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And the last shall be first

by Prospero 

Posted: 13 September 2013
Word Count: 150
Summary: My entry for Sandra's mistake Challenge.

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I am usually first out, as I film the others as they fall. But, on this occasion I am going to film them from above as they manoeuver, so I am going last. There has been a persistent fault in one of our formations that we haven’t been able to nail. Hopefully, this jump will do it.

In order to get a tight group we crowd together in the door as we wait for the ‘go’ signal from the Jump Master. It feels strange not to have others pressed against my back, almost like something is missing.

Damn! There it is. Geoff is late in hooking up with Andy. Well that is easily fixed. We spread across the sky as we prepare to open our parachutes. I reach for the ‘D’ ring and then ‘see’ my ‘chute still lying on the floor of the 'plane five thousand feet above me.

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Comments by other Members

euclid at 14:10 on 13 September 2013  Report this post
Hopefully one, some or all of the others below him will catch him and take him safely to the ground.


dharker at 14:14 on 13 September 2013  Report this post
Change of routine is often to blame... But I would have words with the Jump Master if I got safely to the ground!

Nicely done Prosp!

Manusha at 14:42 on 13 September 2013  Report this post
What a nightmare! I really like the way everything seems normal until the reveal in the very last line.

It feels strange not to have others pressed against my back, almost like something is missing.

Excellent foreshadowing. It doesn't seem to have much significant until the very end and then it has a whole world of meaning.

Andy (not the Andy in the story, I might add. Heights make me queezy!)

Desormais at 14:44 on 13 September 2013  Report this post
Now that's a mistake and a half. I'm with JJ on this, but I've got to say I'm not hopeful... Well done John, thanks for joining in. Good turn out this week, I'm going to have my work cut out.


Prospero at 15:11 on 13 September 2013  Report this post

Unfortunately, as they have spread out and opened their 'chutes there is not going to be anybody close enough.

Incredibly this story is based on an actual incident:

(North Carolina, 1987) Ivan, an experienced parachutist with 800 jumps under his belt, was videotaping a private lesson given by an instructor for a single trainee. He had attached the video camera to his helmet so that it would capture the entire day of instruction, and the supporting power supply and recorder were in a heavy satchel slung on his back.

The group went up in the plane, and the instructor led the enthusiastic beginner through preparations for the jump. Ivan carefully documented the lesson, which needed to be perfect for the sake of posterity,

When they reached the jump site, Ivan jumped from the back of the plane and filmed the student and instructor jumping from the front of the plane. A few moments later, tape still running, Ivan realized that he had been so focused on filming the jump that he had forgotten to strap on his own parachute.

Prospero at 15:18 on 13 September 2013  Report this post
Hi Dave

You've got it! A change of routine is so often behind otherwise inexplicable accidents. When I was in the RAF one of our mantras was 'Don't assume - check!'

Thanks for reading and commenting so kindly.



Prospero at 15:24 on 13 September 2013  Report this post
Hi Andy

Thank you for reading and commenting so generously, I am pleased you picked up on my foreshadow. So often we feel uneasy about something and then ignore that feeling and press on regardless, with in this case fatal results. Another popular joke in the RAF was Terra Firma - the more Firmer, the less Terror. In other words, never leave the ground.



Prospero at 15:27 on 13 September 2013  Report this post
Hi Sandra

Thank you for reading and commenting.

I have been incredibly busy of late with a magazine my wife and I put together for our local branch of the University of the Third Age, so I have had very little time for recreational writing. I am pleased I have finally found the time to write something new, rather than editing other people's work.



Bunbry at 19:23 on 13 September 2013  Report this post
Hi John, this is really fits the 'terrible mistake' theme with knobs on! My only niggle (and I'm not certain others would agree) is this line.

Damn! There it is. Geoff is late in hooking up with Andy.

Up til this point the narrator has been addressing the reader - but this line changes that and we are now knowing his thoughts which threw me a little.


Prospero at 11:49 on 14 September 2013  Report this post
Hi Nick

Thank you for reading and commenting so thoughtfully.

I take your point about the switch of P.O.V., but as finding the fault with Groups formation had been his prime reason for making the jump and as that was in some degree responsible for his failing to notice he hadn't strapped on his parachute. I feel that the focus on a minor mistake points up the irony of the major mistake.\



Dave Morehouse at 13:52 on 18 September 2013  Report this post
I am late so it's possible there have been edits already. I had no problem with this one, John. It's short, fast-paced, and ends with a likely crash. What's not to like? Cheers, Dave.

Prospero at 16:01 on 18 September 2013  Report this post
Cheers Dave.

You may be seeing this one again as I have asked Stacey to produce a picture to go with it.



blob at 11:09 on 21 September 2013  Report this post
Ooops! Nice tale, John. We somehow get the impression that he won't come to a sticky end despite his mistake

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