The plane was in the air. It was flying. It brought in air from the outside through vents. Some of that air was used in the engines. The engines needed the oxygen from the air to make the fires they needed to keep flying.
The people were in the plane. They were flying. The air the plane brought in that wasn’t for its engines went to the people. They needed the oxygen from the air to make the electrical impulses they needed to keep flying.
Outside the plane was a city. It was linked together through streets and wires and blocks of buildings and people moving through diffusion, combustion, intention. At night, all the connections lit up. You could see it from a plane. It looked like one of those scans of the brain where impulses are shown as light. It looked like a brain with a lot of impulses. Some little lights were self contained and moved in an organized way. Like individual messages running along a nerve.
The people on the plane were packed in tightly. Their legs touched. They looked down. They saw the city. Many of them lived there. They saw houses and schools and offices and stadia. They saw a black river run through the middle. It broke the flow. The river was the reason that, hundreds of years before, the city was built. But rail and roads were more important there now.
The people sat and waited for the plane to land and then stood and waited for the doors to open. Some of the people were meeting other people. Their brains lit up with impulses. Others were only meeting people very much later. Their brains lit up too. The people got into cars or onto trains. A small jolt of electricity triggered combustion. Air was brought in. Explosions produced heat. Cars drove down roads, trains traveled rails.
The plane took off again. It looked like a great new celestial body rising into the sky. Though no one would mistake it for such.
Jake Rawdin is a trail builder. During his off seasons, he writes flash fiction and lives with his girlfriend and an occasional cat on a boat in Philadelphia.