Forward Living: Fred and Molly prepare to take flight

“Fred, did you clean the garage like you said you would before Christmas? Fred!”

“I’m busy, Molly. Don’t bother me now. I’m reading the instructions.”

“Instructions for what?”

“I’m building an airplane. I had this idea … ”

“Well, let me bring you back to earth, young man. No one is allowed to build an airplane without first getting his wife’s approval. Did you forget you have a wife? My approval is for you to get rid of the junk in the garage. Give up your airplane project and call the Salvation Army.”

“They ain’t going to save us from nothing. I don’t trust the Salvation Army because the woman at the cash register she don’t speak good English. And you don’t have to remind me I have a wife. You never let me do what I want … ”

“That’s why you’re still alive. Like when you wanted to import snow from Alaska or when you were ready to give a deposit for five flooded acres in some part of Florida we couldn’t even find on the map. A whole evening we looked. But it didn’t exist.”

“If we had looked harder … ”

“No, Fred. It just didn’t exist, not one square inch of land. Let’s get real. Get that junk out.”

“That junk, Molly, that’s what I’ll build my plane with. By the time the plane is ready to fly there’ll be nothing left in the garage. No rusty lawn mowers, no broken toaster ovens, no leaky vacuum hoses, nothing that don’t make sense to humans like you and me.”

“Is this a promise?”

“That’s how America was built. Wild dreams. Who would have thought we’d go to the moon? Crazy idea. But we did it. And Lindbergh! Arrives in Paris and all them French people, they’re waiting, thousands and thousands. Remember, Molly, he took off from Long Island. I can’t call my plane The Spirit of St. Louis. He used it already. Mine will be The Spirit of Orient Point. See, I’ve got ideas.”

“I don’t understand what you are talking about. But I love it. Go with it, Fred. And if your plane can’t fly, that’s fine, too. If it stays on the ground I don’t have to worry about you crashing in a potato field or in some fancy vineyard.”

“Just one thing, I’ll have to go to Riverhead Building Supply or Home Depot for the wings. I don’t have nothing in the garage for that.”

“Do you really know what you’re doing?”

“I do, Molly. This ain’t like riding a bicycle. But trust me. It will be big news. Don’t tell nobody yet. Don’t call The Suffolk Times. Don’t tell your friends at the thrift shop. They like to talk. But you can tell Muffin. She knows. I got her a little aviator suit with goggles. The day before takeoff, then we’ll tell the world.”

“You’ve never disappointed me, Fred. It’s good to have dreams. It doesn’t matter if they don’t work out. At our age if we don’t dream we’re finished. That’s why I love sleep. That’s when I travel, that’s when things happen, discoveries … ”
“Thank you, Molly.”

“But you should take care of your shirts.”

“What do you mean?”

“The buttons. Half the buttons are gone. You’ve seen pictures of Charles Lindbergh? Well dressed. The captain of a plane, you have to make a good impression. Look important.”

“I can’t sew. I can build you anything you want but I can’t sew a button.”

“You must learn.”

“I don’t want to.”

“My hands can’t do it anymore. I loved doing it for you, years and years I did. Look at me now. If you can build a plane, Fred, you can sew a button. No excuses.”

“There’s a young seamstress in town who could teach me … ”

“No, you don’t need a young seamstress. I’m here for that.”

“She’s very nice, Irish, I think, redhead. Maybe it would be easier for you if she helped me … ”

“No need for a seamstress in our life. Especially a sweet redhead. You don’t know what she does in her spare time.”

“She helps the blind.”

“Why do you know so much about her? You think I’m blind?”

“Okay, okay, you teach me, Molly.”

“Tell me, what gave you this airplane idea?”

“It’s just I can’t drive the Mercury, you know. I ain’t got no license, no insurance. It’s not the deer that worry me. It’s the other drivers I worry about, going too fast, tailgating me … So I tell myself, why not fly? You’re free up there. A few miles from here it’s the end of the land, Orient Point. But we can keep flying, no end for me.”

“What about me?”

“Oh there’s room for you and a little jump seat for Muffin. She can bark and howl at the stars, at the moon. Believe you me, when we take off, it will be the most incredible trip ever. Better than our honeymoon … ”

“It can’t be.”

“Yes, yes, Molly. People on the ground will say, ‘Look, there go Fred and Molly circling above us. You can even see their dog Muffin. Did you know he built that plane himself, in one week. A Christmas gift for his wife … ’ That’s what they’ll say, the people on the ground.”

“If only we could leave right now, Fred. I don’t want to wait. Can’t you finish the plane tonight and get the garage empty? To be free, weightless, together. … And meet Santa Claus in the clouds.”

Pierre Gazarian is a poet and a writer of one-act plays. Email: [email protected]