Written by Joe Janes
200 of 365
(Lights up on Al alone in the cockpit of a commercial jet airliner. It is night and he is clearly having some difficulty staying awake. We can lightly hear the hum of the jet engines. Sam enters with coffee for both of them and takes the co-pilot seat next to Al. They sit in silence for a moment.)
SAM (looking out the side window)Hey, Al. Ever wonder what it would be like to just… dive… into the ocean?
ALJust like diving into any other water. Just saltier.
SAMOh, I know that. I’ve swam - swum? - in the ocean before. I meant from here. I think that would be a blast.
ALIt would probably kill you.
ALIt’s some physics bullshit. You ever just smack your hand on the surface of water? Or do a belly flop? Like that, but you may as well be jumping off a building and hitting concrete. More splat than splash.
SAMMan. Physics. (Jokingly shakes his fist)
ALEver wonder what it would be like to dive the plane into the ocean? (He dips the steering wheel a bit and brings it back up.)
SAM (excited)You did not just do that!
ALThis? (Does it again)
SAMOh, man! I’ve never seen anybody do that before. I’ve never done that before.
ALDone what? This? (He does it again).
SAMAh! Let me! Let me!
ALHang on a second. (Al hits a switch and we hear a “bing.” He then picks up the PA microphone.) This is your captain speaking. We’ve run into some light turbulence. Please return to your seats and make sure your seat belts are fastened. Thank you. (He puts it back down.) All yours, Sam.
(Sam gets an excited look on his face. He grabs the steering wheel and goes into a nosedive.)
AL (continuing)Pull up! Pull up!
SAMI can’t! I don’t want to!
AL (pulling up on his wheel)Pull up, Sam or we’re all going to die!
(They manage to get the plane leveled off. Sam is panting with excitement. Al is shaken.)
AL (continuing)Cheese and eggs, Sam! You nearly got us killed. All 158 of us.
SAMI know, I know. I’m sorry. Wasn’t it cool, though?
(Nancy the flight attendant enters. She looks disheveled.)
NANCYWhat the fuck, gentlemen?
NANCYNo, I’m not okay. I’m wearing milk, coffee and tomato juice. The cabin is filled with spilled drinks, snacks, vomit and tears. It’s going to be a nightmare to clean up.
(She lights a cigarette)
SAMYou’re not supposed to –
NANCYShut up, Sam. (She takes a big drag, sighs out the smoke, drops the cigarette and stomps it out.)
ALHey, Nancy, give ‘em all a complimentary round of drinks.
NANCYWill do. After I have a few for myself.
SAMPretty wild, huh?
SAMAll those lives in our hands. Every one of them thought they were going to die a moment ago.
SAMAnd then we made it all right. And gave them a free drink to boot.
ALWith great power comes great responsibility.
SAMWhen we were heading down toward the ocean, breaking through the clouds, seeing the shimmer of the moon on the water, you know what I was thinking? Okay. This is it. Fine by me. It’s been a fun life. I had my turn. Thumbs up. Adios, amigos. What a great way to go. What were you thinking?
ALLet’s see, what was I thinking? Oh, yeah. I was thinking, “Oh, fuck! Oh, fuck! Oh, fuck! Oh, fuck!” It’s one thing to dick around just a little bit, Sam, but you nearly got us killed playing chicken with the sea.
SAMSo, we die. There are billions of people on the planet. We would have made the news and been forgotten in a month. Life would continue without us.
ALLife can continue without you, if you want. But not without me. I’m not done yet. I have a dog and two ex-wives to feed.
SAMIt was exciting, though, wasn’t it? Thought you were going to die and now you’re not. Bet everyone back there feels the same. Bet you’re wide awake now, too.
ALThat I am.
SAMWant a refill on your coffee?
ALI want you to go help Nancy and the crew clean up. I’ll be fine here.
SAMYou pissed at me?
SAMUm. Okay. We’ll talk when I get back.
(Sam exits. Al picks up the PA.)
ALLadies and gentlemen, this is your captain. We sincerely apologize for the rough flight we’ve been having. It looks like we’ll be free and clear all the way in to Los Angeles. I’m going to turn off the “seat belt” sign and you can feel free to move about the cabin. And please enjoy a complimentary beverage on us.
(Al continues to fly. He thinks for a moment about nose-diving the plane. Thinks better of it and doesn’t. Lights fade.)