~ HOOKED UP ~
“I think the pilot
is supposed to signal us when we’re supposed to drop the suitcases,” Ruby yells
over the noise from the plane. “Don’t worry. I’ll do it. You stay here. I think
it would be better if you don’t hurl all over whoever is waiting down there for
I look around the passenger area. Evidently not many people fly in the plane on a regular basis. There are two seats, a lot of boxes and a few parachutes I hope won’t be necessary during this trip. I wonder if Paxton owns the plane or if the pilot is a friend. Does he know we’re dropping ransom money? Maybe that’s how Paxton means to keep us honest.
“I wonder how far out this is?”
“You’re not sick already are you?” She looks at me with a worried frown.
I kiss that place where her brows come together when she frowns. “I’m fine so far. I just want to get this over with.”
“We’ll all be happier when John is home again. We can do this, Glad. It’s a piece of cake.”
I hug her and hope she’s right. The plane is weaving back and forth like a race car looking for an opening in the back of the pack. The engine sputters a few times but continues on. There’s a little window near where we’re sitting but I avoid looking at it. I don’t think anyone should have their feet this far off the ground.
Ruby is in her glory. She takes off her seatbelt and dances through the empty body of the plane. Her arms up in the air, she yells, “Look! I’m a bird!”
“Come and sit down before you fall and get hurt. They put these seats and seatbelts in for a reason.”
“You sound like my mother.” She laughs at me and takes it back. “I’m wrong. My mother isn’t afraid of flying. My father isn’t either. I don’t think my Granny is afraid either.”
“Okay. You made your point. No one in the world is afraid to fly except me.”
“I’m sorry.” She sits down beside me again. “I shouldn’t make fun of you. You can’t help how you feel.”
There’s a buzzing sound and the pilot’s voice joins us. “We’re approaching the target area. You should open the door and get ready for my mark. When I say drop, drop the suitcases.”
I take off my seatbelt and move the suitcases close to the door for Ruby. “I hope these are old Samsonite. That’s the only way they won’t shatter and this money fly all over a few acres down there. Remember those old commercials when they dropped the suitcase and it stayed in one piece?”
Ruby positions herself close to the door. “I don’t remember those. I must’ve missed them.”
That’s when I realize she probably was a baby when those commercials were on TV. I try not to let those kinds of things bother me. We’re a few years apart, but I know Ruby loves me. We might be different generations, but our souls are in the same timeframe.
“Be careful,” I warn as she pushes open the door in the side of the plane. “Don’t sit too close.”
“I’ll be fine,” she yells back. “Stop fussing.”
The pilot tells us we’re over the mark. Trees and roads form between cloudbanks below us. I don’t see anything. It must be coordinates on a map. I push the first suitcase close to the opening so it will be easy for Ruby to get it out the door.
She grabs the handle and slings it out of the plane. It drops like a rock through the misty clouds between us and the ground.
I push the next one toward her and she grabs the handle. As she struggles to get the suitcase into the air, the plane takes a sudden dip and turn. Before I can move to hold her back, Ruby falls out of the plane, still holding the handle of the suitcase.
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