Gather round now and listen, my friends,
I’ll tell you a epic story,
Of a man who’d not flinch in the face of fear,
Kept his hand steady despite the four beers,
He’d drunk, and his name was Rory.
A speck in the blue, on cold steel wings,
Soaring five miles above sea,
Carried two hundred travellers and staff,
And sitting way back in economy class,
Was our story’s hero and me.
The weather was fine and the sailing was smooth,
Till two hours into the flight,
Then the cabin convulsed and the engine roared,
A fearful gasp from all aboard,
And the blink of the seatbelt light.
A stewardess spoke with trembling voice,
And announced on the crackling P.A.,
“Something has happened, I cannot explain,
Is there someone on board who can fly a jet plane?”
Rory yelled, “Out of my way!”
I followed him up to the front of the plane,
He said he would need a co-pilot,
We rushed through the narrow cockpit door,
Rory said gravely, “I’ve seen this before,”
The flight crew was eerily silent.
The pilot was slumped, his head mashed the controls,
The co-pilot fell to his side,
We lifted them back and saw with a start,
A longbow arrow through each man’s heart,
And a terrified look in his eyes.
The pilots were dead, there was nothing to do,
But to fly the airliner ourselves,
We strapped ourselves in and took the controls,
Prayed for the safety of two hundred souls,
And radioed Brisbane for help.
The airwaves returned us a swift reply,
Instructions both thorough and clear,
There wasn’t that much we needed to do,
Just push a few buttons when given the cue,
But the landing would need us to steer.
A calm, guiding voice from an airport tower,
Let us know what to expect,
I whispered a quick supplication to heaven,
Rory said, “It’s cool—I flew F-one-elevens,
Brisbane, we’re starting our descent.”
With the runway in sight a heavy crosswind,
Shook the old plane in its grasp,
The rudder fell off and a wing snapped in two,
Then a sheet of white feathers obscured our view,
As a flock of geese flew through our path.
A drumroll of thumps and a bright red splatter,
Six dead geese smeared on the glass,
My slim hopes were shot and I groaned in defeat,
Rory said, “Don’t worry!” and leapt from his seat,
He can always adapt a plan fast.
He yanked the arrow from the co-pilot’s chest,
I said, “Rory, you’ve got to be kidding!
Haven’t you any respect for the dead?”
He lit a cigar, put his shades on and said,
“First I must rescue the living.”
He showed me the arrow he held in his hand,
It seemed not of human design,
Its shaft was some kind of shimmering wood,
Engraved like no living craftsman could,
And the tip had a dazzling shine.
With a heaving effort he broke it in half,
And gripped the top end like a knife,
The arrowhead beamed with a light almost blinding,
Rory said, “This stuff is harder than diamond,
It might just save all our lives.”
Weapon in hand, he said, “Here goes nothing,”
As the plane fell at terrible speed,
He pressed the arrowhead into the glass,
Carved a circle with a loop of his arm,
Then kicked out the pane with his feet.
The cockpit filled with a feather tornado,
The rushing wind howled and squealed,
“Pull up!” the voice on the radio screamed,
The runway was charging toward us, it seemed,
Then Rory took hold of the wheel.
He leaned right back with all of his might,
The control panel shuddered and sparked,
The passengers shrieked and moaned in fear,
The runway grew unavoidably near,
But then the nose lifted at last.
The plane leaned left, then lurched to the right,
Rory managed to level it out,
I clung to my seat, Rory yelled, “Here we go!”
The tail, like a fish’s, swung to and fro,
Then the wheels, with a thump, touched down.
The plane bumped and shook, the engine caught fire,
The passengers called out to God,
Then suddenly a roaring, rushing sound,
The seven-eight-seven began to slow down,
The reverse thrust was doing its job.
The plane ran just off the end of the runway,
And came to a trembling stop,
Sirens of fire engines howled as they neared,
The passengers cried and shouted and cheered,
Rory casually turned the engines off.
He took a deep drag on his chunky cigar,
And blew a long trail of smoke,
“Well that was a hell of a ride,” he said,
“And it seems that somebody wanted me dead,”
He looked at the arrow as he spoke.
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