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Monday, May 12, 2014

It'll Never Fly

"That thing will never fly, you idiot"
Tommy was saying with spittle flecked lips
"It ain't got no engine!
What kind of idiot thinks he can fly without an engine?!"

I ignored him and his limited arsenal of adjectives
Made easier by the sound of a jet aircraft taking off
Passing directly overhead
As I slowly filed on the edge of the cockpit cutout

It had to be smooth
Otherwise the sharp metal would cut into my nice bumper I'd had sewn up
Which installed all around the lip
Forming a nice soft edge guard for my face
Should such a thing be necessary

Though I hoped not

Tommy watched me fasten the soft edge liner to the cockpit surround
"What's that?
So you can lay your idiot head down and cry when it doesn't fly?"
And then he laughed his donkey bray laugh at his own cleverness
Raising the hair on my arms
Just like it used to in second grade

Tommy hasn't changed a bit, unfortunately

Everything seemed ready
But I went over everything once more just to be sure

Stub wings firmly attached to short fuselage
Ailerons secure and movable
Tail surfaces secure
Rudder and elevators wiggle as needed under my fingertips
Carriage roller locked onto the launch track and free to roll
The thick metal eye on the nose of the aircraft firmly attached
Cable hook looped gently through the metal eye
Quick disconnect operable via the lever in the cockpit

I walk slowly down the launch track stretching off 100 yards into the back field
Eyeballing it as I go
Running the tow cable through my loosely closed hand as I go
Looking back at where it is attached to the nose of the airplane occasionally
Eventually reaching the end
Where the steel scorpio I'd constructed sat in all it's truck leaf spring salvaged glory
Cables and steel leaves pulled taut hooked to the electronic firing pin
Barbed steel arrow notched into the slot
With my specially designed spring bungee assembly on the aft end of the arrow
Tow cable hooked to that firmly
And coiled in a neat pile between the rails

I turned and jogged back towards my small aircraft
As it was almost time for the afternoon heavy to take off from the airport

Tommy's voice reached out to me from where he lazed upon the ground
"Run, Forrest, Run!"

Before I knew it my helmet was on and I was strapped in
Staring down the twin rails as I listened to the airport tower frequency on my scanner
"Ranchero Air Seven-Four-Heavy,
You are cleared for takeoff on runway 17L"

And this was it
Because in a few minutes that aircraft would fly directly overhead
Hanging low over the first house after the end of the runway
Behind which was my launch track
Perfectly aligned with the flight path

Tommy was bored
"How far you think that thing will fly, idiot?
Ten feet?
I'll bet you tip over before you get to the end......"

His voice disappeared into a deafening rumble quickly approaching
My finger hovered over a remote switch on the side of my cockpit
The other hand squeezing the control stick and turning white

A shadow covered me for a split second
I pressed the button
The scorpio fired into the air
Dragging the coiled cable with it in a rapidly playing out single strand

The steel arrow climbed
My eyes followed it as it impacted the underbelly of the large 747
Embedding itself there in the structure

Suddenly there was no more time
I cried out
"Fuck you Tommy!"
Before I was snapped back in my seat
Accelerated at a barely survivable rate by my bungee assembly
That cushioned the sudden launch

The steel rails screamed and threw sparks as I zipped down them to the end
I pulled back on the stick
Elevators angled up
My airplane cleared the end of the rails and was airborne
Being dragged behind a jumbo jet at 300 miles per hour

I was flying