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The Journal of Literary Satire | Hastily Written & Slopilly Edited
Friday, May 12, 2006

We'd Like to Pre-Board

Our first-class and business-class customers. The élite cadre of renegade warriors fighting an unstoppable enemy, and anyone who is old or young or needs extra time adjusting to the cruel unsettling 1970s décor. If you are parents with very young children and very expensive strollers, or children of very elderly parents who are reflecting on the inherent sadness of the cycle of life, you may board at this time.

We would also like to invite the Elect, not in any political sense, but those deemed predestined for paradise by reformist theologian John Calvin, father of modern Protestantism. These customers are considered Elect because God has rained fortune upon them, and their ability to amass wealth is proof that the Lord has guaranteed them a place in heaven as well as on this flight. We would like to seat those who consider this a tautology. Before taking a job as a boarding facilitator I received a degree in religious studies at Brown, and wanted you to know that I am not a bimbo.

U.S. Air Marshals may pre-board at this time. Can you spot him? Here’s a hint: it not the person you think it is. If you can spot the Air Marshal at any point during the flight, ring the flight attendant and win a free drink or 5000 frequent-flier miles if you are under 21. It is a federal crime to identify the Air Marshal to other customers, punishable by defenestration from this flight.

It is our pleasure to pre-board that cute man I assigned an exit-row seat for, and whose eye I’ve been trying to catch ever since. Since you’re leaving, without a return ticket, it probably wouldn’t work out, unless you’re the type of man who is spontaneous, and likes to buy a ticket in one direction only because you never know where you’ll want to go next, although that signals a man afraid of commitment, which let’s face it, is the kind of guy I always fall for. I’ll be here when you come home, if this is your home. Am I talking too much?

Everyone sitting in Area 2 may find their seat. To find out if you are seated in Area 2, you may consult any government-issued identification, such as your passport, driver’s license, or state ID. If the sixth number from the right is the number three, as in 7, then you are in Area 2. Social security cards are not valid for this or any other purpose.

At this time, we’re inviting anyone talking on a cellphone, because they obviously have important business to conduct. Also, if you have carry-on luggage that far outstrips the legal size, welcome to the flight. Use the overhead space of those travelers who haven’t yet pre-boarded.

Parents with children who are over twelve, please take your seats. You don’t need extra time or assistance, unless you feel it’s important for your son to slap my rear again. He can buckle his own seat, and unless he has some ass-pinching disability, he can wait in line with the rest of you.

Does everyone at the gate see Danny Glover, who I suspect is visiting family in Detroit? Danny, please, go ahead and find your seat. Did you know Danny rides coach just like everybody else? It’s true that famous people are just like everybody else, especially once they’ve been punished for making films like Gone Fishin’.

At this time, we welcome those travelers who are wearing the wrong shoe and thus walking with a limp when they grabbed somebody else’s shoe while exiting security screening. Perhaps you will find one another, return shoes, exchange stories, and become romantically involved. Tell your story to our award-winning in-flight magazine Contrails. Airline-generated romance does not guarantee future pre-boarding.

There is no reason to push, or hover around the line. We will call you in order of your seating, but front to back instead of back to front, since the people in the back of the plane are poor and shifty-looking, not to mention the bad hair. Does everyone from the Midwest have bad hair?

Because of heightened security, we will no longer pre-board those passengers flying with bombs in their shoes. They will have to check their footwear, which may or may not be screened.

We would like to pre-board any passengers flying for the first time, and those who never ask for a full can of soda at snack time. Everyone else, please reschedule your travel arrangements. This flight is full.

G. Xavier Robillard lives with his family in Oregon. For a living, he programs man-eating robots. His work has appeared in a variety of journals, both in print and online. His lifelong goal is to collect every color of guayabera. You can see more of his work at All Day Coffee.