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The Red Plane
“It’s finally finished,” Neil said with a gleam in his eye. Months of work had been put into the plane, a scaled-down prototype that could one day be a form of transportation that could leave an impact on the world. Just as long as the companies he dealt with in the past didn’t shut him down before he could publish his work. A plane that flies through the day and night running purely on solar and geo-thermal energy, who wouldn’t want it? The warm and fuzzy feeling of accomplishment that flowed through him started ebbing away. He dropped his gaze away from the window and took another look at his red creation.
If it weren’t for its advance circuitry and the elaborate panels that covered it, there’d be no telling it apart from something you’d pick off the shelf at a local toy store. Neil had lovingly crafted it from memories and childhood nostalgia, reminiscing the days when he’d stare at adverts on the back page of cheap comic books. Tracing the edge of one of the scarlet wings with his finger, he let out a sigh. “I’m gonna miss you,” he said to the bundle of wood and metal in his hands. His daughter Tracy ran in, pigtails flailing behind her. She pulled at his thumb, leading him out of the musty garage and to the dinner table. Neil grinned, wiped his sawdust-covered hands on a rag, and let her lead the way.
Wind tussled and pulled feebly at his hair. The tables were set-up with officials tinkered with their stopwatches, shuffling papers, and entering words into their computers, making the ordeal all very official. The airplane sat covered in a plastic display on a table in the far-end of the field. Neil eyed it every couple seconds, just to make sure it was still there. The airplane’s take-off had to be observed so that its flight results could be credible, and then it would be able to begin its twenty-hour flight. A flight six hours longer than most commercial planes could go without refueling. The flying itself would be mostly computer controlled. Once the plane was in the air, the extent of what Neil would do, if anything at all, would be making minor changes to the route on account of weather or something similar.
It was nine o’clock, time to bring his countless hours of thought, contemplation, and planning onto the little black tarmac at the side of the field. He set it down, and gave it one last good look with Tracy at his side.
“Ya think it’s going to work,” she looked up with bright eyes and asked.
“I hope so,” he replied with a chuckle, thoughts somewhere else. “Now go back to the table and sit down, I gotta make sure everything’s set to go. She raced back gleefully.
He knew everything was fine and ready, but it’s hard to say good-bye to something that holds your hopes and dreams.
He flipped a switch, and a light lit up. The motor started whirring. The bright yellow propeller (that was just for show) started turning. With thirty pairs of eyes on it, it inched forward. Gaining momentum, it started racing toward the end of the runway. Its wheels lost their grip on the smooth asphalt. It took off, and soon it was out of sight. Gone.
The flight of the little plane could almost be seen as valiant, cruising across the sky at seven thousand feet, braving the endless blue skies, passing countless people. It flew over a child playing in a yard in California, a court holding a divorce hearing in Nevada, the Grand Canyon in Arizona, after swerving away from Utah, where it passed a crow-infested landfill not a couple hours ago.
It flew its 14 hours. The documentation certified it. Stamps were pressed, photocopies were made, and patents lay pending. Amidst the excitement of the accomplishment, the start of the show remained prone to the irresolute wind of the mesosphere. It continued on, no longer carrying the burden of emotion, from New Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, passing over love and murder all the while.
Off the coast of Brazil, a storm struck. The bright wings wobbled as rain streaked from above, and the watery tempest swelled below. The propeller fell off. The single light blinked on through the night, never missing a beat. Lightning flashed. Wind rushed through the clouds, sending the crimson into a downward spiral. Molly sank under the waves.