To a non-smoking, first-time flyer like me, the airline's supposedly universal pictograph for cigarette looks a lot like pants with smoke coming out of them. "Do you think that sign means 'no pants, because they'll catch on fire'?" I asked Chet. "Probably," said Chet.
"Chet, is this your baby I'm sitting on?"
"Excuse me, stewardess. I'd like a pillow to cover my crotch because I can't turn off the air vent and it's blowing cold air right on my crotch and the light which I can't turn off is like a spotlight on my crotch and makes me feel like my crotch is in a talent show which my unrehearsed crotch has no chance of winning. I notice that most of the other passengers have not complied with the ban on pants. I would like a diet coke without ice. Also, I'm sitting on someone's baby."
There was a shriek from one row back.
"Stewardess, that might be the owner of this baby. Lady, I have your baby. I'm not wearing any pants." I thought that if I let her know I was a regular joe and a straight shooter who complies with all safety regulations - no matter how crazy they sound - she'd calm down. Instead, she went more berserk. I decided to defuse the situation with flattery. "I'll tell you what lady, this kid's mouth is gonna grow up to be a linebacker because it's so big almost my whole ass cheek fits in it!" I yelled back to her.
I couldn't hear what the stewardess was telling me because of all the screaming, but she pulled me up by the hair and someone yanked the dangling baby away from where dried saliva had cemented the side of its face to my ass. Someone else landed a pretty good wind-up haymaker punch on my crotch just before someone else wrapped a blanket around my waist and then someone else shoved me hard back into the seat.
Chet had fallen asleep just after he said "Nope", so he missed the whole incident. It seemed as if everyone on the plane was against me. My only chance to redeem myself was to focus their anger on our common enemy: the people in first class.
It's not widely known, but one airline phone can contact another. All you need is a little phreaking skill combined with some basic knowledge of hacking. I won't go into the details because I wouldn't want some idiot to abuse the information. Let's just say that it wasn't long before I was placing my first cell-phone death threat to the aristocracy up front.
"Enjoying your hot towel, fancy?" I said. "You're dead!" Then I hung up. I wanted to break the spirit in first class before I let anyone in coach know what I was doing, so I made a few more calls.
"While you're enjoying your complimentary scotch, you might want to flip through the Skymall catalog and see if they sell caskets, because you're dead!" click.
"Hi, I called earlier and told you that you were dead. I thought of something else: I'm going to punch you in the mouth so hard that all your teeth are going to break off and get stuck in your tongue, which will then fly out of your mouth. Then I'm going to grab your tongue. And then I'm going to order the barbecue fork temperature probe from Skymall. In the twenty-one days it may take for the fork to arrive, your tongue will become hard as a rock with your teeth embedded in it like little spikes. When I finally get the fork, I'm going to attach your tongue to it, creating a homemade mace, which I'm going to beat you to death with. That's right, Richie, they let us working people go to Skymall too. Shocked? If I were you, I'd be more shocked by how the World's Biggest Crossword Puzzle is going to feel when it's jammed up your ass!" click.
I had packed my police scanner, so I was able to monitor the tense conversation between first-class, the cockpit, and the cops. Finally, the alarmed police informed the captain that the the calls were coming "from inside the plane!" At those words, I experienced a joy that I thought would never end, but then ended during the very next sentence: "From seat 12E, passenger name: Erik."
If you ever hack the cell-phones on a plane, use Chet's credit card to pay for the calls, because the part in the safety brochure where they show a picture of a guy threatening to kill someone in first-class with a red X over it is no joke. In the ensuing fistfight with the stewardesses, I gave as good as I got until someone turned the lights out except for one really bright one. At some point I must have put on my flotation device, because I started floating towards the light. Later, the sound of the pretty stewardess saying "I just slapped him" made me turn around and float back to my seat, where I was informed that I had been dead for two minutes. Since an employee technically murdered me, United decided not to press charges even though they did lock me in the bathroom, where I became intrigued by the smoke detector, started tampering with it, panicked when I cut myself while punching it, then tried to flush it down the toilet. When the plane landed and they let me out, I woke Chet up and he asked me if I managed to sleep and I told him no, but that I was pretty rested from being dead for two minutes. I was ready to go to E3!