When Margo was seated behind the pilot in the plane, Grifton settled in beside her. The plane was so small that her right hip pressed against one side of the plane body, and the other against Grifton’s right hip. Grifton’s left hip was pressed against the other side of the plane body. The pilot asked them both if they were ready, and then pushed the throttle, speeding them down the runway.
As the plane lifted off the ground Trolly and Grifton yelled out in sync “Food, fucking and flying!” Grifton laughed at the look on Margo’s face, it was a combination of fear and confusion he read.
“We say that at the beginning of every flight, it’s like our creed for good luck.”
“Oh, is that it.” Margo said sarcastically. “How high up are we now Grif?”
“We are at about 4000 feet, we have a bit of climbing to do before we will be diving. Take a look out the window, the view is great from up here.”
Margo turned her head to look out the small window and suddenly felt like heaving.
“That mountain looks like a little toy from up here,” she said, trying to keep the fear from showing on her face.
“It gets smaller the higher we climb.”
“So, Grif, what happens if I forget to keep my arms crossed?”
“Well, when you open your arms it changes the direction we will be going, if you do it too fast, we may go into a spin, which makes it harder to control.”
“I’m scared Grif, really scared.”
“You will be fine, just do as I tell you to, and this will be one of the most wonderful journeys you take. When we first leave the plane, we will be facing head first toward the ground.”
“Head first?” she interrupted.
“Yes, head first. After we have fallen for about 30 seconds, I will tell you to lift your arms up over your head, when you do, do not touch anything. I will have control of the rip cord, and pull it when the time is right. You will need to keep your head arched back into my chest, and your feet in between my legs, like you are trying to touch my ass with them. That creates an arch that will turn us belly to the ground.”
“What if the parachute doesn’t open?”
“We have a backup chute if it doesn’t, but I packed it myself and I have never had that happen yet. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years now Margo, I know what to do in case of an emergency.”
Margo looked out the window again and saw all the tiny trails that used to be roads, disappear into the mass of land they were above.
“When I pull the rip cord we are going to shoot back up into the air pretty fast.” Grifton explained.
“How fast is pretty fast?”
“It will be like a cork coming out of a champagne bottle,” He teased. “Everything in those first few stages happens pretty quickly, but after the chute is open, we will be able to glide for awhile. Things will be calm, and that’s when I will let you steer.”
Margo nodded her head, she was becoming stiff like a board, her heart was pounding so hard she thought it was trying to get out of her body before she went and did something really stupid, like jump out of a perfectly good airplane.
“How high up are we now Grif?” she asked.
“We are about 9000 feet, it’s time to get ready. Scoot over here in front of me with your face toward the front of the plane.”
Margo listened, but could no longer speak. She was determined to follow this through. She had never been one to back out after she said she was going to do something, and this was not going to be the first time.
“Good, now I am going to attach the harness.”
Grifton strung the harnesses together and made sure they were secure. He tapped her once on the right, and once on the left to let her know that they were connected.
“Okay Margo, we are going to open the plane door.” he warned.
Trolley heard him give the go ahead, and lifted the small door of the plane. A swift rush of air, and noise bombarded the inside of the plane.
“Okay Margo, now I want you to put your right foot out her beside mine,” Grifton said.
Margo put her right foot on the “step” and heard Grifton’s voice become small, like it was being transmitted through some long distance phone call.
“Okay Margo, are you ready to skydive?”
She wanted to answer him, to tell him “Hell no, I’m not ready to skydive!” but before she could say anything they were out the plane door falling faster than she had imagined. There was no turning back now, if only she could breathe. The air was rushing past her so fast that it was all she could do to suck in enough air and exhale again.
“Okay Margo, put your arms up.”
Margo did as she was told and felt the shift of her body move swiftly from a face plant to the ground position, into a position where she could see how fast they were falling. Before she had time to think too much about it, Grifton pulled the rip cord and they shot like a rocket back up into the air. Margo was still trying to figure out to breathe, when the wind noise stopped, and everything got really peaceful.
“Are you alright Margo?” Grifton asked.
“It’s beautiful up here,” she said.
“Welcome to my world.” Grifton was smiling, but she couldn’t see his face, only the terrain below as they glided through the air like she imagined hawks might do.
“Would you like to steer this ship for awhile?” Grifton asked her.
“If you think I can.” she answered.
“Just take one of these in each of your hands,” he said as he guided her fingers over the straps that controlled the direction they were gliding in.
“Got em?” he asked.
“Yeah I do, now what do I do?”
“Pull on the right strap slowly.”
When she did the two bodies turned sharply to the right.
“Not quite so fast,” he said. “Okay now pull on the left slowly.”
She pulled on the left and they sailed smoothly to the left. Margo watched as the scenery changed again. She was smiling, but he couldn’t see her face.
“Okay, now let me take the lead again.” Grifton said.
He took the straps and pulled sharply to the left. They started to swing outward really far, and they were spiraling quickly, then he straightened them out again.
“We are going to come in hot when we land.”
“What does hot mean Grif?”
“It means we are coming in really fast. Just be sure to pull your knees up and hold them with your hands, I will need to touch the ground before you so we don’t tumble and hurt something.”
“Alright, my knees are up.”