Short Story | ‘How Akram Came to Fly Business Class Back to Yemen Double Fisted’ by Jody Callahan, Illustration by Monique Laffite
Along with his sight and his right arm, the drone’s bomb took Akram’s elder brother who was standing, naturally, to his right. His brother had always been a lucky bastard.
Akram was sent from Yemen to a school for blind teenagers in Westchester County, New York, U.S.A.! He hadn’t been planning on returning to Yemen when his sister was killed in a car bombing the next year but was forced to when a second death, his father’s, quickly followed. Upon learning of Jasmeen’s death, their father had a heart attack and died three days later. Though he suffered for those few days, was he, the father, a lucky bastard too? This was to be considered.
With two deaths in the family, the Americans who had raised money for Akram’s original flight and education, rallied once again to purchase him a round trip economy ticket, sending him back.
“You’re such an inspiration,” a flight attendant with stale breath, breathed upon him as she unnecessarily helped to buckle him in.
“Come closer,” he had wanted to say, “let me feel the contours of your face with my hand so I can picture you in my mind.” The sighted seemed to believe that every blind person wanted to touch their face. He’d touch it alright, he’d feel where it was placed, maybe accidentally shove a finger up a nostril and then ask the flight attendant not to move so he could clock her in the kisser with his weaker but only remaining arm. If he’d still had his right, he was sure he could have broken her nose with the palm of his hand, smash and lift upwards.
“This must be so exciting for him,” his seat mate, another woman, said to the flight attendant as if he were a retarded child going for a pony ride.
“Is anyone there?” he said loudly, facing his seat mate and began to paw madly at her, scoring successfully by squeezing a semi-firm tit.
“Perhaps you’d be more comfortable in business class,” the flight attendant said to his seat mate.
“Don’t mind if I do,” Akram answered instead, unbuckling his own seat belt and rose, embarrassing everyone around him by smashing the top of his head into an open luggage compartment.
“Are you twenty-one?” the business class attendant squeaked when he asked for a glass of champagne.
“The alcohol lessens the pressure in my eye sockets,” he said, lowering his voice dramatically.
“Oh of course it does!” she agreed, eliminating the need to mention that his missing arm would also benefit from a drink. “Would you like orange juice in it?”
“In what, the champagne?” he asked..
“It’s called a mimosa.”
“I’m not sure. Perhaps I better have both.” And that’s how Akram flew business class back to Yemen, double fisted.
Illustration by: Monique Laffite