Friday, July 30, 2010

Bonus Track: "Flying Standby"

I wrote this flash in response to JM Prescott's "I Dare You" Challenge, What Could Happen?.

I received an honorable mention, so I decided to post it here. I encourage you to click the above "I Dare You" link to read the winner, Sal Buttaci's, response to the challenge.

"Flying Standby"

I look up at the departures screen, and I know that I can go anywhere I want. I feel freedom and trepidation at the same time. With a few hundred dollars in my pocket and the clothes on my back, I can spend the rest of the summer working odd jobs and playing my guitar in the downtown area of Any City, USA while businessmen throw dimes and dollars into the case and ask me to play “Proud Mary”.

New York. The Big Apple makes me want to sing a Broadway showtune, and I imagine standing in Times Square, getting “discovered” by a faux-tan gentleman with a handlebar moustache who thinks I could be one of the next Zigfield Girls. My Streisand-esque fantasy ends when I see the last flight of the day has already departed, leaving me to wonder if I will ever wake up in the city that never sleeps.

Las Vegas. Wearing my LBD (little black dress), I'll hop a plane to Sin City, laugh with Ashton Kutcher (he is a frequent Vegas visitor), dance to Katy Perry (who knows what it’s like “Waking Up in Vegas”), and play blackjack at the Palms. I look down at my flip flops and peer into my wallet, thinking my three C-notes won’t last me long in the city where drinks are $20 each and my style will not be appreciated in most of the hot clubs.

New Orleans. I’ll flee to the home of Mardi Gras, my heart breaking for the victims of Katrina. I'll hear Harry Connick, Jr., and I’ll exchange my guitar for a saxophone, bellowing jazz melodies from my tired lungs, praying that any music I make will teach the world that anywhere your family is at is home.


Home.  It doesn’t seem to fit with the big cities, the bright lights, the anywhere invitation, but I am content when I take my eyes from the departures screen and look at the arrivals. I notice all the planes coming to my hometown, and think that maybe they know something I don’t. Maybe the decision I am making to stay right here is the best one for me.

Walking out into the night, I hail one of the few cabs in this town, and when the driver asks where I am headed, I simply say, “Home.”


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  2. There are few fantasies as satisfying as running away from home to an anonymous life in a faraway place, and you captured the feeling so well. However, you did not mention one of my all-time favorites: becoming the most popular and sought-after stand-up comic at a packed comedy club.
    Good write.

  3. Whenever I am on vacation, I am always excited to be there, living in the moment. But there is a part of me (much larger than I'll admit to my husband) that pines for home. There's something comforting about the routine and the sameness of it.

    I especially liked "wake up in the city that never sleeps". New York is on my "Must Visit" list.

    Great piece, Jen!

  4. @Gita--I think you might have a future in comedy. I think you should try out for the next season of Last Comic Standing. I'd vote for you!

    @Monica--I've never been, but I think I will soon...but I will come home again.

    Thanks for your comments!

  5. I enjoyed this Jen. Travelling is great. Coming home is best.

  6. Jen~ Love this tale of wonder, trepidation, the grass always being greener. How many times I have looked up at planes flying above my home, wondering where they were all going, and sometimes wishing they would take me along. We all find home, wherever it may be. This is a loving story of contentment.