The Eccentric Pilot

Her parents were tired of answering all the questions she had about flying but four-year-old Jessica wasn’t going to stop asking them just because her parents were suffering from parental fatigue.

She wanted too badly to know how the big plane stayed up in the air, how fast they were going, how high up in the air they were, how come the man beside them had a drink smelled like black liquorice, why the two teenagers in front of them kept kissing each other on the forehead, and so on and so forth.

She hadn’t yet received satisfactory answers for any of them. Just because, there is no good reason, the plane is magic were all deceitful answers so she was going to push and push.

“Why is that man’s music so loud? Does he have hearing problems? Or is his music maker just broken? Is that a girl singing? Why does a man listen to a girl?” she asked, then stared at her moms face while she waited for the answer.

“It doesn’t matter sweetie. Put your headphones on and listen to your music. Maybe fall asleep while you’re at it. By the time you wake up we’ll be landing.”

More unsatisfactory answers. Then more questions needed asking.

“Why does that airplane worker woman keep touching that man in his lap? Does he have a dog down there? Are you allowed to bring pets on board? Would a dog get the same meal that we do? Would it have to throw up in the same bag that that man did earlier?”

Her mom closed her eyes and took a deep breath. If something wasn’t done, she was going to go crazy before the plane landed. A brainwave struck he hard in the head and she grabbed the arm of the flight attendant her daughter had seen with her hand in a man’s lap.

“My daughter is very inquisitive and very smart and she would like to ask the pilot a few questions about flying. Do you think you would be able to accommodate that?”

The flight attendant took a quick look at the young girl who was sitting restlessly in her seat, overly enthused at the prospect of meeting a real pilot.

“I think we can do that, why don’t you come with me young lady,” she said, holding out her hand for the little girl to take.

“Thank you,” the mother said exasperatedly, “so much.”

The young girl looked to her mother for final approval and getting a nod of the head, reached out to take the attendants hand.

The two walked to the front of the plane, knocked politely on the door, then seconds later, disappeared.

“Captain Sward, you have a visitor,” the attendant announced to the pilot.

“Thank you Lise, let me just put this bird on autopilot, and there,” the pilot said half to Lise, the attendant, and half to himself as he pushed a big red button and swung his chair around to greet his visitor. “So little lady, what kind of questions do you have?”

It didn’t take long for the little girl to come up with her first question. In fact, she had thought about it the very second the pilot had turned his chair to face her.

“Why don’t pilots wear clothes? Is it because your pants are itchy? Are they invisible clothes? Are your real clothes being washed right now so you have to be naked?”

The pilot sat in his seat, naked as the day he was born, and began to answer her questions with refreshing honesty.

“Most pilots do wear clothes but I don’t like the way our uniforms feel on my skin. It makes me itch as you suggest and I get a rash all over my body. I do like the idea of washing my clothes while I’m flying though, maybe that would take the itch out of them. Do you think so?”

The little lady was thrilled that the pilot was not only answering her questions but also asking her for her own opinion.

“Yes I think very much that your clothes would be less itchy if you washed them while you flew. I could ask my mother if she’d wash them for you.”

“Thank you little lady, that would be excellent. Do you have any other questions for me? I’ve got all day here, the robot pilot is much better than I am anyway.”

“No I think that’s about it Mr. Pilot, I’ll let you know if my mom can wash your pants.”

“Great. Well thanks for visiting me, come back whenever you want,” he said, shaking the little girls hand then turning his naked body back towards the controls.

The flight attendant stood with her mouth wide open, unable to speak. She had held this look since the pilot turned to face a young child with no clothes on and was unable to remove the look even as she walked the little girl back to her seat.

“The naked pilot wants to know if you could wash his pants for him. They make him itch when he wears them while he flies,” the daughter told the mother, who then assumed the same look as the flight attendant.

The flight attendant looked at the mother who locked eyes with the flight attendant. Then they both looked at the little girl then to the door they had just walked out from—their mouths hanging open the whole time.

“Mom, he wants to know if you can wash his pants,” she said, nudging her at the elbow. “He’s just sitting in his seat with no pants and no shirt, I saw him myself. So will you was them or not?”

“Stop talking Jessica. Please stop asking questions. For the love of god don’t ever ask another question for the rest of your life,” her mom urged her, at least now able to close her mouth. “Now answer my questions, you’re telling me the pilot that is flying this plane is doing so with no clothes on?”

“For now he is but I said you could wash his clothes so they didn’t itch.”

“It’s true,” Lise the flight attendant added. “He was so hairy that at first I didn’t even notice. Then I remembered his uniform is supposed to be white, not brown.”

The mother tried to shrug off a shudder as she inadvertently formed a picture of the incident in her head.

“I think we’re just going to sit right here for the rest of the flight,” she said, pulling her daughter close to her, still shivering from the awful image in her head.

“Would you like a blanket to keep you both warm,” Lise the flight attendant asked, eager to help not only to comfort these two women in a time of need but also to take her own mind of the frightening situation in the cockpit.

“Thank you very much, I would like that a lot,” the mother answered.

“What colour is the blanket?” the young girl asked, breaking her mother’s commandment of never again asking a question, causing her mother to raise a hand to strike.

“It’s a very warm brown blanket with long strands of cotton,” Lise the flight attendant answered.

The memories were too recent, and Lise passed out in the aisle while the mother, the vision of the naked, hairy pilot still fresh in her mind, screamed and screamed and screamed.

The End

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