KIERAN SHEA’s fiction has appeared in dozens of venues including Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Thuglit, Dogmatika, Word Riot, Plots with Guns, Beat to a Pulp, Crimefactory, and Needle: A Magazine of Noir well as in some beefy-looking anthologies most of which will make you question the tether of his shiny, red balloon. To his self-deprecating astonishment he's also been nominated for the Story South’s Million Writers Award twice without sending the judges so much as a thank you note. He co-edited the satiric transgressive fiction collection D*CKED: DARK FICTION INSPIRED BY DICK CHENEY and his debut novel KOKO TAKES A HOLIDAY is out now from Titan Books. Kieran divides his time between 38°58′22.6″N- 76°30′4.17″W and 39.2775° N, 74.5750° W.


Flash-Fiction Challenge: Airport

by: Kieran Shea

“What’s up with the curtain?”
“I said, what’s up with the curtain?”
“What do you mean, what’s up with the curtain?”
“I mean--”
“How should I know? Pilot wants his privacy. His plane, let him do what he wants.”

“But there’s only, like, three of us.”
“Your point being?”
“Is it really necessary?”
“Am I missing something here?”
“Last guy didn’t use a curtain."
"Guys before? No curtain with them, but now this Kenny Rogers-looking fly boy uses a curtain? What? He think he’s the Wizard of Oz or somethin’?”
“Kenny Rogers?”
“Got to admit, kind of looks like the guy.”
“You know what? Do me a favor. For once in your life quit being such a colossal tool. This pilot? Stone-cold pro, okay? Been flying product back and forth under the radar since, like, before you were born. Columbia. Venezuela. Heard he even ran guns in West Africa for a time. So just chill, all right? Jeeze....”
"I'm just gettin' a weird vibe here is all.”
“Weird vibe. You and your weird vibes.”
“No big deal for you, you got your gun.”
“And that is my problem? You were the one too busy playing kissy-face with your girlfriend this morning. I picked you up and said, you ready? You said yeah I'm ready. Ready means ready. Ready means armed.”
"Yeah, but can you trust a guy who’s got to hide behind a curtain?”
“Cripes. What do you know about flying, huh? Maybe this pilot needs a curtain to concentrate on the instruments. Maybe he doesn’t want to look back and see that ugly shirt you’re wearing. Maybe he’s rubbing one out. What do you care?"
"I don't care..."
"Apparently you do. Jesus. Look out the window and stop worrying so much. Look for whales. Look for Haitian refugees. We’ll be on the key in an hour, pick up, and be back in Miami in no time.”

“I like to look out the front of a plane.”

“You’re fucking with me right?”
“Tell me you’re fucking with me. No. Wait. Wait. Don’t tell me you’re fucking with me, because you’re way too fucking stupid to be fucking with me. You know what? Okay. This is it. Prepare yourself.”
“Prepare myself?”
“Prepare myself for what?”
“In about three seconds I am going to beat you silly.”
“Hey, now--hey! Knock it off, man! Hey! Ow! Let go of my arm! OW! Cut it out, man! Lay off! Cut it out! I'm sorry! OW!”

“Um, yeah! Sure! Why not?!”
"Sure, yeah. Why not?!"

“See? What did I tell you? In flight beers. Told you this dude is cool. And look at that. No curtain now. Happy?”
“Now what?”
“Don't you think we should be flying higher?”
“Flying higher?”
“Yeah. Altitude, man. Look out the window. Ain’t we kind of flying low fo—WHOA!”
"Ha-ha! Sorry, amigos! Your captain here has to use the head in the back of the plane. Just locked this puppy’s auto pilot in is all--sorry about the bumps. Clunkier than a sack of cats, but works just fine with the clear air we got. Let me squeeze by you two. Phew! My bladder’s ‘bout to burst.”

“Great. A sauced pilot and now we're on autopilot. Great. That's just fuckin' great.”
“Will you relax?”
“There should be a co-pilot on these runs, man.”
“Yeah, well. Deal with it.”
"What if he has a heart attack?"
"God, you're impossible, you know that?"

“Ahhhh! Now that's more like it. Hey!"
"I heard you two boys talking before, you know.”
"I said I heard you two talking before."
“Yeah. You, Mr. Worrypants. Heard you don’t like my cockpit curtain.”
“You heard me say that?”
“Yep. Clear as a bell. Your Kenny Rogers comment too."
"Hey, I was just kidding about that. Sorry, man. Sorry."
"Yeah? Well this headset may make me look deaf but the cabin here is, like, wired for sound. Which makes you the dude packing. So—”
“Now, you! Don’t even think of making a move or I will shoot you in face like your buddy here!”
“Jesus! God, man, don’t shoot me! Please! Please God don't shoot me!”
“I’m not going to shoot you, dumbass! Undo your seatbelt and help me dump this guy out the plane!"
"Come on! We have to dump him! We only have a few minutes! Get up! Move!”
“Don’t shoot me! Please God, just please don’t shoot me...."
“I’m not going to shoot you!”
“But why’d you shoot him?!”
“Orders?! What's going on?!”
“Beats me! Boss said skimming so do me a favor, okay?! You see that strap?! Hold onto that strap and lift that door lever! No, flip the red safety switch off first! Yeah! That’s it! Now pull the lever and give it a good yank and the door should slide open easy! But hold onto that belt, okay?!”
“I’ll be sucked out of the plane!”
“Dude, you feel that breeze?! Cockpit's window has been open for over an hour now! We’re not pressurized! Few thousand feet tops! This ain’t no Lear Jet, Goldfinger, and I sure as hell ain’t no Pussy Galore!”
“He’s really dead?!”
“Of course he's really dead! Close range .22 in the ear kind of scrambles the brain! Now! Open the goddamn door!"
"There you go! That's it! Attaboy!"
"Oh God..."
“Good! Now! Get his feet!"
"Good! Now push! Push him out!”
“Push him out?!”
"Now, then! Seeing that you were stupid enough not to grab your buddy's gun you have a choice!"
"What?! A choice?!""
"Yeah! A choice! can jump and have a nice long fall without pain or B...I can shoot you and you can have a nice long fall with some serious pain! Of course there's option C where I just shoot you in the face anyway but that'll be a pain in the ass for me, the mess and all! Me, I’d man up and go for option A, know what I'm sayin'?! Say your prayers, see some of the big world before it all goes black!”
“But you said you wouldn’t shoot me!”
“If you go with option A I won't have to!"
"Trust me, it’ll be painless! Body just pops right open on impact, this altitude!”
"Please! I have money! I can disappear! The boss doesn't have to know a thing! Leave me someplace! Please, for the love of God, don't do this!"
“Running out of time here! What's it going to be?! Option A, B, or C?!”
"Man. Guess C it is! Bummer!"