Parachute no limit

I Write Like says I wrote this story in Kurt Vonnegut’s style. It’s included in a free collection Password Incorrect.

The director of an international airport was hanging from the ropes and checking their color in the sun, which graciously shone from between fiercely looking storm clouds. The ropes were suspended by carabiners from the hooks in the ceiling, which following the airport’s motto (“sky is no limit”) was located at the height exceeding the limits of innerspatial imagination of public use buildings. Thanks to that, the director’s office, which wasn’t small to begin with, according to the airport’s second maxim (“space is no limit”), appeared to be a huge penthouse of at least 300 square meters. In reality, it was only 250 and the director, from the height accorded by the length of the parachute ropes, was lamenting about it:

“I told them to take over half of the cafeteria, but they wouldn’t listen, and now, look at what I have to be cooped up with.”

He was cooped up with two parachute guys, and two guys dealing with exclusive materials. And more precisely, they were copped up on a small, two-seater sofa. They’d been cooped up there for over two hours, because the director was known for his pedantic qualities and now with his every comment, he confirmed a rumor about him that was circulating at the airport.

The issue was indeed weighty and it weighed at least as much as the representative parachute. Even if this type of parachute hadn’t existed before, now we were witnessing its birth and everything was depending on the color of those unfortunate ropes.

One kind of rope was too stiff, but the color was nice – Button-down Shirt Blue “Dark Day on Wall Street.” Unfortunately, that kind could damage the impeccably chosen suit jacket fabric (yes, the director was wearing a suit jacket, because he wanted everything to match nicely). Other, softer types of rope were simply dream-made for the sort of managerial snob like this director of a paralyzed international airport. The ropes were made using the new revolutionary SkySafe technology, whatever that meant, but which had one major fault – their colors were fine for beginners parachuting from jump towers, and the director had already completed his first real jump. Well with a bodyguard really, but a bodyguard was just a bodyguard and didn’t count, anyway.

“What are you giving me here: pink, bright green, bright orange, bright turquoise. Don’t you have something for more serious guys like me?”

“Sir,” he was interrupted by the voice of his secretary coming from the intercom, “Sir, the spokesmen for the striking workers informed that the departures terminal had been blocked.”

“I’m in a meeting you tell them,” the director replied kicking his legs slightly with frustration.

“OK gentlemen, I am getting annoyed by those ropes, and we still have the fabric for the canopy and the protective material to discuss. I brought you here to prepare the best ever under the sun representative parachute, if I’m going to have a photo session with it for “Aircraft Industry”. The photographer is flying in on Friday and I want to have everything fixed and ready to roll by then. And it needs work too, you know, in case I have to jump out with this parachute from my lil’ blue sports plane for real.”

“I can suggest having the ropes made to order. Soft SkySafe in Button-down Shirt Blue.”

“Just what I wanted to hear. Now the canopy. Can someone get me unhooked? How can I check the canopy if I’m hanging here. Gentlemen, more initiative, please. I didn’t hire you, so you could sleep here on the sofa for twenty thousand.”

Five men jumped up to get him unhooked. They put him on a ladder where he spent another two hours examining the canopy’s fabric. This was not easy. Not this color, not that that “texture”, not that intensity of light reflection.

“S… sir, the strikers have blocked the arrivals. In the main hall, about three thousand people are currently camping out, and violence is breaking o… out,” the secretary stuttered, and her voice, coming from six speakers, was full of panic.

“I am busy. OK gentlemen, do you have other samples? Because what you’ve offered me so far, I must regretfully say is acceptable for a not-so-bright manager of a field airstrip in Asswhack. At my airport, we live by the motto “imagination is no limit.” I’m expecting your suggestions, now.”

“There are swatches of course, sir, but if you prefer to take care of the strikers, we can wait, no problem. As I understand, this might be a more pressing matter than the canopy.”

“You think?” There was a moment of deep thought on the seventh step of the titanium ladder.

“Sir, excuse me,” the terrified, quadrophonic voice of the secretary could be heard again.

“Yes, talk to me!” The manager yelled back.

“Sir, Mr. van Hookjes is here. He says he brought the proposal for professional parachute helmets with an air-bag system.”

“Ah, yes, tell him to come in, of course. Gentlemen, do something. I can’t stand here on this ladder all day long. I have helmets to look at.”

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