Saturday, 28 January 2017

Micro-Tales: Jimbo and the Jet-Set and the Diverted Flight

Beware! the Zine continues to feed your literature bladder. A full literature bladder is a well-stocked armoury. You might one day need it.

Jimbo and the Jet-Set, and the Diverted Flight

Jimbo's schedule is disrupted by political upheaval in another country.

A happy Jimbo was already several hours into a transatlantic flight when the Chief called in with an alteration to the course.

"Jimbo? Jimbo? Come in, Jimbo!" came the Chief's squawk.

"Jimbo here, Chief! What's the trouble?"

"Oh, er, no trouble, Jimbo. Just a change to the route."

A change to the route, eh? That nearly never happened. Jimbo wracked his mechanical mind, turning up nothing. He checked his fuel level and wiggled his flaps, awaiting his new instruction.

"Now, listen up, Jimbo. This is a fluid situation and we don't know how it's going to pan out. Bernie Sanders has staged a coup and DCA in Washington is a no-go. Reports say he had the tarmac blown up and it's impossible to put a plane down. IAD and BWA are chock-full of DCA's traffic and you're being redirected to JFK in New York."

"Crikey, Chief! Sounds exciting!"

"It's not for you to get excited. It's for you to get your passengers stateside and grounded safely. You can't do it in Washington, so it's got to be New York. You don't have enough fuel to spend time thinking about this."

"Roger, Chief! You can rely on me."

Jimbo banked gently and put his nose towards New York. Not too bad, as far as diversions go. Settling down to a gentle cruising speed of 850km/h, Jimbo's thoughts drifted to events in Washington. Human affairs confused him. He wondered if happiness was something to be feared.

Just then, a voice came in crackly over the radio.

"Watch it, son! You're coming up on my six, and fast!"

That voice... Familiar. Jimbo eased off on the throttle and saw the familiar green-and-brown of a plane of yesteryear.

"Old Timer! What are you doing here?"

A bomber. Second World War. Droning along.

"Jimbo!" came the wobbly, withered reply. "I'm running errands for Bernie Sanders. Not sure where I am, though. I've had to stop three times to refuel."

"Errands? Nothing to do with what the Chief was talking about? You know I've been diverted, right?"

"Oh, yes, that's right. Bombed the hell out of Washington. New York's next. Was told it'd be right up my street."

"The war's over, OT. Has been for over half a century! Dump your bombs somewhere unpopulated and get your carcass back to Blighty."

"Sorry, Jimbo, orders is orders. I'm part of the operation to knock out the enemy's air capability, and I can't stop 'til I've dropped... so to speak!"

"What? What about me? I've got three-hundred passengers to put down and the tank is getting a bit light. You know what? Forget it. Go do your stuff and I'll read about how you were shot down, in the papers tomorrow. Chief, come in... Come in, Chief."

"Jimbo, are you still in the air?"

"Aye, Chief! I've just bumped into Old Timer."

"I sincerely hope not!"

"He's lost it, he's dropping bombs on airport runways!"

"How on earth did he get over the Atlantic? I'm calling him in. No, wait, he can stay there. Let the USAF deal with him."

"What about me? I'm about to put down in New York, and he'll be taking out the runway twenty minutes later!"

"Find the straightest, quietest road, put down, dump your passengers, and wait for this to blow over."

Jimbo spied a quiet section of road - presumably an interstate - and set down awkwardly, bouncing and sliding about. Lumps of rubber were flung from his tyres as road debris did its damage. Rattled and slightly disoriented, Jimbo's pilots initiated the evacuation procedure. Jimbo could smell burning. Material thrown up from the road service had entered his left engine and sent fan-blades crashing around inside. Jimbo was on fire, and with no emergency services nearby, he was doomed to burn to rubble.

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