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A Full, Upright, and Locked Position

There's something about the flying experience that leaves you humble as you are vulnerable.

Because when you fly over the Gutter, it's not the physics that'll fail you, it's the human component.

A Full, Upright, and Locked Position by Beau Johnson



I have been many things to many people.  I could take the time and name each one but I think I’d like to try something a little different seeing how we’re all together as we are.  By the sound of things back there in the galley it seems some of you might already be aware as to what’s going on.  That’s good.  I think it’s needed.
              
All told, it reminds me of my fifth grade teacher, Mr. Doring.  Verbatim, he used those exact same words as he held my head in a way no adult ever should.  You remember that, don’t you, Mr. Doring?  I suppose it’s just Bill now, seeing where we’re at, but I’d still like to know if you ever thought of me through the years.  Hell, there could’ve been more you took advantage of, but I don’t really care.  Not anymore.
              
What I do care about is the man sitting next to you.  If he’s still there, his name’s Ben Mackleford and he was my best friend up until the summer before college.  This is when he and my girlfriend decided they deserved each other more than I deserved them.  It’s fine.  It happened.  And I hope that’s you out there banging on the door, Tonia.  I sincerely do.  If not, my second choice, without a doubt, would have to be Greg Malloy.  Not many people know this about old Greg, but his mean streak---it pert near matches the color of what remains of his teeth.  Our time together took place in ninth grade, where I was introduced to the benefits of toilet water and the ingesting of certain flavors which often accompanied said liquid. 
              
Quite a time we had, Greg.  Yes, quite a time indeed.
              
Nothing compares to the rituals of Monica Porter, however.  You listening, Monica?  Would you like to explain how our dynamic works or should I?  Long story short is Monica likes to belittle her co-workers on a daily basis.  Not overtly, but in the passive aggressive ways certain flight attendants tend to perfect.
              
Am I doing a good enough job explaining myself, Monica?  Have I enunciated enough?
              
Maybe you could take a moment and ask Robbie Dunn how I’m doing.  He’s there somewhere.  I checked.  Robbie’s the dude who always had my back at the job I had before this one.  Stand up all the way.  Until he decided it was time to stand on my back and throw a certain someone under the bus for a promotion which equated to pennies a glass.  It’s how I ended up becoming a pilot, really, and now that we’re talking about it, how this business was set in motion in the first place.
              
I wonder: when I speak these things, when you hear them aloud, is the recall each of you envisions as true as it should be or is there a type of denial which manifests?  It’s a heavy question, sure, but I state it not in search of an answer but as a means to tell you this: all of you, even the ones I have failed to mention by name, you are who have made me who I am today.  Know this.  Embrace it.  That being said, there are two others who have just as much skin in the game as you.  I couldn’t get them to join us here today, not without jeopardizing what must transpire, so in the spirit of all things being equal we’ll be bringing the festivities to them.
              
Full disclosure: this was always going to be a one way trip, no matter how you received your ticket or the accommodations some of you might still believe are pending.  I’ll admit I was a bit on the nose with name as well.  The You Deserve It Foundation?  I mean, come on.  But it happened, you’re here, and in time the P.O. boxes and answering machines will be linked back to me.  Not all of you fell for it, of course, but when the majority of you did bite---this is what impressed me most.  Your screaming and pleading though: music to my ears.  Might be cliché, sure, but in a roundabout way it brings us back to who we’re about to “drop” in on.
              
I found them in the pool house, my brother into a place my penis had never been, a place my wife assured me she would never, ever tolerate.  What did I do when this occurred?  I lost my mind.  What else?  But I continued to function as I have had to my entire life.  Do you know why?  Of course you do.  Each of you preparing me in ways I would wish upon no one.  It also meant I learned to adjust; to watch and wait and plan.

Means our descent began with a target in mind; a pool which took ten years of my life to pay off.  And hey, would you look at that: someone’s home. 


In Canada, with his wife and three boys, Beau Johnson lives, writes and breathes. He has been published before, on the darker side of town. Such places might include Underground Voices, the Molotov Cocktail, and Shotgun Honey. He would like it to be known that it is an honor to be here, down in the Gutter. A collection of Beau's shorts is due out 2017 from Down & Out Books.