It can be difficult

to know, when a man will cross-over

into insanity. The signs are subtle

like staring at a clock

or staring into nothing

while making copies

on the copy machine.

Staring

has something to do with it.

I do this

from time to time

and without fail

the vice principal

walks into my office

and asks me how I’m doing.

I know the head of school notices me

and tells his sidekick

to go checkup on me.

One of my co-workers asked me, if I was going crazy. It wasn’t a joke. She said it with sincerity.

“I’m fine,” I said, “but if I start to go, I’ll let you know.” I didn’t reassure her.

Probably, because I found her question ironic.

I entertain the hope of going mad

while I am the sanest professional in the school—

I’d better be,

because I’m the psychologist.

The teachers, on the other hand

will lose their marbles faster

than a toddler, playing in the dirt with kindergarteners.

But this story isn’t about the cause of my madness.

I’m writing from a prison cell

with an inmate who has Bad Breath, Bad Crack, and overall Bad Body Odor.

Let’s call him Bob.

He wanted me to punk, and I told him, “Just kill me.”

Apparently, madness comes in handy, in prison.

He believed me.

People give me a wide birth.

It’s like, I’m willing to take them with me

like a suicide bomber.

I have a religion of my own.

That’s how I felt, on a beautiful Wednesday, when I skipped work, for my first flight lesson.

Keep in mind, I haven’t missed a day of work in over three years.

On the tarmac, I met this asshole, know-it-all, my flight instructor.

He thought he was Tom Cruise, from Top Gun

and he rode me like a rapist. I couldn’t think. He got us up into the air, and immediately put me into a stall.

“Earn your wings,” he told me.

I over-corrected, and we dove.

“What the hell are you doing!?”

I thought being in the air would give me a sense of freedom, and it might have,

if it wasn’t for the damn radio, and the guy sitting next to me.

After 30 minutes of being cursed out

I didn’t know whether I was in the air or on the ground.

“Next week?” He asked me.

“Oh—sure,” I said

“You’re not just saying that?”

“No. No. I mean it.”

Then he began talking, non-stop. This time, about the airshow.

“I got to show you this,” he said. “It’s a P-51 Mustang. You know, the one from World War II. It out-classed the Zero. And guess who’s flying it?”

I didn’t have time to respond.

“Me!”

“We’re going to have a dog-fight in mid-air. See the double barrel browning machine guns. Those are loaded up with blanks, but we got some live rounds for the dummy ship in the bay. I’m going to sink a real target. Can you believe that!? I always wanted to fight in World War II.”

They say an insane man doesn’t think things through. I believe that. Women are this way, most of the time. Freud called it hysteria. Mr. Top Gun didn’t lock his hangar, so I pretended to walk back to my truck, and then I turned around.

I had a vision of madness, like I was a prophet. I walked towards the hangar and opened the door.

There was my mother ship, that would take me to hell. I checked the magazines, and not the Playboys, under the seat. They were fully-loaded and hot. Apparently, Mr. Top Gun was practicing.

I don’t know what possessed me, to think I could fly. Maybe, I was a pilot in a past life. I turned the ignition, and opened the bay doors. When you’re doing something illegal, the order in which you do things, is messed-up.

I coasted onto the runway, and turned on my radio. Instantly, I heard the tower. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” I throttled-up and changed the channel. That’s when I achieved lift-off.

I was listening to Chopin, flying over the golf course. Those old guys waved at me. Maybe, I was flying what they flew in World War II.

I checked-out my place of business. The kids were lined-up. There was the vice principal. I waved at him. He waved back. He didn’t recognize me.

Then, I changed the channel. “Attention! A maniac has stolen a fully-armed aircraft. He is flying over Maple Valley right now! Our military is being mobilized to make contact with the air bandit. Keep your children inside—there’s no idea what he might do!”

I laughed. But then I noticed a helicopter behind me. It was army green. It opened-up with the mini-gun.

“Aren’t they supposed to negotiate with me first!?” I yelled. The bullets ricocheted. I dove down to traffic. I knew the helicopter wouldn’t dare try to follow me next to the powerlines.

“Maybe, I’ll go to the city of Seattle and flip-off some feminists,” I said. My fuel was holding out. Sure enough, they were plotting the end of civilization on the 5th floor, and I gave them the bird. I felt better. Then I took a banking turn towards a real target.

The mayor of Seattle was giving a speech at city hall. I didn’t want to shoot her—only to shake her up a bit. I buzzed by and opened up the 50 calibers, littering the communist crowd with glass. That’s when I heard the sonic boom. “F-16s!” They had gone supersonic and were trying to get a lock on my position.

I went between two skyscrapers to avoid the missile, and half of the building blew up.

It felt good to be a threat. I went down to the freeway and into the tunnel, but I got stuck in traffic. It was rush-hour. The police came and knocked on my cock-pit with their weapons drawn.

Traffic will get you every time in Seattle.

The End

2 thoughts on “The Day I Went Insane in my P-51 Mustang

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