(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell)
.....brought to you by Bebopareebop Rhubarb Pie and frozen rhubarb pie filling.
You go to the airport to fly to LA and the security folks at the metal detectors are unusually tough today (TK: HANDS ON TOP OF YOUR HEADS, EMPTY THE POCKETS. HUP HUP HEEYAW) and you hike a half mile to the gate (TR WINDED) and you can tell it's going to be a full flight (SULLEN MUTTERING) by the looks on people's faces (DARK CHORD) --- it looks like an open audition for walk-on Nazis, and you haven't even boarded --- the woman at the counter is wearing a helmet and face-guard (SS ECHOEY VOICE: Have your carry-ons been in your possession since you packed them?) The gate agents have large dogs (SNARLS) who herd you into the jetway (BARKS) where pitiful geezers totter down the incline (TR & SS GEEZER ANXIETY). You shove past them and onto the aircraft through the first-class section (TR MOGUL: Another double Scotch and soda. And more tandoori shrimp. Delicious!) and you head back into steerage where people are stuffing the overheads (TK EFFORT) with duffel bags the size of cattle (TK BIG EFFORT). There is an air of desperation (TK STRAINING) because bags that don't fit will be checked and sent to L.A. by way of Athens (TK BIG EFFORT, CRACK OF WOOD, CHICKEN FRENZY). So you try to wedge your little carry-on in ---- (TR: You mind if I move this briefcase, sir? TK: Yes. TR: Trying to stow my bag. TK: I don't care. TR: See? Your bag can go back here....TK: Don't touch it. Don't even think about it.) So you stow your bag thirty rows back (TR: Excuse me, excuse me, pardon me, sorry) and make your way back to your seat - -- right behind the guy with the briefcase (TK FUMING) --- you sit and look at his bald spot, knowing that this man holds your life in his hands. All he has to do is put his seat back (TR: No, no, please, no) and he'll drive your femurs right up your thorax (CRACK, TR PAIN)....(SS ON P.A.: Will everyone take your seat immediately so we can have an on- time departure----) Flight attendants with electric prods move down the aisle (ELECTRIC SHOCK, CRY, SS: Thank you for your cooperation. ELECTRIC SHOCK, CRY. SS: Thank you, sir.) And now the aircraft is pulling away from the gate (JET ENGINE, LOW) and it taxis for fifteen minutes to a distant corner of the field and sits there for forty-five minutes during which the anxiety level rises (WEEPING), and we wait for the announcement from the cockpit (TK ON P.A. BLOWS AND: This is your first officer. We are experiencing a minor instrument read-out problem, which will require us to return to the gate to replace the part --- it's a minor repair --- I would expect this to take, oh, five or ten minutes, and then we'll be underway). The passengers look at each other in ashen horror. They've been here before. They know what "minor repair" means. It means that nobody will be allowed to deplane. (JET ENGINE, LOW) The aircraft taxis back to the gate and when the door is opened (THUNK, CREAK) passengers surge forward (SHOUTS, YELLS, STRUGGLING) but gate agents have brought fire hoses (BLAST OF WATER) and they drive the passengers back to their seats (CRIES OF PAIN) and the seatbelts are fastened and locked (CLUNK, CLICK) (WHIMPER OF PAIN. SS: Thank you for your cooperation.) and we settle down for the long wait (DRIPS). An hour passes. Two hours. (SOBBING, OFF) You can hear a priest saying the Rosary (TR: My father can play dominoes better than your father.) and the clicking of beads (RAPID CLICKS) and a few hours later, people start to go berserk (TR: THE VOICES ARE TELLING ME TO OPEN THIS HERE EMERGENCY DOOR! (STRUGGLE) and people are on their cellphones (TK: I want to speak to my Congressman! SS: Amnesty International, please---- and hurry.) People are pounding on the walls. (THUMPS) The gate agents have to come back with the fire hoses (BLAST OF WATER) and the captain walks back, the monocle in his left eye, flicking the riding crop against his boot (TR NAZI: We will ausgeluft mit der take-off in zwei minutter, jahwohl!) and the plane doors are closed (JAIL DOOR CLANK, LOCKS) and the plane taxis back toward the runway and you're 15th for takeoff and as you come closer and closer to take-off (CREAK), you hear this strange sound from under your seat (CREAK OF RIGGING) and is that steam coming from the air vents (HISS) and now there's another sound (TREMBLY BREATH) ---- is that you? And now you're first for take-off. (JET ROAR, CREAK)
Wouldn't this be a good time for a piece of rhubarb pie? Yes, nothing gets the taste of terror out of your mouth like Beebopareebop Rhubarb Pie. (RHUBARB SONG)
(c) 2000 by Garrison Keillor