You’ve signed up to go tandem skydiving for the first time. On the plane, your instructor says he isn’t feeling well, but jumps with you anyway. When you jump, he passes out. Write this scene and the stream of conscious thoughts as you fall toward the earth.
I have the worst friends. For my 30th birthday they bought me a pass to go tandem skydiving. Sounds nice enough, right? Wrong!
What they didn’t tell me is that I would be the only one going on this skydiving adventure. Apparently, they don’t want to jump out of a plane attached to a complete stranger. But I didn’t know any of that until it was too late.
So here I am, sitting in a place, listening to my instructor teach about how best not to die. Jealous yet?
Oh it gets better. My instructor, the one who will literally have my life in his hands as we soar through the air, looks awful. He said he had a touch of the flu, but he looks and sounds much worse than that. He keeps sniffling and coughing and seems to have a hard time keeping his eyes open.
He says he is okay to jump, so soon we will be soaring through the air with the greatest of sneeze.
As we walk to the open plane door and prepare to jump, I keep thinking to myself about Michael Jordan. His Airness had the flu before one of his greatest NBA Finals games of all time, right? Maybe this will be my instructor’s Michael Jordan moment. Maybe we are about to have the greatest skydive ever.
This fires me up! “Let’s do it MJ,” I yell as my instructor straps himself to my back.
“MJ?” he asks in between mucousy coughs.
“Don’t worry about it,” I say.
“1. 2. 3. Jump!”
And just like that we are out of the plane and into the air.
As we sail toward the ground, my instructor appears to be feeling better. I haven’t heard a cough, sniffle, or sneeze for seconds.
I turn to look at him, expecting to see Michael Jordan fighting off adversity and having the dive of his career. Instead, I find him asleep.
“Wake up MJ!” I screem at the top of my lungs. But it does no good. He must have passed out. He is no longer Michael Jordan, rather, he is Dennis Rodman after a late night of partying.
‘We are going to die.’ I think to myself. ‘We are going to die and I am never doing to have a chance to have a family. I’ll never own a house. And worse yet, I’ll never finish my leftovers from that great Thai place.’
I’m no skydiving expert, but I suspect that we are getting close to smashing into the ground. What originally looked like tiny dots is now starting to look like Lego pieces beneath us.
If I could only remember what the instructor said to do in case of emergency. I should have paid closer attention to his tutorial and spent less time daydreaming about the 1990’s Chicago Bulls.
I think I remember him saying something about a red lever that will release the parachute. I see something red near his left pants pocket. I reach for it and pull with all my might.
Turns out that was his wallet. At least I think that is what it was. I only got a brief glance as it went flying away.
But then I spot something else red by his right pants pocket. How many red wallets does this dude have? What the heck, I’m going for it anyway.
Expecting to make it rain with the remains of my passed out instructor’s second wallet, I pull the red item.
Only this time it works. We immediately stop falling to out death and begin to drift softly to the earth.
What a relief. Now I just hope I don’t’ catch the flu.