Saturday, April 4, 2009

What happened to flight heavy 29 to Melbourne?

He dreamed that someone had jumped him in a dark alley and had shoved a plastic bag over his head...

The silken suddenness of death's complete mastery shook StuWiFoo out of a coma-like sleep where the paralyzing terror of frightened dreams gave way to brutal reality. The dark of the aircraft passenger seating was only punctuated briefly by weak red LED flashes reflected from the shiny plastic of limply floating oxygen masks. Everything was floating. Suddenly the dark was shattered by an active flashlight wielded by a surviving flight attendant, the suddenness of the bright light like lightning flashing through a midsummer's night. The blueish-white beam played across the interior of the cabin, skipping quickly over the obviously dead passengers to briefly light upon the handful still alive. The beam of light flickered over to the sealed, twisted, cockpit door with a small rent in the frame where swirled a small funnel of dust and paper as the air bled into nothing.

"I think our air is goink." Spoke one surviving passenger with a Russian accent. "The oxygen masks are dead," gasped a woman. And now Stu could hear the hiss of escaping air. Already two other survivors were hastening like first time swimmers to float their way over to the leak and stuff something into the hiss. The illumination in the cabin wavered as another survivor jostled the passenger holding the flashlight. Eternity passed in ice-age seconds. Finally, the screamingly long twenty seconds that it took to seal the leak were over and everyone took a deep breath wishing the air were thicker. One more passenger, an Egyptian by appearance, spoke with an Arabic accent, "What do we do now?" The other passengers sighed, as if acknowledging the question, but no one replied.

Sometimes in your journey through life, you encounter circumstances that make you realize that you are thoroughly, ineffably, screwed. In the shock and confusion of returning consciousness among the passengers still alive on Flight 29, it occurred to these passengers rather quickly that they were in this screwed state. As some among the small crowd began to mutter prayers to themselves, the dark sense of doom was suddenly suspended.

The sound of a strange violent dull clunk as of machinery suddenly becoming one with the hull of the aircraft radiated in the thin air from about where the mid-section emergency door was located. A rhythmic tapping on the door denoting intelligence began and then repeated.

As Stu began to realize that the tapping sounded like Morse code, he found his thoughts interrupted by the excited voice of another passenger, a young woman who was obliviously translating the letters being spelled out and muttering, "O-f-f-n-e-t" "What does it mean?"
Remembering conversations with a brother at the Language School, it immediately came to Stu's mind--"Is it German?"--then out loud, "it's Ö-f-f-n-e-t which is German for 'open'."

"But the air," wailed a passenger. Before anyone could object, Stu pushed through and began the procedure for opening the door. The door opened to better air and flashlight beams poking into the dark cabin. "Guten Tag," began a man dressed in a uniform reminiscent of a passenger ship's officer, "Ihr komst", and then looking at Stu and a number of other passengers, in broken English, "You come--all!"

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