Let's Roll

by DarkMark

The door to the pilot's cabin had been locked. But it only took 150 pounds of pressure to bust it open. The five guys with the guns had a lot more than that.

Now there were three of them inside the cabin and two of them flanking the door. All of them had guns. From what the rest of the passengers could tell, the pilots had been replaced by Trans Bad Guy Airlines.

If it'd been a movie, the kind he wished it'd turn into, Dean Martin would be there in his pilot's suit, reasoning with the Arab guys, telling them they just couldn't get away with it. If it'd been the late Sixties, like his dad had told him about, the crazies would just be taking them all on an expenses-paid flight to Cuba, and they'd all get home in a week or so.

But it wasn't either of those.

The guy next to him was talking on his cell phone. He looked big, probably football player material. He was talking to his wife, telling her to get things in order. Other people, men, women, even some kids, were talking on their own phones. The Arab guys didn't seem to care. Why the hell should they? They were the ones with the guns.

All he had in his lap was a big comic book.

One of those Essential volumes that Marvel Comics put out. Black and white, couple of hundred pages for a cheap price. The Essential Wolverine.

He'd been reading it when the Arabs took over the cockpit, and now he didn't feel much like reading it again.

Some fear is so big you don't dare face it straight on or plunge your hands into it like it was a washtub full of dirty clothes. Some fear you just have to approach obliquely, tentatively, from the side, from an angle, pretending it really isn't there. Because if you do go head-to-head with it, man, that thing is going to bite you and do you in.

Hey, bub.>

What?

Don't think you got time for fear.>

Who the hell is this? Where are you coming from?

You know who the hell I am and where I'm comin' from. Don'tcha?>

Looking down at the comic book. Black and white image of a guy grinning and holding up three adamantium claws from his hand.

Oh, hell. Am I going crazy?

Could be the best state of mind to be in, bub.>

You don't exist. You never did. Just lines on paper.

So's the Declaration of Independence, your driver's liscence, your Social Security card, the traffic tickets you get. They ain't real?>

They don't get up and kill bad guys.

No. That's what other people have to do. Sometimes.>

What?

Look out there, kid. See those two guys with the heat? This ain't no hijacking. This is a friggin' suicide mission. They're gonna kill you all. They're gonna plow this bird into a target, an' frag a whole buncha other people. Big casino. That's what it is.>

How do you know?

I know. So do you.

Well, kid?>

Well, what?

What the hell do you plan on doing?>

Me? What do you think I'm gonna do?

Ain't gonna sit in that seat and make in your jeans. You ain't got that opportunity.>

Now, wait a minute...

A minute's about all you got to wait, kid. The others are gearin' up. They're gonna do something about it.>

But I'm just a....

An' I'm just a hoser super-hero on paper! Lines 'n' ink! What does that make you?

Well, kid?>

It makes me...I don't know what it makes me.

Oh, yes, you do. You still got that butter knife from dinner?>

Uh, yeah. Yes. I didn't hardly notice it, but I do.

There's gonna be a lot of people do what they have to do in a minute. You're gonna do it with them.>

What?

You're gonna be me. You're gonna be Wolverine.>

NO!

You think you got a choice, bub?>

I...

YOU THINK YOU GOT A CHOICE?>

.....

Either way, you guys ain't comin' out of this alive. But if you do what you gotta do, a lot of other people might. It's up to you, bub. They're countin' on you to be just what you think you are. They ain't countin' on you to be the Wolverine.>

I can't be the...

Oh, yes, you can. Because there's gonna be a lot of other people doin' that in just a minute. A lot of other scared people who're gonna make about five other people real scared. And real dead. Look up, kid. Face the guy in front of you. He's got a gun. But how many people can he kill, before they kill him?>

I don't wanna think about that.

You think you got a choice, kid?>

....

Well?>

...Maybe...maybe the choice is already made.

Good. That's good, kid. They're countin' on us to be chickens***, you Americans, us Hosers. But we're gonna show 'em what they don't know, kid. Ain't we?>

I guess we are.

What're we gonna show 'em, kid?>

Aloud: "We're gonna show 'em the Wolverine."

And his hand grasped the butter knife, out of sight, firmly.

The guy next to him shut off the phone, conferred with the people around himself, including the guy with the butter knife in his hand. At the end, everybody knew what they had to do.

"Let's roll," he said.

The Arab guy to the left of the door was chanting the God-is-great prayer in his head, trying to keep count, wondering if he'd passed 1,000 a long time ago. It didn't seem to matter. These sacks of pudding in their seats wouldn't dare have the gumption to try anything. Not against a man with a gun.

That was when he heard a voice in his mind which, he was certain, was not his own. It paralyzed any prayers he might have had in mind. In fact, if he had to put a name to it, he would have attributed it to a devil from Hell. But it had an accent he had never quite heard before. It spoke two sentences.

Sucker, you just made the worst mistake of your life.

And your last.>

Then the melee. Before he could react, almost, the rising up, the shouting, the passengers coming. Coming at them. The shooting, the stabbing, and the coming on.

And a young man with a butter knife, raised high above him, then coming down even as he shot at him.

He said one word before the deed was done.

"Snikt."

********

LET'S ROLL
By Neil Young, with Booker T and the MGs

I know I said I love you,I know you know it's true,
I got to put the phone down,
And do what we gotta do.

One's standing in the aisle way,
Two more at the door,
We got to get inside there,
Before they kill some more.

Time is runnin' out, let's roll.
Time is runnin' out, let's roll.

No time for indecision,
We got to make a move,
I hope that we're forgiven,
For what we gotta do.

How this all got started,
I'll never understand,
I hope someone can fly this thing,
Get us back to land.

Time is runnin' out, let's roll.
Time is runnin' out, let's roll.

No one has the answers,
But one thing is true,
You got to turn on evil,
When it's comin' after you.

You got to face it down,
And when it tries to hide,
You got to go in after it,
And never be denied.

Time is runnin' out, let's roll.

Let's roll for freedom,
Let's roll for love,
Goin' after Satan,
On the wings of a dove.

Let's roll for justice,
Let's roll for truth,
Let's not let our children,
Grow up fearful in their youth.

Time is runnin' out, let's roll.
Time is runnin' out, let's roll.
Time is runnin' out, let's roll.

******
Wolverine is property of Marvel Comics. Lyrics of "Let's Roll" by Neil Young are quoted without permission. No money is being made on this fict, no infringement is intended. Nobody needs to ask who this is dedicated to.