Here it is. We had to develop a story based on the initial sentence. My assignment is 340 words too long, but that's just how it is. Enjoy. For HP's version of the assignment, click here.
Chris was starting to question the wisdom of this trip. Diagnosed with claustrophobia and Vertigo, Chris Parker suffered from a lifelong fear of flying. What was he doing on an airplane? Chris swallowed another Dramamine (his fourth), and hoped to fall asleep. As he drifted, he pondered the varying degrees of fear in his life. Yes, Chris hated heights. Even more, however, he hated the thought of living the rest of his life alone…
He not only lost his favorite car in the divorce, but also his social standing. His married male friends found his singlehood threatening. His brother offered too much advice. Despite the multiple infidelities, his ex-wife's friends quickly chose her side.
Chris wasn't getting any younger. At 47, he was convinced if he didn't find a new partner, he'd die a pathetic soul — like Eleanor Rigby, Boo Radley, or worse yet - his embittered father.
It was this particular fear that prompted him to sign onto an Internet dating site. He was quite specific. He was not looking for a casual fling. Deciding honesty was the best policy; Chris stated his intentions clearly:
“What I'm looking for is a new life. I'm not exactly a trophy, so you don't have to be one either. If you're under 170-pounds with a well-proportioned body, a good sense of humor, and independence, read on. If you don't own cats, are willing to tolerate my occasional trip to the betting parlor, and have some sort of life-supporting job, we just may go together. Please. Only serious inquiries need bother writing.”
His honesty didn't garner a lot of interest, but one woman took the bait. Her name was Rhonda. She said she managed a restaurant, and found his demeanor oddly charming. She even sent a photo. Aside from her over-processed red permanent, she was not entirely unpleasant to look at. If anything, she had similar goals and was willing to give him a shot.
Swallowing his fears, Chris threw low expectations and high hopes into an overnight bag. He purchased a plane ticket and tried to knock himself out for the 4-hour flight.
Falling asleep immediately upon takeoff in Chicago, Chris dodged the bullet that made flying a nightmare. He was still groggy when the plane landed in Denver. Deciding a quick cocktail might further calm his nerves for his connecting flight, Chris downed a martini at the airport bar. Immediately regretting this decision, Chris popped an antacid.
After a long delay, and another round of pills, Chris finally boarded. As the 747 taxied across the long, terrifying runway, Chris turned green. The woman next to him leaned toward the window.
Chris silently prayed, “God, if you get me through this flight, I'll start believing in you… It'd help your cause a lot if Rhonda were my next destiny…. Um, Amen.”
He inhaled slowly. He thought about Rhonda with her red hair pulled back in a messy ponytail. He thought of her restaurant, and the kinds of food her chef may be preparing… For some reason, he pictured liver. His stomach churned, so he desperately thought of Rhonda somewhere else — anywhere else…even the beach… Yes. The beach.
He exhaled deliberately, envisioning her red hair whipping in the wind. He could feel sand blowing around his feet. This annoyed him enough to open his eyes. When he remembered where he was, his stomach gave it's final warning churn. Chris, amidst protests from the seat-belted crew, Rushed down the crowded aisle, and dove into the lavatory. There, he spent the remainder of the flight, kneeling at the foot of the commode, wishing he had met some nice cyber-girl from Evanston.
At long last, the plane stopped moving. The stewardess forgot about him, or she'd have required him to return to his seat for landing. Chris shivered as he tried to shake his legs awake. The last to deplane, he wobbled down the staircase and into the crowed terminal.
Barely recovered, the spinning carousels of baggage claim caused a new wave of dizziness. Chris found that if he turned his head and looked in such a way that he could only see the very tops of the luggage in the periphery, he could control his nausea. He blindly reached for his bag, accidentally shoving a mother and baby from their path.
The outdated loudspeaker of LAX sputtered, “Paging Mr. Parker. Mr. Chris Parker. Please pick up any red courtesy phone for a message. Chris Parker, pick up the red courtesy phone for a message.”