All Scott wanted to do was get to the conference in San Diego. Now he found himself being hailed as a hero by his fellow Americans and targeted by Al Quaida. What does anyone do in that case but try to survive?
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He awoke with a start when the shouting started. There were three of them, all of them oriental. Jake had seen them in first class when he came in but they were wearing expensive suits and each of them had their laptops open as they talked quietly among themselves. They couldn’t be terrorists. They were businessmen. Unfortunately the three “businessmen” were now brandishing plastic knives that they probably had hidden inside those same laptops. One of them had his up to one of the stewardess’ throat as he tried to talk the pilots into opening the cockpit door.
Jake glanced around the cabin but everyone seemed just as surprised as he was. He slipped his hand inside his pocket and felt the comforting metal of his snub nosed 38 as his mind raced back to the academy classes for what to do next. As two of the terrorists began coming down the aisle Jake realized that he had to do something and he stood up, pulling out his gun and cracking his head on the side of the luggage compartment at the same time.
“Drop your knives!” he yelled, pointing his gun at the terrorists and praying that his hands weren’t shaking too badly.
Someone screamed behind him but Jake never got a chance to turn around. The old woman in the seat behind him had stood up when Jake did and his words and his gun were barely out when she reached around and grabbed him from behind, pulling him backwards and slitting his throat with her own plastic weapon. Jake’s last act was to throw out his arms in terror and surprise as the darkness closed over him. His gun flew out of his hand and landed in the lap of the man in 22 A.
The “old” lady let Jake’s limp body collapse onto his now bloody seat, pulled off her wig, and lunged out of her seat towards the man and the gun. She was certain that he was so terrified that she could just grab it away from him. She was wrong. Maybe if Scott had had more time to think about it he would have, but it all happened so fast that as the young woman lunged at him he raised the 38 and put two shots in her chest.
As the woman screamed and fell backwards one of other terrorists raced down the aisle towards this infidel. He was only a row away when Scott fired. One shot hit the guy in the shoulder but the second one was right on the nose –literally - and the terrorist went down as quickly as the woman had. Suddenly it was like time stood still as the other two terrorists froze and tried to figure out just who in the hell this new threat was.
Scott glanced around. Everyone was staring at him and trying to figure out the same thing. He slowly got to his feet and held onto the gun with both hands or he was sure that he would drop it, he was so scared. As the third terrorist started down the aisle towards him, Scott raised his gun and pointed it at him.
“ Stop where you are,” he said, but the way his voice was quivering the terrorist barely paused before starting back down the aisle, holding out his hand for the gun. Scott took a quick breath and tried to compose himself.
“ I’m warning you, stop where you are and drop that knife.”
The words sounded so calm and forceful that Scott wasn’t even sure if he had said them. The terrorist paused for a moment and Scott was beginning to think that his bluff would work when the thin, evil smile started to spread over the terrorist’s lips. Something about that smile and the way that the terrorist’s eyes narrowed as he got ready to move forward really pissed Scott off.
“ Suit yourself,” he said as he shrugged and calmly put two shots into the center of the terrorist’s chest. The young man stopped smiling and fell back into the aisle. Suddenly the other passengers, encouraged by Scott’s bravado and success, broke into spontaneous, enthusiastic cheering.
The support did wonders for their reluctant hero as Scott tried to gather his thoughts. It suddenly dawned on him that he might be out of bullets. Were 38’s six shooters? Even if he had more bullets he was sure he’d never be able to hit the last terrorist, especially from here. The young Asian was backed up against the cockpit door, still holding his plastic knife to the throat of the stewardess, but he wasn’t smiling, he was terrified. They both stared at the aisle now filled with Scott’s victims.
“ Get these bodies out of the way.”
It sounded like his voice, but Scott couldn’t believe how cold and calm it was but it certainly worked. Several businessmen sprang to their feet and dragged the terrorists’ bodies out of the aisle, but that was the limit of their heroism. They slipped back into their seats to see what would happen next. Scott took a tentative step forward and almost slipped. Then he realized that the aisle was covered with blood and it was all his doing.
No. Bullshit. He didn’t start this, they did. The thought seemed to calm him and his own eyes narrowed and he held the gun out in front of him with one hand as he walked slowly up the aisle towards the remaining terrorist. The closer he got the wider the terrorist’s eyes got.
“ Stop,” the terrorist said, but now it was his voice that was so weak and trembling that no one believed him.
“ It’s all over, buddy,” said Scott as he slowly continued up the aisle.
“ I’ll kill her,” cried the terrorist.
“ Go ahead,” Scott heard himself say, “ I don’t know her. But when you do I’m going to kill you.”
Now the stewardess’ eyes were as wide with terror as the terrorist’s.
“ Give it up, sport. It’s all over and you lost. I don’t know what they told you to get you to do this, but I can tell you that it was all lies. Allah doesn’t want you to kill a bunch of innocent people in his name and, as your friends back there have already discovered, there aren’t any beautiful virgins waiting for them.”
Scott talked slowly and deliberately as he moved forward. The terrorist was so caught up with the words and the soothing tone that he didn’t even realize that Scott was now standing right in front of him and that his gun was pointed right at his forehead.
“ So are you going to put that knife down or do you want me to prove it to you?”
The young man was sweating profusely by now but Scott was strangely serene as the two of them stood there staring at each other. The rest of the passengers were holding their collective breaths and waiting to see how the drama would play out. After what seemed like an eternity the young man let go of the knife and shoved the stewardess aside.
“ Go ahead, kill me, infidel. I deserve it.”
Scott kicked the knife aside.
“ No one deserves to die. When are you guys going to learn that? Now put your hands on your head.”
The cheer that exploded in the plane reminded Scott of the one he heard when his plane lifted off in Cameron Bay and everyone onboard realized that they were really going to get out of Vietnam alive. Several men in First Class found their courage and sprang to their feet and wrestled the young terrorist to the floor. The co pilot opened the cockpit door and handed them a roll of duct tape to tie him up with. The stewardess came over to Scott and slapped him across the face hard.
“ That’s for scaring the living shit out of me,” she said. But before Scott could rub his cheek she took him in her arms and gave him a long, hard, passionate kiss that brought catcalls of approval from the passengers. “And that’s for saving my life,” she said when they finally parted. She was smiling broadly as Scott blushed and silently handed the revolver to the co pilot.
As he made his way back to his seat everyone wanted to shake his hand and clap him on the back but all Scott wanted to do was sit down before he fell down. He had shot his wad of courage for the rest of his life. Now all he wanted to do was close his eyes and make all this go away, but there was no way that the rest of the passengers were going to let that happen. The women all wanted to kiss him and the men all wanted to shake his hand and tell him that if he ever needed anything…
As soon as the commotion had broken out, the pilot had diverted to LAX so it was only a few minutes before he came on to plead with everyone to take their seats so he could land. By that time Scott had a fist full of business cards and a face covered with various shades of lipstick. As everyone settled back in their seats someone in the back started singing God bless America and the rest of the passengers quickly picked it up. Scott just closed his eyes, fastened his seatbelt, and smiled. Everyone cheered again as the plane touched down.