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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Splashdown!

In a highly technical symphony of mathematics and basic vinegar and baking soda rocketry, I pushed every button on the British Columbia control panel to initiate the descent through the Earth's atmosphere, during which the heat shield would reach 5,000 degrees, in what is known as the Weber Maneuver.

For many minutes, my radio was silent, due to the incredible electro-magnetic forces created by the friction with the stratosphere. (The real one, not the pointy one in Vegas known as the Strat.)

"Flushiepants, Flusherville..."

(static)

"Flushiepants, Flusherville... come in."

(more static)

"Flushiepants, Flusherville... can you hear me Flushiepants..."

(crackling and brow furrowing)

And finally...

"Flusherville, Commander Flusher here, I hear you 5-5 and I've got three good chutes filling the blue sky above me, the most beautiful sight I've seen since I hit six out of six on keno," I replied.


But let's rewind the T-clock thingy a bit, and I'll recap my remarkable journey home from Pearson International Space Station.

As mentioned, I'd found an Air FU Canada agent, and dealt with the fact that I wouldn't be on the last flight to Flusherville, all business, just the facts - just after I asked if she knew my cousin from Regina.

I made my way to Union Station and partook of the Via business class lounge, which was surprisingly empty for an early evening train leaving Toronto.

After stashing as many apples and cans of Clamato as would fit in my carry-on backpack, I made my way down to the departures level and joined the long line of trainees waiting to board.

(See what I did there?)

One of the staff made their way along the snaking line of stinking rail-bound humanity, checking tickets, and making sure shoes were tied and the like.

When she scanned my ticket, one of her expressive eyebrows lifted. This was because she had tilted her head sideways, but no matter.

"Command Flusher! There you are - come with me please," and with that, she turned on her heel and walked away. The way she accomplished this was to lift her right leg high in the air, and lift the toes on her left foot, leaving the heel as a fulcrum. A series of flapping movements with her rather heavy-set arms, accompanied by grunts and wheezes, caused enough inertia for her to spin bit by bit on her heel.

It was... dare I say - majestic.

She took me past all the other people in line to the foot of some stairs that lead up to the tracks. I was handed off from staff member to staff member, one at the top of the stairs, and another one at each of the seven rail cars, before I got to the very first car. This one was the one I was to board.

I did so, stashed my suitcase, and searched for my seat, carefully comparing my ticket information to the somewhat complex seat numbering system used aboard such rolling stock.

"Am I 13A, B, or C..." I muttered to myself. "A, I think - and there it is."

And I settled in, happy to be on the final leg of my long, long journey.



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