The Idea Game (tf)

It was nighttime. I was on my way home. I tried not to think about the rickety 12 seat plane that was going to take me there. It looked like something out of World War I. Something that may have been shot down during World War I.

Walked onto the tarmac and handed my bag to a guy who was stowing the luggage. Sat down in my seat. Row one. Close enough to put my arm on the pilot’s shoulder. The pilot soon boarded. I recognized him because he was the same guy who was stowing the bags. This seemed to me cost-cutting to the extreme. But the guy seemed cheerful enough. He apologized that he wouldn’t have time to serve us drinks, and soon we were off….careening down the runway like a drunk on a sidewalk. Conversation was impossible. It would have been like talking inside a blender. The night was clear. The weather perfect. But that didn’t stop the plane from periodic nose-dives and seemingly random stomach churning evasive maneuvers. It was like flying with Snoopy when his blood was up over the Red Baron.

It’s for times like these that man invented pharmaceuticals. So after I while I settled in. I would be home soon. You can get used to anything when you’ll be home soon.

I peered out my window at the lights below. They looked like fireflies. Or lightning bugs I think we called them. It reminded me of when I was a kid. Trying to catch them in jars.

Ideas are like that to me. You try to pull them out of the sky. Keep them for yourself. Watch them light themselves up….and hope you have a pen handy when they do. Oh how many times have I been in bed when a great idea springs to mind, and instead of writing it down, I expect it to hold itself ’till morning. It never does (How many times as a child did I capture a lightning bug in a jar and expect it to be doing its thing 24 hours later. Instead it’s burned itself out…literally. As dead as Julius Caesar).

But the view from the plane. All those lights down there. A story to each one. Good. Bad. Ugly. Love stories. Stories of heroic struggle. Stories of quiet desperation. Bravery. Cowardice. Saints. Sinners. Redemption. Despair. To find a plot worthy of Shakespeare all you need to do is knock on a random door.

As the plane got lower you could see the roads. The headlights. Where was everybody going? Homeward bound like me? Or fleeing from something too hard to face. Perhaps heading to work. A 3rd shift. Maybe a second or third job. Or maybe just wanting to howl at the moon for a few hours. To be young again….if only until the beer wears off.

And then before I knew what was happening. Touch down. A little rough, like we were dropped on the runway by huge paws instead of easing onto it. But it certainly got my attention. And anyway, rough landings are nothing when you’re finally home.

Home. Ah the stories I could tell.

–Tom Flannery

~ by admin on December 8, 2010.

3 Responses to “The Idea Game (tf)”

  1. Lightning bug killer 10

  2. so you torture and kill lightning bugs

  3. Hey Tom, sounds like you’re writing about the puddle jumper from Philly to Scranton. I’m heading to Louisville in January so I’ll get to relive this on my way home…Bruce

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