A Sparrow’s Open Letter to Air Traffic Control

Dear Air Traffic Control,

I should preface this by mentioning that I rarely write letters such as these. Also, I am a bird. A sparrow, if you must know. And I have NO intentions of getting anyone in trouble but one of the aircrafts under your supervision nearly killed all of my friends.

It was during the morning in the second week of July. The skies were absent of clouds and there was little congestion. This was to be my first and last attempt at leading the V formation, but that’s neither here nor there. Yes, it was a good day to fly!

Almost immediately after taking off, though, there were bad vibes. Firstly, I had no idea that Kevin was going to be flying with us. (Kevin led a V formation that we were in together last summer and I don’t think he was expecting me to be taking charge of this one). Boy, was Kevin bitter!

Secondly, I had not expected to be overcome by such anxiety!

But hey, this was my first time in charge and I wasn’t going to let frivolous things such as these ruin my trip

The flight home to Brattleboro has never been clear cut, but I’ve also never had a comrade liquified by the jet engine of an aircraft. My cousin, Lonnie, was actually killed in a horrendous fruit juicer accident, but he was doing something he should not have been.

Several times while in the air, Kevin shouted things up at me like, “Jeff, you’re going to die!” or “Jeff, there’s a high probability that you’re death is in the foreseeable future!” and, lastly, “Jeff, when you die in a bit, I’m going to-”

And that’s when we saw it.

A massive 747 pushing its way through a wall of coke-white clouds. Barreling towards us at a surreal speed. Now I won’t mention which airline it was, but the plane had the word “united” written across the side of it.

But united, we were not!

I had no time to react – instinctively, I made a nosedive and some of the formation followed.

We’d made it, narrowly missing that behemoth’s belly. But a handful hadn’t budged… And we too quickly learned of their fate. Slamming into a wing, two or three of them were inhaled into the engines; a difficult sound to describe, but imagine the noise that’s made when a bird is obliterated by the engine of an aircraft. That’s what it sounded like.

I lost two of my cousins that day, but Kevin died too so… It wasn’t all bad news.

It was terribly awkward the rest of the flight and, for much the same reason as I’d imagine Bush was re-elected, I was chosen to lead the formation the following day. I apologize, I’m no good at political humor. I’ll “Monica Lewinsky” on…

After that, the flight was pretty uneventful other than that one chump we had to leave behind in Virginia. How are you going to tell us there aren’t enough gluten-free options at the public parks. Celiacs disease is a myth.

But we were home before sunset the following day.

And that’s where I’m writing to you from currently. I’m grateful that my immediate family was already here; they’d taken an earlier formation with my sister the week before. Though, I’m still very shaken. And as I’ve mentioned, I have no desire to get anyone fired, but I believe some sort of settlement should be thrown my way.

So, if you’d please… send four complimentary tickets to the tallest birch in the south of Vermont and there’ll be no more spoken of this.

Between you and me, the wife and kids have been dying to see San Francisco!

Accepting of apologies,
Jeff Probst

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