By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
As we members of the human race continue along our perpetual path of growing, procreating, relocating from the city to the suburbs, then dying, we are forced to endure many insipid rituals along the way. We share baby photos with one another and have to pretend that we're interested in what some person's spawn looks like when a machine is pointed at it, flashes, and then records the image of said spawn wincing. We notice when new humanoids move into the hovel next to ours, and have to take them a piece of sweet, leavened bread as a welcoming gift and then forever pull down the blinds so they cannot see us crying alone in the night. Unless they are Jews; then we leave the blinds open. But the most insipid ritual of all is small talk, particularly when it starts with this question: "How was your flight?"
For you see, when one humanoid travels from one humanoid warren to another, he does so in a little airborne pod that flutters across the planet, delivering him to his next destination. And though these trips are quite often for the very purpose of humanoids visiting far-removed friends and loved ones, friends and loved ones with whom there is an ocean of topics to discuss, upon greeting the traveler, these humanoids will still utter this phrase first: "How was your flight?"
My dad afflicted me with this just the other day. He was picking me up at the airport — a favor he takes very seriously and which I sincerely appreciate — and after we hugged in greeting, we were walking to the parking lot when he asked me that inevitable question. How was my flight? Now, I had not just deplaned from a Singapore Airlines vessel, full of tales of foreign delicacies and gorgeous stewardesses. I had flown United, domestic. How was I supposed to answer? I fucking landed, Dad; it worked. Oh, you were talking about the qualityof the flight. Well, let me tell you, Pops, it was amazing. I had way more leg room than I could ever possibly use, the air in the cabin was clean and fresh-feeling, and I got to spend some quality time with about 300 of America's fucking finest. Loved every second of it.
My dad absolutely leveled my right shoulder with his meaty fist and informed me that I would be driving home.
But the point remains that it's a stupid fucking question. As far as I'm concerned, there are only eighty humanoids in the world right now worth asking how their flight was. And that question should then be followed by a rapid-fire series of other questions such as, did anyone cough anything phlegmy and green onto your food or directly into your mouth? Did you tongue-kiss or lick the scabs of any of your neighboring passengers? Have you experienced any bleeding from the eyes, ears or anus?
If so, you were probably traveling with Selfish Prick, the man with the strange strain of tuberculosis who joy-traveled the globe even though the health department in Georgia had told him to stay put, ya hear? Instead, Selfish Prick traveled to Greece for his wedding, then around Europe on his honeymoon, and finally landed with some health officials in Italy. But he fled them, hopping on not one but two more flights, exposing all of those sitting around him in the petri dish that is an airplane cabin to his deadly disease. All this in spite of the fact that the Department of Homeland Security had him on a watch list.
Homeland Security responded immediately to the gaffe by raising the terror alert level to violet and banning wet-naps.
Of course, Selfish Prick — whose name is actually Andrew Speaker, and who is a personal-injury lawyer! — contends that this was not how things really happened, that he was never told not to travel anywhere, nor was he offered any help in Italy. Instead he had to come back to the United States to seek treatment. And not just the U.S., but Denver, where bubonic plague is already wiping out squirrels in City Park, and while health officials swear this is no threat to humans, maybe just cats, a capuchin monkey at the Denver Zoo has already succumbed.
Bottom line is that homeslice was traveling mad infected, and now, while Speaker's holed up at National Jewish Medical and Research Center, the top respiratory-disease facility in the country — and one where all the neighbors keep their blinds open — the humanoids are panicking like humanoids tend to when a bacterial virus is on the loose. The fear is that all those passengers are potentially infected and out there in the world swapping germs like the perverts we humanoids are, putting the whole race at risk for this lethal virus. And then, because of Speaker, the whole world will be like that gross-ass book The Hot Zone, and every time you get on a plane, there will be a chance that you'll get a middle seat and then right when you reach cruising altitude and are eating your pretzels, the guy by the window will start trembling violently and spitting up green ropes of chunky bile, and while you're trying to deal with all that bullshit, the guy in the aisle seat will spontaneously combust in a fantastic geyser of bloody pus.
But I suppose then you'll have something to talk about the next time someone asks, "How was your flight?"