Apr. 16th, 2011

Argh, it's time and I'm not done. I'll post twice tomorrow.
I chose to fly Uplifted! Air to Mogradino to see Kitty and the grandbabies. Kitty's husband Attainment just got back from his Pilgrimage in the Fire States, and together we were all going to spend three days at the beach and two at the Spiritual Reinvigoration Center for a nice vacation.

They scanned my ticket and reviewed my papers as we were boarding. The worshippers of Mhau the Red God have been causing trouble lately, and security at the airport was really on edge. I didn't get a second glance, though, because I wore my upside-down question mark openly. Nobody believed for one minute that I was anything other than a righteous believer in Dhiu, the Blue God.

"Is this trip secular or spiritual, sir?" asked the nice young lady at the check-in desk.

"Oh, some of both I guess," I chuckled. "But let's call it secular for the books, shall we?"

"All right, sir," she laughed lightly. "By the Blue go you."

"And also you," I replied and, stashing my ticket in my blazer pocket, boarded the plane.

I got settled into my seat and we took off smoothly enough. One of the preachers got on the PA and told us we would have a routine flight, good weather, and an on-time arrival was expected by the Will of the Blue God. Then we were told to put away our books or meditative devices until the cabin light was illuminated, and after waiting our turn we were rolling on down the tarmac.

They leveled off around twenty-five thousand feet. Drinks and communion were served. I looked out the window and listened to some music. It was, for the first part at least, an uneventful flight. At some point I nodded off.

Loud noises woke me – muffled explosions, screams. The lights in the cabin were out, and the people around me were panicking. We were still aloft, but the plane seemed to list at an odd angle.

"What's going on?" I asked the man sitting next to me.

"I don't know. I don't know. Some kind of attack. Save us, Dhiu, Great Blue God." He bent his head in prayer and I couldn’t get any more out of him.

One of the stewardesses came running down the aisle carrying a flashlight. "Everybody, listen to me!" she shouted. "I need to know if anybody is a preacher! Do we have a preacher on the plane? Any kind of preacher?" She looked from face to face desperately.

Reluctantly I raised my hand. "I did some preaching in the war," I said. "But I only piloted an Inquisitor, short-hop stuff."

"Doesn't matter," she said hastily, waving me over. "Come with me to the pulpit."

I ran behind her, protesting. "Look, that was a long time ago," I said, regretting having opened my mouth. "I don't know how I can…"

The stewardess whirled to face me. "Listen, mister," she said quietly. "We need you up there, need you bad. We have a serious emergency. I don't care what you did or how long ago it was. If you don’t get into that pulpit and preach your back end off, this plane is going to crash."

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Apr. 16th, 2011 03:28 pm
Owen didn't realize his family was any different from any other family until his first week of second grade. Everything had been fine during kindergarten and the first grade, but in second grade there was a kind of awkwardness between him and the other kids in his class. Nobody would play with him; nobody wanted to sit at his table. Matters came to a head during recess.

Some kids were throwing a ball up onto the roof of the school to see if they could make it stick in the gutter. Owen thought this looked like fun and asked if he could play too. Jeremy Robb secured the ball and turned to face Owen coldly.

"No, because you're a freak," said Jeremy. "I don't even think you're a human being."

Owen had heard insults before, but this just confused him. Of course he was a human being! "Well, I don't even think you have a brain," replied Owen.

"I have a brain but you have a computer," taunted Jeremy. "Your mama's an adding machine, and what she and your daddy does is unnatural. That's what my parents told me, and they're both people."
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