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 use 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 gosh-darn 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 jets 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 engines 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!

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.

Roger, 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!