08 September 2005

September 11th, for Perfect Girl

I'm on a roll right now. As the fourth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks approaches, I am thinking of how the events of that day tie into my novel, as one character dies. Upon reading the accounts of what seems to have happened on United 93, based on reports of doomed passengers on board, I put together the following timeline.

Martha, another transgender woman who trained with Sarah, became flight attendants together, and eventually became Sarah's girlfriend, is the tragic victim here.

September 7:
- Martha tries to seduce Sarah into having sex with her. Sarah, a virgin with body image issues, refuses.

September 8:
- Martha leaves for Newark, scheduled to return the morning of the 11th.

September 9:
- Sarah works a flight to Paris.

September 11:
- Martha is assigned to the first class cabin on Flight 93.
- Sarah spends the day in Paris strolling about, buying lingerie to make up for the disappointing night.
- Sarah is paged at 3PM Paris time. Upon returning to the hotel, she sees the horror unfold in New York. What appears to be a United plane (in fact, Flight 175) charges straight into the South Tower and explodes.
- The hijackers of Flight 93 get up and slash two people's throats - a first class passenger, and Martha.
- South Tower collapses.
- Flight 93 crashes at 10:06AM Eastern time.
- As North Tower collapses, rumors of a second United flight crash starts to be heard.
- Sarah is told that her return flight the next day will be grounded, along with all other United flights, for the next few days.
- At 5:17 PM Paris time, United Airlines confirms the crash of Flight 93. Sarah checks the crew manifest - and finds Martha's name on it. She breaks down.
- Sarah lunges at the Middle-Eastern looking hotel guests nearby. Other crewmembers barely restrain her.

A few days later:
- Reports of what happened aboard Flight 93 start to show up on newspapers. They indicate that the hijackers slashed Martha first. Sarah is incensed, and has to get counseling. A mere sight of a Middle Easterner or anyone with a turban sends Sarah lunging. She won't fly again for a month.