I was in seat 12A on American Airlines Flight 2493. I am about 6’3” tall, so flying is usually uncomfortable for me. I bent my neck at an angle to rest my head on the window shade. Slid my legs under the seat in front of me so my knees wouldn’t tire.
I fought the bespectacled old lady to my right for the armrest. Her elbow skin was really cold. I didn’t want to touch it. She won.
The flight attendants talked about what to do should the plane drop out of the sky. I didn’t listen. I hung in that fuzzy place between waking and sleep.
Then the guy in front of me released his seat. Dropped it right onto my knees. Woke me up with a start and I accidentally elbowed the bespectacled old lady in the tit.
I apologized to her while the guy kept flattening his seat. Heaving into it with all his weight. Pushing and pushing and pushing until my mantis legs wouldn’t spread any farther. I called out to him, but he kept rocking the chair. Trying to flatten it into a chaise lounge.
Then I said excuse me you’re gonna break my fucking legs. Fucking stop. He stopped.
His neighbor wheeled her meaty head around. She was wearing a teal neck-pillow. She pulled a lock of frizzy red hair out of her eyes and scowled at me. She cursed me for cursing at her son.
Upon further investigation I discovered that the guy in front of me was, indeed, a freckled fat kid of about 10, cursed with his mother’s ginger and jowls. He was frozen. Like a lemming cornered in its den. Everybody was staring at me.
I apologized to the two of them. She wasn’t having it. Gave me a piece of her mind. Said I had no right to talk to anybody like that. I totally agreed with her. I tried to explain why I was frustrated and she dismissed me and turned back to King of Queens. Her boy resumed playing Minecraft on his iPad.
My legs were twisted like a drinking giraffe. The old lady to my right was glaring at me like a gypsy peddler who’s been overlooked by a tourist. I smiled and leaned my head against the window again. She turned back to her issue of Sky Mall. Flipped through it without reading a single thing.
I released a gallon of gas. It was inaudible but heavy enough to shudder the seat. The old lady slowly turned to glare at me again. I pretended to be asleep. Watched her through the crack in my lids.
I ripped another fart made of bodega omelets and Funions. It wrapped its yellow coils around the gingers in front of me. The ginger woman’s head bobbed when the fart slapped her.
She whispered something to her son. He belched a defensive NO! I thought it was you!
Ginger lady was unconvinced. She scolded him. Said something about it being rude. He maintained that it wasn’t him.
She turned back to her show. Ever so slowly, the boy turned his head to peek back at me through the seat crack. I gave him a thumbs up.
When I was empty I fell asleep. I woke with a crook in my neck when we landed.