Dueling Cold Turkeys

Posted: November 2, 2013 by writingsprint in Drama
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

jackalopeI set foot on the plane. When my other foot came down, I turned sideways, held my hands up, and shuffled left and right MC-Hammer-style. I bumped into a businessman who looked more like Bill Gates than I wanted to think about, and into my young son, who rolled his eyes and wished he wasn’t there. The pilot and head stewardess chuckled.

“Don’t mind my dad. He always dances when he gets on planes,” Jimmy said.

“We see it all the time,” the pilot said. He looked at me. “It works every time.”

“I’m sorry,” I said to the businessman. He really did look like Bill Gates. But why would Bill Gates travel on anything other than his private jet? I smiled gratefully at the pilot. “Thank you. See, Jimmy? The mojo’s working.”

“Mojo jo-jo-jo,” Jimmy said. I wasn’t cool. I hadn’t been cool since he’d turn ten.

We made our way to our seats. We were flying to Disney World to meet up with my wife Cindy, Jimmy’s mother. Cindy had to go there on business and we were going to meet her for a long weekend. It was a rough gig but someone had to do it.

Jimmy took out his tablet computer and got back to playing some tower-defense–strategy game. I laid out a mini travel gnome, a mini jackalope, a pair of small red dice that I brought home from Las Vegas, and a ten-year-old postcard that I received on my first business trip to Idaho.

The postcard was the oldest piece. It was wrinkled, white creases running through it like old age lines, and bits of it wearing in the corners. Cindy had sent it to meet me at my hotel. I’d been holding it when my plane took a bird strike on takeoff on the way home. When the plane landed again and the whole mess was over, I still held tight onto the postcard. That was when I started collecting tchotchkes and doing a dance when I boarded planes. It kept me from needing valium or alcohol to handle the stress.

“I’m going to break you of your fear,” Jimmy said.

“Really? How are you doing that?” I asked.

He grabbed the postcard. “I’m going to put this one away.”

I almost peed my pants. I grabbed his tablet. “That’s fine. But fair’s fair. You break me of my addiction, I break you of yours.”

“Oh, come on. I’m not addicted!”

“Prove it.”

He slumped in his chair. I was sooo not cool. I wanted him to give me back the card. I was terrified we wouldn’t make it to Orlando now. My rational mind told me I could do this, and so could he.

“I didn’t bring anything to read.”

“There’s a magazine. I brought the paper and two books.”

“Here. Take the card back.”

“No. Come on, let’s do this.”


“It’s a four-hour flight. You’ll be fine.”

Jimmy twitched like a junkie. He was competitive enough that he wanted to prove to me he could do it. I was lucky he didn’t have a cell phone yet. “All right. But I get back as soon as we land.”

“That’s fair.”

I put all the stuff back in the bag I used to carry them on the plane and handed them to him. I was trembling. I felt myself sweat. We hadn’t even begun to taxi yet. It was going to be a long, long flight. I felt like every shiver of my soul, every drop of sweat coming out of my body, was going to be key to keeping us in the air.

This post was brought to you by the prompt “brilliant superstition” from Inspiration Monday at Be Kind Rewrite.

  1. I love the details of this cool little interaction, and I love the dad’s bravery.


    • writingsprint says:

      Thanks! That was a fun one to write. Most people probably don’t remember how ridiculous that MC Hammer dance would look on an airplane :).


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