We are nightmarishly behind schedule so, stopping only long enough to finish off the Bladnoch, Lochside, Glenrothes and Royal Lochnagar Family Reserve, we argue about the best way to get back to aunt Humperdink’s airport. Although the argument is academic, as we are too befuddled to find our way to the front door, much less navigate across town, the argument escalates into a full-scale brawl and the manager has to calm us down with a water cannon.
George says that he will stay, as he wants to paint tits. Juan cheers, and says that it’s about time George painted something interesting. I tell Juan that nobody wants to hear his childish remarks, he knows full well that George is talking about birds of the paridæ family. But George hands me a sketch of Mahalath and Juan shouts that that’s what he’s talking about. Fatty says that he wants to come to
, because Indian food is fantastic, but he doesn’t like flying. I remind him that he is the captain of an airship and Juan says that people who have a fear of flying are stupid. I protest, saying that fear of flight is very intelligent, for something that cannot fly. Birds aren’t scared of flying because birds can fly; they’re light, and they have wings, but Fatty is heavy, and wingless. Crashing, on the other hand, can be dangerous. Pilots are rarely trained to crash, so they’re no good at it, and passengers rarely demand a pilot with multiple-crash experience. Juan shouts that he has crashed more times than he has taken off, so, if he is the pilot, we will definitely have a safe flight. I remind everyone, loudly, that I have caused more mid-air collisions than any other pilot alive, I’ve crashed aircraft into mountains, dived into high seas, spun into mountains and, once, ditched in a garden pond. Juan says I didn’t ditch, I pushed the aeroplane into the pool so I had an excuse to stay. I remind him that it is very important to stay with the aircraft, so you can be found. Juan shouts that I wasn’t lost and nobody was looking for me, I was in the pond in the garden of a woman’s naturist camp in Gwent. I say that the important thing is that Fatty is associating flying with crashing, which is intelligent, as you can’t crash if you don’t fly, so it doesn’t matter. Everyone looks confused, and somewhat glazed, but they do agree that it doesn’t matter. India
This is irritating as, although I don’t know what I was talking about, I am sure it did matter, and I accuse everybody of not listening. When they say they were listening, I challenge Albert to repeat what I said, to prove it. Then I have to challenge him again, in English, as, as Juan points out, I have been speaking in Gaelic. My English is too slurred for Albert to understand, so I switch to German but, for some reason, I forget how to speak German and all I can do is order ten beers and say that I’m sorry for being sick in a taxi.
The manager, seeing our problem, tells us that he has an aeroplane that we can use. George is staying, so he doesn’t care. Albert has a theory, but it’s not helpful, Juan and I tell him to shut up and grab at the manager’s offer, both of us demanding to be the pilot. The manager says that, before we fly, we should know that the aeroplane has collapsible wings. Fatty looks alarmed and says that wings are not meant to collapse. The manager shows us a diagram and explains that this aeroplane’s wings fold up so it will fit into the the local agency airships. Fatty says that they might fold before we land, the manager tells us us that the wings are well made and, even if they folded, we’d probably flutter so there’s nothing, he assures us, to worry about, and he pours out a round of beer. We all drink to timely folding, stagger to the back of the club where the aeroplane is parked, borrow a car and pull the aeroplane until the car runs out of petrol, then we drag the aeroplane by hand. We pull it for miles until an onlooker suggests that, to make the aircraft fly, we should unfold the wings. This is irritating, but, bickering about who forgot to unfold the wings, we unfold them, and, with Fatty at the controls, because he won’t let anybody else be the pilot, he manages to fling the aeroplane into the air.
To be fair, Fatty never claimed that he could fly an aeroplane, and he is very bad it, and, to make matters worse, because of Fatty’s weight, we can only fly upside down. However, Fatty does hang on to the joy-stick hard enough to keep us in the air and, although we loop-the-loop several times while Juan tries to take over the aeroplane, and Fatty knocks him out, and we go into a tail-spin when I grab the of the joy-stick and then kick pedals in a petulant sulk because Fatty won’t let me fly, we search the sky for a safe place to land. Now, yelling with excitement, shrieking with fear, and fervently hoping we land before we fold, we hurtle madly around the sky, as fast as we possibly can.
Professor Humperdink’s Diary