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April 26, 2011 / whirlingneedles

The Stowaway


Agent K wormed her way down the narrow aisle of the plane, trying not to whack the first class passengers with her carry-on knitting bag. She briefly contemplated “accidently” whacking the smug hipster sitting in the last row of first class, but her better nature prevailed. She passed through the curtain into cattle class and found her seat next to the window right over the wing. She settled into the narrow seat as best she could, and took out her knitting.

She had only made a few rows of progress on her socks when a large gentleman wiggled himself into the aisle seat next to her, crushing her hopes that that seat would be empty as he crushed her elbow. She scooted closer to the window, hugging her body along the curvature of the fuselage.

“Hey, do they let you take knitting needles on planes?” asked the large gentleman, looking worried.

“Yes, it’s in the TSA rules that knitting needles are allowed,” Agent K responded calmly.

“But you could poke someone!” protested the gentleman.

Agent K contemplated the amount of force required to poke a knitting needle into a certain someone’s jugular. Agency scientists had determined that statistic back in the early days, hoping to arm the Agents with weapons that they already carried. Unfortunately, the force required was way beyond what a normal human could produce, so Agent K reluctantly rejected the idea.

“It would take enormous force to poke someone hard enough to cause damage, and your pen is probably just as dangerous, and …” Agent K began to explain.

“Whatever. I don’t know how you can waste your time knitting,” sneered the man, as he sat like bump on a log, doing nothing.

Agent K sighed and turned her attention back to her knitting. It was going to be a long flight.

The first hour of the flight was uneventful. Agent K worked around and around on her socks, watching with satisfaction as she made tangible progress. (The man next to her snored loudly and slumped over the shared armrest.)

Suddenly, a loud thump shook the cabin. Agent K cursed as she discovered the thump had caused her to drop a stitch. After successfully picking it back up, she looked up and noticed the other people in the cabin were acting strangely, pointing and craning their necks to see better towards the curtain separating the cattle class and the first class compartments.

Agent K gasped as she realized what everyone else was looking at. In the aisle stood a large chartreuse alien, its eyestalk waving around frantically, and its tentacles gesturing wildly. As Agent K stared at it in astonishment, there was another thump and the alien disappeared into thin air.

The rest of the cabin erupted into crazed chatter as the passengers argued about whether it had been real or merely a mass hallucination. Agent K knew better – it had been an alien teleportation. Something must have gone wrong, though. Most aliens would not have wanted to be exposed to the passengers like that. Agent K sniffed the air delicately – a definite whiff of wet dog still remained in the cabin. Short-range teleport, then. (Longer range teleports left behind eau de stinky cheese. France was a major teleportation hub for the aliens.) The alien must still be aboard the plane, perhaps in the cargo bay.

Agent K tucked her knitting back into her bag and stuffed it into the seatback pouch.

“Ahem, excuse me,” Agent K said to the snoring, drooling man blocking her exit. No response.

“EXCUSE ME,” she said louder. Still nothing.

Agent K fished in her notions bag and pulled out a crochet hook, which she used to poke the sleeping man in the ribs. He snorted and jumped in a satisfying manner. Agent K indicated she needed to get past him, so he got up to let her pass.

“See – poking!” accused the man.

“Crochet hook – definitely not used for kni … oh, never mind,” Agent K grumbled as she slipped past him and headed to the lavatory.

She nodded at the flight attendant, and entered the lavatory, waiting until she heard the flight attendant move away up the aisle. Seeing her chance, she slipped out of the lavatory and back into the galley area. She slid back a panel, revealing a super-secret ladder down into the cargo area. She slithered down the ladder and landed with a bump in the cargo bay.

Agent K sneaked along the edge of a pile of baggage, but stopped abruptly when she saw a flash of chartreuse. Moving cautiously, she dropped to all fours and crawled to the corner of the pile, peeping around the edge.

The alien sat atop several suitcases that had been stacked together. Agent K felt a pang of revulsion when she saw the oozing slime that coated the top suitcase. The poor traveler who got that back was not going to be happy!

The alien seemed to be grumbling to himself, but not in any coherent way. He was fiddling with a black wristwatch-like object, twirling knobs and pressing buttons. Agent K recognized an alien teleportation device. She rolled her eyes. The alien was lucky he had teleported himself into the airplane cabin. If he had teleported the same distance in the other direction, he would have fallen 30,000 feet to his death. Either the unit was malfunctioning, or he had no idea how to work it.

Agent K reached into her pocket and pulled out a coil of wool yarn that she kept there for just such emergencies. Carefully, she unspooled it, tying one end to a random bit of aircraft structure. She quickly and quietly began to crochet a web between the first bit of structure and another bit of random structure, effectively covering the entire opening. She finished quickly and slipped her crochet hook into the special slot in her boot.

“OI!” she said loudly to the alien.

Startled, he looked up from his fiddling. His faced flushed to a dark forest green as he realized that he was trapped behind a woolen web. He started up, dropping the teleportation device, and charged at Agent K.

“Now, now,” said Agent K. “This web is 100% cobweb weight wool. I know that you don’t want to get THAT on you, now, do you?”

The alien snarled in response, but halted his progress.

Agent K pulled out her latest toy, a gift of the Agency geeks. It was a yarn gun, with a specially designed chamber that could be loaded with bits of yarn and tufts of wool. Fire one of these at an alien, and it would stop it in its tracks. The only drawback was that moderate winds tended to blow the wool off course. Agency geeks were working on possible solutions, but none had worked so far.

In the close confines of the airplane cargo bay, however, it would be very effective, and the alien knew it.

“Hand over the teleporter,” demanded Agent K.

“No,” answered the alien.

Agent K took a step closer, pushing the tip of the yarn gun through the web. “Hand it over.”

“No,” replied the alien.

Agent K gave the alien the stink eye, and gave him one last chance. “Hand it over!”

“Okay,” sighed the alien. “If you insist.” The alien slid the teleporter along the floor and under the web. “Are you going to let me out now?”

“Nope. The Agency will be waiting to pick you up at the terminal,” replied Agent K. “No more plane travel for you! Speaking of which, why didn’t you just do a long-range teleport?”

“I hate the smell of stinky cheese and the French,” said the alien gloomily. “I’d much rather deal with the TSA, even if they do feel me up.”

Agent K nodded in sympathy. “Well, I’m going to go send a message to the Agency to meet the flight, then I’m going back to my seat. I have some socks to finish!”

Agent K double-checked to make sure the web was secure, then climbed back up to the cabin. She used the flight attendant’s station to send a message to the pilots, who agreed to relay it to the Agency. She returned to her seat to find that the row behind her original seat was empty. She slid gratefully into the open seating after retrieving her knitting and passed the rest of the flight in relative comfort, binding off just before landing.

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Henya / Apr 28 2011 5:25 pm

    I love it! Funny, smart, and very knitterly. Hope to read much more.

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