Transatlantic

I’m flying from New York to London almost on a monthly basis.  Having recently moved to the UK, I keep having to go back and visit my girlfriend of less than a year, only because I am too much of a pussy to break up with her.

It’s Sunday evening and, after yet another weekend wasted, I am on the red eye back to London. I know that as soon as I land, I will have to take the train into town, race home to shower and change and then greet another arduous week on the wrong foot – knowledge that is quick to breed a quiet concoction of anger and resentment.

I’m sitting in the lounge waiting to board, thinking about how miserable the trip is.  Even in business class, it sucks.  By the time you take off, it’s a race to have enough drinks, recline your seat and fall asleep. And a mere 4 hours later, some lardy, badly-aged British cunt is standing over you telling you to put your seat up for landing because ‘we’re 20 minutes from landing.’ As if she doesn’t fucking know that we’re just going to circle Heathrow for another hour anyway.

I pass the time by double-fisting glasses of red wine, and looking at the pictures in Yachting magazine. I’ve really never understood why airport lounges are the only places in the world where, presumably, people like to peruse boating magazines.  Thirty minutes before boarding, time for the Klonopin, and the switch to Johnnie Walker doubles on the rocks. I don’t even like Johnnie Walker, but it’s free, and it’s there.

Some people like to board first. That’s retarded. I like to board last. I guess if I had to fight for overhead storage space, I might feel differently.

Once I get on the plane, I settle quickly into my aisle seat upstairs. My only objective at this point is to keep drinking so that I can fall asleep as quickly as possible.  The stewardess comes by with the hot towels, a concept that I wish would catch on everywhere besides just airplanes, Asian beach resorts, and rub ‘n tug joints.

Next up is the pre-flight drinks tray: orange juice, water, ‘champagne’, or red wine.  She looks at me strangely as I reach for 2 glasses, but what the fuck, their dwarfy wine glasses are bullshit.  “When we take off, please bring them two at a time; It’ll save us both time,” was my simple curt response to her “Ello.  Welcome to British Airways.”

Fortunately, we take off on time. Nothing is worse than sitting at the gate for prolonged periods of time.  For whatever reason, if you are in the air, they will serve you as many drinks as you want.  But at the gate, they are stingy as Hell.

The drinks keep coming and I shift my focus to Denzel Washington’s ‘Man on Fire’.  Airlines fucking love that movie for some reason; it is to airplanes what The Shawshank Redemption or Road House is to TNT.  Just a few more drinks, half a Xanax, and I’ll be ready to recline into the not-quite-so-flat position and float away.  This is before the herringbone seat configuration, so there isn’t even the possibility of rubbing one out.

The next thing I know, I am being shaken awake by another stewardess.  She’s good looking by BA standards, not hot, but I’ve probably traded worse.

“I’ve been trying to wake you. Please put your seat into the upright position, we need to make an emergency landing,” she says, and then immediately disappears.

Barely awake and far from lucid, I have an impossible time comprehending the fact that the plane is shaking seemingly uncontrollably, and that, at the same time, we’re experiencing violent jolts of turbulence.

“What the Hell is going on?” I ask the pasty ginger gunt sitting across from me.  He looks fucking frightened.  “The plane has a-a-a problem. We ne-need to ma-make an emerge-ge-gency landing?”

What the fuck? Last time I checked, we’re in the middle of the fucking Atlantic Ocean. But before I could ask that retard to elaborate, the pilot comes over the speaker.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a reminder. We need all of you to stay calm and remain in your seats.  Due to a mechanical failure, we will be making an emergency landing at _________ Military Base in Greenland.”  I’m not being coy, I have no recollection what it was called.

I didn’t need to hear any more; I’m going to die.  My heart doesn’t sink like I always thought it would in this situation, but I am fucking terrified.  Without hesitation, I grab the air phone, swipe my credit card and begin the process of saying my good byes.  I am oddly calm, a fact that probably doesn’t shock the medical community considering the alcohol, Klonopin, and Xanax cocktail.  But hey, I’m not a doctor.

“Hi Mom. My plane is about to crash, so I just wanted to say good-bye and that I love you,” I say matter-of-factly.  Whenever I call home, I usually speak to both of my parents at the same time, a habit that I picked up when I left for boarding school.  It saved time by not having to repeat everything twice, and always cut down on my parents’ phone bill.  No, they’re not Jewish.

“What?” My Dad interjects, “You’re calling from the airplane? This has gotta be costing you a fortune.”

“Shut up, Harold. I am talking to my son.”  My usually passive mother interjects.

“Have you been drinking?” my Dad pipes in again.  “Hang up the phone Francine; everything is fine.”

“Shut up, Harold.  I want to hear my son.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t say it often enough, Mom.  But I just want to say thank you, and that I love you.”

My next call was to my ex-girlfriend.  It went to her answering machine.  Yes, this happened back when people still had home phones and answering machines.

“Hi Sheila.  I am calling you because my plane is about to crash.  And I’m probably not going to make it.  I just wanted to let you know that you were the one.  You were the one, my soul mate, my lobster (and to think that I always made the jerk-off hand-motion in my mind whenever she would say that), and I’m sorry that I ever let you get away.  I will always love you, and will be looking over you.”

It didn’t matter that our relationship ended very badly and that we hadn’t spoken since. It didn’t matter that she subsequently went on to marry the next guy she went out with.  I’m sure her husband will love listening that message. But, it’s not like I said anything crazy about ‘that thing’ she does with her tongue, probably because the lazy bitch never did anything crazy with her tongue.

And obviously, that’s not her real name; I’d never fucking date a ‘Sheila.’

After that, I slowly worked my way through my Rolodex of close friends to bid my farewells.  The rest is, for the most part, a blur.  And then, everything fades away.

The next thing I know, I am sitting in a wheelchair.  If this were a movie, six months would have passed and I, the lone survivor, would be sitting in a hospital bed in Bermuda, surrounded by hot nurses trying to help me overcome my amnesia and piece my life back together.  Instead, I am in a NHS-looking relic of a wheelchair in the British Airways arrival lounge at Heathrow.  I look at my watch.  8 hours have passed since my last memory.  I look at my phone.  12 voicemail messages, 29 texts, and 37 missed calls.

One person I neglected to call during my ordeal, my current girlfriend. And actually, the blessing of this experience is that when she heard this story soon thereafter, she was so upset that she wasn’t on my list of people I’d call before I die, that she ended the relationship.

I roll myself towards the door, before remembering that I might as well walk.   I’m already going to be late into the office.

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45 Responses to Transatlantic

  1. It’s just a poor man’s American Psycho with no interesting parts that’s an absolute chore to finish.

    Oh well, I suppose if you’re a soulless miscreant working for the Devil not much else could be expected therefore complete artistic success has been achieved in its verisimilitude of form, language and topic matter.

    Bravo!

    • Big Al Gallatin says:

      What a pretentious, self-indulgent comment. Get off your high horse and start using Oxford commas you Creative Writing major.

      • Ah, did baby not like a critical review of his boyfriend’s writing, did the difficult words confuse his little brain?

        Your response demands answers to the following questions.

        How does a six line comment provokes a more passionate response than the hundred above it?

        If you have such an aversion to creative writing why the fuck are you here reading the above?

        What do you think of the above piece ? Given that’s what the comments section is for.

        And lastly just for you,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  2. Semane says:

    It was pretty good. [But u probably already know that]

  3. Wish_I_was_a_banker says:

    I don’t get it.

  4. Marcus Halverstrand says:

    @qwertyuiop Your smug word choice everything you said irrelevent.

    This was oddly touching, GS. Told with a perfect air of condescendence.

  5. blahblahblah says:

    So did the plane crash or land? Why do you remember calling all these people but nothing between that and landing?

  6. H says:

    What? Have I missed something? Can some one explain the end?

  7. Butts says:

    This blog rules

  8. eh1eh says:

    Wow. Nice story but some cunts can’t read and ask stupid questions. It;s a story. Fin.

  9. Random punter says:

    How did you get missed calls when your phone would have been off for the flight?

    SMS in a time before BA changed their business class configuration doesn’t seem right to me.

    I’ve always found I have a better sleep in a window seat upstairs.

  10. Wow. If you guys don’t get the point of this story, you all have GEDs.

  11. Ev_Moran says:

    Untimely ending. The story builds up well, better than your Singapore hooker redemption story builds, but that one ends with a cleverly constructed bang, right after the hook (nobody fuck for free) where this one dissipates into a weak ‘then I woke up’. You can do better, though you probably know this.

  12. Nigel Basalt says:

    Sorry to hear about the aviatus interruptus. Too bad for you people this century. Back in the day you (my SO) flew the New York-London-Paris Axis of Evil on supersonic jets. That didn’t leave time for psychotropes, but did leave more time on the weekends for…activities.

  13. Great story, sorry for the idiots who didn’t get it

  14. jkiforrest says:

    not bad. Earlier ones were fantastic though.

  15. diana says:

    Boring, but totally enjoyed The Gym.

  16. bobby redford says:

    Yawn/fiction

  17. Ola says:

    thanks for entertaining

  18. eib says:

    Pretty good. I dont think a BA stewardess would say ” ‘ello’ ” however

  19. eib says:

    I think you write pretty well, and definitely have ‘a voice’. I’m not sure it’s all a bit dated however, a bit pre 2007. I dont think post the crash anyone gives a shit anymore on a investment bankers past life of excess?

    i think you should work on characterisation more and make it less plot driven or wall street driven. investigate your characters personality, what makes him tick etc etc. william boyd writes about masculine themes very well. men like to read about how men think. and why they do the things they do. i dont get this from your stories

  20. Grover Cleveland says:

    I didn’t know how many Nobel Prize Literature Laureates commented on these stories.

  21. N1A says:

    Gratuitous references to gratuitous drinking/drug concemption come across a bit try-hard. Other than that, I have no concerns.

  22. Not bad at all. Needs a lot of tuning. Not to sound like a creative writing asshole. It’s your super curt, asshole delivery that makes both your stories and the twitter feed funny. So really, going over all of it and deleting all unnecessary shit is the best advice I can give.

    Below are some examples. I hope this doesn’t seem presumptuous. Some people prefer vague comments to actionable edits, but I’m not worried about bruising your ego. Besides I think your blog is awesome… and I’m sure you won’t hesitate to say “go fuck yourself” if they’re not helpful.

    SOME EXAMPLES OF SHIT THAT CAN/SHOULD BE EDITED:

    “And a mere 4 hours later, some lardy, badly-aged British cunt is standing over you telling you to put your seat up for landing because ‘we’re 20 minutes from landing.’ As if she doesn’t fucking know that we’re just going to circle Heathrow for another hour anyway.”

    Kill “And a mere” (it deflates the complaint and it slows things down).
    “Badly-aged” ==> “Withered?” “Wrinkled?” “Or just plain “Old?”
    Maybe quote put double quotes on “put your seat up for landing…” and single for ’20 minutes?’ Seems like you may have done this first? I don’t see why it’s single quotes otherwise…

    Dialogue:
    ““What?” My Dad interjects, “You’re calling from the airplane? This has gotta be costing you a fortune.”
    “Shut up, Harold. I am talking to my son.” My usually passive mother interjects.”

    Interjects… interjects. Everyone interjects, apparently? A wee sloppy/distracting.
    “Usually passive” ==> “usually-passive” and preferably something else. “My timid mother screams in a rare moment of self-assertion. I can hear her weeping on the line….

    I don’t know. Bring it up. It’s a plane crash. Maybe she reveals something crazy? She cheated on your father, so your real dad is the King of Sweden (part of you always knew). Maybe they argue with each other further and ignore your situation. Whatever you do up the ante. It’s a goddamn plane crash.

    Finally:
    “I roll myself towards the door, before remembering that I might as well walk. I’m already going to be late into the office.”

    Spacing typo between those last two sentences. And… why? Why will you be late for the office? I thought you were outbound TO London. This might make sense if you were coming back. You should probably change the story to have you coming back. Also “remembering” probably ==> “realizing.” Though you might flesh out some humor: “I remembered airlines were bullshit… and they probably put me in a chair for no good fucking reason,” or something. Whatever. You wrap up too fast. Did you crash or just pass out? Do you have a terrible hangover? What are you wearing? What you had on? Or an assless gown? Or is your expensive suit now drenched in human blood and motor oil? Have your shoes been replaced by medical slippers? If so, does it bother you that it will be expensive to replace? What tortures would you rather endure than deal with an European airlines customer service? As there anybody at least to at least greet you and explain the situation? If so, what is wrong with them? Did they fail to properly identify you as a business class passenger, and act accordingly?

    Some shit to think about as you fine tune this. Hope some this is fucking useful. Again, love your blog!

  23. Jog On says:

    What a fucking wanker & what a shit story. It is funny how easily you can tell some one is a right cunt.

  24. eib says:

    @manhattanalia s
    4 should be written as four by the way

  25. Liza says:

    Is there a Lana to your Archer? As a young female professional, I’d like to read some stories about your female colleagues and those super women in the banking industry!

  26. xforxrated says:

    drink some coke and chill out mate x

  27. haha you call this writting?

    The greatest thing was specifically this line:

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    making an emergency landing at _________ Military Base in Greenland.” I’m not being coy, I have no recollection what it was called.
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I pass the time by double-fisting glasses of red wine, and looking at the pictures in Yachting magazine. I’ve really never understood why airport lounges are the only places in the world where, presumably, people like to peruse boating magazines. Thirty minutes before boarding, time for the Klonopin, and the switch to Johnny Walker doubles on the rocks. I don’t even like Johnny Walker, but it’s free, and it’s there.
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I don’t even like Johnny Walker, but it’s free, and it’s there.
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    3.) "it's there and it's free," << this was the missing golden nugget ….free has to end the sentence….free has to end the paragraph….free should end the story!

    4.) Worst paragraph was because of the worst sentence:) Go to 1.).

    infinitely better. my shit that is….. :)

  28. COMPLETE POSTING: TAKE TWO:

    haha you call this writting?

    The greatest thing was specifically this line:

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    making an emergency landing at _________ Military Base in Greenland.” I’m not being coy, I have no recollection what it was called.
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I pass the time by double-fisting glasses of red wine, and looking at the pictures in Yachting magazine. I’ve really never understood why airport lounges are the only places in the world where, presumably, people like to peruse boating magazines. Thirty minutes before boarding, time for the Klonopin, and the switch to Johnny Walker doubles on the rocks. I don’t even like Johnny Walker, but it’s free, and it’s there.
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I don’t even like Johnny Walker, but it’s free, and it’s there.
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    3.) "it's there and it's free," << this was the missing golden nugget ….free has to end the sentence….free has to end the paragraph….free should end the story!

    4.) Worst paragraph was because of the worst sentence:) Go to 1.).

    infinitely better. my shit that is….. :)

  29. welll that took me off a tangent….wtf is there a character limit on postings?

    let’s try it in thirds :

    part A.

    haha you call this writting?

    The greatest thing was specifically this line:

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    making an emergency landing at _________ Military Base in Greenland.” I’m not being coy, I have no recollection what it was called.
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I pass the time by double-fisting glasses of red wine, and looking at the pictures in Yachting magazine. I’ve really never understood why airport lounges are the only places in the world where, presumably, people like to peruse boating magazines. Thirty minutes before boarding, time for the Klonopin, and the switch to Johnny Walker doubles on the rocks. I don’t even like Johnny Walker, but it’s free, and it’s there.
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

  30. part B.

    can’t do it….i found what it was… computer code being interrupted! Somebody know how PHP works??? here is the secret code that doesn’t post (i will try posting it by itself…this might be one for the hackers)….

    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  31. arrows left.arrows left.arrows left.arrows left.arrows left.arrows left.arrows left.arrows left.
    it’s great to jump out of character………NOT

    My shit is better.

    1.) Worst paragraph:

    arrows rightarrows rightarrows rightarrows rightarrows rightarrows rightarrows right

  32. it was the arrows messing up the code

  33. third try to post my original post…here we go people….

    haha you call this writting?

    The greatest thing was specifically this line:

    ##################
    making an emergency landing at _________ Military Base in Greenland.” I’m not being coy, I have no recollection what it was called.
    ##################
    it’s great to jump out of character………NOT

    My shit is better.

    1.) Worst paragraph:

    ##################
    I pass the time by double-fisting glasses of red wine, and looking at the pictures in Yachting magazine. I’ve really never understood why airport lounges are the only places in the world where, presumably, people like to peruse boating magazines. Thirty minutes before boarding, time for the Klonopin, and the switch to Johnny Walker doubles on the rocks. I don’t even like Johnny Walker, but it’s free, and it’s there.
    ##################

    2.) Worst sentence:
    ##################
    I don’t even like Johnny Walker, but it’s free, and it’s there.
    ##################

    3.) “it’s there and it’s free,” !!!!!!!!!!!!! this was the missing golden nugget ….free has to end the sentence….free has to end the paragraph….free should end the story!

    4.) Worst paragraph was because of the worst sentence:) Go to 1.).

    infinitely better. my shit that is….. :)

  34. Officegirl says:

    I loved the story and the writing. You made me laugh with the ending. Also laugh with your tweets by the way.
    Don’t get why so many angry people comment negatively on it, and why feel they can give you advice on writing… or that you want it.

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  36. Apollo says:

    Great stuff – The base was probably Thule Air Base…maybe…

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