Will a holiday in South America solve all their problems?





But one never knows what’s round the next corner in life, and Clive wasn’t ever going to answer any questions about missing money. A small mechanical contraption invented by and named after the French scientist Henri Pitot over two hundred years ago would see to that.


Here’s how and why.


Using the last of his ill-gotten gains, and his ability to chat up women easily and glibly, Clive put on a long face and explained to the Air France ground hostess that his partner had died on holiday. He persuaded her to redeem the two return tourist tickets and upgrade them for a business class seat home. He paid a nominal surcharge.




Amongst the many people Clive knew or had known, there is still a wide range of attitudes and conclusions concerning what happened next. Because of his ingrained and sanctimonious upbringing, Brian said it was retribution. He talked Jessica into believing that it was some kind of divine justice being handed out. A vengeance treasured up to be delivered at a suitable time.


Some of his colleagues saw it as just desserts for having taken their and the company’s money. A few simply shrugged. They saw it as something that just happens. Like waste building up in living creatures until it’s released. An everyday event in the normal course of events. Like believing in a fixed, predetermined or natural order. In other words, fate.


Whatever it was, this is what happened.


Unbeknown to anyone at the time, Air France was about to experience a problem with their pitot tubes on AF447 from Rio to Paris.


Just over three hours into the flight, Clive was sipping a scotch and soda, playing with the ice cubes with his finger, and chatting about this and that to a very attractive young woman while he was thinking about asking her to join him in the toilet. Although this is not that common a subject these days, it was that was once jocularly described as the mile high club.


They were both startled by an unusual sound. Only the flight crew recognized this as a stall warning as the aircraft shifted into a nose up position. Inexperienced flying training and badly chosen attempts to correct the problem then caused it to start a rapid descent.


The woman he was talking to smashed into the seat in front. Blood and mucus flew in all directions.


The glass flew out of Clive’s hands as a forest of plastic masks and tubes released themselves automatically.


Overhead lockers burst open and baggage shot around the cabin at lethal speeds. Several passengers died immediately as flying luggage smashed into them. Seats became dislodged and huge gyroscopic energy forced even strapped-in passengers up towards the ceiling and then down again with tremendous force as the plane rolled over and started it’s descent. People were shrieking and shouting and praying. Children were crying and babies were floating about as gravity was neutralized and turned on its head. Those who fainted or were knocked out could be considered the lucky ones. Being unconscious, they were spared the expanding nightmare as the airbus went through an aerodynamic stall and into a dive. Clive was amongst those who were still awake, terrified and overwhelmed with fear, their sphincters grappling to prevent bodily discharges, an adrenalin rush and additional dopamine pumping around their bodies and priming them for fight or fleeing neither of which was an option because all that was left was to wait it out as time slid slowly by and they passed into the long dark passages of living hell and the next few minutes expanded in their minds into hours of an extended nightmare.


And all this, According to the French Aviation Authority’s report, because the failure of the tiny aforementioned pitots resulted in a fatal loss of air speed causing the Air France aircraft to experience a critical loss of power which caused it to hurtle towards the ocean surface at 90 miles per hour and completely break up on impact. There were no survivors.






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