@emilybelden

Mile High Club

In Grab a tissue. on 04/15/2011 at 2:16 pm

As a writer, I’ve developed a bucket list of projects I want to complete while my brain still has the capacity to cleverly tie in “hand jobs” with something relatively meaningful. Already in the works are: the next great American novel, a raunchy musical, and a screenplay for psychological thriller. While we’re at it, I also wouldn’t dismiss the idea of coming up with captions for an X-Rated animae comic book or starting a business called, “This Isn’t Working” – a brick & mortar shop dedicated solely to writing break up letters.

Anyhow, last week while I was on business in Atlanta, I was approached about an exciting opportunity – and not the kind you find on Craig’s List.

“Emily, I have a client interested in doing a children’s book,” said my project manager.

“Done. What’s the first step in getting started?”

 “Well, the first step is deciding whether or not you are an appropriate fit for this assignment.”

Okay. I get it. Most of the traffic my blog gets is derived from a bunch of sickos who google things like “tweak my nipples” and “lesbian action,” but that’s simply a byproduct of a few well-placed double entendres. I mean, I’ve got to cash in on the hits I get from pervs who stumble upon my site before rerouting to the filth they were originally after, right?

So, I’m a terrible person with no conscience, no filter, and no children’s book deal. The first two things, I can do without. The last…I cannot.

I know I tend to talk and write like a rabid dog, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t pen something for a wolf-pack.  I have a wild imagination, and even though up until now I’ve only ever used it to come up with genius “Would You Rather” scenarios, impeccable “Truth or Dares” or the dynamics of the most perfect orgy imaginable,  I have to admit…my G-Rated fantasyland could be the socially acceptable version of Neverland in book form.

Am I the only one who can see this?

Frustrating, yes. But after a quick SWOT analysis of myself, I guess I can’t blame her. After all, I’m a 24-year-old basket case who sees more Christian Louboutin’s than little kids. My demeanor is inappropriate, yet endearing. And the most affection I express is in feeding my roommate’s dog. That said, I’m not sure if I should be tasked with watering a plant…let alone being responsible for someone’s bedtime story.

However, just when I was about to render my capacity to emote null and void, something happened. I boarded a tiny airplane from Atlanta to Chicago and was seated next to someone rather interesting.

According to the special lanyard around his neck, “AARON” was a passenger requiring “extra attention.”  As far as I was concerned, all he really needed was a tissue – as he was silently weeping, wiping his tears with the sleeve of a Spiderman crew neck. I tried to ignore it as I stowed my luggage and put my seatbelt on.

The plane had taken off and it was now safe to use our portable electronic devices. After a two-day business trip and my dream of writing a children’s book being squashed, all I wanted was a wine cooler and some Taio Cruz. Unfortunately, the view in my right peripheral would prevent me from zoning out and getting liquored up. Something was wrong with Aaron.

Blood? Band-Aid.  Vomit? Towel.  A scared first-grader flying for the first time on airplane the size of a shortbus? Beats me.

Considering there were ethical issues involved with slipping a Xanax into his apple juice and trading seats with a stodgy business man coming off a two-day bender with Kim Zolciak, I started to think about what other distractions I had in my carry-on. Notes from my meeting, an expired room key from the Westin…and a chocolate chip cookie. I know Jamie Oliver wouldn’t have approved of my contribution to childhood obesity, but hey…sometimes you’ve got to solve problems and start a conversation with a little sugar.

“Hi, I’m Emily,” I said.

No answer. (Eerily similar to my Friday nights at the bar, mind you.)

“I got this cookie from Potbelly. Do you know what that is?”

Aaron shook his head “no” while refusing to make eye contact with me. (Eerily similar to my Saturday nights at the bar, mind you.)  

“It’s sandwich shop. But they make really, really good chocolate chip cookies. Do you like cookies?”

Still no answer. I squinted to read if his lanyard indicated he was being internationally trafficked, as a language barrier would have to be the only thing preventing a kid from engaging in a dialogue about a cookie in my mind.

“Look, Aaron. I can’t eat this thing all by myself (lie).  Would you like to split it with me?”

For the next five seconds, I saw everything Aaron knew about Stranger Danger flash before his eyes before he did something I was waiting for someone else to do earlier that day. He saw the soft side in me and gave me a chance.

“Does this plane have milk?” he asked.

Progress. I rang the flight attendant button and requested two cups of milk.

A few moments later, I broke the cookie in half and held up my glass. “Cheers, “ I said as I forced my cup against his and took a swig of 2% for the first time since I was 12. I winced a little. Aaron smiled a little.

“Good cookie,” I said with my mouth full. Aaron was politely chewing with his mouth closed, but he crinkled his brow and nodded his head “yes.” I’ve seen that same look of approval before on Gail Simmons’ face, so I knew he was enjoying himself.  The same was true for me.

“What do you do for a living?” he asked. Was this a date?

“I write books,”  I said. Aaron looked less than impressed. I should have told him I was elf.

“Actually, if you aren’t busy, I could really use your input for a book about going to the dentist.  Want to help?”

“Sure.”

Just like the start of every good idea, I flipped over my napkin, took out a pen from my purse and began storyboarding alongside the most credible resource I could have imagined. The next thing I knew, it was time to return my tray to its upright and locked position.

After we landed, the flight attendant took Aaron off the plane before everyone else. I thanked him for his help and waved goodbye, while brushing cookie crumbs off the seat and putting the cap back on my pen. The two hour flight that began with tears ended with a title. Whether or not it ever gets published, I want everyone to know that “Franken-Floss” is a story about why monsters must keep their teeth clean.

Now, on to the next chapter of my life.

  1. I know, I know, I am a sappy mom — but I really did tear up with this! I hope Franked Floss makes it to the press!

  2. Yes! I wasn’t the only one that was driven to tears.

  3. LOVE! Can’t wait to read Franken-Floss and share with my kid.

    And for the record, sharing that oh-so-delicious cookie was above and beyond. Bonus points for you!

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