D.B Cooper ordered a Bourbon and soda and lit a cigarette. When the stewardess returned with the drink he handed her a piece of paper. Florence was slightly disappointed, it had been a long day and she wasn’t in the mood. Besides, he seemed pleasant. He was smartly dressed and polite, but now he had become over familiar, just another bum wanting a shot at her. She flashed him a practiced maternal smile, folded the note into her pocket and turned to leave.
Cooper said, in a concerned manner, as if to save the stewardess from some unfortunate faux pas.
“You might want to read that now.”
His insistence was a touch embarrassing but Florence found Cooper’s soft, almost pleading drawl quietly disarming so she took out the note and read it.
I HAVE A BOMB. I WILL USE IT, IF NECESSARY. PLEASE SIT WITH ME.
The shock was such that she complied automatically even smiling to other passengers as she sat down. Cooper leaned forward and produced a neat attache case, opening it slightly to show her its contents. Eight matt red cylinders bound together with electrical tape, several coils of blue wire and what looked like a bastardised battery. Instinctively she turned her shoulders to shield the case from prying eyes.
Cooper closed the case and her attention snapped back to his face which was as calm and patient as her first grade teacher’s. Florence saw her reflection, small and startled, in the dark brown of his eyes, realising then how close he was to her as he spoke.
“I need you to write down what I tell you and take it to the cockpit. Is that okay?”
Florence nodded, relieved that she could soon share her burden with the pilots. She took out her order pad and steadied her shaking hand.
“Get this down, ‘I have a bomb. You are to land in Seattle and refuel. In exchange for 200,000 in negotiable American currency and four non-military sky-diver’s parachutes, all passengers will be allowed to leave. We will then take off and I will give you further instructions as to where to go.’ Okay?”
“Sure, got it.”
Florence left for the cockpit, Cooper sipped his drink and put on a pair of shades as the sun dipped towards the horizon. He wondered idly what Martha might be up to and whether or not she ever thought of him. As of that moment it occurred to Cooper that it truly didn’t matter, nothing did, the world was irrevocably altered, it had tilted off it’s axis and had taken on a decidedly darker tint…