Drop 126: Little Room

wallWhen I wake up, I’m still strapped down. I struggle against it for a second before I remember where I am.

I’m groggy. My foot is asleep, my neck stiff. How long was I out this time?

Lights go on and off, sometimes synching to the sporadic beeps. The low drone persists, adding to the claustrophobia. Row upon row of us, trapped in here together, staring ahead. We are neatly arranged and controlled. We must do as they say.

Another shudder and we all feel the fear. I’m a bit nauseous too. Whatever they gave me earlier hasn’t sat well.

We are crammed in, on top of each other, but it’s all very organized. They are professional. They wear uniforms and speak their rehearsed lines. The big one bustles by again, all business. She’s carrying a metal box to the back. God knows what’s inside.

She is the one allocated to our section. Robotically, she goes about her tasks: pushing buttons, stacking and storing, draining liquid from receptacles, preparing different vile concoctions. She cleans up the mess too. Sometimes she disappears into the little room; sometimes she just opens the door an inch and looks inside.

She collects orders through a wall-mounted phone. She’s always watching us, making sure we don’t break the rules. For your own safety, she says with that fake smile.

Another one has the section nearby. A man. I counted eight of them when they ushered us in. There are others who work behind the scenes, not showing their faces: the higher-ups. They only make themselves heard, announcing how it’s all to go down through the jarring PA system that cuts through everything.

The little room is ahead of me to the left. We enter, one at a time, through the hinged door, and come out minutes later. This has been going on for hours. I’ve been in three times and hope I won’t have to go back. But it might be inevitable.

For the rest, we sit, wait, do as we’re told. Everyone is exhausted, broken. Some are obviously heavily medicated, some are plugged into little screens that feed a stream of propaganda. I was too, earlier, but that effort is over for me now.

She’s back: our matronly overseer. She has the trolley again: its ominous contents, now all aligned, ready for distribution.

This is round two. The first, some hours ago, was most unpalatable and I want nothing to do with this second course, whatever it is, but you don’t have much choice here.

She starts at the front. No one refuses what she offers. We are all brainwashed by now. We succumb to the rhythm of this massive, efficient machine. We’ll take what they give us and be glad.

And soon she is beside me.

‘Chicken or fish?’

‘Chicken,’ I say, unfolding my little side table, ‘and apple juice.’

She gives me my tray. I peel back the foil to peek inside. Looks disgusting but I’ll eat it.

Good evening, everyone, the captain’s voice comes loudly through the PA. I trust you managed some rest and are enjoying your dinner. Still cruising at 32,000 feet, but just to let you know, we will be commencing our decent into JFK in about 35 minutes.

I drink down my juice. I’ll have to visit the nasty little room once more before we land.

By EM Vireo

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About EM Vireo
flooding the world with fiction

3 Responses to Drop 126: Little Room

  1. vwjimsteward says:

    glad you enjoy flying so much

  2. M C says:

    Great piece, I had no clue until the very end, makes me look at flying in a total different way

  3. Mariona says:

    I love your unexpected endings, every time! 🙂

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