August Bloom: "First Class for Everyone Everywhere"

Many thanks to Angela Y. for sharing a good deed experience that inspired me to write this month’s flash fiction story titled First Class for Everyone Everywhere. Here’s an excerpt from what Angela submitted.

On the last trip home I accidentally sat in first class-I had bought it for one leg of the trip but not both and about twenty minutes into the flight they realized my mistake. She let me stay! They fed the kids – and the gentleman next to me said he had 4 kids at home so he didn’t mind at all.”   – Angela Y.

"First Class for Everyone Everywhere"

When the slogan “First Class for Everyone Everywhere” flashed across Mary’s computer screen, she grabbed the deal, liking the price, doubting the promise, and desperate for tickets. She and her two toddlers had to escape home life pressures that included abuse. With no family nearby, she booked a flight from Charleston, where she had lived for ten years, to Houston. Some distant cousins she’d never met had offered to help her out. She’d stay with them for a month and make a new start.

After purchasing one-way tickets, Mary perused the fine print and stumbled on the tag line, “We offer a first class place for up here and down there.” The “down there” part was downright eerie, she thought. “Down there” is the last place anyone wants to think about while up there. Unless they meant better airport waiting areas. Those endless rows of stuck-together chairs with armrests barred first class people and the masses alike from slumbering prone during flight delays.

When the slogan “First Class for Everyone Everywhere” flashed across Mary’s computer screen, she grabbed the deal, liking the price, doubting the promise, and desperate for tickets. She and her two toddlers had to escape home life pressures that included abuse. With no family nearby, she booked a flight from Charleston, where she had lived for ten years, to Houston. Some distant cousins she’d never met had offered to help her out. She’d stay with them for a month and make a new start.

After purchasing one-way tickets, Mary perused the fine print and stumbled on the tag line, “We offer a first class place for up here and down there.” The “down there” part was downright eerie, she thought. “Down there” is the last place anyone wants to think about while up there. Unless they meant better airport waiting areas. Those endless rows of stuck-together chairs with armrests barred first class people and the masses alike from slumbering prone during flight delays.

Mary arrived with her brood precisely as a First Class for Everyone Everywhere agent announced boarding for those needing extra time. Since leaving the house, she’d received no text or call from her less-than-better half, who sporadically checked on her whereabouts from his job, never asking about her day or the kids. If she didn’t respond within minutes, she’d face his wrath when he returned. She scooted her preschoolers down the jetway and settled in row 29 ABC, with surprising leg room and super wide seats. A flight attendant served beverages, sandwiches and age-appropriate toys before the plane filled with first-class passengers in every seat. During take-off, Mary gazed out the window and smiled as the plane whisked them away from her source of pain. Her children absorbed themselves in toys, giggling nonstop.

At 10,000 feet, another flight attendant directed passengers to exchange names, share stories, and stroll around when the fasten seatbelt sign was off. Mary’s kids drew a crowd. “Oh, they’re adorable. I’ll watch them if you need the restroom. We can read them a story. How are you doing? Mary, best of luck in your next chapter.” The passengers’ warmth stirred Mary’s memories of festive gatherings with aunts, uncles, and cousins. She met everyone in every row.

Mary assumed the mid-flight announcement would be about credit card offers, like ordinary airlines promote. “Hello, everyone, thank you for choosing ‘First Class for Everyone Everywhere.’ We know you have many options, so we’re honored that you chose us. Shortly, a flight attendant will come down the aisle with applications for our ‘Everyone’ community in Houston, where people can make a new start ‘down there’ with new friends from ‘up here.’ If you’d like to be considered, fill out the application and we’ll inform you in thirty days about the home lots available for you. They’re free as long as you commit to showing the behaviors we’ve observed up here down there. We are growing. We have communities all across the nation, so tell your friends and families about us. No worries if you have no interest. We’re thankful you all joined us today.” Mary watched the forms fly out of the attendant’s hands. By the time he reached her row, certain there was no catch, she signed up without hesitation.