Vonnegut Made Me Do It

Bafetimbi Gomis is such a great name that I thought I’d write a story about him. Not a whole story, just enough of a story to pass an ad break or two. He’s not even getting his own story but being dropped into another. The story he’s being dropped into began with the infamous hijacker, D.B. Cooper, boarding a plane, ordering a drink and it goes on like that…

That part of the story is here somewhere under the name Little D.B. Needs to Fly. Bafetimbi is flying the Boeing 727 that has just taken off from Seattle-Tacoma Airport. D.B. Cooper is the only passenger left onboard and he’s just become 200 grand wealthier. Bafetimbi knows this as he arranged for D.B’s conditions to be met. The money has been handed over, along with parachutes, meals for the crew and it goes on like that…

Both men have been remarkably calm throughout the experience. D.B. Cooper is remarkably calm for a man who has just hijacked a plane and extorted the United States government out of 200 grand. Bafetimbi Gomis is remarkably calm for a professional football player who has never flown a plane before. By the standards of professional football, Bafetimbi’s career has gone well but not great. He’s played for Saint-Etienne, Swansea, Galatasaray and it goes on like that…

Bafetimbi suffers from suspected Vasovagal response. This means he faints at times of stress. His co-pilot, William Rataczak, knows about his condition but hasn’t had the chance to raise his concerns with the bosses at Northwest Orient Airlines. Rataczak hasn’t been able to catch a break all day. He started the day by pissing on his socks, then tripped over the dog leaving the house. Now the plane he’s co-piloting with a French footballer has been hijacked and it goes on like that…

Where will it end? Somewhere over Nevada, D.B. Cooper asks the crew to join Gomis and Rataczak in the cockpit. He requests that they stay there. Cooper begins lowering the aft stairwell. Rataczak notes the change of cabin pressure indicated by a dial on the control panel. Gomis nods in recognition even though he has no idea what Rataczak is talking about. All the while, D.B. Cooper is getting ready to leave; he puts on a parachute, takes off his clip-on tie and it goes on like that…

Gomis and Rataczak land the plane in Reno, the ordeal ends. Bafetimbi Gomis cries openly now, clasping William Rataczak to his chest. Rataczak doesn’t cry, he just wants to raise his concerns about Bafetimbi Gomis to the bosses at Northwest Orient Airlines. After Gomis has let go, Rataczak is first debriefed by law enforcement and then by the aviation authority. William Rataczak then finds a Northwest Orient union rep, requests Grievance Form 4J and it goes on like that…

D.B. Cooper remains on the aft stairwell somewhere above Nevada. A ferocious current claws at his legs, chest and face. D.B. Cooper has eternity to stare into the deep void beneath him as paper bank notes are sucked away, one at a time. He neither jumps nor falls nor lives nor dies. D.B. Cooper is descending the aft stairwell, descending the aft stairwell and it goes on like that…

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Little D.B Needs to Fly! (Part 1)

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.

“Err, Miss?”

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.”

“Okay, go.”

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…