‹ Prequel: Chances Risked
Sequel: Life's Chances

The Three C's

Chapter Seventy Seven

It was three days after Christmas and it was time for the Chicago Blackhawks, half way press conference. Where reporters come to ask questions to some teammates about how the teams been doing and what they’ll see with the rest of the season.

Crawford, Jon, Sharp, Pat, myself, Shaw and Smith were on the stage, sitting at a table with water and microphones in front of us. The questions had started a few minutes ago, mostly to Jon or Corey about the team and goaltending.

“Next question,” Jon said and then pointed towards a reporter and the man stood up.

“This question is for Maggie,” the reporter said and I perked up and looked towards him in the crowd, “Over the summer, I heard you got to ride in an F16, can you tell us how that adventure went?”

Jon, Sharp, Pat and Corey laughed a little and I smirked and shook my head, “This is her favorite story,” Pat chuckled and I let out a laugh, because I probably told this story at least ten times.

“I think it gets funnier each time,” Sharp said and I smirked and shook my head.

“Well, over the summer I get a call from the Colonel at the Holloman Air Force Base in El Paso, Texas. He tells me that he wants me to come to the base because it would be an honor, as a Texas native, to fly in one of the F16- And for those of you who don’t know what an F16 is- It’s a big jet,” I giggled, “So he calls me up and is like it’ll be an honor for you to fly with us and I’m like it’ll be an honor to fly with you. So then he said that he’ll have to get me clearance with the Pentagon and they did. I show up at the base and it was like in the movies, jets are flying all over the place, the Colonel comes up and salutes me and asks me if I have the need for speed and I just look at him and laugh, still not believing that any of this is real,” some reporters chuckle, “They take me to this room called the life support room, where they’re going to teach you what you’re going to do and what your body’s going to through- And you’re supposed to pay attention-“

“Notice she said supposed to,” Corey said and the reporters and everyone in the room laughed.

“You were! But ya’ll, I’ve was so excited that the dude trying to teach me might have been Charlie Brown’s teacher,” I said and the room laughed, “Because I’m just sitting think, oh look, flight helmet! Shinny things!” I laughed with everyone, “And then all of a sudden you hear the guy say, ‘Now, if you hear your pilot say eject, eject, eject’ and I’m like whoa, whoa, whoa- That wasn’t in the brochure! And he’s like, ‘Now Maggie, you have to know this because there’s a chance that it can happen’ and I’m like, oh god, all right. And he’s like, ‘Now if the pilot say’s eject, there’s a yellow lever in-between your legs, you’ll see it! If he’s says eject, you grab that lever and jerk it straight up! And when you pull that lever, here’s what’s going to happen in a period of three seconds, the canopy will fly off, you’ve got a mortar rocket underneath your seat’ and I’m thinking, that’s just wonderful- I’ve got a big ole bullet pointed at my butt,” I said and the room laughed, “He says, ‘Here’s what’s going to happen, the canopy will come off, you shoot out of the seat, your parachute will open and you’ll float down to the ground like a feather’ and I’m thinking- Yeah, from a freaking bird that’s been shot by a shotgun! What the heck are you talking about?!”

“So at that point- Because I was with her,” Pat said and I smirked and shook my head, “At that point I thought she’d be like, ‘Ok let’s just take the pictures, we’re done here’!”

The room laughed and I covered my face and shook my head, “So anyways!” I laughed and controlled myself, “So then here comes my pilot and he is so cool, he comes over and is like, ‘Maggie, relax, I’ve been flying for twenty years and only had to eject three times, everything went great’,” I let that sink in for everyone in the room, heard some snickers, “I look at him and I’m like ‘You’re bragging about that?’ and then he looks at me and is like ‘I’m just kidding, I’ve never had to eject’,” the room laughs, “Lucky me, I’ve got the funny pilot! What kind of sick joke is that?!”

“A joke that they would play on Maggie,” Sharp said and I rolled my eyes.

“So they put me in my flight suit and I’m so close to being cool!” I said and then laughed, “I got my name patch, my Thunderbird patch and I’m so excited. And then they put this other suit on me and I looked at the guy and I’m like, what’s this? He’s like, ‘That’s your G suit, you’re going to pull nine G’s- You’ll pull nine G’s we’re going to give you a little pin, not everyone’s got one of those.’- Now, I don’t know what nine G’s are, couldn’t even take a guess. But apparently, pulling nine G’s, I was about to find out is equivalent to getting the crap beaten out of you for fifteen seconds.”

“And here’s the difference between a woman and then Maggie,” Corey said and I laughed, “You tell a woman that she’s going to get the crap beaten out of her for fifteen seconds and then get a little pin, she’s gunna say that she doesn’t need the pin.”

“And then you tell Maggie that she’s going to get the crap beaten out of her for fifteen seconds and she’ll get a little gold sticky star, she’ll be like- LET’S DO IT!!!” Sharp said and I threw back my head and laughed.

“So I asked the guy what exactly the suit does and he told me that he squeezes my thighs and your torso and it forces blood back up to your brain- He says that’s why people pass out because the blood drops from their brain. We’re just about to leave, and the medic comes in, and he puts a folded plastic bag on each of my legs and I look at him and I’m like, ‘What’s that for’, he looks at me and he’s like, ‘Puke’,” some people gasp, others laugh, “And I’m like, ‘I’m sorry’, and he goes, ‘Throw up, you’re gunna throw up, Maggie- Everyone does, you’re body’s not used to doing this, President Regan, President Carter, Drew Carrey- Everyone does’ and I’m thinking, ‘Hmm, great, I got a bullet pointed at my butt and I’m gunna throw up- Why didn’t I do this earlier?’,” the room laughs and I shook my head, “And this is the kind of sense of humor they have! I called my pilot two weeks before this and ask him what should I eat before I come because I don’t want to get sick- And he’s like, just eat peanut butter. I’m like ‘Ok, does that calm the stomach’, he’s like ‘Nope tastes the same coming up as it did going down.”

“She ate a half a jar too,” Pat said and I covered my face and shook my head.

“I’m all suited up, they hand me my helmet, it’s got my name on the back, I’m getting excited, we start walking out to the jet and ya’ll- They have painted my name on the jet,” I said and then felt a pat on my shoulder, I turned my head and look up at the screen to see the picture that was taken when we were there, “Yeah, see! So cool!”

“And that’s when she wants to just take the pictures and leave!” Pat said and I playfully shoved him.

“They put me in my seat, they guy starts clipping me in and then he looks at me and is like, ‘Hey, don’t throw up.’ I look at him and tell him that I’ll try not to and he’s like, ‘Don’t.Throw. Up.’ And I’m like, I thought everyone throws up- President Regan, President Carter, and Drew,” the room laughed, “And he’s like, ‘Don’t you throw up!’. And then I proceed to ask him why and he’s like, ‘Because that’s my mask!’.”

“So much pressure for one person at that moment,” Sharp said and I laughed.

“My pilot climbs in and it’s all be fun yack yack until now, all of sudden that canopy closes and all of these noises are going on. And I’m like, what am I doing here?! I don’t even like roller coasters and I’m in an F16!” I yelled and everyone laughed, “And then-“

“And then Dork Mags shows up,” Corey, Sharp and Pat said and everyone laughs, I smirk and shook my head.

“Can you guess how many times they’ve heard this story?” Jon said and I laughed and shrugged my shoulders.

“Everyone wants to hear it and ya’ll are always in the room,” I said and then laugh, “So the canopy closes and I don’t know what happens, a whole ‘nother side of me shows up and I become dork Mags- I thought, that if I don’t talk like a pilot this jet won’t work right,” I said and the room laughed, “You can hear it on the cockpit tape,” they laugh some more, “He goes, ‘All right Mags, let’s have some fun today’, and I go ‘Roger’,” my teammates snicker, “And I couldn’t stop! He goes, ‘Ok, let’s go through a little pre-through, look by your right leg, you see a white see?’ and I go, ‘Roger, I’m looking, roger on location, roger’. He laughs and goes, ‘All right, that’s a hundred percent oxygen, if you start feeling nausea I want you to flip that switch, take a few breaths and let it go, your nausea will go away’. I inhaled that thing!” I said and the room laughed.

“Getting high off of oxygen!” Pat laughed and I giggled.

“So then I take a few breaths- Or inhale it,” I giggled, “And go, ‘Roger on breathing, roger.’ And he’s like, ‘All right, let’s taxi out the end of the runway and get ready for takeoff.’ And I go, ‘Roger on taxi, roger on takeoff, roger, roger’,” I laid my head on the desk and laughed, shaking my head on my stupidness while the room laughed, “And he goes ‘Maggie’ and I go ‘Roger’, and he’s like, ‘You can just say ok’. And I laugh and is like, ‘Sorry… Roger’,” I laugh and shake my head, “Yeah, I ain’t takin’ no chances- If this plane goes down and somebody from the- Whatever they’re called- Goes, ‘Well if she just would’ve said roger, everything would have been all right, I don’t understand why she just didn’t say roger.”

“Roger,” Sharp teased and I playfully glared at him.

“We’re sitting at the end of the runway talking back and forth about hockey when all of a sudden in my helmet I hear this, ‘Thunderbird seven you are cleared for takeoff and steep assent has been approved’,” I hear some muttering and snickering in the room, “They never told me any of this- But then I remembered the class and the little Charlie Brown teacher and realized that I probably should have paid attention to that guy.”

“And you were just figuring that out at that moment?” Corey said and if I could, I would have flipped him off.

“We start rolling down the strip and the pilot tells me to hang on because here come the afterburners, you hear this loud noise and there was so much pressure that I thought my ears touched! We are screaming down this runway and he’s calling out the speed we’re going- Like I need to hear that!” the room laughs, “He goes, ‘There’s 350, 400, 450- Here we go!’ and ya’ll we went and we went straight up and I’m in the back seat screaming my head off. Then he flips it upside down- We’re flying upside down! And you can hear me at twenty five years old on the cockpit tape screaming for my mother!” the room laughs loudly and I smirked, shake my head and rub my face, “He flips it back around and goes, ‘You all right back there’ and I’m like, ‘What the heck was that?! Roger! Roger, roger, roger, roger!’ he laughs and then goes, ‘All right, let’s take a trip out to the military space’, which I like to call the psycho house!” I said and the room laughed, “It’s their yard, they can play whatever games they want! We get out there and he’s like, ‘All right, Mags, let’s have some fun, you wanna do a barrel roll?’ I don’t know what a barrel roll is, I’m stupid enough to say, sure let’s do it. He cranks that jet and spins it around and around and around and around- I’ve got vomit right there,” I motion to my throat, “But I can’t throw up, because for me to throw up, this would have had to have happened; I would have had to gag, pull my oxygen mask off, pull the plastic bag off of my leg, open it up, puke, tie it up, put it back in my suit, put my mask back on- I ain’t got the kind of time for that!” the room laughs, “Because the whole time I’m up there, I’m like- Please don’t kill me,” I hear snickers, “And then the pilot goes and tells me it’s time for my nine G’s profile- Now, I’m going to give you all a physics lesson right now! We experience one G right as we are, it’s just your body weight, all right- I weigh- Well, I’m not going to tell you how much I weigh, I’ll stick to the girl code on that,” I said and the room snickered, “At nine G’s, that means that there’s nineteen of me laying on top of me- Trust me, you cannot move, you cannot breathe. In the class-“

“The parts she did pay attention to,” Sharp said and I reached over and smacked the back of his head.

“In the class, the guy told me that when we were going to do this, he wants me to take a deep breath and tense every muscle in my body, and when I need to take a breath, do a really quick one that makes me look like a fish on land begging for water. So we’re up there and the pilot tells me we’re going to do the nine G’s, but as he started his ‘here we go’, I breathed too early and like an idiot, I’m squeezing my body and letting the air out. So half way through the maneuver, when I wanted to take a breath, I’m out of air- Thank god my sunshield and mask was on, because I looked cool, but underneath it all I was freaking out!” the room laughed, “He pulls out of the maneuver and I pull the hundred percent oxygen and gasp for air. All of a sudden I hear my pilot go, ‘Aw man,’ and I look towards him and go ‘What?’ and he’s like, ‘We only pulled 8.5’. So then of course I’m all sad because we were supposed to do nine- And I’m sad, not because I think we have to do it again- I’m sad because I’m not gunna get the little pin that not everyone had,” I said and the room laughed loudly at my childishness, “So I’m like, ‘No pin?’ and he’s like, “I’m just kidding, we pulled 9.2!’ and I’m like, oh that’s right, I’ve got the funny pilot!” the room laughed, “So then he goes, ‘Ok, let’s do some scenery’, and I’m like, thank god, because we’re gunna fly level and straight,” I looked around, “Oh no, these are pilots,” I laughed, “We’re doing these maneuvers in Death Valley, which we all know, is a valley… Of Death. He goes, ‘I want you to appreciate how fast we’re going’ and I’m like, ‘How fast are we going’, he goes, ‘Six hundred miles an hour’,” I bite my lip and nod my head, “And I’m like, ‘I appreciate that’,” the room snickers, “And then he’s like, ‘Now let’s find a car’, and I’m like, ‘What? Are we gunna shoot it?’ and he’s like, ‘No, I’ll get up next to the car so you can compare how fast their going to how fast we’re going.’ And I’m like, ‘Is that legal?’ and he’s like, ‘I don’t know, but it’s fun,’” I said and the room laughed, “We come screaming out of the sky and I don’t know why this man was driving his station wagon through death valley, but you know he’ll never do it again,” I said and the room laughed, “He never even saw us, he just heard come up from behind and I looked back to see all four of his wheel locked up and a pile of dust. So then my pilot tells me that we’re gunna head back to the base and when we land- Oh man, it was so cool, we land, the crew is clapping and saluting me, I see Pat standing there with my parents and make it about two steps away from the jet and just puke all over him!”

The guys were cracking up laughing and Pat was just shaking his head. Some more people asked some questions for us and them once the conference was over, we all headed over towards the local bowling alley to bowl with Children from the local hospital.