portion of the artwork forValerie O'Riordan's fiction

Turbulence
Valerie O’Riordan

The plane lurches and Mister Mahoney starts shouting.

“Seatbelts, seatbelts—ah, c’mon, Jennifer.” He stops beside us. He’s wearing his usual sandals with beige compression socks and he’s looking at Jenny’s lap where her seatbelt flops undone.

“Take a picture, why don’t yeh, sir,” says Jenny, crossing her bare legs, but he’s not listening; the air-hostess has put her hand on his shoulder.

“Sir, let me show you to your seat.” She’s carrying an orange baby-seatbelt and her make-up is cracked around the mouth from smiling. Mister Mahoney stumbles after her as the plane wobbles.

Jenny smirks. “State of them,” she says. “Total virgins.”

“Haha,” I say. “Yeah.”

We know Mahoney’s a virgin because he doesn’t stare at our tits in class. But I’m looking at the photo of Jenny’s exchange student. Gunter. The buttons are open on his school shirt and he has the hair in a ponytail.

“So where did yeh—” I lower my voice, “do it?”

“Oh, all over,” she says. “Up on the kitchen table. Yeh wouldn’t believe.”

“But,” I say, “lyin’ down or standin’ up or wha’?”

Jenny sighs. “Yeh can’t do it standin’ up, Carrie, otherwise his yoke goes in too far an’ yeh get a kidney infection.”

“Oh,” I say. “Right.”

“Here,” she says, “I’ll tell yeh—”

The plane bounces and my Coke splashes over her photo.

“Fuck!” Jenny pushes me. “Tissues, Carrie! Jesus.”

“But—” I look at the seatbelt sign.

“Do yeh want to hear about Gunter or not?”

So I walk to the back of the cabin. Everybody else is strapped in. One girl’s retching into a crisp packet. I look for an air-hostess but there’s nobody, only a row of blank metal lockers and rubbish in a bin-bag. I put my hand on the toilet door and it swings open with the movement of the plane.

There’s Mister Mahoney with his back to me, wrists tied with the baby-seatbelt. His arse is white and dimpled. The air-hostess has her skirt up, leaning against the tiny metal sink, legs spread. They’re standing, and he pushes his yoke up into her and they moan. You can see the sweat on the back of his thighs, her make-up’s smudged. She opens her eyes and sees me.

She winks.

I walk back, empty-handed, to my seat.

“Well?” says Jenny. “Carrie? Carrie!”

But I say nothing. There’s nothing at all to say.


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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 39 | Winter 2013