Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Waiting on the Tarmac

The drops fell heavily outside the window, cutting visibility to barely a few feet. The pilots knew they were supposed to get rain, but none of the weather predictions guessed it would be this much. For more than an hour, they had been grounded, the plane that was supposed to take off forever ago sitting like a statue on the tarmac.

"Look at that." Bob's co-pilot peered out his side window into the storm. Bob tried to follow his gaze.

"What do you see?"

"I dunno. It looks like... Is that... Naw. I must be seeing things."

Bob clenched his jaw, ready to smack his young co-pilot. The kid had a tendency to speak in half-sentences and it was getting on Bob's last nerve.

"What the hell are you talking about?" He stood up, leaning over the boy so he could see out the window better. "What the..."

There, on the wet, black pavement, stood a miniature poodle. It's white hair, shaved bare in most places, was dripping and matted near its neck and ankles. It cowered under the wing of the plane, trying to avoid the rain.

"How on earth did it get all the way out here?"

The plane wasn't near the terminal. It was sitting in a row of other planes waiting for the okay to take off.

"Do you think it'll be ok?"

Bob frowned. The kid had a point. There was no way that poodle would survive once the weather let up and the planes started moving. Bob straightened and pulled his jacket from the hook.

"You're in charge, kid. I'll be back in a few minutes. Don't screw this up." The boy nodded frantically under Bob's deathly glare. "Lock the door behind me and don't open it until I tell you."

Bob headed out into the plane. A flight attendant was standing near the door, making coffee.

"Abby, do me a favor and find out if anyone on this plane owns a poodle, will ya? And don't shut this door. I'll be right back."

The young woman looked baffled, but headed to the microphone.

Bob heard her voice streaming through the plane as he opened a super secret escape hatch that would let him slip down onto the tarmac. He glanced around. There, still under the wing, was the puppy.

"Here boy... or girl. Here puppy."

Bob walked toward the dog, hunched, hand out, moving quietly and gently. It shied away from him at first, but doing so put it out in the hardest rain. Eventually, it warmed to him and he was able to snatch it. The drenched rat cried at first, struggling in his grip, but as he petted it and cooed to it, it calmed down.

He made his way back to the ladder, stuffing the small dog inside the large pocket of his coat so that he could use both hands to climb back inside. Just inside the door, a little girl was crying, her mother behind her holding the girl's shoulders.

When the dog was pulled from the pocket, the child squealed, a high, piercing sound that could break glass. The dog's tiny tail began to wag and it practically leapt from Bob's arms.

"Oh, thank you so much!" The woman was beside herself. "We lost him back in the parking lot. I have no idea how he managed to get out here, but we'd thought we lost him forever."

Bob grunted and headed back to the cockpit, suppressing a smile.

**There are 15-minute writing dashes at Milk Wood in Second Life every day at 5amSLT and 6:30pmSLT. This story is from the 5-16-11 morning dash, using the prompt "tarmac."**

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