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Pleasantville Chapter 1

Posted by LOTGK on December 9, 2007

gatlinburg tennessee smoky mountains

Another Name For Pleasantville

In the Grassy Knoll Institutes ongoing search to uncover conspiracy theories of the world, I must partake in the art of flying. Not the kind when you jump out of your bedroom window and flap your arms, (Which I might add is fun) but the commercial type. Airplanes, jets, that sort of flying. As luck would have it, one of my visits was to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to investigate an ongoing occurrence at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.

Like a good customer, I called and purchased my ticket in advance and embarked on my journey to the Cleveland, Ohio airport. It was a little chilly, being early November, but not all to unpleasant. I parked at one of the usual parking garages, “Park Place”, and took the shuttle to the airport. Not that it was a garage, but just a big old open space or concrete with lines.

Anyway, I snaked my way through the long customer line and when it was my turn, approached the ticket counter. showing my license and confirming my flight, I asked that if at all possible, I could have an aisle seat being that I’m tall and wanted a little leg room. The attendant smiled sheepishly at me and said, “No problem, all the seats are aisle seats. Window seats too.” It slowly began to sink into me. I was booked on a prop plane. I said thank you and took a seat in the airport lobby and waited to board my flight.

Minutes later, my flight number was announced and that all passengers may board at this time. I walked over to my departure gate and the attendant greeted me, checked my ticket, opened a door that led to the outside, and told me to proceed. I walked down a flight a steps and across the tarmac and then I spied my plane. It reminded me of the plane from the old 1960’s movie, “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World” where a group of greedy individuals were racing against each other to find buried treasure left behind by a dying man on an edge of a cliff. The plane in the movie was an old bi-plane propeller and the cars on the highway were going faster than the plane.

As I enter the plane, the stewardess greets me and tells me to watch my head. Seconds later, I knew why. The plane was so small that I could not stand upright in it. I had to crouch down as I found my way to my seat. The seating arrangement was as follows. Five seats on the left, five seats on the right, and one seat, a bench seat apparently for the stewardess all the way in the center all the way in the back. The snicker I received from the check in clerk when I asked for an aisle seat was now sinking in.

Squeezing myself into the seat I attached my seatbelt and opened my USA Today newspaper and proceeded to wait for the plane to depart. Breaking my standard protocol of not looking out the window, (Still have nightmares from the Twilight Zone episode starring William Shatner as a neurotic passenger who thinks he sees something out on the wing tearing it apart) an unknown force compelled me to just take a peak. Wrong decision on my part. My view was of the wing and a service technician on a ladder doing maintenance on the propeller.

I actually saw him affixing silver duct tape to the prop blades. (There’s somebody out on the wing!!!) Well, this didn’t sit well with me but alas, time had run out as the cabin door was closed and cranked shut. I was becoming religious very quickly as the stewardess barked out the standard departure lecture about floatation devices and such. The plane was so small, she didn’t use a microphone, we could all hear her fine. Until that is, the engines revved up and the props began spinning.

Believe it or not but the take-off was quite smooth and uneventful. I settled back for the two hour journey and relaxed. However, no sooner had I closed my eyes I heard it! The overhead bin was rattling. Incessantly rattling. Reaching up, (Remember, the cabin was very small and I could easily reach the bin while still seated) I tried to quiet the bin. Several variations later, a sense of futility came over me and I had to keep my hand on the bin to keep it quiet.

Two hours and one sore arm later, the plane touched down and we all deplaned and made our way to our own destinations.

My journey and business in Tennessee had just begun, and I would need a rental car to complete my mission from the Knoxville airport to Gatlinburg, the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.


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