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Mini Sledgehammer: February 2011

Can you believe it’s February already? The diamond companies certainly won’t let us forget. Why don’t we throw them a bone and write something loosely wedding based? Be romantic or cynical, literal or digital, but make it literary and use all the prompts!

Prompts:
character: a wedding planner
action: putting on the oxygen mask
setting: on an airplane
phrase: “I’m allergic.”

Only writers present can compete, but if you’re writing from home for fun, be sure to post your story to your own blog or website and then put a link in a comment below.

Thanks for writing!

Congratulations to Man Price, who says of his prize package, “I love all my new toys!”

***

"Self-Portrait"

What Money Can’t Buy

by Manchester Barry Price

Being rich is a mixed bag.  I know you’re all thinking, “Yeah, right!” and I understand how you feel.  The problem with being rich is that you have the money to do, basically, whatever you want, so there is this pressure to actually do it.  More specifically, you’re often pressured to do what everyone else says you want.

After I proposed, my bride to be, Sandy, picked New Zealand for our wedding and honeymoon.  I live in Utah for good reason: it’s mostly flat, there are few bodies of water, no hurricanes, no tornadoes, earthquakes are rare and you can go anywhere you want in your very own car.  “Sandy!  What are you thinking?  I can’t go to New Zealand.  Are you crazy?”  Sandy was not about to give me any slack.  She had thought this out; she had a plan.  Tough Love was to be her wedding theme.  “Why can’t you babe?” she cooed, “It’s just a plane.”  “Because I’m allergic!” I yelled.

“Allergic to what?”

“To everything!”

Cue the wedding planner and the life coach and the couples councilor and the hypnotist.  Cue the mock airplane.  Throwing money at the problem, Qantas delivered a shiny 747 flight trainer and every day for a month, our whole crew gathered.  We trained and trained and trained.

Just climbing the ladder and going through that small door had me freaked out.  “Keep coming, babe,” said Sandy.  “You can do it,” cried the rest of the team.  “Remember the visualization,” said Sandy, “Visualize a huge desert with nothing in it,” she said, because all the typical visualization scenes made me even more anxious; oceans and waves and hawks flying and just floating on the water.  So I visualized nothing but empty desert and made my way down the isle.  “Row, three!  Row nine!  Row eighteen,” they all cried, “You’re almost there!”

By row twenty-two I was on my hands and knees.  I was sweating, cursing, mumbling to myself, whining; and they were all happily and lovingly screaming at me to “Go, go, go; you can do it!”  I made it to row twenty-six, way the hell back.  It was like visiting all the levels of hell.  I pulled myself up into the chair and began hyperventilating.  The oxygen masks dropped down.  I had the clarity, the urgent sense of survival to remember the safety video we had gone over sixty times.  I got the string around my neck, the mask on my face and I looked to the seat beside me, ready to put a mask on the child who was always there in the video, but of course the seat was empty.

And then finally, my mask began to fill, and I had the first sense that I just might live.  I didn’t calm down right away, but it was better.  The wedding planner was rubbing my shoulders.  The hypnotist was mouthing the words, “Deserted desert… flat… alone… safe…”  Sandy was in the row ahead of me, her knees on the seat and leaning back to face me.  Her eyes were like all the pictures you’ve ever seen of God looking down and saying, “I am love.  You can do it.  You may enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

They told me later that they had spiked the oxygen supply in the customized flight trainer with laughing gas.  I’m here to tell you; friends, that stuff works.  “Movie,” I’d drooled, “Where’s my cocktail and peanuts?  Get this baby up in the air and lets get cranking for New Zealand.”

My first training flight was a smashing success.  Literally, as it turned out.  Descending the ladder, still unbelievably high, I fell fourteen feet onto the tarmac and fractured ribs, broke bones, scraped, bruised, sprained; you name it.  We spent our honeymoon, four glorious weeks, at a secluded vacation spot in the high desert.  It was wheelchair equipped.

There’s talk of California for our first anniversary.  We can drive there in our very own car.

© 2011 Manchester Barry Price

***

Man Price eagerly awaits the March issue of The Sun; the first time his work will appear in print. He loaded Kerouac’s On the Road to his iPod in January. He just keeps listening, 34 days and counting. Man’s blog can be found at http://manprice.blogspot.com/

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2 Responses

  1. Loved your story! The voice is strong, and the twist of the airplane still being in the tarmac was wonderful. In a very short time you created real characters, and a true story arc. Your ending, too, is wonderful. Funny!

  2. Congrats Man Price. Great voice and nice twist. You make me smile.

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