All my doubts vanished after opening an email sent to Sam on October twenty-ninth. The subject line read “In Loving Memory of Curtis.” Sam had red-flagged the email so naturally, it was the first one I clicked open. It took a minute or two before I could align the cheery familiar music with the malign words of the email. It read.
Peanuts, and Popcorn, and Cracker Jacks.
I don’t think that he’ll ever come back!
Cause I took him out of the Ball Game
On a gray plane engulfed in fiery flame.
The email was sung to the tune, ‘Take Me Out To The Ball Game’ and was decorated with pictures of cornstalks and a drawing of a scarecrow hanging by its neck.
I sat absolutely mesmerized by the awful email with my mind slowly taking in its evil message.
The sender was implying that he or she had caused theIowacrash, which had killed Curtis Brooks. Try as I might I couldn’t keep images of that awful crash from flooding my mind. I could see poor Curtis strapped in his seat terrified beyond belief as the plane buffeted him back and forth.
What apprehension he must have felt as the plane descended towards earth knowing that he was about to die. Praying. Bargaining with God. Please. If you let me live, I’ll ……. And for a few brief minutes, it seems a miracle has occurred – the plane is making a safe landing. And the next minute you’re burning. The flames are so intense that the buckle on your seat belt has fused. You’re trapped! You struggle to free yourself. You scream for help but the screams of others drown out yours. The intense heat and poisonous smoke sear your lungs with each breath. The pain seems to go on for an eternity. Blessedly, you lose consciousness.
Suddenly, all the air in the room was gone and everything began spinning. Waves of nausea swept over me pulling me under like a riptide.
Thank God Sam’s office had a bathroom. I ran for the cream and brown colored bathroom as quickly as I could. I made it just in time to empty the contents of my stomach. The whiskey burned the inside of my throat as it made its way back up. My body heaved and jerked until every morsel I’d eaten earlier was emptied into the beige designer toilet. When there was nothing left in my stomach and my body had stopped retching, I grabbed a handful of toilet tissue and wiped my mouth.
Weaken from my body’s revolt against the images of Curtis’ death I dragged my body into a corner of the bathroom, pulled my knees up to my chest and sobbed. The tears were coming from somewhere deep down inside because I knew the images in my mind were not of Curtis’ death, but of Sam’s.