Dream Quest One Second Writing Prize
of Fairfield, Connecticut
~JUST PLANE TERRIFIED~
The rasping voice of the public address system announced the departure of my flight
to Los Angeles.
plodded wearily up to the gate and on to the plane.
I looked around and found that I was seated in three seats across that were unoccupied.
That was a break I sorely needed. I pulled the armrests out of their holes and made a narrow bed with. two tiny TWA blankets and even tinier TWA pillows.
Who the hell did TWA think flew
on their stupid airplanes? Midgets?
I had to scrunch around somewhat because the seat belt buckles cut into my kidneys.
But by the time the plane was in the air, I was sound asleep, dreaming of softer beds and even softer ladies.
The party was wild Wall
to wall females, as far as the eye could see. I felt like a kid in a candy store who has just been told he can have anything
and everything. Free.
But there was too much there and I wanted to taste it all
Then I saw her.
Tall. And blonde. And stacked up to the ceiling.
She had one of those tiny,
Irish noses that swept up, two of the most gorgeous breasts, pointing themselves
directly at me.
Christ, what legs. They seemed to start from under her armpits.
And then she smiled.
Right at me.
I looked around to see ~perhaps
it was some one else she was smiling at. But there was no one behind me.
I took one last drag on the cigarette I was smoking, put it
out, and finished the drink before looking back at her.
She was still smiling.
1 could feel little fingers
of excitement running up and down my spine.
And then I began to shake. To quiver.
Because those long, long, legs were unwinding from around the bar
stool and making their way—in my direction.
She walked up to me and whispered...
I have your attention, please.” I jerked awake as though I’d been hit by a cattle prod. It was the captain rudely
interrupting my dream (and yes that was the actual dream, no embellishments added).
“We are encountering a
slight problem with our landing gear.”
I sat bolt upright.
A slight problem with our landing gear?
is no such thing as a slight problem with landing gear. Landing gear either works or it doesn’t. The wheels go up and
down or they don’t go up and down.
You have to be kidding me? I survive the Japanese Air Force, Hitler,
the United States Navy, debts, doubts, heartache and broken dreams, and the whole thing is going to be blown on a faulty
“We’re going to circle the airport and they’ll tell us whether or not our landing
gear is down,” said the captain.
We waited, our collective hearts beating so hard I imagined the plane
throbbing with fear.
The captain said, “I’m afraid that the landing gear is not down.”
may have to make an emergency landing.”
An emergency landing. That means with no wheels. (See above).
was it. The sum total of my existence was about to be added up and entered into the big ledger in the sky. Uh oh.
at least I would get to rest. No more scuffling. No more hustling. No necessity of proving to anyone that I was really more
than I appeared to be.
I wondered, Tom Sawyer style, if there would be a funeral. A big funeral.
you hear about Bernie?”
The guy who produced the Today Show.”
“Kalish? That was the guy killed in the plane crash?”
“Now I’ll have to cancel that network meeting. Shit.
See if you can reschedule it.”
“No, dummy. The meeting.”
around to see if the flight attendant was near and lit a cigarette. I had almost
forgotten how delicious a cigarette
could taste. Was I ever glad I hadn’t quit. Screw the Reader ~
Digest and the American Cancer Society and the Surgeon General. They had never been in a
about to land without wheels.
A flight attendant appeared at the front of the cabin. She was quite obviously frightened.
and Gentlemen,” she said, her voice shaking, “Would you please put your heads forward, in your laps.”
got to be kidding, I thought.
“In the fecal position.”
“That’s fetal. Fetal,”
The flight attendant disappeared.
I looked out my window and I could see trucks laying
foam along the strip of landing and emergency vehicles rushing to the scene. Christ, was I in trouble. We were all in trouble.
me somebody had a rosary and was saying her beads. Across the aisle, a man and woman, their eyes closed were clutching one
The plane was getting lower and lower. Now I could see the fire trucks and hoses and dozens of little
figures scurrying around… Two of the trucks had a line across a runway. A cable of some sort attached to the two
trucks. Another truck was laying foam on the runway.
A woman screamed. Some guy began to sob.
The woman next to me fainted dead away.
It was like watching a bad B movie. Only I was in it.
to me that I ought say a prayer or something. But I couldn’t think of one for crash landings.
hymn might be appropriate. That was it. A hymn.
But for the life of me, I couldn’t think of one.
of a sudden, I began to sing;
“When the Deep Purple falls,
Over sleepy garden walls,
stars begin to flicker in the deep…”
What a crazy frigging thing to pop into a person’s
head as he is about to be crushed into a jillion smithereens.
Apparently, someone up there must have heard my sixteen
bars of Deep Purple. There was a grinding, wrenching sound from under the fuselage.
“This is your Captain
speaking. We have managed to release the landing gear manually and will be landing in Los Angeles shortly. Sony to have
Sorry to have disturbed me?
I crept back into my tiny TWA pillow and tried to get back to the girl with the legs, but she had
already left the party with someone else. Goddamn TWA.
About Lester Colodny:
In 1947, after
leaving the navy, he attended Brooklyn College where he wrote and staged plays and musicals.
He then worked on his MA, in Theatre, from the University of Illinois where he lectured
and staged several shows, among them "Waiting For Lefty."
His first professional jobs were as an actor in "Diamond Lil" with Mae West, and "Detective
Story" with Jean Arthur, before being hired as a literary agent, for the William Morris Agency. There he represented
writers Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, Joe Stein, Jerry Bock, Larry Gelbart, Reginald Rose, Gene Roddenbury, Woody Allen and Francis
From Morris he moved to N B C - TV as
Director of "Program For Comedy Development," and then was hired as a writer and producer of the "Today Show,"
NBC-TV with Dave Garroway.
From the Today show he
moved to California where he was a producer/writer at Universal Studios, and created the program: "The Munsters."
He wrote three screenplays for Jerry Lewis (Warner Brothers),
and wrote episodes for the TV series "Get Smart," and "Love American Style."
He was producer/director/writer, of a TV special, "Jack Benny and the Baja
Marimba Band" for which he was awarded an EMMY (director/writer/producer).
Back to New York, he wrote a play, "Fun City," with Joan Rivers (Morosco Theatre,
And then, as executive vice president of Needham
Harper Steers advertising, he wrote, directed and produced, more than 100 TV and radio commercials with Frank Sinatra, Dolly
Parton, Dean Martin, Paul Anka, Kenny Rogers and others.
has lectured at the graduate school of Farleigh Dickinson and taught at Bridgeport University, UCLA, and The School of Visual
He currently resides in Fairfield, Connecticut
and has recently published a book, "WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN," a memoir of his years in show business.