Random Story Time – Island Pilots


Once after finishing a modeling gig, I had to fly out of St. Thomas on a small plane. That sounds a bit glamorous and spectacular, but really, I was a girl who most days played a waitress, and I’d just made a couple of grand in a week, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it the next week so I was trying to get out of town with as much of the money as I could. I was also exhausted and sick to the point of having slept part of the day before leaving Water Island – and I never slept on gigs anymore than physically necessarily. In fact I was trying to sleep on a bench at St. Thomas’ airport, shortly before I realized it was going to be the little plane.

Water Island Rika Beach

When loading the plane, they initially put me in the last seat – I think there were 6 or so seats on the plane. Then they came back and said “You – get up front.” I looked ahead of me and was confused, because there wasn’t a seat in front of me that hadn’t been filled. Then I realized they meant the co pilot’s seat. My thought was something along the lines of “Oh this would be so cool if I thought I stood any chance of staying awake for it.”

As I took the co pilot’s seat, I realized that it had a full steering column (for lack of knowing the technical term) and it was so tight that the wheel was about an inch above my lap. I realized that they’d seated me there because they thought I was the only passenger who would fit. I had no idea how it would work if the co pilot was a normally sized man. I tried to compress myself as far back from the wheel as possible, but it was still more or less grazing my leg. My train of thought was now something like “I don’t think this is right.. I’m really going to fuck this up.”

I turned to the pilot in disbelief and asked, “If I fall asleep and bump this, am I going to kill us all?”

He answered with a thick island accent and with a very islandy casual shrug. “I don know,” he said. “I guess we see.”

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Kelley says:

    Holy crap. Awesome story. Scary, but awesome. I have a feeling I would have been in your seat, too (I’m usually the smallest person in the room, these days). Did you fall asleep?

    1. rika9 says:

      Oh no, there was no sleeping. I lingered akwardly on the edge for awhile. And sleeping in the San Juan airport waiting for the next flight was some of the best sleep ever..

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