane engine in reverse and eyeballed the dirt ’runway’ ahead when, off in the distance, I saw what had caught everyone else’s attention.
It was her, the Latina. She wasn’t floating. She wasn’t a cloud or an angel, but there she stood against the sky, breathing in the hearts and minds of her people as a beautiful, towering statue.