By Johnny Apocalypse
I wait in the bushes outside the hangar. It’s night, and the only lights come from in the large, nearly empty building. I hear a voice, some distance inside. Coming closer.
His footsteps become the only sound I can hear. Outside the door, in the doorway, then right next to me.
I leap from the bush, my fist lashing out. I catch him on the jaw, below the ear. The pilot drops, hard. I dig into his pocket, grab his keys. Dragging his body into the bushes, I take one last look around before running into the hangar.
There it is. A Lear jet. Twin turbines on the back of the plane. A thin, sleek fuselage. Polished to a shine. And the door is still wide open. Not that it matters. I have the keys right in my hand.
I climb into the cockpit, jam the keys in the ignition and hit the switches to fire up the engine. The high-pitched whine is like music to my ears.
Taxiing to the runway is a little trickier than I imagine, but I manage just fine. I look up in the sky, partially to check for incoming planes, and partially because I can’t wait to get up in the air. I start easing the throttle forward, then my patience wears out. I jam it as far up as it’ll go. With a jump, we start rolling down the runway.
The radio crackles to life, the men and women in the control tower undoubtedly freaking out. I don’t pay it any mind. They can’t stop me now. At least not until I land.
As the wheels leave the blacktop and I start soaring towards the clouds, I start laughing like a lunatic.
I’ve just stolen a Lear jet!
Waking up from that dream may have been one of the most disappointing experiences in my life. I’ve woken up from some great dreams before- fighting ninjas, Godzilla trashing my neighborhood, various sex dreams. But stealing a Lear jet? Best dream I’ve ever had.
And now I’ve let you in on one of my secrets. I have some really screwy dreams. I’m sure everyone has them from time to time, but none of my friends can begin to relate to the sheer number of the insane fantasies I come up with in my sleep, much less the actual content. I have literally dreamed about fighting ninjas (I’m a kung-fu master, but only when I’m passed out in bed), I’ve actually dreamed about Godzilla trashing my little suburb of Denver. And I’ve also dreamed about jacking a Lear jet.
The dream moved me enough that I started thinking that I actually needed to steal a Lear jet. An SR-71 Blackbird would be cooler in a lot of ways, but they’re locked down by the military. Probably a lot easier to steal a Lear jet owned by some company’s CEO.
The biggest problem with the plan comes from the fact that I can’t fly a plane. Never taken a single lesson. But, I can fly a plane like a champ in Grand Theft Auto.
Right around the time I had this dream, I happened to be working with a guy who was taking avionics classes at a tech school. As such, he learned a fair bit about autopilot systems and the like.
“Hey man,” I asked. “So this is kind of a weird question, but… Would it be possible to hook up a Playstation controller to a specialized autopilot system and fly a plane that way?”
“Oh, definitely! You’d lose a lot of accuracy and the fine touches you get with all the controls, but it’s just a matter of getting the programming right.”
“Sweet! Do you think you could do something like that?”
“What? Man, this is like a basic eighteen month course I’m doing on avionics. That’s light years ahead of where I’m at.”
“Why do you ask?”
“Well you see, I had this dream the other night…”
So I started thinking of other ways to learn to fly the jet. Sadly, the only idea I could come up with was plugging “how to fly a Lear jet” into Google, which yielded a lot of pictures of Lear jets, the Wikipedia page on Lear jets, but no handy instructions on how to actually pilot the thing. Another bust.
About two months after the dream, we get a new guy at the same job. I start talking with him one day and find out that he’s actually an out-of-work pilot instructor, due to the economic downfall. Seemed like a gift from God!
“Hey, can you fly a Lear jet?”
“Well, I’ve never been rated on that sort of thing…”
“I’m not worried about any ratings or qualifications. Can you pull it off without killing yourself?”
“Oh! Well, yeah. I can do that.”
“Sweet! Want to help me steal one?”
“What? What the fuck? No, man, I just got a new job… And I have a wife and kids to take care of…”
It was about this time that I realized that I should have found a better way to approach things, especially since I’d known the guy less than two weeks and he probably hadn’t gotten used to my “quirky sense of humor” and “general psychotic tendencies”. But things eventually got ironed over so no real harm I suppose.
So I’ll likely never succeed in my dream of stealing a high speed jet. But I suppose that’s no real loss. The dream didn’t come to a real “ending” (aside from my laughing like crazy), and the real life version would likely end pretty poorly. Getting arrested the second I landed, beaten severely by cops, sued by the jet’s owner for purloining his precious plane, and then locked in prison until my retirement years. Not something to look forward to. And the air traffic controllers? They’ll be some pretty disgruntled cats, because I’ll be mocking them the entire time I’m hightailing it out of there.
“Attention in the tower, this is the Lear jet jacker requesting permission for take off. I’m going to be taking off anyway, but thought I’d at least be courteous and ask first.”
“Permission to take off is denied! But since you’re doing it anyway, you’ll probably have the best luck on runway six.”
“Runway six? Fuck that, I’m using runway three!”
“That’s a negative, we have a trans-Atlantic flight coming in to land on runway three. Divert to runway six immediately.”
“Don’t tell me what to do, you son of a bitch! You can divert your damn trans-Atlantic flight up your ass! Runway three is mine!”
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