One should always check his or her boarding pass very carefully before embarking on a flight.
Gerald pulled the seat belt tight around his waist and settled back, waiting for the flight attendant to come by with drinks. Most flights did not make Gerald all that nervous, but this one would prove a lot different from those he had previously experienced.
Gerald's gaze fell on the large pocket affixed to the seat in front of him. A pamphlet peeked out. Gerald extracted it and opened the top flap. The pamphlet contained emergency instructions. The instructions seemed quite strange. They talked of surviving in a desert environment and living in an atmosphere of low-level oxygen. They said nothing of life jackets, unplanned landings or emergency exits.
Gerald put the pamphlet away and relaxed farther into his seat. Surely, the flight attendant would come by in a moment or two. He wanted that drink.
The fuselage suddenly began to tilt backward so that Gerald found himself pressed back into the seat. He realized no drinks would be forthcoming during the takeoff. Once the flight stabilized, he would ask for a shot of whiskey.
A man across the aisle looked pale and frightened. Gerald gave him a thumbs up but the man stared back blankly.
He heard now the distant, almost deafening roar of the powerful engines. The seat began to push against his back as the great craft lifted off, bound for the edge of outer space. Out there, he and his companions would have the privilege of experiencing weightless flight at first hand. Where was that drink?
Gerald felt the excitement building in his chest. He glanced around the cabin at the other nine passengers. At five million dollars per passenger, Space Flight Corporation had raked in quite a sum for the flight. A man across the aisle looked pale and frightened. Gerald gave him a thumbs up sign, but the man stared back blankly. He held up a small card, his boarding pass, and waved it meaningfully at Gerald.
Gerald pulled his own boarding pass from a shirt pocket and unfolded it. He saw nothing wrong with it and turned questioningly to the man across the aisle. The man jabbed a forefinger at the top left corner of his pass.
Gerald looked down. He read the two words in fine print and read them again. The two words caused him to remember the emergency instructions: the desert environment, the lack of oxygen. The two words on his boarding pass read ONE WAY.
Now Gerald really needed that drink.