PROMPT: A flight attendant learns that one of the passengers has brought a weapon on board.
PIECE: Moriah loved being a flight attendant. She was always meeting new people, travelling to new places and completely enjoying herself. Currently, she was aboard 6606 – domestic to West Palm Beach, Florida. It was a trip she had made a million and one times and thus far, everything had been going smoothly and just as expected. The seatbelt light had just turned off and passengers were now free to move about the cabin. Her own voice had made the announcement and contrary to the societal norm, she loved the way her voice sounded as it was reproduced over the PA system. She liked its cool edge and authoratative undertones that were masked by an extreme and liberal application of politeness. Moriah thought her voice would sound just as delightful on the radio, or even floating to one from television speakers. Moriah was convinced she had the look to go along with the voice as well; she could feel men’s eyes rove over her and she obviously saw the way women’s eyes squinted with distaste fueled by jealousy.
Women were not fond of Moriah, and they never had been. She had breathed a loud sigh of relief when she realized this small flight would be comissioned by herself and two gentleman, one of which she had already slept with about a year ago, and one who was a fabulous as the day was long. The flight promised to be easy; and there was a young gentleman near the front of plane, seated on the end of the aisle, who had given her the eye in a way which was anything but discreet. Moriah liked to imagine that the gentleman was flying for business and she would be regaled with dinner and dancing and wild, seemingly endless romps between satin sheets of the four star hotel he’d most likely be staying at. Then, she’d never see him again. Yes, Moriah got along much better with men, just as she preferred to live her life in a ceaseless state of transition. She could fly from place to place just as she could move from bed to bed. Nothing was permanent, and Moriah thought that freeing and beautiful.
She was at the attendants’ station, preparing the drink cart for its casual stroll down the narrow aisle when Mitch, the attendant whom she had bedded, marched to her. His fists were clenched at his sides and his lips were pinched shut. His eyes looked tragic and desperate and Moriah instantly became alarmed. She took a moment to send up a silent prayer that Mitch’s poor attempt at casualness had been believed by the passengers. “What’s wrong?” she asked, swallowing down her rising fear.
“There’s a man in the third row, on the end, that brought a knife on the plane. The marshal’s just about to subdue -”
There was screaming and shouts to the Lord. Moriah’s stomach fell out through her bottom, but her weakened knees were able to carry her past Mitch, just a few steps, to peer out the corner. The air marshal was twitching on the floor, blood spilling out from the slice across his neck and pooling around his soon-to-be lifeless body. Moriah screamed and clapped her hands to her cheeks. What should she do? Her mind was frantic and she couldn’t remember what was expected of her. Turning back to Mitch, she discovered him barracading the cabin door, protecting the pilots and the passengers by extension. That was good, that was good; Mitch was brave and strong, and he was a man, so he would make everything okay. Moriah believed that.
She turned back to the mayhem before her. Passengers whose faces were all just pale, sweaty blurs of human features were cowering in their seats. Allan, the other flight attendant, was calmly speaking to the armed man, the man Moriah had been wanting to sleep with just a few moments ago. The armed man’s dark eyes flitted from Moriah to Allan. He seemed to be listening to Allan but as sudden as a striking snake, he had grabbed Moriah, pulled her close against him, and Moriah assumed the pointy pressure at her throat was a result of the knife. Her assumption was confirmed by the way Allan seemed to deflate. Allan was still speaking, but Moriah wasn’t listening. She was terrified.
How could this be happening? Men loved her.