Sebastian Ischer’s “No Survivor”

by Jess

You’ve got to check out this very funny work of fiction by Sebastian Ischer in a great little magazine called Beekiller.  Here’s an excerpt to whet your whistle:

“We’re going down, kid,” I say to the little boy seated next to me, eight or nine years old with a full head of tousled hair.  He is old enough to be my son, if I had met someone special right after college, and decided to just Go For It and keep the baby, as a symbol of our love and innocence, and because we’re young and happy, and that will be enough for a while, if I didn’t care what anyone else says, including my own cowardly common sense.

“Little boy, I will do anything in my power to save you.  But once a plane starts to crash, anyone on board is powerless, and in that situation all we can do is face the reality of our situation and try to maintain our human decency.  If you want to cry, that’s all right.  I can hold you, too, if you show me how.”

A look of serious concern crosses his face.  “The movie isn’t finished.  If we crash the plane I’m not going to find out how it ends.”

“Don’t worry, it’s a disappointment.  They all end the same way: He realizes he’s been in love with her all along, and all the flaws he’s been observing in her are just materializations of his own fear of being happy.  She realizes it was her fear of being hurt that made her want to preemptively manipulate and control him, and that she can never find true happiness until she learns to risk having her heart broken.”

“So what happens, on the plot level?”

“He gets on a motorcycle and chases her through rush-hour traffic as she’s taking a cab to the airport. Suddenly she catches a glimpse of him gesturing to her in the rear mirror.  She rolls down the window, and he shouts that he’s in love with her over the roaring wind and automobile noises.  Meanwhile he isn’t focused on his driving, and another driver suddenly, carelessly changes lanes, side-swiping him.  The bike wipes out and he rolls onto the median.  She sees him go down, stops the cab, jumps out and runs to him through oncoming traffic, in slo-mo.  They embrace and kiss, even though he’s in considerable pain.  Beautiful music plays as the camera ascends towards the sky on a giant crane.  There’s a coda with some light humor, and then we realize they’re getting happily married.”