The chapter below is from the sci-fi, triller book Fear is in the Air by Eva Newermann
I want the flight to Southampton to be a little crazy, too. I call the flight crew and invite them to my place. There will be five of us, the captain, the copilot, the purser, Lovise and me. I tell them to think of unusual and fun things we can do on the flight.
When they arrive, I have some suggestions.
“Since we are going to stay in tepees, why don’t we dress as Indians when we serve them?”
I show them a coin.
“This coin has a picture of an Indian Shoshone chief’s daughter, Sacagawea. She was born around 1788 in Lemhi County, Idaho. She died in 1812, but when she was around 12 years old she was kidnapped by an enemy tribe and sold to a French-Canadian trapper.
“He married her and she got pregnant in 1804, the year Lewis and Clark were going on an expedition, trying to find a route through to the Pacific Ocean; they hired Sacagawea as an interpreter.
“She spoke the Shoshone language, which helped the expedition a lot. I think this is an interesting coin and a good story to go with it. So I want to give one to each of the passengers. That way they will have a souvenir from our Indian flight.”
They all think that’s a great idea.
Lovise raises her hand. “There is one thing I have always wanted to say in my safety announcement. It has to do with the air masks falling down.”
“OK,” I say, “on this flight you can do and say whatever you want. Don’t tell us now, but surprise us on the flight.”
The captain is waving his hand. “Listen, I can’t do too many crazy things. I have to go by the book, but I sure will try to think of something.”
“Well,” our quick-witted copilot grins, “while you go by the book, I can go and get me a squaw in the galley,” he spreads his arm out, “maybe a squaw I can hold in my paw, or maybe I should be dressed like a cowboy, then I can tell everybody, ‘Save a horse – ride a cowboy!’”
After everybody has stopped laughing, I serve them a mimosa. The champagne and orange drink is garnished with a slice of pineapple, mint leaf, red cherry and an umbrella.
“Another thing,” I take a sip of my drink, “let’s forget about all these family friendly movies we always have to show. Let’s find the world’s worst air disaster movies we can think of!”
“Here, here, I’ll drink to that!” they all raise their glasses.
Now it’s the purser who wants to speak. “You know these murder-mystery theaters they have at some restaurants and on train trips? What if we have something like that? We could come up with a plot and one of the crew will get murdered and the passengers have to find out who did it.”
This is a little too close to home for me, does the guy have any suspicions? No, I don’t think so, just smile and play along.
Everybody is excited as we try to work out a plot, and trying to decide who is going to get murdered.
“Just don’t make it anyone in the cockpit,” the captain grins. “Why don’t we write down different scenarios and give them to the purser? He can then choose one and he will be the only one who knows. That way it will be interesting for everybody.”
It takes us three more drinks and many more canapés before we each hand our papers to the purser.
After they have looked through the telescope on the balcony and admired the ocean view, they go on their merry way.
Finally, the day for takeoff, June 17, has arrived.
Lovise and I have been shopping for Native American outfits at a costume shop in Fort Lauderdale.
We would have liked to wear dresses from the Shoshone Indian tribe, like Sacajawea, but they didn’t have any. So the dresses we ended up with were made of light brown suede, with an ornate diamond and cross design in red, brown and turquoise.
Fringe embellishments cross a leather belt, featuring a black leather flap with a matching design. It also has some fun fringes with beads along the sleeves and hem.
The moccasins also have fringes with beads on top of them. We have bought some long black braided wigs and headbands with a beautiful feather in the back, to top it all off!
The pilot and copilot arrive, dressed in their usual uniforms, but they are carrying some large suspicious-looking shopping bags….
I thought nobody could top us, until I see the purser. He is dressed as an Indian warrior chief. His headgear is so tall he has to stand outside the plane, he is standing there majestically greeting everybody. “Cowabunga! Cowabunga!”
Shoot, the guy stole my line!
Well, since he is greeting everyone, I hand him the bag of Indian coins, so he can give them to the passengers.
James and Irene with little Lilliana are the first people to board. They have dressed Lilliana in the cutest Indian outfit. She has a headband with a feather. She coos with delight.
Finally all the guests are seated and we are ready for takeoff.
Thank heavens, the purser has another scaled-down Indian outfit he can change to. If not, there would have been no room for the rest of us in the galley.
We are flying Miami –New York –Amsterdam –Southampton. We’ve got everything planned.
The Miami—New York leg is only three hours. So all we need to do for the passengers is to give them drinks, feed them some snacks and run a movie.
New York to Amsterdam will take about seven hours. First, we’ll serve some drinks and dinner. Then some live music and singing.
I’ve brought some films from last year’s Stonehenge Solstice Festival. That’ll give everybody some background information about Stonehenge.
The passengers then get a time out, around two hours of nap time. Then, it’s time to wake up for coffee and snacks.
The purser can start his murder mystery play. He has written clues on a sheet of paper and anybody who would like to participate will get one. He also has a $200 prize for the person who solves the murder first.
Before landing we’ll serve breakfast. Yes, this will be an easy flight.
The Miami—New York leg goes smoothly. We make all the passengers leave the plane, so they can stretch their legs.
One hour later we are on our way to Amsterdam. Now Lovise can make her famous announcement.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, in case of an emergency the air mask will drop in front of you. When you stop screaming, put your mask on.”
I have to laugh, too. I must agree that the real announcement we make, saying put your mask on and breathe normally, is ridiculous. Who can breathe normally in a situation like that?
We are climbing to 30,000 feet altitude. While sitting in our seats Lovise and I usually spend the time telling each other true stories from our lives. Something we have experienced on a flight or other places.
Of course, my own hair-raising stories I couldn’t tell her, only the good-natured ones. If you could call bomb threats, people getting heart attacks and extreme turbulence good-natured.
“So,” Lovise says, “what’s new?”
“Well, the other day, on a flight from LA, I had a couple joining the mile high club, going at it under a blanket.”
“What did you do?” Lovise is chuckling.
“I just pulled down the darn shades and turned off the task light,” I say smiling, “do you by any chance know how the autopilot was invented?” Lovise shakes her head.
“Ewa, where do you get all the information?”
“I read a lot. Well, anyhow, in 1914, this pilot, Lawrence Sperry and his girlfriend are on a flying trip in his Curtiss Flying Boat. The urge hits them and they start banging away.
The airplane crashes, but they survive. Later on he invents the autopilot, and everybody is happy.”
Now we are both laughing. I bet the passengers are wondering what’s so amusing.
“Here is another piece of information,” I continue, “the first flight attendant in America was a nurse named Ellen Church, that was in 1930.”
Do I see a flicker of admiration in Lovise’s blue eyes?
“My life is so boring,” Lovise sighs, “I feel all I do is just work, work and work.”
Just then, we hit an air pocket, the plane is in a dive, everybody is screaming. I take Lovise’s hand and say calmly, “Yes, this is a really boring job.”
“Cowabunga! Sorry about that,” the copilot comes over the speakers. “Lucky the Indians weren’t serving you hot coffee. We will try to fly in a different altitude. There is some bad weather ahead, so just sit tight and don’t wander off to anywhere.”
Twenty minutes later, the fasten seat belt sign goes off. We start serving the passengers.
The passengers seem a little shook up and are ordering double drinks. After dinner, they get coffee and cognac.
Lilliana has been mad as a hatter ever since we hit the turbulence, but now she’s finally sound asleep.
Most of the passengers are sleeping too, but some are watching air disaster movies. The purser comes up to me and whispers in my ear.
“Red Alert! Red Alert! The galley, now!”
We hurry to the galley. I can see smoke coming out from behind the microwave oven. I grab a fire extinguisher and start spraying. The purser runs to the cockpit.
Now the smoke is really heavy and people start coughing. The captain comes to the galley and starts helping us pull out carts and drawers to get a better look.
Finally the smoke disperses and the captain goes back to the cockpit.
Five minutes later, the copilot appears in the cabin, dressed in a beautiful Indian feathered hairpiece. I’m kind of disappointed he’s not dressed as a cowboy, screaming, “Save a horse, ride a cowboy!”
He walks down the aisle, doing an Indian dance, waving his arms and tells everybody, “Nothing to worry about, we are just sending some smoke-signals to the people at Stonehenge saying we will be landing there soon.”
Everybody laughs and the tension is gone.
One person is not laughing. He is still coughing and his face is red. I follow him to the back of the plane; he seems to have problems breathing.
I know there are two doctors on board, so I get one of them. He brings his doctor’s case and starts examining the guy.
After a while he tells us everything will be fine, the guy just needs to go outside for some fresh air (very funny…).
The purser pulls me over. “Listen, after all this commotion I don’t think the passengers are ready for our murder mystery play. Why don’t we just ask the band to play some music?”
I nod “I’ll talk to the guys.”
After some music it’s time for breakfast. The rest of the flight is without any further excitement.
We land in Amsterdam, change to a smaller plane and after a short flight we land in Southampton, England where Liz, from the Fantastic Funeral Company, greets us.