Joel’s mind raced the way it does when he gets sweetened caffeinated iced tea sometimes…jacked up and edgy…barely contained… aggressive even. He needed all his wits to get out of this frozen pickle caper. The helicopter roared northward toward Argentina. He knew arrest and a crippling rescue bill awaited him. Even worse, Bucky would be transported to Guantanamo, perhaps forever more. For this brief moment he held his fate in a loaded Montblanc fountain pen, aimed right at the airship pilot’s goggles. Once they landed, the jig would be up, his impotent ploy disarmed. “Think, think, think!!!” He pondered every book and movie of escapes he’d ever witnessed. Houdini, Svengali, Nixon. Songs, poems, folk tales, cartoons. He was desperate to save himself and Bucky. But how?
Across the fog of time came the way, the way out…D. Then B. What was this? A code from the great beyond? Then Cooper. D.B.Cooper. “That’s it!!” He nearly soiled himself. The story came to him in fits and starts…
Dan Cooper is the pseudonym of an unidentified man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft in the northwest United States, in the airspace between Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 24, 1971. The man purchased his airline ticket using the alias Dan Cooper but, because of a news miscommunication, became known in popular lore as D. B. Cooper. He extorted $200,000 in ransom (equivalent to $1,260,000 in 2019) and parachuted to an uncertain fate. Despite an extensive manhunt and protracted FBI investigation, the perpetrator has never been located or identified. It remains the only unsolved case of air piracy in commercial aviation history.
Joel licked his lips with satisfaction and then applied some cherry flavored Chapstick with his left hand. “We’re not going to Argentina, buddy.”
Piloto, “But Senor, we must. I cannot just land anywhere.”
Joel, “I’m not talking about landing, sonny boy. I want you to fly over the Falklands.”
Piloto, “Sir, that is British air space. I am forbidden. It could start another war.”
Joel, “Do it!”
Piloto, “But sir, we do not have enough fuel to make the trip to Buenos Aries.”
Joel, “My good man, that is not my problem. I was forced onto this airship against my will. Now I suppose you, you must… do you know that old song, ‘It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to’?”
Piloto, “Si, in Spanish. Uhhh, Lesley Gore, yes? How did it go?”
Joel, “Good memory, fly boy. Let’s see, I’m more a classical aficionado, but I’ll try…
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
You would cry too if it happened to you
But Joelly left the same time
Why was he holding his hand
When he’s supposed to be mine?
Well, that was my theme song when you captured me. But Lesley Gore had a sequel hit. Perhaps you recall that one too, Pedro?”
Piloto, “No, senor. I am empty of trivia recall. Plus I am trying to fly this airship while you hold me hostage with a golden fountain pen.”
Joel, “Well, it was called ‘Judy’s Turn to Cry’. It’s a revenge song from my youth.
I’ll sing a few lines…
And came back wearing his ring
I sat down and cried my eyes out
Now that was a foolish thing
Judy’s turn to cry
Judy’s turn to cry
‘Cause Johnny’s come back