She moved under him. He gripped her hips and held her tightly down. Rutting feverishly. Afterwards, he lay on the bed beside her and smoked. She stirred and he heard her ask a question. “What?” He didn’t want a shower. Pointing toward the bathroom he told her to go ahead. Turning towards the window, he lay on his side. Smoke hung above him. His thoughts drifted. The flight into Denver. He was to fly to California for United but his schedule had changed. He would wait on another flight in the morning. Hotel bar. Strong drinks with plastic stir sticks. The girl in black nylons and a stirring in his loins. He’d had more than a few stewardesses. It came with the job. He was to catch the morning flight as an add on from Denver to LAX. Sleep soon took him…
He barely made it to the airport. The usual bustle and frenetic pace. People trying to get somewhere. He was waved past security as he presented identification. The pilots had a pretty good arrangement. He boarded as the crew nodded in his direction. Familiar faces. Stowing his carry on bag, he took a seat just behind the cockpit in the main cabin. He would link up at LAX and pull a three-day flight routine from LAX to Denver and back. It was tiring but he ended the week with four days to himself. Smiling, he knew he’d be back in Vegas at the tables… travel arrangements compliments of United. Las Vegas was where he really lived. At least this is what he told himself. He loved flying into Vegas at night. A thousand dreams. A million magic lanterns. Possibilities. He would fly tourists into Vegas sometimes and during his layover, he’d play craps… cigarettes, strippers and booze. His household Gods. He smiled to himself as the United flight into LAX started boarding.
The plane was packed. It was filled with the usual bustle. Knees in the back. Elbows being bumped by people moving in the aisles. Cramped legs and tired neck muscles. The stale air was recirculated in a pathetic effort to make it seem… less nasty. Tiny round nozzles spit it directly down onto the passengers from the little plastic control panel above them. Call light. Oxygen mask. Nasty air nozzle. The crew didn’t think they were fooling anyone. After 9/11, people’s IQ’s dramatically improved. Folks were wary and questioned everything. They wouldn’t take too much shit either. The pilot seated behind the cockpit knew the deal. He once saw a Federal Marshall put a Saudi man on his face on a flight into Miami. It was ugly but the pilot thought the man probably had it coming. Didn’t they all deserve it? “Infidels my ass.” Pushing the thought away, he took two Vicodin and started to order a drink… He thought better of it. Too early. The thought made him chuckle. He sat quietly and thought of Vegas. The passengers soon heard the Captain announce, “Good Morning. We are on the final approach to Los Angeles where the weather is a pleasant seventy-nine degrees. Please prepare for landing. We’ll be on the ground shortly.”
On the ground in Los Angeles, the passengers began to gather their things. The pilot sat in his seat and waited for them to exit the plane. Two guys moved past him toward the exit. They carried skateboards. “Scumbags.” he thought. They both appeared to be in their thirties… The men had a few tattoos visible and talked excitedly between themselves. They seemed in a hurry. One of them had a green camouflage baseball hat on. They nodded to him… The pilot turned away. Evening found the pilot in a downtown Los Angeles night club. Music pulsed and hammered through the building. He was sweating. Slipping into a bathroom stall, he opened up a bindle and carefully snorted half of the coke inside. His pulse quickened. He loved cocaine. It made him feel… well, less empty. Voices outside. Urgency. The bathroom was loud… flushing the toilet with his foot, he quickly went out to the main club. People danced and writhed. It wasn’t long before he saw her then. Blue dress. Tight. Her eyes were wet jewels… She smiled. He moved.
Three days later, the pilot stepped into the airplane in uniform. He was hungover and tried to look fresh and ready for the flight to Denver from Los Angeles. The crew hurried about the cabin preparing and he strapped himself behind the console to begin his last minute flight checklist. If he had been looking back into the main cabin, he would’ve seen the two skateboarders coming on board and taking their seats. If he had taken the time to speak to them at length, he would’ve learned that they were much more than skateboarders. They weren’t ‘Scumbags”. They were solid. They weren’t an empty husk like him. They valued friendships. They held jobs, had loving families and more friends than he could ever hope to collect in a lifetime. These were two guys who had a passion. Skateboarding. They broke themselves to overcome fear and to become better people. The two skaters talked and looked at photographs on their phones. The Gorilla Pool.The Bent Square. Triple Bubble. It had been a blur… A weekend of pool skating with friends. It truly made life better. Take flight to live. They looked through the photographs again. They had skated with some really cool people. Cam, Shane, Ripperside Shawn, Kevin Burke, Brandon Wong, Kent Senatore… good people. Good times. Thank you to Bill Sharp for the images. Skate- Ozzie