It's no use pulling on that any more Mr.Chotia, it isn't going to work. The employee who argued with you about the size of the elevator? He was right. It's too small. (Maybe firing him was
a bit rash in hindsight.)
Who I am's not important right now, Mr.Chotia. What's important is that I've been sent to inform you that your wish has been granted. They'll be raising the limit by 100 pounds. Isn't that great news? It gets better..sort of: You are almost single-handedly responsible for the policy change. I know! I thought you might like that. There is a catch however, John. (May I call you John? I almost feel like we're old acquaintances what with the number of times I've stared at the picture of your helmet sitting next to you in that field. Is the young man in the picture holding his hand to his neck, or holding an 8MM home movie camera? The shadows make it difficult to tell. Oh well, I don't suppose you remember, do you John? No that's not right. Maybe I should still call you Mr.Chotia, John. That's what your daughter calls you anymore: "Mr.Chotia." Might I suggest that if by some slim chance you happen to make it out of this, you spend a little more time with her? (You're not making it out of this, John.) You matter to her you know. She chose the life of an artist because you once told her she had talent and arranged a showing of her work. She loves
you, Mr. Chotia. (Yea, I think I'll stick with Mr. Chotia for now. It seems appropriate.))
The what? Oh yea, the catch. Wellll. You know how you're always talking about what you sacrifice for aviation? Let's just say you're about to kick it up a notch.
Dozens of lives will be saved, Mr.Chotia. You will be all but forgotten.
Ultralight aviation will stay safe enough to remain free from most regulation. You will not be a beneficiary of that safety, Mr. Chotia.
Your Weedhopper aircraft will be displayed in the Smithsonian. There will be an entry for it in our global encyclopedia. You, however will not have one. (If by some miracle you get out of this alive, you might rectify that oversight, Mr.Chotia. P.S. You won't be getting out of this alive.) Hardly even a footnote is what you will be to history, John.
Of you, your daughter wrote only: "Mr.Chotia died in 1981." (It's 1981 right now, Mr. Chotia.) Maybe you worked too hard at this.
Many of your customers remember the chilling promotional flyer for the JC-35 Rocket you sent out a couple of weeks ago. Remember? Where you brag about the "large elevator control surfaces" on the Rocket? 6 - 7 inches isn't considered a large elevator control surface, Mr. Chotia. You're plummeting to earth. Do they seem large enough at the moment? I have a funny feeling that pre-order sales are going to taper off after today Mr. Chotia, don't you?
Or maybe they'll remember the newsletter from a few weeks ago. You know, with the ironic photos showing you test piloting the Rocket. "Hail Mary Full of Grace" said one and "I don't pay myself enough to do this" went another. Understatement of the month, Mr.Chotia. Understatement of the month.
That's your favorite helmet you're wearing in the photos, Mr. Chotia, isn't it? You're wearing it right now, too I see. You're posed beside it in tomorrow's newspaper.
Those men on the ground recall you as a reckless pilot who flippantly dismissed major safety issues. Not as a man whose sacrifice saved hundreds of lives. Fools are rarely praised for their contributions to society. Might I suggest you apologize after you land, Mr. Chotia? (Oh right..not happening.)
Hello? You might let up on that stick now. You're losing circulation in your hands. It's not going to respond anyhow, there's not enough elevator surface to swing that light tail past this quickly accelerating mass of wing, engine, propeller and well, you
, in front of them all..er at this attitude I guess it's under them all, huh, Mr.Chotia?
Yes, Mr. Chotia. You might have killed a lot of people and some of them probably remember that. But you'll save a lot of people too, Mr.Chotia. You'll save them today. You'll save them right now. And then you're redeemed of that error at least.
Let me tell you what I remember. I remember the design on the side of your helmet, Mr.Chotia. Vividly I remember it. It reminds me of the fact that one day we are here, and the next we are not. There is no preventing it, or protecting ourselves from it. I thank you for that, John. (I really think I'd rather call you John now, if that's alright. After all we've been through, you don't seem like a Mr.Chotia" to me
It's a strange life, John. One day, you're nowhere feeling like a nobody. The next day, you're on top of the world, a king. Then a day like today comes along and you're Wile E. Coyote rapidly approaching the canyon floor with 153 lbs. of contraption following swiftly behind.
It's because of times like these that it doesn't pay to be too cocky in life, John. Cockiness ends you up here, flying the world's lightest one-man Titanic without a lifeboat in sight. (Do you think Icarus had to worry about stalled elevator surfaces, John?) Nevermind, we're out of time anyhow. That sharp pain you're feeling in your lower extremities is the ground.
It was very nice meeting you, in spite of the circumstances, John. If you happen to live through this, perhaps.. Maybe next life then.
Congratulations, Mr. Chotia.
You're about to save ultralight aviation.