The Back Zipper Stuntman

For a while I chose to fall backward so as to ward the paper from the wind so it wouldn’t tore off my hands. I’m still holding the instructions sheet that says about the plane and outlines the whole situation. There are so many details and the paper has no signature on it, a thing that most saddens me. I fold it and shove it in my pocket; towards the end, I’ll look over it one more time.

Today, it so appears I wear the same shirt. Among the purple dots on the fabric there is a stain on my chest; I don’t remember me staining it last time and that means someone wore it in the meanwhile.

It’s quite windy, streaks of clouds are passing in front of me, and it’s annoying. Whatever, the great cloud moves aside and now I can clearly see the plane on the left, and a rupture. Oh yes, here are the five passengers that got sucked out, now falling. Those five are listed on the paper in my pocket.

I’m leaning a bit to approach them; unfortunately, all’s gonna happen blazingly fast from the moment I’ll get into conversation with them. I have an urge to postpone it, to loiter among the clouds, but eventually I will end up still here.

Mr. Jacome, the first that comes into focus, tied his shoelaces tightly before falling from the plane. Usually, elder people lose their clothes while falling from planes or after an explosion; they drop at least a shoe and the tie bothers them terribly. I haven’t met Mr. Jacome personally but as I approach him, I begin to know him. When I reach him (after the second cloud), catch him and turn him over to face me, he’s still impeccably dressed.

I ask him the dullest question, whether he has any children; he shakes his head no. I let him go and bend over toward the next passenger, falling even faster. That must be the moment when Mr. Jacome notices my zipper on the back of my shirt, where my wings spread through, but they are invisible and don’t bother Mr. Jacome, they pass right through him. I was told all sorts of feelings; imaginings, most likely, because Mr. Jacome doesn’t feel a thing when my wings cut through him.

Copyright © 2013, Cristina Schek

Copyright © 2013, Cristina Schek

So, I was saying I was sliding toward next falling person: it’s Miss Amande; I first see his pony tail that flutters interestingly like some flame of faith in a temple. Miss Amande prays with her eyes shut and her lips pouted; I won’t bother her because she’s doing the right thing exactly.

Next follows Mrs. Matilda, I fall down to her and ask her about children. She nods but looks to the plane, her children are in there, and I’m sorry, I can tell from experience and with great confidence that this plane will crash to pieces, there is no reason to save Mrs. Matilda, I would do her more harm instead.

I lean toward Mr. Luso, slide over to him; Mr. Luso has a daughter, I signal him I’ll come back to him later. Mr. Luso freaked out the most, he thought I was a most exotic grave robber, one that has the audacity to rifle his pockets in the middle of a plane crash, during the next falling. There’s no time to calm him down.

Last one is Francine, but Francine still has her headphones on, she doesn’t expect anything from her future, all that she wants is the batteries to hold until the end. She tries to see everything underneath like some final Van Halen music video.

I revert and pick up Luso and Amande. They are very light, their souls. Fine, I’m a snowflake, Amande is a glass of lemonade and Mr. Luso pulls down a weight like that of a fat cat (he killed, by negligence, a fat cat). Frankly, I could carry one more; I get back and take Mr. Jacome from his armpit.

I heave—my wings wheeze like the hide of a fighting porcupine. I show to my passengers that I can slow down my fall, and they offer me looks filled with gratitude. They have no doubt: we fall slower because of me.

But I’m still waiting for an answer, acknowledging the fact that I’m doing the right thing. A sign would be in order.

Amande seemingly tries to grab me tighter; she slinks a hand under my wings, through my back pocket, just like God does when He tries to personally intervene. I’m waiting for orders, Amande might be God. I wait a little longer, but Amande doesn’t make any moves on me, and there’s little left until we touch ground. I stick my forehead to Amande’s head and listen. She’s afraid, her mind sees her running in circles. Such a pity, it proves that Amande isn’t God either, God is missing again.

I ask my passengers to grab me on their own, so I can take the paper out of my pocket, the paper that instructs me how to intervene. It’s still unsigned (that’s a shame), God still hasn’t approved what I could’ve done.

For my peace of mind, I review mentally the situation in heavens.

The seraph still transcribes and translates the little celestial log, much as it’s left, but God disappeared for a while, His little log with tragic events is almost full, and the new intervention sheets still unsigned.

I sigh, and my passengers notice I’m fidgeting and we’re still skyrocketing in spite of slowing down.

I must get them all off me.

I begin to forcefully push them away. I’m sorry, they’ll be all squashed to a pulp, and after that I wouldn’t know, just as I haven’t got a clue about who dresses me or what happens to my clothes when I’m not wearing them.


Translation by Dan BUTUZA

Despre Andrei GACEFF

Andrei GACEFF a scris 3 articole în Revista de suspans.

M-am nascut in Bucuresti - pe 15 septembrie 1978. Din pacate, am urmat doar scoli cu profil preponderent real. De debutat am debutat la finele lui 2006, cu "Victoria, ce bine-mi pare sa te revad", povestire aparuta intr-un almanah Helion; am publicat ulterior si altele, in alte reviste si almanahuri Helion, online in Nautilus. Am mai aparut in antologia "Dansand pe Marte si alte povestiri fantastice"; sunt membru AtelierKULT. Iar autorii carora ar trebui sa le platesc tribut sunt Rilke, Cortazar, Murakami, Cartarescu, Capote, Kafka si Sagan (Francoise).

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