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The Flying Circus

by BP | Score: 6000

Cabin pressure dropped. Oxygen masks fell into place. The plane was going down. This was it.

As the fuselage angled downward and the passengers began to levitate out of their seats as gravity became more of a suggestion than a cornerstone of hard science, a pilot and flight attendant burst through the cockpit door, their hands around each other's throats.

"It's your fault!" The pilot shouted. He was winning the choking match.

"My fault!" Croaked the flight attendant. His face had begun to turn beat red. His eyes bulged. Cornerstones of his performance the audience had begun to love. "You're the one flying the damn thing."

"I'm the one flying!" The pilot growled. "I'm the one..." He looked up toward the passengers--"toward", not "at."--his face shifting to a mass of soft, almost childlike, confusion  "Flying?"

They looked at each other. Then, in unison, shouted: "Who's flying the plane!"

Rushing out of the cabin, the two men got stuck at the cockpit door, each one taking up about half of the passageway. They struggled like ants being pushed into a tic-tac pack, arms and legs flailing.

They bickered back and forth. Argued about who was more important. Brought up distressing, embarrassing tidbits from their sordid past. The audience hooted in laughter as they plummeted to their death.

"I'm the pilot!" The pilot shouted.

"Oh yeah," the flight attendant replied. "I'm the flight attendant. I serve the drinks!"

Raucous applause.

A beat.

"I fly the bloody plane!"

Relenting. "Oh, yeah. Right."

With remarkable ease, the flight attendant stepped away, releasing himself from the death grip he and the pilot had seemingly got themselves caught up in. Sometimes the pilot fell to the floor, crashing like a bundle of loosely tied together sticks. Other times he continued to wriggle against the side of the door like a swatted fly, still struggling to break free despite there no longer being anything keeping him there.

This time he timed it perfectly, and stood up just as the flight attendant had. It had been another flight attendant's idea. She'd attended the Flying Circus as a child and had sat through their show dozens of times. Working there had been a dream of hers since she was a child. She did the three o'clock, four-fifteen, and five-thirty shows.

The two men brushed their clothes off. The flight attendant straightened his vest. Brushed off his sleeves. The pilot, after straightening his tie, fixed the name tag on the flight attendant's lapel. The flight attendant, hoping to return the favor, began futzing with the pilot's already fixed tie. The pilot slapped his hand away once, twice, then grabbed him by the collar and said, "Quit it!"

They then came apart and, no longer in a death struggle, relaxed. The flight attendant took out a cigarette and started to light it.

"Are you insane!" The pilot shouted, slapping it out of his hand.

"What?" The attendant said. "It's been a long day."

A smattering of laughter. The crowd was getting anxious. They had been in a zero-g inverted dive for most of the last three minutes. They had an appointment with the ground any second now.

"You know!" The pilot gestured around.

"Oh, right." The attendant grabbed one of the oxygen masks. "Oxygen."

"What? No! The passengers. Smoking is a dangerous hazard. You wouldn't want to hurt them would you?"

"Well," the attendant cast a sidelong glance at a few members.

"Just be professional."

The attendant shook his head, agreeing. The pilot put his hand against the door. Everything resovled.

They were both floating.

"Hey, captain!"

"Yeah?"

"Did we forget something?"

They both look out at the audience and shout, "The plane!"

Back to the doorway, a brief struggle, the attendant is pushed down while the pilot escapes into the cockpit.

Screens flicker on throughout the plane. A view into the driver's seat. The attendant is floating around the cabin now, propelling himself by pulling on luggage compartment doors. Rows 5, 9, and 13 are gimmicked. When he pulls on them, out come the gags. Balloon animals. Popcorn. A vague sex toy that the attendant quickly deposits in his vest.

Meanwhile, the pilot is doing a running commentary. Explaining how he needs to straighten the plane or they'll all die. He mentions the large gentlemen in seat F, row 6. How he is throwing off the alignment. He jokes about the attractive blonde in row 3, seat C, and how he'd like to throw off her alignment.

As the plane straightens and the flight attendant, along with the props, come crashing down, the pilot explains everything is going to be ok. They're going to make it.

Suddenly, the screens flickers. The lights go on and off. 

"The power's failing!" The flight attendant shouts. "Damn renewable energy! I knew it wouldn't last!"

"No," the pilot says through static. "Interference."

The screens go black. The lights cut out. Some in the audience scream. A face appears on the screens. A clown. He explains how he hates the Flying Circus. Curses it with every fiber of 

Completed challenges

The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:

Begin Start typing to begin
Words Reach 50 words
Words Reach 100 words
Words Reach 200 words
Event An airplane crashes
Sentence "It's your fault."
Letter Use the letter D
Words Reach 300 words
Location A circus
Words Reach 400 words
Words Reach 500 words
Words Reach 600 words
Words Reach 700 words
Words Reach 800 words

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