Getting into the helicopter was not the easiest job. The cockpit area was probably smaller than in the original Mini. Harry Stark’s wife had bought him a trial helicopter lesson as a birthday present. However, what she didn’t know, was that it wouldn’t be something he would leap at. Or did she?
“So, now that I’m sat here – a bit cramped, by the way – what does this thing do?” Harry asked the pilot.
“What did it say on the voucher, Sir?”
“No idea, mate. The missus just drags me out of bed this morning, tells me she’s got some kind of birthday present for me, and brings me here.”
“What does it look like to you, Sir? Happy birthday, by the way.”
“Ta. When we was coming out of your office or whatever, I thought it looked like a helicopter, but now I’m here, it’s obviously too small. Now, a model helicopter, I can understand. They have something like it on the fairground rides. A bit like this – a real squeeze to get two people in, but it’s normally attached to something. In a way that this one ain’t.”
“Did you listen to the briefing I just gave you in the office?”
“Dunno. That boring stuff you was bangin’ on about?”
“That was a safety briefing, Sir. It’s very important you listen to it and understand it.”
“Safety? What the … for? This thing ain’t goin’ nowhere, is it?”
“This aircraft, Sir—”
“Aircraft? Now you’re having a proper laugh, ain’t ya? This model, more like it.”
“Can I ask you, Sir, what model car do you have?”
“Mazda. MX-5, but it ain’t no model. It’s a real car.”
“And yet it’s called a model.”
“That’s just its name. Not even its name. They’re all called models. Don’t mean it ain’t real.”
“This, Sir, this aircraft in which you’re seated, is a Robinson model R22 training helicopter.”
“What, like a stimulator?”
“I think you mean simulator, Sir, and no, it’s not. It is a real helicopter. It’s operational parameters—”
“Boring. If it’s a real chopper, how come it’s so bloody small. You can hardly get two people in side by side.”
“Had we been made aware of Sir’s dimensions, we may well have organised a larger craft, one with a wider berth.”
“You saying I look pregnant?”
“Berth, Sir – b e r t h, not b i r t h. I don’t believe you are pregnant, Sir. You’re the wrong gender for a start.”
“Oh, that’s right. First you call me fat, now you’re saying I’m the wrong gender. This only for women, is it? Is that the kind of sexism we have to put up with from your lot now?”
“My lot, Sir?”
“Yeah, your lot.”
“And which lot would that be, may I ask. And be careful how you answer that.”
“Why? You gonna set the thought police on me? I should have expected it. Put one of you lot in uniform and you go power crazy!”
“Again, my lot?”
“If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you, mate, that’s for sure.”
“May I ask why you agreed to come here, Sir?”
“Told you. The wife dragged me here. I didn’t know I’d just be wasting my time sat in a toy talking to a wet-behind-the-ears boy. How much of my money did the missus waste on this, anyway?”
“I can’t answer that, Sir. I’m just the pilot.”
“Pilot? Pilot? You’d need an aeroplane to call yourself a pilot.”
“This is an aircraft, Sir. You want me to—”
“It’s not a plane, is it? It ain’t got proper wings. And it’s too small to be a chopper. It’s a toy.”
“Hang on. Hang bloody on. I know what’s going on here. How many times has my missus been here to see you?”
“Yeah. You personally.”
“I had never seen your good lady wife prior to this morning, Sir.”
“Ooh. Never seen my good lady wife prior to this morning, eh?” Harry said, his voice heavily laced with mocking sarcasm, “Don’t try to kid me, you lying bast—”
“Sir, time is wasting. If you want to get any benefit from today, I suggest you tighten your seat belt and hold on.”
“I haven’t finished with you yet, boy.”
The pilot started the engine and the rotors began to spin up.
“Christ, It’s bloody noisy,” Harry said, blanching a little.
“Sorry, Sir. Can’t hear you.”
The volume of the engine increased exponentially as the rotors began to take the strain of the aircraft’s weight.
“You ain’t thinkin’ of flyin’ this contraption, are you?”
The vibrations inside the cockpit increased as the engine and rotor sounds reached a crescendo. The rotors did their job and the little helicopter lifted from the ground. To attain forward motion as well as vertical, the pilot tilted the nose down. All Harry Stark could see was that the cockpit, with him in it, was pointed towards the ground, and there was nothing holding them up.
All Harry Stark could say was, “SHIIIIIII…”
I wrote this in response to Kreative Kue 151, issued on this site earlier this week. Feel free to join in; just follow the link.