Buy a reprint of this issue.
*This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents portrayed herein are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
It had been one fucking long year. After a very full, very busy first season in the Otter, followed by the most random, fucked-up experience south of the border and way too much bouncing around the country looking for work, I was just happy to have one DZ to fly at for a while.
Skydive San Diego had turned out to be a pretty great place to chill out for a month or so, even though the flying was quite challenging AND knowing the border was a rock’s throw away didn’t help. I’d had the chance to learn to fly the Otter in ways that I hadn’t known I could, on one of the most challenging fields I’d ever seen, catch up with friends in the sport I hadn’t seen in years, and even manage to have a nice night or two out on the town. So when my time sub-contracting there came to an end and I had to fly the Otter back to the Bay Area, I was a little bummed.
A big plus to the end of it all was that my close friend and fellow pilot “Z” had managed to make his way south to hang out with me, and was sitting right seat for the flight back to the city by the bay. He’d come down to check out the operation, enjoy some of the flying and have a couple of nice nights, which is exactly what we did the evening before we fired up.
It was a great night out really—nothing too crazy, just a few good drinks, a big-ass steak with all the trimmings and a little dessert to top it all off. When I finished starting up the Otter and blasted off that little strip in the San Diego hills, I was feeling pretty fucking good. Unfortunately, in keeping with the year that I’d been having, that feeling didn’t last all that long.
We were leveled off at 17,000’, sucking down the O2 and enjoying the view. As we crossed over Camp Pendleton we joked about the boy-on-man enlisted/officer scandals that had taken place years before. Flying down the coast we discussed how the water didn’t LOOK infected, polluted and fucked. As we crossed over the beginnings of Los Angeles County, I told Z how much I despised the LA area (except for Perris, of course) after having lived a year in Venice Beach, and that even the thought of spending much time there again made me sick to my stomach. Then, I got sick to my stomach.
Well, let me clarify. I didn’t exactly get sick to my stomach. I got sick to my ass. Having been a self-proclaimed professional flatchulator (not up to Daless-like standards, but a pro nonetheless), I’m used to a fair amount of discomfort from time to time, but this … Well this was no case of gas. It seems that the dinner, drinks and dessert from the night before, were not nearly as happy with me as I had been with them, and it all wanted to part ways, IMMEDIATELY.
It was an emergency shit of epic proportions. And it was going to happen. Right then. My options were quite few, really. I was 17,000 feet over Los Angeles, and below us was some of the busiest airspace in the entire country. I was at that altitude because from there, I was able to easily bypass all the bullshit involved in the normal lower altitude crossings. Normally it was no issue whatsoever, but in this instance, it was huge. There was simply no way that I could justify to my boss why I had descended so many thousands of feet down into crazy airspace, landed at a field that would undoubtedly charge a fortune in landing fees and burn a ton of gas in the process, all so I could go take a poo.
Luckily for me, not only was Z able to fly the Otter but he was, as always, overstocked with supplies for his day. His supplies usually involved a large amount of fresh fruit, some type of grain or healthy so-and-so alternative, water, no sugar added juice, etc.—all of which he always ALWAYS carried around in a plastic shopping bag. Therein laid my salvation! Well, that and the fact that Z quickly understood how truly dire the situation really was.
I quickly briefed him on all the different scenarios that had gone through my mind in the five or so seconds since the sensation hit.
*Urban Dictionary definition of “Emergency Shit:” The incredibly volatile shit that is on its way RIGHT NOW, and absolutely will come out in anywhere between 13.2 and 40.5 seconds, whether you are on or near a toilet or not. This condition usually results in an “assplosion”.
The instant I had the bubbleguts, I knew it was going to be bad. I also knew I had a very limited time with which to deal with the potential disaster, so I wasted no time. As I pulled off the oxygen tube and dumped the contents of Z’s Safeway bag out on the cockpit floor, I knew I had to not only move quickly, but carefully as well, knowing full well that any misstep could have serious ramifications.
As the lack of oxygen at 17,000’ began to take effect—not only from the loss of the hose, but from the exertion of removing my shorts as I worked my way toward the rear of the cabin—I started to get the warm and fuzzy familiar feeling that hypoxia brings. I almost happily thought, “If I stay next to the door, then perhaps Z won’t have to deal with what could be a rather unsavory odor.”
On my way toward the tail, I’d come up with what I thought would be a pretty good plan for how to most effectively use the Safeway bag, and quickly put that exact plan into action! One handle in front to not only to allow easy placement of the bag, but allow the “equipment” not currently being used to stay out of the danger zone. One handle in the back, again for bag placement but also to act as a “relief valve” for said destruction and …
“OH MY GOD!! DUDE!! WHAT THE …
The PA system speaker which sat directly above my head quite clearly conveyed the urgency and borderline panic in Z’s voice. He was clearly freaking out with images of my rotting corpse wracked with the Ebola virus acting at super speed, yet there was simply nothing I could do. I had completely surrendered to what was now an all-encompassing evacuation of what felt like every liquid and at least half of the solid mass that made up my body, and was almost completely deaf to Z’s begging and pleading for mercy.
With hypoxia now in full effect, I found that I was actually even mildly amused at Z’s increased suffering, and realized he had made the ultimate rookie Otter mistake by pulling down the side window next to him. Unfortunately, instead of filling the cockpit with the fresh air he so desperately wanted, all opening the side window of the Otter did was to draw the air surrounding my explosive ass straight toward that open window and right across his pain-stricken face. My building giggling fit was doing nothing to make the situation easier, but somehow I managed to keep the bag in place and all the shit where it belonged.
Time had all but stopped for me. It could have been two minutes, it could have been three years. Z’s sobs of misery were barely audible over the buzz in my head, and it took almost all my remaining faculties to put the old load sheets to proper use. When I was finally satisfied that I’d managed to wipe all of the destruction off my own ass, I tossed the last of the load sheets into the bag, double and then triple knotted the top, and pulled my skivvies up over my shaking legs.
Standing next to the closed jump door, listening to the air blowing past and watching the scenery flying by miles below, happily relieved, ten pounds lighter and way beyond drunk on a massive lack of oxygen, what to do with the bag that helped save Z and me from a fate much worse seemed completely obvious.
“Dude. Dude. That was probably the worst thing I’ve ever smelled in my entire life! I seriously thought I might pass out! It still smells SO FUCKING BAD in this plane, it’s like everything I can do not to jump out!”
I was still working the rest of the giggles out of my system as I approached the cockpit, but when I saw his face, and heard what Z had to say, they came back with a vengeance! As I poured my way back into the seat, and tried to remember exactly what part of my body I was supposed to put the oxygen tube in, I managed to calm myself down just enough to answer his question.
“Dude, what the fuck did you do with the bag, man? It still smells like holy hell!”
After a few seconds of formulating the answer I replied very matter of factly, “I threw it out of the fucking plane, of course!”
“Oh. My. God. You just shit-bombed Beverly Hills.”
Like this article?
Get more just like it every month, delivered straight to your mailbox. Subscribe today!