Free Range Poetry

Merry Christmas, Eight Fifteen!

(Major 8:15 started over Montezuma and was routed down through Amarillo.
We join him now, at night, over the Pacific Ocean.)

This is Major 8:15 hailing anyone to hear
I've been over open ocean for what seems like half a year
I see a spot of land below, thought I'd give this thing a try
It's pretty lonely here, the only car up in the sky!

A little north of Lubbock, the wind had turned me west
I fell asleep behind the wheel, which’s prob’ly for the best
I yawned as I passed Gallup, and I dreamed I saw LA
T’was all decked out in lights for the coming holiday!

It's dark and getting darker, as I fly into the night
but I'm sure there must be land down there, I think I see some light
I'd love to hear a tower, or at least a friendly voice
And I'd sure love to land this car if I had any choice!

(radio static)

Aloha 8:15, this is Honolulu Field!
You're a little bit off course, so we’ve had our traffic yield
You’ve been in that car so long, it’s hard to quite believe!
Just so you know, it’s Midnight, and today is Christmas Eve!

Thank you Honolulu, it is good to hear your call!
I was starting in to wonder if there was anyone at all
If you’ve got some festive spirits, I could a healthy dose:
All I want for Christmas is to see the ground up close!

(radio static)

We read you 8:15, but we haven’t got a clue
I wish that there were something else or more that we could do
Your altitude is steady and your vector path is fine
You’re accelerating past us heading toward the World Date Line.

I gotta tell you tower, I don't know what the Seven Hells…
I swear to you my iPod's off, but Tower, I hear bells!
I can’t see a thing, I haven’t seen a plane go by
But I’ve got a funny feeling I’m not alone up in this sky!

When suddenly a brand new voice just broke across the air,
an old voice, half remembered, his accent sounds like everywhere
"Tower, you can take a nap.  This metal bird's all right;
I'm deputizing 8:15 – he's helping ME tonight."

“Now 8:15, you just relax, everything'll turn out fine.
You see, it’s Christmas Day on the far side of that line,
and I’m a shy a couple reindeer, ‘cause Rudolph has the flu
and Dancer broke her goddamn leg – I need your Malibu!”

Santa, if that’s really you, let’s hear a Ho Ho Ho!
I’m not sure this car’s equipped to pull a sleigh, you know?
I’m glad to help and all, but tell me, what’s the deal?
The toys, and elves, and everything – really, are you real?

(radio static)

This is Honolulu Tower calling Major 8:15,
I think that you should know we’re tracking two birds on our screen.
You are not, repeat ARE NOT, alone up in that air,
And we’re getting word from NORAD we should all proceed with care!

“Eight fifteen, just pop your trunk and I will do the rest.
The elves are real, the reindeer fly, I’ve got the big red vest.
We’ll fly across to Christmas with all these heavy toys,
And you can help me drop them off to all good girls and boys.”

I popped the trunk and felt a jolt, and fast as I could think,
A reindeer pulled up next to me and gave a little wink!
Then what next to my wondering eyes should suddenly appear
But a fully decked out sleigh in my rear-view window mirror!

Then the windshield went all white with a shimmer and a glow,
with a curtain-like aurora from the ocean down below
to the stars up overhead - and it was coming up real fast.
I guessed that all my flying luck had run out on me at last.

“Calm your tits now, 8:15, and don’t sound so damn tragic,
you’re not gonna die because of some old Christmas magic!
Now you lean on and honk your horn, and I’ll give mine a jingle,
and we’ll let the world below us know you’re flying with Kris Kringle!”

I tried to stay calm’s I could, since he sounded very certain,
And quick as Dasher’s little wink, we’d flown right through that curtain!
We were off to every house, and spreading gifts around
and I forgot a little while how I’d wished to come on down!

The night was shaping up a blur, we rose and dipped and soared
The reindeer pulled their heavy weight as my Chevy’s engine roared!
From Fiji to New Zealand to New Guinea to Bel Air
Old Santa kept us flying:  Destination, everywhere!

Every house in both Koreas, every address in Japan,
each apartment down in old Shanghai and every home in all Hunan.
From Russia to Australia, all of Asia, every 'stan,
and every town in Africa, from Cape Town to Sudan.

We hit 'em all, we hit 'em fast, we made a blur across the sky!
We left those gifts across the world for every girl and guy,
From Europe up to Iceland, Venezuela and Peru,
From Mexico to Canada, and Puerto Rico too.

That evening took a live-long day, but it seemed like just an hour,
Those reindeer really have some awesome staying power!
Next thing I knew, my wheels were down and my speed was nearly nil -
Santa Claus had stopped his sleigh just down from Dead Man's Hill!

"Merry Christmas, 8:15!  I think we'll do the rest.
There ain't that many houses left, since we're out this far west.
About that car of yours, from now on, please keep it on the soil;
check the brakes and change the tires, and don't forget to check your oil."

I stepped out of the car as my seat belt snap unlocked
and stood, a bit unsteady, as my view was partly blocked
by a team of seven reindeer and a massive bright red sleigh.
"Thank you, Santa!  Merry Christmas!" was all that I could say.

I sold that car on Christmas Day!  Since then, I walk or stroll.
And I sent cards to all my friends in air traffic control.
When I tell this story to my crew, they say that it's all talk -
But I'm here to tell you, brother, that's the reason that I walk!

Amarillo Tower

Hailing Amarillo Tower, this is Major Eight-Fifteen
I'm about to cross your airspace and you know what that could mean.
I got cleared from Montezuma, but I haven't landed yet
Please tell your planes to make a hole - I can't quite steer this jet!

8:15, we have you, you are headed for the drink,
but your altitude is steady, which should give you time to think.
Our local "drink" is also called the Gulf of Mexico,
and if you're low on fuel we have at least one Texaco.

Amarillo Tower, you are really quite a gas
If I could stop for petrol then I wouldn't need this pass
But I can no more stop this car than I can explain
Why this Malibu is flying through the air just like a plane!

8:15, your luck has held, and it's phenomenal
your altitude and vector path are cleared and nominal
We have half the town outside to watch you go on by
It isn't every day we see a car up in the sky!

Amarillo, thanks for that, I'm glad to be a show
but I think that I'd be gladder still to land this thing, you know?
A hundred miles back I had a run in with a goose;
Now the windshield wiper's busted, and the seatbelt won't come loose.

Major Eight-Fifteen, it's a shame about the bird,
Those air strikes can be messy, or at least that's what I've heard;
but no worries on the seatbelt, 'cause I think it's for the best
Local laws demand that they stay tight across your chest.

I hear you Amarillo, and if I ever get her down
I'll make sure I wear my seatbelt while I'm driving through your town
but right now I must confess I'd rather talk about my route
I'm a damn sight more concerned with getting DOWN than getting out!

8:15, we read you, and your vector's changing now
Since we know you can't be steering, we're really not sure how
But your route now has you headed South toward Abilene
By the time you get to Austin, you might manage to de-plane!

Thank you Amarillo, it's been fun and it's been real
I guess I'm stuck a while longer in this flying piece of steel
When I get down I'll look you up, assuming I get down
And if I do, I swear that I will never leave the ground!

(Next stop:  Christmas!)

8:15 to Tower

Montezuma tower, this is Major Eight-Fifteen
You've gotta clear the runway so I can put this thing down clean
I'm coming down, I'm coming fast, and that's no lie
This engine's no intention of keeping me up in the sky!

Eight-Fifteen, we read you, but you'll have to make a pass
the pattern's full, the traffic's tight, I'd catch hell from the brass
I can't have you just barging in, we've got a VIP
and she comes first unless you've got a real emergency!

Eight-Fifteen to tower, let me try to make this clear
I'm getting light on gas and it's awfully hard to steer
If you don't have a runway, can you point me to some dirt?
Mayday mayday mayday, this is really gonna hurt!

This is Montezuma tower hailing Major Eight-Fifteen
I don't have you on my scope and I can't see you on my screen
What's the number, weight, and type of the aircraft that you're in?
Put your wheels down, Major Mayday, and we'll try to fit you in.

Major Eight-Fifteen to tower, my wheels are always down
Up 'til now they've been quite happy just rolling on the ground
I came off Dead Man's Hill at a hundred sixty-two
Aircraft type my ass, I'm in a Chevy Malibu!

Major, I don't care if you are in a car or on a kite
while you are in my airspace, I will see that you're all right
But tell me how the hell you that pulled off this daring deed
The Malibu is built to last, but they sure ain't built for speed

Tower, I was tuning up the car a little bit
and I installed a brand new engine that I'd built out of a kit
but the instructions didn't say that I should take the old one out
and she started up just twice as fast, and she took off with a shout!

Eight-Fifteen, we see you now, you're good and cleared to land
Although you've overshot the runway, and the last small strip of sand
You seem to have a vector on the middle of Lake Tug
I bet you wish you'd traded that old Chevy for a Bug!

Montezuma tower, you're as funny as a tomb
Please let the boaters know to clear and give me room
If I cannonball the lake, they will surely be all wet
But I gotta tell ya, Tower, I don't seem to be down yet.

Rodger, Eight-Fifteen, you have passed over the lake
You are exiting our airspace, so I'll give you one more break
I'm clearing you through Denver, down to Dallas and Fort Worth
Please look us up and send a card if you get back down to earth.

Montezuma tower, this is Major Eight-Fifteen
Thanks for all your help, and you have really been a scream
I'm sure I'll land this car real soon, just as pretty as you like
Whereupon I swear I'm gonna trade her for a bike!

Next Stop:  Amarillo Tower!