by Rebecca Henry Genre: Chick-Lit Comedy
Deb hadn’t flown in over 20 years. In 1989, at the age of 22, Deb was enrolled at Griffiss Airforce Base to become a commercial pilot. Somewhere between dating her yuppie fiancé and planning their wedding in Chicago, Deb developed claustrophobia—a fear of enclosed spaces. I blame the yuppie. Deb couldn’t get on a plane for love that day, but she could do it 20 years later for money. Money was worth dying for.
Deb hasn’t flown in a plane for over twenty years. In 1989, at the age of twenty-two, Deb was enrolled in Embry Riddle aeronautical school, learning to fly commercial planes, but somewhere between dating her yuppie fiancé and planning their wedding in Chicago, Deb developed both agoraphobia, a fear of open spaces and claustrophobia, fear of closed spaces. I blame the yuppie. On their way from Syracuse NY to Chicago, the yuppie placed so much pressure on Deb with wedding arrangements and meeting the wealthy stuck-up family that Deb’s chest began to tighten. The cabin crew were preparing for their takeoff announcements as Deb began to feel trapped. The Boeing 737 was transforming into a metal tin can with wings. Deb took Adam’s hand, seeking comfort. He sat motionless in his neatly pressed J Crew shirt and ironed jeans. His face was freshly shaven, and he smelled of sex and desire. Deb sighed loudly as her seatbelt began to dig into her skinny lap. She tried loosening the strap, but her hands trembled with anxiety. She placed a manicured finger to her neck; her throat was beginning to tighten. Adam the yuppie was staring at Deb as she fidgeted with the belt. “What are you doing?” he said, annoyed. “Just leave it alone.”
Deb began to take deep breaths, exhaling as she fanned herself with her hands.
“Deb, stop that. People are looking at you,” Adam growled. He hated scenes and cared highly what strangers thought of him. Deb looked at the man she was going to marry and said, “Nope! Not flying today!”
Adam became agitated, annoyed by Deb’s sudden display of theatrics. “Sit down and calm down, Deb!” He ran a hand through his black hair. “Jesus, you fly planes for Christ’s sakes, don’t give me this shit that you’re suddenly afraid to fly.” He grabbed Deb by the arm as she tried to stand up from her seat.
“Look Adam, I don’t know what’s going on...I just know I need to get off,” Deb said in the most forced pleasant tone she could muster. Deb raised her hand to the flight attendant who was walking down the aisle. “Hi there, sweetie! Excuse me!” Deb called, as she stood up, releasing her grasp from Adam’s controlling hand. Her three carat diamond ring flashed the flight attendant in the eye. “Hi, sweetie. I’m so sorry to do this now, right before takeoff but...I got to get off.” Deb reached for the overhead compartment, grabbing her coach bag, her butt accidentally hitting the man next to her. “Oh, so sorry, sweetie,” she said to the passenger.
“Not much room on this thing.” Deb patted her clammy chest, which was beginning to break out in a cold sweat. “God, can you feel it, it’s getting hot in here. Oh boy...it’s time for me to go.” The flight attendant looked down at Adam who was now in a full rage.
“Deb, will you stop this nonsense and sit back down.” His voice was stern, a father directing a child.
“Nope, don’t think I will. But I’ll meet you outside, okay babe!” Deb pleasantly pushed past the flight attendant, excusing herself as she made her way to the exit. She was wearing her first pair of Gucci stilettos and was making sure to tiptoe gracefully as she raced down the speckled blue carpet. The flight attendant quickly scurried in front of Deb as she approached the exit door.
“Ma’am, please take your seat. You are not supposed to be out of your seat before takeoff.” Deb eyed the flight attendant’s name tag. “Donna, I need you to listen very carefully to me, okay sweetie. I have to get off this plane.” Deb was pushing down the edges of her miniskirt. She could feel the cabin closing in, the plane was shrinking.
Donna stretched out her arms, blocking Deb. “Ma’am, you can’t get off this plane. You must return to your seat and I will come around to speak with you momentarily.” Deb glanced at Donna’s bad dye job; black roots were showing through her bleached hair. Donna’s face had a perfect ring along her jawline where the foundation stopped. Deb wanted to give her a quick crash course in fundamental foundation rules on applying makeup, but Donna’s face began to swirl as Deb’s nausea began to rise. Deb placed a hand on her forehead, trying to steady the swaying.
“Donna, I can’t go back to my seat, I can’t stay on this plane.” Donna raised an eyebrow at Deb.
“What I need to do, Donna, is get off. So, if you would be a doll and just scoot over so I can fit through the aisle and make my way to the door, I would appreciate it.”
Donna glanced at the other flight attendant standing behind Deb. “Ma’am, the engines have started.” Donna pointed in the air. “Can’t you hear? I cannot let you off the plane.”
Deb began to panic. A burning sensation was rising up from her stomach, scorching her arms, making its way to her head. She felt hot all over. The cabin was closing in, crunching her.
“Donna, just go talk to the pilot, explain to him I need to get off. He’ll understand and open the doors so I can leave.”
Donna braced her arms against Deb’s body. “Ma’am, I will not tell you again. You need to go back to your seat, and someone will be with you shortly to talk you through this.”
Deb pressed her face against the window. She could see the wheels on the plane moving. An intense fear struck Deb, she realized she had to get off that second. “Talk to me!” Deb’s voice was frantic, growing louder with each syllable. “What the hell is talking going to do for me? I’M IN FEAR! I HAVE FEAR! I need to get off and either you will remove yourself from my path or go get the pilot!”
“The pilot? You want me to go speak to the pilot?” That’s when Donna realized Deb had lost her rabbit ass mind.
Rebecca Henry is a newly published author. Her debut novel is The Lady Raven, A Dark Cinderella Tale, which was published in 2017. The Lady Raven, is for those who have an infinity for fairy tales retold with a link to witches, magic and the macabre. Her second novel, Louisiana Latte, a chick lit comedy was released February 28th 2019. Louisiana Latte, is a feel good comedy that focuses on the bonds of sisters, and how audacious life can be when you have a diva for one! Both books are available on amazon as well as Barnes & Noble.
Rebecca Henry is a world traveler living abroad in England. Besides being an author of two published books, Rebecca is also a podcast talk host on the show The Latte Talk. The podcast was inspired by her latest novel, Louisiana Latte and her diva sister Deb. She is a serious vegan, gardener, crafter, wife and mom who practices yoga. She loves to laugh, her drug of choice and loves all things witchy with a hint of the macabre. Her favorite holiday is Halloween and her favorite movie of all time is Practical Magic.
What inspired you to write the book?
Louisiana Latte was 100% inspired by my diva sister, Deb and a business trip we took together to Louisiana. I’ve always been fascinated by Deb’s audacious personality and electric passion for life. It was never a question of if I would write a book inspired by her character but when.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
Being an author has drastically changed within the last decade. There have been many new developments in the publishing/author world. You have indie authors, ebooks, social media, Amazon and the increasing lack of physical bookstores which always sadness me. I spent my teens in the coffeeshop, backpack, poetry area. The 90’s were all about, grabbing a poetry book, heading to your favorite mom and pop bookshop, finding a comfy couch and getting lost in a read. Now you do it all online. The internet combined with Social media has really been the ink to my pen. It promotes me in ways I couldn’t obtain without the exposure. I used to think if I had a publisher I could sit back and let them do the work. I was so wrong. Writing the book was the easy part, the promotional side is where the blood, sweat and tears come in. I’m constantly working on my promotion. I’m using social media like it was a toothbrush. Vigorously cleaning, constantly polishing my sites trying to gain more exposure so I can show the world my work; my bright smile as I like to think of it. A decade ago your publisher handled everything. The bookstores promoted you. Now, even with a publisher you are your own best friend, and number one advocate. If you don’t believe in yourself, if you don’t dedicate the time and commitment to your work, you risk being lost in cyber space with your book collecting dust.