Danielle Bright – 

Danielle had just picked up a new copy of ‘They Called Me Mad’ (‘The Journal of Extreme Science) while at The Second Annual Marvinette Peng Karma Fest outside of Chicago. 

Postel Amok, the award winning husband of her best friend, Maggie, was featured on the cover. She believed that seeing his picture was ‘a sign.’ Danielle was always tuned into ‘signs.’

Danielle’s teacher, Doctor Irving Weiss had an article in the issue about his own father’s meeting with a client in 1939. The elder, Dr. Melvin Weiss had interviewed a man who called himself Paul Deen. Mr. Deen insisted that he had important and ‘personal’ information about Amelia Earhart’s last flight.

Mr. Deen had been suffering from amnesia for two years and advertised himself as ‘a journeyman chef’ who operated along the Atlantic coast. Though he was often on the move, his life was stable and quiet.

Doctor Melvin Weiss’ Interview 1939:

Dr. Weiss: “You say that you were on an airplane two years ago, in 1937 when it went down. What were you doing when the plane went down?”

Mr. Deen: “Making crepes… for breakfast.”

“You’re a cook? You wrote here that you were a co-pilot.”

“Oh, yes! I’m still a cook these days. I make the best crepes you’ll ever eat. Come down to my breakfast joint, Deenie’s. I’ll have to re-name it Fred’s, now.”

Dr. Weiss: “Why is that? Are you selling your diner?”

“No, sir. I remembered my given name just this week! I’m so excited! Finally! I remembered that my name is Fred Noonan and I was Amelia Earhart’s co-pilot when her plane went down.”

“What?! Mr. Noonan. Are you telling me that you’re the young man who went missing with Amelia Earhart?”

“I’m not missing any more, am I ? Yes. I leapt out of the Lockheed Electra with a parachute expecting to drown in the Pacific, but later learned that somehow our plane had ended up over the Atlantic. Amelia stayed on board, refusing to abandon the Electra, her plane.”

“Your plane didn’t get lost over the Pacific? We ARE talking about Amelia Earhart? I just want to make sure. Geez.”

“Wow, Doc. Yeah, boyyyy did we ever get lost! Our craft was surrounded by what looked like a black cyclone. We completely lost our bearings. When we were heading almost straight down, the storm’s funnel opened over a tiny island, I panicked and jumped for my life. I thought she was behind me but she must have changed her mind. She must have crawled back to the controls. I believe that she may still be alive because I saw her land the plane land while I was in the water banging a shark over the head with my favorite iron pan which I refused to let go of. A few days ago I began to remember everything! My own personal doctor told me to seek you out, specifically. I should have guessed that Amelia would never let a plane crash. She could land anything!”

“So. You think that she survived? Where were you two headed, again?”

“We were supposed to be flying over New Guinea but somehow  we eneded up flying over the Bermudas. Amelia is NOT laying like a collapsed souffle on some a tiny atoll in the Pacific!” Amelia, most likely, performed a perfect landing. Speaking of the Bermudas, how do you like my Bermuda shorts?”

“They’re hideous.”

“Ha!”

“Are you color blind, Mr. Noonan?”

“I guess they are bright.”

“I said hideous.”

“They are so hideous that when I put them on this morning, they shocked me into remembering who I really was!”

“So, you believe that Amelia Earhardt is alive as well…Wow.” 

Mr. Noonan walked over to the doctor Weiss’s desk and spun the globe. “Amelia landed here, sir. That is where I was trying to avoid becoming lunch! I fought off sharks all night until a ship, came by at sunrise and picked me up!”

  “Amazing. What was the ship that saved you?”

“An old trawler, The SS Peachfuzz.” (Doctor Weiss would look it up.)

“Do you miss Amelia?”

“Of course I do. I was married when we went on that last trip together, but I confess that was falling in love with her. However, I do not miss how she would make me polish the plane every day. She was really retentive, if you know what I mean. A perfectionist.”

“Mr. Noonan. Sit back and relax…”

The hypnosis session:

“Imagine your going deeper,” said Dr. Weiss. “Your like a pebble dropping into a body of water. Watch the pebbles drop and the ripples. Keep watching. You’re going deeper, into the depths of your subconscious 10…9. Each drop of water is taking you deeper, down …8…7…deeper and deeper and…”

“I’m falling.”

“Dropping.Ahem… Tell me if you want to stop, Paul.”

“No! I’ll always be dropping. I have to go into the water.”
“6…5 deeper….into your subconscious… accessing your memories…”

“ I have to find Amelia. She’s still alive,” said Paul/Fred to himself, softly. “I know it.” 

“Tell me about her.” The doctor’s eyes were monitoring the man’s reactions. He could bring him out of the hypnotic state if he appeared to be too anxious or suffering in any way. “What happened to her? Is she lost? Where are you falling into the water?”

“She was never lost,” said Fred, in his hypnotic state. “We’re flying. Approaching Howe Island, in the Pacific. The weather is getting rough.”

“Tell me what you see. Can you tell me?” Fred Noonan was grabbing on to the chair arm as if he were trying to hold on for his life. The doctor’s cluttered office seemed to be shaking. Stacks of papers were falling to the floor. Weiss found himself swept up in the adventure. “Are you landing, he asked”?

“There is a storm and Amelia decided that she wants to put the plane down on Howland Island. How come we are not landing?”

“Are you in the plane right now? Tell me what Howland Island looks like. Again, who are you?”

“I am Fred Noonan., born 1897 – and presumed ‘really, really, really hard to find’ in 1937.”

“I know. Tell me something new.” He cannot be Fred Noonan, thought Dr. Weiss. Though he did resemble the old pictures of the co-pilot in the encyclopedia open on the doctor’s desk.

“Amelia was petting Mr. Mittens who was on her lap. Trying to calm him.”

Dr. Weiss, jotted down the name ‘Mr. Mittens.” 

Fred resumed his tale. “She is smiling and laughing. She is not worried. Such a brave woman. I can see her smile, always.”

“Why is she so happy? Tell me about the storm.”

Fred flashed a big wide smile. To Dr. Weiss the old fellow  suddenly looked like the happiest man in the world.

“You look happy too.”

Fred continued, “During our New Guinea stop, I surprised Amelia with a ring I’d made. I slipped a 24 Karat gold exhaust manifold nut, that I’d gold plated myself, over her finger.”

“What is happening outside the plane?”

  “Turbulence! The compass has gone wild, and we are spinning in the dark. The plane is being tossed like tissue paper.” Fred relaxed. “We must be in the eye of the storm, I’m checking the navigation instruments. Wow! It looked as though Amelia had somehow dragged our Electra half way around the planet. We’re at 25.0000° N, 71.0000° W, over the Bermudas in the Atlantic. This can’t be right!”

Fred was going deep again. “What is that? A storm out of nowhere. A black cloud is engulfing our craft and the door has been pulled open. Amelia is wrestling with the controls, yelling at me to grab and hold onto Mr. Mittens. I look out the window and our plane seems to be sandwiched between storm clouds. The door is being ripped off. Mr. Mittens is frozen in time and so vulnerable.”

“Okay. I need to know. Where did Mr. Mittens come from?”

“Mr. Mittens was a grey kitten with white paws who had hitched a ride with us from New Guinea. He’s going to be sucked out of the plane! I can’t hold the door closed and the cat, who is panicking, is turning my arm into bloody confetti, scratching my arm, as the plane is plummeting thousands of feet toward the water. Did Mr. Mittens fly out of the hatch? I don’t see him. I’m holding onto the door handle. I can’t close it. I’m falling …tumbling, hundreds of feet. But now, the sun is out and it’s warm. I hit the water, hard.” 

“I was watching the storm from the water and the updraft keeping the plane aloft. I see her the Electra going in for a landing. Go Amelia! Go girl! (pause) She can land a plane anywhere…any time.” 

“Paul,,,I mean Fred, what year is it?”

“1937?” 

“You said that you saw her land? Safely? You are in the water? Are you drowning?”

“ No. My life jacket is keeping me afloat. I’m not drowning. I’m….oh, nuts. My arm is all scratched up and bleeding. Sharks are circling. I’m going to be dinner. No. Wait. It’s still only 10 a.m. That makes me brunch. Ha!”

Note to self: My patient is also completely nuts. I must refer him to Dr. Freud’s nephew, Elmer. 

Fred seemed delirious. “The sharks have banged into an invisible barrier it seems. They’re swimming away. Looking back at me, mad. I also feel that Amelia has landed safely, and everything will be okay. I’m waving bye bye, darling. I promised I’d see her again.”

Weiss asked him, again, “What is your full name?” 

“Fred Noonan. Why do you keep asking me that? I’m a navigator from Illinois. I was … All I know is….”  Paul spun the doctor’s desk globe while his eyes were closed and put his finger onto the Bermudas. “Amelia landed here, probably less than a mile from where I went into the water.”

“If she could have flown out of there, she would have. I think that she may be a prisoner or somehow stuck. I hope the cat is okay.” Fred Noonan suddenly sang, “Nah nah nah nah nahhhhh. I don’t have to polish the plane no more… but, I sure miss Amelia’s smile.”

(Amelia would never have to have the plane polished again. because nothing aged on the ‘very, very, very hard to find’ Isla de los Pérdidos.)

_________

After Danielle had finished reading Dr. Weiss’s story, the wheels in her mind began to turn. Still alive, but ‘no longer with this world.’  But not a past life, either. These missing people might be “somewhere else” — no longer of this ‘plane.’ Airplane? Or plane of existence? Danielle could not stop thinking,“De Plane! De Plane!” 

A few days ago, Danielle had also read an article about the missing Teamster Leader Jimmy Hoffa. One of his so-called friends, Louie ‘The Warehouse’ Commaniche, a gangster whose body was later sighted a record of forty-seven times in New York’s East River, (so many times, in fact, that the Governor of New York had designated Louie as New York’s State Fish). Louie who had stood six-foot ten inches and weighed four-hundred pounds had been a Hoffa ‘associate.’ He’d told a reporter that Mr. Hoffa had been holding a cat named Bootsy-poo when he disappeared beneath a black shadow, while the two spoke in a restaurant parking lot, never to be seen again. 

Danielle looked up the name D.B Cooper. The hijacker D.B. Cooper disappeared after taking a $250,000 ransom in a briefcase that also held a kitten inside, when he jumped from an airliner, also never to be seen again.

Danielle was suddenly intrigued about the cats and their possible connection to famous missing people. She’d been planning to visit Miami to film new segments of her cable show “Key to the Stars.” She called up Maggie Amok and make plans to visit her on the family’s private island, and then, maybe pay a visit to the mysterious Bermudas for a documentary about missing souls — and perhaps a little vacation.

_________

Hoffa. Wouldn’t it be funny if the big tough guy was petting a cat when he disap….Ha! No. The public could never ‘buy’ such nonsense. Neither could she, even if she was a renown regression therapist who, in her heart, truly believed that anything was possible.  

______________________

Late at night, after his session with Dr. Melvin Weiss, while Fred Noonan prepared for bed, he heard a scratch at the door. When he opened his door, a kitten, who looked identical to the cat from New Guinea stood at the door. Indeed, Mr. Mitten’s had returned to adopt the unsuspecting human, and complete the human’s ‘aborted’ abduction during, yet another nasty super cell storm that would appear the following week.

By Friday, Mr. Noonan, settled in on the island of Perdido would feel young and chipper.

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