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Unexpected Turbulence

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American Airlines Flight 667. 8:00 AM boarding time, 6:00 PM landing time. An old man, some who called genius, others, who called him crazy, was flying from halfway across the continental US of A, from Denver to Boston. Now the old man wasn’t traveling alone. His wife was not with him. His daughter was not with him. His grandchildren were not even with him. And he was pretty sure that his God was not with him. No, instead he had brought his cat, a once lively feline by the name of Oscar, who unfortunately was confined to the pet section of the plane for an extra five hundred green bills. Oddly enough, the x-ray machines showed that the old man’s luggage did not consist of toothbrushes, clothes, or toiletries. No, the old man had packed a little shovel, a rectangular shaped rock, and a few bags of good-old native Colorado dirt.

About half-way through the plane ride, the various pets were allowed to visit their owners for about 10 minutes. One by one, dogs, parrots, lizards, and cats were brought to the people and they were allowed to sit on their owner’s laps, as long as they behaved. However, as the flight attendants were getting the old man’s cat out of his cage, they were forced to look upon a terrible scene. Oscar, lying curled up in his cage, looked so serene and peaceful. The only thing was, there was no sound of exhaling air, no rising of the chest, and no twitching of the paws. So, due to one of the quick thinking attendants, they brought out another cat, who could have been Oscar’s long lost brother. However, the old man took one long hard look at the cat and said furiously, “This isn’t my cat! I want my cat now!” As the attendants looked helplessly at each other, they were saved by the captain’s voice echoing through the cabins. “Attention everyone. This is your captain Don T. Worry speaking. We may be encountering a bit of unexpected turbulence shortly, and so we would like everyone to fasten their seatbelts and sit tightly. Also I would like the flight attendants to please place the pets back into their respective cages. Thank you and enjoy the rest of the flight.” So, the old man could do nothing but sit there quietly, fuming over his missing cat. The flight attendants quickly sped out, and only let out their sighs of relief until the swinging door had fully closed, separating them from the passenger cabin.

It was late in the afternoon now, and the plane slowly taxied onto the runway at Logan International Airport. As the occupants slowly shuffled out, the pets were to be transferred to the baggage claim area, so the pet owners could get their beloved animals and their luggage at the same time. However, the flight attendants did not know what to do with the old man’s cat, as he had left this world. They knew that the he would throw a fit if he found out that his cat had died. So, after 45 minutes of waiting nervously, one of the attendants, a brave man named Dave, cautiously approached the old man and tapped him on the shoulder.

“What do you want?” the old man said harshly, “I’ve been waiting for over 45 minutes for you lazy bums to bring me my cat. What is it with you people?”

“Well,” Dave began slowly, “We may have had a little situation with your pet. We didn’t know what to do about it. As for the delay, we are deeply sorry and apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused you.”

“Oh, you caused me a delay alright,” the old man angrily replied, “I was supposed to meet my wife down at the Old Granary at 8 tonight, so we could begin the ceremony. Instead, I ended up spending my evening yapping with dumb and dumber!” The old man gestured at Dave’s fellow attendants, who quickly busied themselves with unloading their luggage.

As soon as the old man said Old Granary, Dave couldn’t help but recognize that name from somewhere. Last week, he had just attended his grandmother’s funeral in Boston and had spent some time in that great city. He was trying to recall where he had heard that name when out of the corner of his eye, he noticed his fellow attendant, Ben, bring the old man’s dead cat out.

“Thank goodness,” the old man exclaimed, “I knew Oscar couldn’t have been missing.”

Dave was speechless. “But…uhhh…what do you mean?”

“I mean this is my cat, Oscar,” the old man said, “And if you weren’t so late with fetching him for me, he would have already been peacefully buried!”

“Ohhh,” Dave said excitedly, “I knew that I had known the Old Granary from somewhere.”

“Yes,” the man said exasperatedly, “The Old Granary Burial Grounds is one of the oldest and most revered cemeteries in Boston, also being the site of the deceased Paul Revere and the five victims of the infamous Boston Massacre. It was also where I was supposed to lay my loyal friend, Oscar, who had accompanied me for almost 13 years. A fitting end for a cat, wouldn’t you think?”

And with that, the old man walked briskly out of the airport and hailed a taxi. Dave never saw him again, but on the day he was due back to work, he took a quick detour to visit a famous cemetery. After paying respects to his grandmother, he walked for what seemed like hours when he finally fastened his eyes on a curious looking gravestone. The dirt around it was oddly colored and did not seem to fit with the surrounding area at all. Additionally, the description on the gravestone was quite abnormal, nothing Dave had ever seen in his life. It simply read, “Oscar, a loving feline who even in death, managed to bring life and laughs to his old owner. Rest in peace, my loyal pet.”

Dave shook his head and let out a slow chuckle. He then walked back to his car and went to the airport. His final destination? Denver, Colorado.



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