Friday, April 1, 2011


     “Look at all this beer!” said Atalanta. “Why aren’t you drinking?”
     “My father drank,” said Nick.
     “Shit, I’m sorry.”
     “Don’t be,” said Nick. “It wasn’t the booze that killed him, it was the cigarettes; but when he got drunk, he got dumb, and I hate being dumb. Drunk he got bitter. Drunk he was full of stories about how my mom had bled him dry.”
     “He was a pilot, right?”
     “Just private,” said Nick. “But all that mattered was that plane of his, and that was all he asked for. Drunk he was dull, but sober he could fly.”


Dad loved flying the coastal route, but it pained him to see how quickly the shoreline was deteriorating. So, whenever he could, he’d set out to document all the damage himself, 1500 feet at a time, then back again to the beginning, like he was running out of time. When I was old enough, I got to sit right up in front of him and shoot out a hole he’d rigged in the port window. My job was to keep track of where we’d left off, call out the landmarks, and make sure all the photos were properly framed.


So, one day, in the middle of a particularly bad run, my dad throws the plane into a climb that’s way too fast and way higher than he’s supposed to go. But when we finally level off, I can see farther than I’ve ever seen—the land is green, the ocean blue, with nothing but a ragged silver thread holding the two together—and in that perfect moment, my cornball father says, “Some day, son, all this will be yours.”
     And maybe it could’ve, if not for the movie star who didn’t like us taking pictures of her beach.

Images excerpted from Flying Down by David Salle, © 2006.


  1. LoL The ending was a quick surprise. Brilliant.

  2. Hahaha - loved this clever triptych!

  3. Her! Beach! I want my own beach! Ha! Ha! A very nice read!

  4. I liked your flighty astronomical headings. Wasn't Atalanta the huntress completely naked when she ran or is it a bit chilly where you are?

  5. Wow. I really enjoyed reading all the three pieces. Great work!

  6. Engaging, involving, entertaining...


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