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“Good afternoon,” says the pilot warmly.

“And also to you,” mumble the passengers.

Piet yawns, not just because her ears are popping. The same thing every week: New York to D.C., their little pilgrimage. She wiggles her toes in the paper slippers they gave her at the checkpoint and wonders what kind of ascetic really feels driven to the cockpit these days. Could she do it? Maybe for one of the hippie airlines–she hears Southwest lets them marry now.

“This is your captain speaking,” hums the intercom.

Piet mimics the stewardess’s sign of the air mask. “Amen,” the passengers say.