Looking Down (Flash Fiction)

The plane cruised along comfortably at 30,000 feet. Bob titled the controls away from his hands and stretched. Brian, his copilot, stifled a yawn. The ocean stretched before them in an endless blue of shimmering light. Puffs of white dotted the sky. Bob looked out his window at the small islands below. “Sure would be nice to be there about now,” he said.

Brian smiled and nodded. “Yup.”

Bob continued his stare. White beaches formed thin lines that warded off the sea. Lush greens of palm trees filled the island centers. Beautiful aquas hugged the sandy beaches. Distant reefs pushed the endless deeps away. “Do you ever…”

“What’s that?” asked Brian.

Bob looked on intently. “Sometimes when we’re flying, when we’re making these trips, I wish we’d get some sort of catastrophic engine failure. The plane would tilt and lose control…” Bob turned and looked at the array of instruments before him. “We’d do our emergency response, but it’d be no good. We’d crash into the ocean and wash up on some deserted shore.” Bob nodded to himself, lost in the day-dream before him. He snapped out of it when he turned and saw Brian.

“You wish the plane would crash?” Brian asked.

“Well—”

“What about all the people?” Brian’s face was twisted. “What the hell happens to them?”

Bob shrugged. “Some can survive, I guess.” Brian’s face twisted even further. “Look, man. I’m not saying I want people to die or anything—”

“No, not all of them,” Brian interrupted. “Just most of them.”

Bob’s face flushed. “I’m just saying, man. It’d be nice.” Brian tried to speak but Bob cut him off. “Not for people to die! But it’d be nice to be down there, on one of those islands, just living your life. Ya know?”

The panel in front of Bob began blinking red. Brian’s head snapped forward. He flipped the switch to silence the alarm. Indications for the left side engine were cascading. Bob flipped two switches and checked the log. “What’ve you got?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” Brian said. “The indications don’t make sense.”

Bob made a few more adjustments and hit a reset. The alarms cleared. “Hmm. Spurious alarm,” he said. “They were supposed to fix that.”

Brian let out a sigh and glared at Bob. “So yeah, you mind shutting the fuck up about crashing for the rest of the flight?”

Bob put his hands back on the controls and frowned. “I’m not saying I want to crash, ” he said. “I’m just saying it could be nice.”

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4 thoughts on “Looking Down (Flash Fiction)

  1. When you constantly use the same names, it makes it seem like they are the same character from story to story, although they don’t seem to be the same characters. I’m not sure if that was intentional, but you may want to consider changing up the names on occasion if you want them to be distinct characters.

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