THE ADVENTURES of MICHAEL MITTY
Michael and Miranda were finally seated at a corner table in Olive Garden, perused the menus, the wine list, and placed their orders. The waitstaff were, as always, charming and efficient.
"So, Michael," said Miranda as she speared a black olive out of her salad, "tell me about the other women in your life."
"Oh, I don't think you really want to hear about my mother," Michael replied, munching on a soft breadstick.
"Really. No ex-girlfriends? No summer flings?"
"Well, certainly none I'm comfortable talking about. How about you?"
Miranda took a sip of Chardonnay and said, "Oh, there was one significant guy ... a couple years ago ... but that turned into a train wreck."
"There's going to be a train wreck! The Pacific Flyer is westbound on Track 29 and the Sunrise Limited is eastbound on the same track! GET ME MITTY! NOWWWW!"
Michael ran from his office in the terminal, donning his flight gear as he went. He was in the control room moments later.
"Mitty," cried the chief, "the situation is grave. We've got two trains barreling down the same track for one another and none of the remote controls are responding. The switch to shunt one of these trains off onto a siding track has to be thrown manually. You're the only one who can get there in time. Lives are counting on you, Mitty! Go! Go! Go!"
Michael took another look at the monitor to fix the location in his mind, then raced for the helipad on top of the terminal. Disregarding his preflight checklist, he thumbed the 'copter into a cold start and took off as soon as the rotors had reached speed.
Overtaking the Sunrise Limited, he flew ahead of the massive locomotive, dropping in altitude as he went. He had only seconds to prepare before reaching the siding switch. Thinking quickly, he kept one eye on the terrain, one hand on the throttle, then looked back with his other eye and reached his other hand back for the grappling hook controls. Throwing the safety off, he let the grappling hook free fall until he felt it hit the ground, then angling the helicopter parallel to the track, he dragged the hook until it caught the arm of the siding switch and winched the hook up until the switch opened.
Exactly one point eight seconds later, the Sunrise Limited careened onto the siding track, narrowly missing her fated collision with the Pacific Flyer. Michael wiped the sweat from his brow.
"That was a close one."
Michael blinked. "I beg your pardon?"
"I said," Miranda replied, "that was a close one. That guy and I almost got married!"
"Oh. Oh, I see," said Michael, taking a sip of wine to recover his thoughts.
"Do you do that often?" Miranda asked.
"Go away. You know ... in your mind. It's like you take a little trip away from the conversation."
"Michael," warned Miranda, "don't you play coy with me. I actually find it kind of endearing."
"Thank you for a lovely Valentine's dinner, Michael. You're a sweet man, and a good conversationalist when you stick around, you know, mentally."
"I'm sorry about that, Miranda," Michael apologized.
"Oh, it's fine. I had a really good time." She moved closer. "Thanks again."
And then she kissed him full on the lips.
And then she said goodnight, and closed her door.
And on the way home, Miranda helped Michael save the world.
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