When asked why he loved skydiving so much, what he got out of it, Pete would reply, “I feel free up there in that high blue sky. Nobody can tell you what to do. You just have to please yourself up there.” Then he would look skyward and say, “Free.” The effect really wasn’t what he intended, but y’know.
But then there was that time he panicked and didn’t pull his ripcord and hit the ground like a piano, only less in tune. Then Pete would reply, “I wanna go to the zoo instead, Harry. It’s fun.”
But Harry was too busy cavorting with Suzy at the lakefront, tripping lightly through the alewives. Suzy was sexy in the way auto parts calendars are sexy. Y’know, something’s gotta take up that space on the auto shop wall, so it may as well be Suzy.
Suzy didn’t make much of a counterpoint to Beth, whose real name was Kevin for some reason, and who waited dutifully at home for Harry. Beth had a pretty face and wore the requisite Jackie O. hair-do. But she had a thing for baggy jumpsuits that made her look like the Michelin Man. But when Pete would show up wanting to go diving, he would say to her, “Beth. You get prettier every day.” Beth was beside herself when Pete played his final game of Ker Plunk! and lost. She ran to his side and held what was left of his head to her lumpy chest. You could say Beth reacted that way because Pete looked a lot like Harry, like he was his little brother. But you’d probably be reading too much into it.
Then Frankie shows up. Frankie also likes to cavort with Suzy, squishing the gritty sand and fish guts between their toes. So Frankie rides his hog out to the airstrip and he and Harry have a big fight scene, which is kinda gay all around. Y’know, like those ads for UFC action figures they’ve been running in all the comics lately. There is one pretty neat part where Harry bings Frankie in the face with a propeller. But other than that, it’s Hello, Studio City.
After the man from the FAA lets Harry open his sport parachuting business again, and they scoop the rest of Pete up with a snow shovel, Joe Moss shows up. Joe’s real name is Joseph, but they call him Joe because he really likes coffee. Also, he only grows on the north side of trees. Even though he and Joe were in the 11th Airborne together, Harry sees Joe as a rival for Beth’s affections. And rightfully so, as Joe really gets a boner for corporate mascots with the heads of First Ladies.
Joe tries to make out with Beth, but she’s in love with Harry. Also, Joe has the personality of a refrigerator magnet. But he respects her wishes and keeps his tongue to himself. Harry still gets all hot under the collar when Joe takes Beth’s arm and helps her out of the car. Harry’s about to start a rumble, when some of the cooler heads of the other skydivers prevail, and they all go have some hot coffee.
Didn’t really matter though, because Suzy bangs the pharmacist for some acid. She and Frankie both hate Harry—Frankie, because Harry fired him and made him look really gay in that fight scene; Suzy, because she’s used to getting things by applying her feminine wiles (just ask the pharmacist). So they dress all in black and sneak into the hangar while everybody is twisting the night away to the surf-rock stylings of Jimmy Bryant and his Night Jumpers. Then it’s time for the big night jump, and Harry pulls his ripcord and next thing he knows, he’s playing a game of checkers with Pete.
“What’s the matter, kid?” Harry asks him, “You get tired of living?”
“Well, I dunno,” Pete says, “No, I don’t think so. I probably could have done without that dramatic death scene. But then again, you spend all your time on solid ground, then that’s where all the bad things happen. Good things happen, too, I suppose. But only good things happen in mid-air. Nothing bad.” Pete shrugs. “It’s fun.”
“What about your last jump, Pete? That wasn’t so good.”
“I didn’t die in mid-air, Harry. That was on solid ground.”
“Yeah,” Harry says, “That’s true.”
Pete does a quintuple jump on Harry. “King me.”
Just to wrap things up really quick, an armed posse hunts Frankie and Suzy down that very night and shot them in the street like rabid dogs.
Then silently, dismally, the credits roll.
Jimmy Callaway lives and works in San Diego, CA. Please visit attentionchildren.blogspot.com for more information on the industrial arts.