Francis Meyrick

Of Helicopters and Humans (3) “A Certain Rich Aroma “

Posted on February 27, 2010

Of Helicopters and Humans

Part 3: “A Certain Rich Aroma “

I remember that African day well. Even down to tiny details.
I remember walking out to the aircraft, my passenger in tow, across the grass. I remember it was warm, and sunny, and Africa was truly beautiful. The Black Angolan gentleman I was taking out to an offshore platform was a foreman, and I had carried him several times. He was polite, well spoken in a quiet voiced way, and highly intelligent. His knowledge of History had impressed me a few times. We usually chatted quite merrily all the way out. We passed one of our pilots, feeding and fussing over the local feral cats. They swarmed around him, and he treated them royally with dinner scraps.
All customers are important, and have to be treated with respect. The foreman was even more a VIP, as any complaints from him about a pilot would very quickly travel up my employer’s ‘head shed’ management totem pole. Accordingly, I tried hard to be pleasant. But no sooner were we strapped in, and the doors were shut, than a very unpleasant odour assaulted my nostrils. Within seconds the horrible smell had gravitated from being a mere whiff, to being a real smell, to being an astonishing stink.
It was all I could do, to not comment out loud. My mind was thinking things like:
“You smelly BASTARD. You stinking, low life, unwashed, maggot ridden, FILTHY GIT! “
However, being a humble wage slave, and loyal to my employer’s interests, what I was actually saying was:
“Are you comfortable, Sir? “
“This is your volume control, Sir, you can adjust it for your own level of comfort…. “
He, from his part, replied politely to any of my questions. He was a nice man. If only he didn’t stink like a…. like a…. what was that awful smell…???
We took off, and I casually tried to open all the vents as wide as possible. I even slid my window open a bit.
Soon I had a howling gale across the cockpit, which I pretended not to notice. My maps and papers were fluttering in the hurricane. But it was to no avail. The smell was beyond overwhelming. It made your eyes water. It was doing evil things to my sensitive nostrils, much like a one legged kick boxer on a rampage in a flour mill. It really was the most obnoxious invasion of my personal area I could ever have imagined. It just positively honked. All I could think was:
“Dude! How in heck’s name can’t you smell yourself?? What is wrong with your nose? You’re just about knocking me out here! What is your problem?? “
But I actually said:
“Is the temperature all right for you, Sir? “
He assured me that it was. And thus we carried on, making light conversation. It was going to be a long, long flight. The smell meanwhile was getting worse and worse. It was making my eyes water. I wanted to gag. There was no escaping the vile pong. It was making me mad, but I forced myself to remain polite.
After a while I noticed the smelly, diseased, good-for-nothing walking cesspool was actually fiddling around with HIS vent control. He was turning it up to full volume. Grimly, I thought to myself:
“See? See? See how you are? I bet you can even smell yourself, eh? Why don’t you DO something about it it, eh? Take a shower! Change your clothes! Anything! Instead of just sitting there, marinating in your own body odour! You frickin’ primitive!! “
But the spoken word was way more polite. He asked how long we had left to go.
“We should be there in twenty minutes, Sir “, I said politely. I was thinking bad thoughts.
“And I’m counting every second, you walking dung heap… ”
He seemed relieved we were getting close. He asked me again, about ten minutes later, how long we had to go.
I told him politely.
“We should be there in about ten minutes, Sir “.
He nodded, with seeming enthusiasm. He was either very eager to go to work, or he could smell his own body odour. I guessed it was the latter.
“Good luck on the drilling rig, sunshine. They are going to LOVE you…. “
I ran a rapid approach, sliding out of the sky with relief.
We touched down, and relief was beginning to return. He thanked me politely for the ‘pleasant flight’, and I thanked him, and actually added, heroically, with a straight face:
“Thank you for flying with us, Sir, look forward to having you on board again! “
He smiled. I smiled. Bye-bye. Love you too. Yes, bye-bye…..
You smelly pig…

On the return journey, to my disgust, I could STILL smell him. He had so honked out the cockpit, there was no way I could get rid of it. With no other passengers on board, I was free to give vent to my frustrations.
I addressed him out loud, in the manner I would have really liked to. I told his imaginary persona exactly what I thought about his personal hygiene, his ancestry, his sexual orientation, and his life expectancy if I ever met up with him one night in a dark alley. Heck, I was cross. Was I going to have to fly all the way back STILL smelling the scurvy rat?
It was a long flight back. I was probably going to have to get some disinfectant. And wash his seat out. Spray some aerosols in the cockpit. Or, I reflected grimly, maybe I would just have to burn his seat. Heck, burn the whole cockpit, maybe. Who knows.
What a…a…. smelly skunk!
Normally I really like to fly. I love to fly. On a sunny day like that, off the coast of Africa, with the sun sinking in a red sky… it is good to be a helicopter pilot. But my enjoyment was gone. A black cloud was hovering above my head, as my soul could only think evil thoughts of my fellow man. It would be so nice to be able to kick somebody like that right out of the cockpit, in mid flight, at two thousand feet, but the paper work it would engender would take weeks. My company probably wouldn’t like it.

I landed back at my base, still snarling about it. My mind was thinking ‘disinfectant’, ‘bleach’ and ‘de-odoriser’. And fresh air. I couldn’t wait to get out of that damn cockpit. Most unlike me.
I shut down, tied the blades down, and strode away from the helicopter.
What the …???
Unbelievable. I could STILL smell the African. I was now standing twenty yards away from the aircraft, and it was as if he was still standing beside me….??
What on earth…?
On a sudden impulse, I turned the sole of my shoe up.
Oh…. Oh….
Cat shit. Lots of it. Pure, fresh, raw, recently defecated, slimy green liquid cat shit, all over my sole. I’d stepped right in it. Probably just before I got in the helicopter. No wonder it had made my eyes water.
Oh…. Oh….
I suddenly remembered the soft spoken African gentleman I had carried on board. Who had exchanged polite conversation with me. Who did, admittedly, turn his fresh air up to max volume. Who did, also, inquire several times as to when we were going to be there…
Oh… Oh….
A horrible thought hit me. What… was HE thinking??? I winced. Oh, dear. I could probably guess…

“You smelly helicopter pilot! Call yourself a professional? You FILTHY creature! Let me OUT of this helicopter! How can you POSSIBLY not smell yourself? Go take a shower- PLEASE! You are just HONKING!
This is disgusting! Dude! How in heck’s name can’t you smell yourself?? What is wrong with your nose? You’re just about knocking me out here! What is your problem..?? “



Francis Meyrick

Last edited by Francis Meyrick on August 15, 2014, 9:18 am

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