Here’s something I wrote on a gloomy or a series of gloomy Mondays……
By Garry Robinson
They stood in two lines, their special outfits laid out before them. A look of concern on some. A nervous apprehension on others. A wave of nervous chatter as one by one their stories evolved. John, in his 70’s, you would say, greying or balding, either one would describe it. Signs of scraped but healed skin, perhaps from a previous adventure, but a friendly face just the same. “ So what brings you here this sunny day” he said to the young couple, Sarah and Dennis, as it turned out.
“ We’re here to take a flight to a special secret fishing location, or so I was told” said Sarah with a bit of a nervous twitter. “ I’m sure you’ll love it” Dennis said, as he held her gently by the hand “It’ll be amazing!”
“Your first time?” said Sarah to John. “Just another adventure on the bucket list. My last one was rowing a canoe down the rapids in Croatia but no need for a wet suit for this trip. Well , I hope not, anyway. Today’s trip is a birthday surprise. I did say something about it but I didn’t expect anyone to take me seriously, and here I am.”
Donna was next in line, here with a girl friend on a holiday escape from home and a couple of kids. Amanda, tall and lean, an escapee from the rigours of teaching at a primary school. “So where are the boys?” someone said. Donna laughed as she replied “ Well, let’s just say their usual drinks at their local has been curtailed for the weekend , I just hope the kids remember who they are?” They all broke out in a chorus of laughter and clapping “They won’t know what hit them” someone remarked.
At that moment five burly blokes came out of their locker rooms adorned in their full gear, “I’m Amaero and I’m the leader of this group and for your safety and the safety of everyone else you will do exactly what I say!” And then after a slight pause “It’s okay, I won’t eat you but I do need your attention. On my left is Zack, Roger, Beano , well that’s what we call him and Anthony. Now please pull up your outfits, paying careful attention to all the buckles and be sure to tighten everything up. No loose items, glasses you can leave here to pick up on return.”
“Wait! Wait,” a voice said “ Is it too late to join the group, my Dad’s here and I don’t want him to go on his own?” She was a waif of a girl, barely chest high to the rest , but smiling generously as she struggled with her set of gear and headed up to be next to John. “It’s okay,” said Amaero, I’ll hook you up myself.” He said “Natalie is it?” “Hey Rus”, he called back to the office, “ can you get out here and suit up? You can partner with Sarah.”
“Ok everybody, you’ll each have your own partner who will hook in behind you. Today we’ll be climbing to 15,000 feet, and from there we’ll freefall for 60 seconds before opening our chutes and enjoying our paraglide to the landing strip. If past experience is any guide, this might be your first jump but almost certainly not your last. It’ll take about 20 minutes to reach our altitude for the drop, so there is plenty of time to familiarise yourself with your jumps partner.
John and Natalie were first to slide to the bench seats at the front of the plane, then the two girls and finally Dennis and Sarah who found themselves next to the exit, “Last in First out , let’s Fly!”
The Sky Raider taxied to the end of the runway, then with engines revving at full throttle launched into a clear blue sky. Inside, as the plane steadily gained altitude, the tandem jumps partners chatted to the nervous adventurers to advise and reassure them, checking and double checking buckles and helmets and more importantly their state of mind. “ what if I decide I don’t want to do it?” Sarah asked “Don’t worry, if that happens, it becomes a very expensive joy ride.”
John tried to ignore the small talk, instead focussed on the amazing views as the plane continued to gain height. His daughter Natalie, who to be honest, had always had an ingrained fear of flying, was now beginning to get very nervous, holding tight to his arm while diverting attention from herself “getting nervous Dad?? How do you feel? Isn’t it exciting?”
All of a sudden, the exit door rolled up, blasting everyone with the sound of the engines, the air rushing in and their stomachs suddenly clenching. Then it was off into the void.
Dennis was first to go, and within seconds he and his partner dropped out of sight. Sarah hesitated slightly but then was away followed by the two girls then it was Natalie to the exit “ Lean back into me Natalie. It’s easy….see ya down below Dad.” Amaero said to John. And Amaero and Natalie were gone.
“Look at the camera Natalie.” “I can’t”, she said as she kept her eyes closed and nothing could coax her into opening them until at last the chute opened and they started to glide. But even then, after a brief look at the ground 1,000’s of feet below, she closed them again.
As they all hit the ground, John looked around, and a few metres away Amaero was there calling to Natalie “you can undo your harness now” “I cant, I’m too scared.”
“You’re on the ground already.” John called, and it was then she realised that being attached to the tallest jumps partner, and her the smallest, her feet were indeed just centimetres off the ground. It was the smallest drop of the day.
Hope you get a bit of a giggle of it………Garry