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Operation Money Jump

Thanksgiving, 1971,
a parachute pilgrim approaches Northwest Flight 305
as Dan Cooper, anonymous businessman,  anarchist airborne, 
black suit, black sunglasses, a black tie
and a black briefcase broaching black motives,
Portland to Seattle, prison or criminal pantheon, 
before he can be inducted into purgatory, or the Valhalla of antiheros
the unknown villain of a quiet cause
got buckled into the last row of the 727
stealth as painless sin
cold bluish clouds smearing the November sky during ascent
as though flying through the palette of a sad Cezanne
while low volume, buttery jazz tinkered on the plane's airwaves,
as the Stewardess handed him his bourbon soda
Mr. Cooper placed a neat note in her hand with polite moxie,
she took it with salted style, uninterested in a comeon,
moments later, struting to the rear with applepie aplomb
the quaint stranger, sunglasses removed, needed her to heel,
to him she came, ready to reject his appeal,
however, there would be no ripe rejection on this special day,
her eyes of professional pity were met with his slow burning stare
as he informed her with untroubled insistence
that he had a bomb, and that she needed to read the note
without visible alarm,
reading the demands made her feel excited
she instantly felt sweat in so many places,
she knew she'd give no resistance, 
she wanted to cooperate,  for everyone's safety, 
briefly speaking with another Stewardess
she entered the dark cockpit,  danger in her hands,
there was going to be no argument
the stipulations were going to be satisfied
in exchange for safe landing and undamaged life,
returning to this man she'd never understand
who had the power to spontaneously change lives, she sat by him,
the plush red seats made her feel so warm
while sitting next to his insanely calm authority, 
it seemed as though he owned them all
the passengers, the crew, and aircraft,
the skyjacker opened his briefcase as if it's contents were sacred
showing her the parts of his lunatic design
then quickly, carefully, closing the shock box,
his eyes went back to the window
the view giving him vignettes of what he knew as Vietnam, 
the mountains and divided greens, the mischievous mists,
she asked him, "Do you have a grudge against Northwest?",
to which Mr. Cooper replied with wry correction, 
"I don't have a grudge against your airline Miss,
I just have a grudge. "
Upon landing in Seattle at 5:PM
the innocent and uninformed travelers exited the plane
onto the slick tarmac, untarnished and untraumatized,
oblivious to the epic history that was being fuelled in part
from their supporting roles on this Thanksgiving flight,
the F.B.I. and airline owners were playing nice
like cats whom wanted the amusement and the ambush,
Cooper was given four, nonmilitary parachutes as requested, 
and $200,000 in twenty dollar bills
unmarked, random serial numbers, also as requested, 
although, to help make sure that the "House" would win
all the money came from the Reserve Bank of San Francisco
with every bill number begining with "L" , and issued in 1969,
a little trick for the devil himself,
less than two hours had elapsed since takeoff from Portland
yet the hijacker was well on his way to meeting his ultimate objective,
each of his goals fitting together with precision
like watch parts keeping time of a fragile freedom,
after receiving the 21 pounds of illicit cash
giddy with blushing banditry,
intoxicated by the scent of fresh money harvest
Cooper did a jumpy Irish jig
out of view of snipers and cameramen, 
nightfall was dimming the stage
as the abyance of audacity amplified everyone's anxiety
including Cooper, who for the first time
exhibited a snakey irritation
during the ponderous refuelling of the jet,
he could taste the escape,
only he and the flight crew remained aboard,
at 7:36 PM the plane was lifting into a lawless legend
and the law was left clueless on the land,
heading to Reno so to refuel for Mexico
taking the final puff of his last cigarette
like a fugitive at peace with fate
he told the Stewardess that she was sweet
and that it was time for her to go,
to go up front to the pilots and close the door,
a thousand fantasies flew through her mind,
she felt attached to him
as though he were a nightmare that she needed,
turning around to see him again
to see that face which witnessed her heart change
while securing the parachute to himself
his eyes spoke to her's with excited fear,
and then waved her goodbye as she closed the door,
shortly afterwards he instructed the pilots
through the intercom to maintain at 10, 000 feet,
release the cabin pressure,
adjust the wing flaps to 15 degrees
and to fly no faster than 200 MPH,
he left the black tie with Mother of Pearl tie pin
on the seat of his former self
and then proceeded to the plane's rear stairway
as a paratrooper prepared to meet perdition, 
the weight of his crime tight against his body,
in the cockpit
where speculation was spinning on their nerves
the pilots saw the red glow of emergency
from the panelboard indicating stairway open,
as D.B. Cooper stood braced to the lowered stairs
freezing wind icing his mouth and eyes
he thought about how his Uncle
15 years earlier inspired his curiosity for skydiving
and how the U.S. Military should be proud of his proficiency, 
he recognized the Lewis River through a cloud break
and then hurled himself like a hawk
into the dropzone of America's elite outlaws -

J.A.B.

This poem is based on the true story of "D.B. Cooper",
whom has never been caught for the 1971 skyjacking.
He escaped with $200,
000. Other than $5,800 being discovered
along the Columbia River by a family camping in 1980
the F.B.I. has found no more of the money, nor his body,
parachute, clothing, etcetera. 
In 2016 the F.B.I. finally closed the investigation
on "Dan Cooper"...Justin A. Bordner

Copyright © Justin Bordner | Year Posted 2016

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  1. Date: 11/29/2016 5:12:00 AM

    My favorite part - "he left the black tie with Mother of Pearl tie pin on the seat of his former self"..this is beautiful, Justin. Definitely a very entertaining piece to engross in tonight. Always, Laura
  1. Date: 11/29/2016 5:11:00 AM

    "there was going to be no argument the stipulations were going to be satisfied in exchange for safe landing and undamaged life, returning to this man she'd never understand who had the power to spontaneously change lives" Eeesh! Imagine being put into this situation! Such an exhilarating piece, Justin! "she felt attached to him as though he were a nightmare that she needed" Interesting!!! I love the development as it goes along..
  1. Date: 11/24/2016 7:58:00 AM

    There's no polite moxie (is there such an animal) in your depiction, I was enthralled midst the intrigue of it all. Your vivid descriptions are truly commendable, I felt as though I was watching the entire scene play out in flamboyantly chromatic reality. Par excellence! 7+
  1. Date: 11/24/2016 6:46:00 AM

    Excellent poem with intersting info.Happy Thanksgiving Day Justin.

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