"Not unnaturally, a spate of skyjacking stories has been submitted to EQMM recently. Here is the Josh Pachter version of the problem..."

At the time I wrote this story, I was a senior at the University of Michigan and student teaching at Ann Arbor's Community High School. Since my supervising teacher, Michael Harrah, didn't actually teach any classes — instead, he ran the school's drama program and a children's-theater group called Junior Light Opera — "student teaching" wound up meaning that I got to supervise a production of The Wizard of Oz and then select and direct a play myself. I picked Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap. The role of Detective-Sargent Trotter was played by Andy Brown, whose father was an airline pilot, and I had Andy check all of the story's aviation details with his dad.

The Oz cast included Debbie Midgley as Dorothy and Dale Weston as the Cowardly Lion. In the story, the name the narrator selects at random from the Manhattan telephone directory is supposed to be Midgely (although someone, for some reason, changed the spelling to "Midgelay"), the younger stewardess — they were called stewardesses back then — is Debbie, and the airline executive in the final scene is Weston.

After I graduated from Michigan, I lost touch with the Mousetrap cast (except for Lorel Janiszewski, who played the female lead, Molly Ralston, and who I wound up living with for a year, first in Nevada and then back in Michigan). In March of 2003, though — 30 years after the play's January 1973 run — I got an out-of-the-blue email from Andy Brown, who'd suddenly, for no particular reason, thought of my name, Googled me on the Internet, and found this website. It turns out he's a pilot himself, just like his dad, flying out of Minneapolis. And — wouldn't you know it? —less than a week later I had reservations to fly to Sacramento with Becca for spring break, and I had an hour-long layover in Minneapolis! (Becca flew separately and met me in CA, so it was just "I" who had the layover, not "we.") In these post-9/11 times, only ticketed passengers can get through the tightened security . . . and, of course, airline personnel. So Andy was able to meet me at my arrival gate, and we had a lovely reunion. That's us over there on the left.

A few years later, I was newly married to Laurie and living in Waterloo, Iowa, and Andy flew down in the private plane he had access to and took me up for a lovely half-hour flight above the Iowa landscape.

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