Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Notes from The Twilight Zone New Year’s Marathon: "The Arrival"

A plane lands, but there are no disembarking passengers or luggage.  Ground crew personnel are afraid they are going crazy, but the airline’s managers, confronting a public relations disaster, confirm the bizarre truth: the flight landed with neither passengers nor crew.   
What has happened to flight l07? An official from the FAA appears on the scene to interview the employees. It’s troubling he says, but he has gotten to the heart of even the most puzzling of mysteries. Still, it’s odd: hours have passed and no relatives of any passengers have called.  He soon concludes that the plane doesn’t exist. It’s all a form of mass hypnotic suggestion. He asks the members of the ground crew and management to read off the wing numbers, and each comes up with a different series. And no one can agree on the color of the seats. One saw blue, another brown, and yet another purple. The FAA official decides to submit himself to an experiment. He asks that the engine be started up. He will walk into the turning propeller. If he is right, he will live. If not, he asks simply that his wife be notified. He walks into the propeller, and nothing happens.
The mystery deepens when the plane vanishes, along with all the supernumeraries, save the FAA official. Alone, he walks through a deserted hangar to the airline’s offices. He runs into several of his old cohorts, but no one recognizes him or understands what he is talking about. No plane has gone down. Flight l07 arrived safely from Buffalo. In its history, the airline has only lost one plane, the only unsolved case the inspector has ever confronted—that of flight l07 from Buffalo, which disappeared l7 years before. “We always found a cause!” the inspector cries, confronting the reality of his madness.

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