The Twilight Zone – An Unaired Episode in Black & White Somewhere High Above

18 June 2021

By Edgar

Category:

Dominique Locas

Meet Dominique, a translator who comes back home late at night after a somewhat rough day at the office, dreaming awake of a life that might have been...

He finds himself in front of his laptop, watching some black and white film noir and dozes off. Nothing much out of the ordinary, but on this particular evening, his dreams of what might have been will carry him away somewhere in uncharted heavens, amid clouds in a place that can only be found in the Twilight Zone.

*

“Sir? Sir? I think you’ve been dozing off... Do you mind if I sit here beside you?”

These words were spoken by a lovely young lady wearing a sober pine-green dress, an equally sober pearl necklace and white day gloves.

I had indeed fallen asleep. I was sitting aboard a Vickers Viscount among the 44 passengers on Capital Airlines Flight 67 bound from New York to Chicago on this 6th of April. It had been diverted to Freeland, Michigan, due to a severe snowstorm.

The four-engine turboprop airliner was now flying at some 20,000 feet through the murky evening skies.

“Sir... I noticed that the seat beside you was free, and I thought... Well, the man I was seated next to was... and... Would you be kind enough to pretend that we know each other if he starts bugging me over here?”

“Uhh... Hhhmmm... Yes...”

“Well... Thank you!”

“D... Don’t mention it, Ma’am! By... By the way, I, I am Dominique. If I may, what is your name miss?”

“I’m Rosalind! Dominique... That sounds very French,” she said smiling, “Hence your funny accent!”

She was looking at me with her sparkly brown eyes; her deep brown eyes! These gems of nightly heaven paired beautifully with her jet-black hair. Gee! I grew more nervous with each passing second!

“Rosalind, v... very nice to meet you! ...I …I am from Quebec City. I moved to Philadelphia in ’55, at 23, where I spent the last three years teaching French at a college. Now I’m headed to Grand Rapids to start my dream job!”

“Grand Rapids?! But I live there! I’m on my way back from spending Easter with my parents in New Jersey... You said your dream job... What would that be?”

“I’m going to teach high school Latin! I’ve been dreaming of this since I was 12!”

“Latin? You must have studied quite a lot!”

“Oh, it’s only a matter of reading, reading and then reading some more. I’ve been reading quite a lot since I was a child. But I’ve also done many other things; honourable things I mean, like I served in our Royal Canadian Air Force fresh out of college.”

“But why live in the United States? Don’t you miss your folks back home?”

“Yes... perhaps a bit. But you see, miss...”

“You can call me Rosalind!” She said, smiling at me with a playful twinkle in her eyes.

“Oh, all right... Then you see, Rosalind, where I am from, if you want to teach Latin, you have to be ordained like a pry-est...”

She burst out laughing and couldn’t stop for a good half-minute.

Eventually she got herself back together... “Ooh... You’re such a funny young man! You see, we don’t pronounce it pry-est... it’s priest, all in one go...” She kept chuckling.

“Oh, I see! Yes, I know... So, you see, Rosalind, I may love Latin, but I sure don’t intend to become ordained like a pry... priest... I plan on getting married someday to a woman I meet when I least expect it!”

“Hmmmm... This is getting interesting! ... To a woman you meet on a plane, perhaps?”

“I... I didn’t mean to imply that, miss, uh, Rosalind... I was simply referring to one occasion, back in Philly, two years ago, when I saw The Fastest Gun Alive... Remember, the movie starring Glenn Ford and Broderick Crawford?”

“Yeah... Crawford’s always great with his grumpy voice!”

“Early in the movie, there’s this blind man who tells Crawford’s character that one day, he’ll meet a faster gun... when he least expects it. When I heard that line, I decided to quit worrying and told myself that the right girl will sweep me off my feet when I’m not counting on it, like some Queen of Fate!”

“Now tell me, Dominique, as you were dozing off, were you dreaming of this... Queen of Fate? Don’t you men all dream of some beautiful princess when you’re asleep? What was she like? What were you doing?” She whispered the last sentence in a tongue-in-cheek tone, her eyes both childish and impish.

“I’m afraid to disappoint you, Rosalind, but I simply dreamed I was back in Quebec City... Except all the cars looked strange and ugly. And the people were dressed with such bad taste! Even the hobos looking for a hand-out in Philly look nicer! It was some time early in the next century. I went home and watched some film noir on a bizarre thing I had right in front of me. I was by myself. Then I woke up sitting beside you. Everything’s fine now!”

“But then, she said putting her white-gloved hand on my jacket sleeve, there must have been some cute lady in this film noir! See! There’s always some romance in a man’s dream! Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! ...Oh, I’m getting silly! This flight’s beginning to get to me...”

“Perhaps you want something to drink? I myself will have a 7 Up. Would you like one?”

“Yes... But perhaps, you know... Just in case that awful man comes to bother me, I was wondering if you’d like to share one with me, you know, drinking from the same glass as if we were... together on a date!”

“I... I think I see what you mean! Then yes, I’ll ask for one right away. STEWARDESS, PLEASE! ...”

...

“Mmmm... The first couple of sips are always the most satisfying!”

As we slowly drank from our straws, we locked gazes. It was both exhilarating and strange to find ourselves so close together, minutes after meeting as complete strangers.

And she was bound for the same town I was moving to! Gee, what a lucky break!

She was a most attractive brunette, petite with noble, ladylike features. She had a very straight nose, and her dreamy eyes were gems of Turkish night!

I began to sing low to the tune of Clementine...

Oh my darling, Oh my darling!
She was light, oh, like a fairy,
And her shoes were number nine!

“I actually wear number five!” She said with half-smile, half-laughter between two sips.

I instinctively began to look down at her cherry-red-lipsticked mouth as she drank from the white bendy straw, then I started to slip further south, but I immediately slapped myself mentally for being so ungentlemanly, and my eyes were back up with hers.

Her cheeks blushed a little and she kept half smiling while sipping from the now-almost-empty glass.

“Now, Dominique… Tell me more about your dreams! Do you dream about blondes or brunettes?” She had such a funny, yet most fascinating way of pronouncing my name, an effect not lessened by the playfulness in her voice and the thrill of feeling her hand resting on my forearm. How could I not love a woman who pronounced my name with such... élan!

“Rosalind! You’re quite a gal! Well, the women we men dream of are different according to what we eat just before going to sleep!”

“Really? How?”

 “Do you remember the movie White Christmas, with all the dancing in it?”

“Oh yes! With Bing Crosby...”

“...And Rosemary Clooney! Well, in one scene, Bing Crosby is telling her about New England’s smorgasbord and how different kinds of food give dreams about different girls! I remember that he said if you eat a turkey sandwich, then you’ll dream about a cool brunette!”

“So... You like turkey sandwiches before bed?” She said this while stroking her shiny black hair as she kept smiling at me in her playful way.

“Well... You… you, you got me cornered here! ...Let’s just say that I ate so many turkey sandwiches as a kid that I am set for a lifetime of the most romantic and wonderful dreams!”

“So, mister, your Queen of Fate is a Queen of Spades.”

“...The card I’d gaze at when I was a lad; I’m to meet her when I least expect it.”

“Like... When travelling by yourself on a plane to Grand Rapids… Then, why not...”

She whispered these last sentences while her face and mine inched closer and closer as we spoke. She was fondling my narrow necktie. Then her lips met mine like a once-in-a-lifetime dream. I kissed her with passion while tenderly stroking her hair. I felt her dainty gloved hands caressing me through my shirt and jacket, then her fingers running through my hair.

We kept kissing for quite a while. Yet it ended far too soon.

We looked at each other, soul to soul, both in shock from what had just happened, knowing our lives were changed forever.

“Miss? ...” It was the stewardess speaking.

“Miss... You’ll need to return to your seat! We’re starting the descent to Freeland. The weather is pretty rough, but don’t you worry! Our captain flew through the war.”

“Please, she whispered to me... I DON’T want to go back with that... sort of man!”

“Stewardess,” I said with a sudden inspiration, “You see, to make a long story short, we had been in love some while ago before, and we found each other again on this flight, and we are now going to get engaged in Grand Rapids!” She nodded to the stewardess, positively beaming.

“Oh? Well, then... Then, this won’t be too much of a rules break! Congratulations both of you!”

Several people around us overheard and congratulated us.

My new sweetheart spoke, looking at me in dead earnest, her hand holding mine as if her life depended on that hold...

Dominique... Don’t think I’m that kind of girl! I don’t usually move so fast... But, it’s just that I felt... something I can’t explain... Something... dreadful!” She had tears welling in her eyes. “I felt... like if I was to kiss and love once in my life, then I had to do it right here on this plane! ...I can’t explain why I felt that way!”

“Oh... Sweet Rosalind! I know you’re a fine girl! I am so… happy to be with you!” (I too couldn’t help but cry.) “As far as I’m concerned, that’s all that matters now!”

Then I held her, and we kissed again. We both shed tears and comforted each other.

One minute later, we had buckled our seatbelts as the Vickers Viscount was descending. In the black void beyond the large oval porthole, I could make out lines of snow flurries. The weather was quite foul, and the entire plane was now shaking in gusts of wind.

Ending

We had been descending for several minutes when the plane suddenly nosedived, and terrified screams filled the air.

The last thing I felt was her hand in mine.

Then I woke up. I had dozed off in front of my computer all right! But the page I was looking at wasn’t a film noir at all—it was the “Find-a-Grave” page for one Rosalind L***, born Feb 5, 1938, died Apr 6, 1958, in Freeland, Saginaw County, Michigan, USA, along with all the passengers and crew on board Flight 67.

I left her a flower.

*

Alternate ending

...Then I held her, and we kissed again. We both shed tears and comforted each other. One minute later, we had buckled our seatbelts and we were descending.

As the stewardess passed by, I told her that I am myself was a former Pilot Officer and from the look of this weather, if I were landing this plane, I would land with the kerosene-richer mix of fuel to keep the wings warmer and reduce the risk of icing. I noticed that she was quite nervous.

The plane descended, tossed about in the fierce crosswinds. The landing was fearsome rough, but we all deplaned safe and sound.

Two days later, I had dinner with Rosalind.

I gave her a flower.

*

One ending leads to an untimely death; the other to the passing years that ultimately lead to death. The difference lies in the distance between to leave and to give a flower, a semantic gap the essence of which lies somewhere in the Twilight Zone.

*

In loving memory of all the passengers and crew who lost their lives in Flight 67 on the evening of April 6, 1958, in Freeland, Michigan.