5-2-13 The prompt: Use this poem as a starting place:
MAGDALENE–THE SEVEN DEVILS
by Marie Howe
“Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven devils had been cast out” —Luke 8:2.
The first was that I was very busy.
The second — I was different from you: whatever happened to you could not happen to me, not like that.
The third — I worried.
The fourth – envy, disguised as compassion.
The fifth was that I refused to consider the quality of life of the aphid,
The aphid disgusted me. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
The mosquito too – its face. And the ant – its bifurcated body…
I sat still, finally sitting in First Class, breathing the air from everyone else in the cabin. I had never indulged myself like this before. Imagine what my Pa would say if he saw his farm hand son sitting up in the front of the plane with the High Priced Spread. There was a feller sitting across from me with a suit on that could have paid the mortgage on the farm for a whole year. He kept looking over at me, like he was wondering how come there was suddenly so much leg room in Coach and had he missed a turn coming on. I snuck a glance back, and by accident caught his eye. I just shrugged and gave him my best shit-eating grin. You probably don’t want to do that with too many strangers. Ma would be vexed. “Mind yourself” she would say. So I minded, and kept my stare out the window.
I had been waiting for liftoff, or whatever they called it, for quite a while. I figured the pretty ladies would be coming around pretty quick for food and drinks. I heard you can even get likker on some of these trips, but I’d probably shun it. Both Ma and Pa would be vexed. I noticed a little bug crawling across the window, and scrunched forward for a closer look. Damn, that was an aphid. How did that little stinker get on board? I reached out and squished him with my thumb. I probably shouldn’t have. It made a smear on the window. I’ll have to ask our hostess if she has a rag I can borrow to clean it off.
That aphid reminded me that I should probably call back to home after we got off the ground and then back on it. Pa had to spray the crops just in case that aphid had a couple million sisters and brothers running around outside the airplane.
A fancy lady came by just now with a smaller version of herself in tow. She kept calling it Rebecca, which is what Becky is short for where I come from. The first time I called a girl Rebecca just to twist her tail, she hauled off and belted me a good one. Ma asked where did I get such a shiner from, and I lied and said one of the guys at school did it. If I didn’t, she’d tell Pa and I’d either have to go back to school, find a feller and belt him as hard as I could for no reason, or Pa would ask to speak with me out behind the barn.
The miniature lady named Rebecca looked at me as she walked by and gave me one of those “Oops, there’s shit on my shoe” looks. I suspect she learned that from her mom. Her mother didn’t notice, as she was looking for her seat and trying to figure out why they let the riffraff into the High Priced seats. I was tempted to make a face at Rebecca, but she had already dismissed me as an airline parent’s kid deadheading a ride for the fun of it. I should have brought my little plastic wings that they used to give to you when TWA still existed.
The stewardess (THAT’S what they call them!) walked by and gave me a smile like she was taught to do. I asked for a water, and she said she would fetch one as soon as we were in the air. I said if she was busy I could fetch it myself if she could point me to the kitchen, but she was firm and said it was part of her job.
I went back to the window and was reminded that I should have asked her for that rag. Then another aphid went crawling across the same window. I didn’t squish this one, but I wondered how they got onto the airplane in the first place. I even bent over and checked the legs of my trousers to see if they had hitchhiked. I didn’t see any more of their little friends, but I wondered what the other passengers would say if crop pests started showing up in their overpriced seats. I suspect that Rebecca’s mother would have a talk with the head honcho and get the plane fumigated before liftoff. She seemed the type to get her way. She had her nose so far up in the air she was probably cutting a groove in the ceiling of First Class. The only thing preventing miniature Rebecca from following her was she was too short.
I got a bit bored and got up to explore a bit. There was sure a lot of airplane to see. This one sure wouldn’t fit in our south forty like that barnstormer with his biplane last summer. I passed by Mr. Nosey and smiled at him just for effect. He went back to his computer and newspaper. He was certainly too busy to be distracted by a farm boy on his first flight. I wondered if I could wander around enough to find the Mother-Daughter twins, but I got waylaid by the Stewardess and told to sit down, we’re going to take off soon. I asked again for a water, and this time I remembered that rag. She looked a bit perplexed, and I explained about the infestation, but I did it quietly so as not to upset my fellow fliers. She grabbed my shoulders and pointed me in the direction of my seat, and I got the hint. I know, we’re going to lift off soon.
As I headed back, I took a peek through the curtain at the cheap seats. Everyone there seemed to be a tad happier, and I wondered if it would be a mistake to find that stewardess lady and ask her for an upgrade. I bet they didn’t have aphids back there. I figured I’d better not. But I would have something to discuss with the other folks at the Future Farmers of America convention.