January Bloom: "Flight Aide"

Many thanks to Ramsey D. for submitting a good deed experience that inspired me to write this month’s Blooming Good flash fiction piece titled Flight Aide. Below is an excerpt from his submission.

Hi Stacey, At a bus stop in Malta, an older woman with a shopping cart was waiting to board. She obviously had mobility difficulties. The bus driver got off the bus, first helped board and then got off again to carry her cart onto the bus. No one on the bus other than me, and a couple of other travelers from New York, looked at all surprised.

"Flight Aide"

No way Debra would miss tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebration with close friends to welcome January 1, 2222. She pulled on leather boots, slipped into a wind suit, tightened her tech cap, and grabbed the new goggles she’d ordered from Flightmazon. The public launch field was a three block walk away. Once there she prepared for the pitying looks, she expected, and detested.

Ten years ago a wayward drone had crashed in the yard of Debra’s townhouse in Sydney, Australia while she was mulching plant beds. On its descent the thing had jettisoned a miniscule plastic part that ricocheted off the house and hit her left elbow. Three surgeries and several months of physical therapy later her arm remained immobile. Debra had learned to dress, cook, and do everything else with one arm, except for a basic thing. There’d been a lot of disability innovation in the past few centuries but not enough to help her. She’d read historical accounts about mobility improvements for the deaf, visually impaired, and wheelchair bound. “Those people had guts,” she’d repeat to herself, when studying how they got devices installed at cross walks that vocalized light changes from red to green, braille floor numbers carved in elevator cars, and kneeling buses for the wheelchair dependent.

Debra arrived at the public launch field where throngs of holiday revelers were flapping to take off. She hugged the fringes of the crowd both hoping, and not hoping, to attract attention to her disability. As usual a few of them stared pitifully at her non-flapping arms.

“Hey, would you like some aide,” asked a teenage boy waiting his turn to clear the field.

“Oh that would be great, I can’t fly.”

“My mom can’t fly either. A plane clipped her arms last year when she got too close. Where are you headed Ma’am?”

“Malta, for New Year’s.”

“No problem, I’m headed to Paris. Malta’s on the way. Give me a location and I’ll cascade you down to the closest public landing field.”

Debra grabbed the side of the nice young man’s belt with her good arm and and they ascended thirty thousand feet to bypass bottlenecks of flyer traffic at lower altitudes.

“Be there in nano second time, good air current tonight. Going to Valetta, Malta right ma’am?”

“Yes, could you drop me near St. George’s Square please?”

“You got it, Ma’am, Happy New Year”

“Thank you so much, you’re very kind.” Debra waved goodbye then caught up with her friends where the band blared and fireworks flared under the stars.