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Stacy trudges up the boarding bridge, leaving the flickering departures sign behind. She’d hyper focused on it, along with the staticky airport announcements and the shrill wooosh of planes arriving and departing.

Thunk. Her carry-on slips from her grip. She wipes her hand against her sweatpants, then through her hair. Her fingers get stuck in the knots and she pulls, wincing. A sea of raised eyebrows assault her. She grabs her carry-on with her free hand, continues up the boarding bridge, her other hand still stuck in her hair.

Stacy’s in the middle seat. A guy wearing a Spacey Stacy band sweatshirt sits to her right; a mother with an infant to her left.

Scraping. There’s scraping. The guy has a tongue scraper shoved deep into his mouth. Stacy looks away to her left. The mother’s breast juts forward, like a missile-head, into the baby’s open mouth. An explosion of milk makes the baby sputter, choke.

An attendant makes her way down the aisle, slamming the overhead bins. Slam, scrape scrape, slam, scrape scrape. Stacy’s heart pounds her chest: boom boomp, boom boomp, slam, scrape scrape scrape scrape. The baby joins in: boom boomp, waaahhh, boom boomp, waaahhh, slam, scrape scrape scrape.

The guy’s tongue flicks out, split, like a serpent’s tongue. Boom boomp, waaahhh, boom boomp, waaahhh, slam, scrape scrape scrape. Stacy leaps up and half-hurdles the guy’s legs. She will get off this flight without screaming, “That motherfucker back there is not real!”

The plane lurches to the left on its way to the runway. Stacy falls into an empty aisle seat. A little girl in the middle seat taps a book titled: “Jump, Stacy, Jump! Fly, Stacy, Fly!”

The plane takes off and joins the cacophony.

Boom boomp, waaahhh, boom boomp, wooosh, slam, tap-tap, scrape scrape!