by: Rob Thurman
August 2, 2011
Things are never as easy as they appear on the Net or in instructional videos. I blamed an imperfect world for that. I was a genius – I wasn’t blaming myself, because it obviously was not my fault. Stefan didn’t throw up as I gradually turned theoretical into a reality. I had to give him credit. He turned green, he closed his eyes, he cursed nonstop, but he didn’t vomit, and it was an extremely bumpy ride for at least fifteen minutes. Godzilla did throw up, down Stefan’s shirt as he wrapped himself tightly around my brother’s neck and shivered. He wasn’t a fan of theoretical flying either. I was surrounded by critics.
That didn’t improve five hours later when I landed at the new Institute. Stefan, who hadn’t been at all interested in the details of maximum cruising speed, fuel capacity, maximum climb rate, called it crashing, but I think that was an exaggeration. Considering his lack of curiosity about all things plane related – except for the copilot’s three-point restraint system, or as he referred to it, “Where’s the goddamn seat belt?” – I didn’t think he had much room to judge.
The ground’s rapidly approaching brown dirt, the unforeseen difficulty in getting the nose up, the speed down, but not too far down, and the bouncing off a jutting rock camouflaged the same color as the dirt – it did get the adrenaline pumping. There was no doubt about that, but it didn’t change matters.
“Gravity, genius,” Stefan groaned, holding on to his seat so tightly with one of his hands that it would probably cramp for days. The other hand held something else. “Gravity leads to crashes.”
Despite the bump on my head and the blood dripping down Stefan’s forehead, it definitely wasn’t a full-on, complete crash. It was at least a controlled crash and that was the next best thing to a legitimate landing. That was my opinion and I was sticking with it. Besides, it was not my fault. I didn’t create the often-inconvenient laws of physics. “Gravity” – I waved a dismissive and slightly shaking hand at Stefan’s bitching – “schmavity. It’s all relative.”
“I thought that was time, Einstein,” he pointed out, wiping blood onto the dried ferret vomit already on his shirt, “not schmavity.” Why did he have to be smart at the least timely moment? It was close enough to a landing, considering I’d taken off and flown the entire way via Internet instruction. A slight hiccup in the landing did not a catastrophe make.
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