Under Pressure

James could feel the pressure building. The stage was set, the pieces in their place and the moment of decision was at hand. Would he have the courage to follow through and be the hero he was meant to be?

The flight had started so pleasantly. For the first time in his life he’d been upgraded to Business class. His wife and he had been almost skipping through the security line in anticipation, joking about the luxury in store for them.

“I’ll be asking for scented bubbles in my spa”, James said with a knowing wink to his wife.

“Don’t be silly”, she responded. “You can’t have a scented bubble bath on a plane, the champagne they fill the tub with is already carbonated”.

With that they dissolved into sniggers of laughter at the stupidity of the idea, but in the back of their minds, images of luxury continued to ferment.

The wait in the terminal lounge seemed an eternity for them as they imagined their up-coming flight. When they finally arrived in the cabin, the beckoning leather sofas that counted for seats welcomed them gloriously into their soft supportive embrace like the arms of a lover. James melted into the luxury and finally relaxed.

He didn’t feel so relaxed now though. It was a little difficult with a maniacal hijacker waving a gun around demanding the flight be re-routed to Fiji. The guy was deranged, the manic glint in his eyes betraying a grip on reality that was about as firm as jelly. The universe his mind inhabited only tangentially related to the physical one around him, and in James opinion, probably only touching in some fairly unhelpful places. For one thing, the guy kept raving about Red Dwarf and preventing the apostasy of Ourobouros.

James was trying to relax, but the pressure kept building. Internally and externally things were building to a critical juncture. He could see the Air Marshal a couple of rows ahead of him steeling himself to take action. There would soon be a breaking point and, one way or another, something significant was about to happen.

It was now or never. The scene was set, the fuse primed, the pressure building to a peak level and, almost in slow motion, the action started. It began as a low rumble. From there it quickly built to a level that caused the seats to start vibrating. That got the maniac’s attention. His head swivelled towards James in astonishment as his bowel released a good hour’s worth of pent-up anxiety. And still the emission grew.

Afterwards, James would swear that he even saw the plane’s wing tips quiver from the force of the gale he was expelling as it reached the climax. A fart so powerful it would register on the Richter scale had it been performed at ground level. A fart that could not be denied. A fart that gave provided the moment of opportunity to save the flight because it was at that point the Air Marshall saw his window to act.

With the hijacker distracted, almost incapacitated by shock, the Marshall tackled him, wresting the gun from his unresponsive fingers and immobilising the offender in one swift and practised move. Never had an opponent been so unprepared for an assault. It was graceful. It was flawless. It was team-work in action.

As the shock subsided, the passengers and crew began a round of applause. Sporadic at first, but building to a dull roar of approval as each person regained their senses. They were saved.

A stewardess approached James coyly, and with admiration in her eyes. “Well done sir”, she said, “is there anything I can get for you”.

“I believe I would like a Martini”, James replied as he gave her a charming smile.

“It would be my pleasure sir”, the attendant nodded, and as she turned to walk away James called out. “And I believe you won’t need to stir it, things should have already been well and truely shaken by now”.

With that, he sank back into his chair, turned to his wife and said, “So Mrs Bond, where shall we ski first when we arrive?”. The smile she gave him back was indescribable.

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