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I was an Air Traffic Controller at Atlantic Municipal Airport, Iowa for 27 years. My first year at the job,
I unwillingly went from a firm atheist to a believer
My uncle and aunt came to visit me here in Atlanta. We got to talking about all sorts of general
things, you know how family is, but we somehow ended up on the topic of strange/supernatural. This
is when my uncle started telling me his story, a story that he says will haunt him all the way to his
grave. I stopped him two minutes into it and got my laptop because I wanted to write it down for
These are his memories, almost word for word.
Forgive the non-traditional writing.
Are you typing? You are? Ok, ok… And your friends on the internet will read this? Ha, alright, but
warn them that these are just old man’s memories… Ok, so back to the beginning.
So I graduated from Fordham in 1974 and I still had no idea what to do. Times were different then –
we were able to find jobs easily, Jesus, I remember companies practically begging us to work for
them. But I didn’t want to do some shitty desk job for the rest of my life. So I waited. Then one day,
while flying to visit your aunt on Thanksgiving, I caught myself being fascinated with the complexity
of air traffic systems. That’s all it took. I decided to become an air traffic controller. By the time I
turned 27, I had passed all of the necessary tests and have accumulated enough experience to be
hired and work without supervision.
Thing with air traffic controllers is that you don’t really get to choose where you’re gonna work in the
beginning. Sure, we all wanted to work at JFK or Hartsfield-Jackson, but those jobs just weren’t
available to us rookies. So I had to take a job in a bumfuck little town in Iowa called Atlantic. It was
literally a single landing strip in a damn cornfield, but I had to pay my dues. And the money was
Now, small airports like these usually only work 8-5, but this particular strip was in such a
geographical location that there were a lot of flights going above us at any time, so we needed to
stay open until 4am in case of emergency landing. By staying open, I mean I had to sit in the control
tower, and there was one security guy sleeping in the airport’s only terminal.
It wasn’t that bad, really, I’d bring my books and crossword puzzles, and I’d spend hours on the
phone with your aunt. You know how they say that the air traffic controller is the most stressful job in
the world? Well, I was bored 99% of time, and that 1% was guiding small Cesnas into my cornfield
So why am I telling you all of this? Well, about 3 months into my job, something started happening.
Something that even today I can’t really… I’ll save you the talk about the supernatural, but what
happened at that airport just ain’t right.
February 20th, 1979, I remember it like it was yesterday. It was your regular winter night in Iowa –
winds and freezing cold, but no snow. I was spposed to work until close, although we didn’t have any
flights scheduled.
Around 1am, I received radio message from a small Cesna about 30 miles from the airport. They
were having really bad snow storm up in Omaha and needed to land here in Atlantic. I guess being
open late was justified, after all. I got my binoculars out, verified the visibility and started guiding the
aircraft. Though it was really windy out there, they managed to touch down. I looked through the
binoculars to verify the landing went ok, and that’s when I saw her for the first time.
Just walking down the runway as if it were a normal street was this... woman? Shit, I don’t know.
Now, there were about 100 things wrong with this situation. First, the woman was wearing some sort
of short summer dress, or a night gown, and she was barefoot, believe it or not. Normal person
would be cold dressed like that during the summer, let alone our winter. And then, you had to
wonder what in the world was this person doing walking down the active runway, and how the hell
did she get there to begin with?
“Flight 84, this is Alex from Air Traffic Control, do you happen to see a woman walking down the
runway towards you?” I asked the pilot who had just landed.
“Huh, let me check.” The pilot answered.
Still watching through binoculars, I saw him open the door of the plane, then get out. He started
walking towards the woman. Not going to lie, at that point I was having a lot of fun. Not much
happened in Atlantic, Iowa and this certainly was entertaining. I couldn’t wait to hear her story. My
bet was that she got in a car accident near the airport.
Well… The pilot walked up to her and I could make it that he was saying something. I saw (still
through the binoculars) her lean to his ear and almost… whisper something to him. He just stood
there for a good 10 seconds with neither of them moving. She was still leaned close to his ear. Then
he snapped out of it, I guess, turned around, and literally sprinted to the plane. When I saw the
propellers starting to rotate, I jumped on my radio.
“Flight 84, what are you doing?”
No answer.
“Flight 84, I repeat, what is happening?”
Nothing. Then, the plane started moving, speeding up.
“Flight 84, you do NOT have permission to take off, I repeat, you are NOT cleared for takeoff!”
But there was no answer. That damn Cesna kept speeding up and then took off. Nothing I could do
really, besides making sure that no other planes were above us at the time.
I tried one more time.
“Flight 84, this is Air Traffic Control… what the hell is happening?”
And then my radio started making white noise.
“nu…un…n… u…” was all I could hear coming from the radio.
“Flight 84, please repeat, you’re breaking up.”
“What a night,” I thought.
Radio started transmitting again.
“un… UN…RUN. RUN. RUN.”
“Flight 84, did you say “run”? Please repeat yourself.”
But nothing else came from out of that damn radio. The plane was long gone.
I sank into my chair trying to decipher what in the fuck just happened, pardon my French. Run?
From what? What the hell… And then it dawned on me. The woman.
I grabbed the binoculars.
She was looking straight at me. Good 200 yards away, at night, she was somehow looking straight
at me, eyes open so wide, it’s hard to explain what she looked like. I guess, you know how when
someone is super surprised, their eyes widen? Like when you startle someone and their eyes just
get so wide, some sort of defense mechanism, I susppose? That’s how she was looking. Straight at
“What in the world…” I mumbled.
At that moment, she started running towards my tower. Like not jogging, but really running. Still
looking straight at me. I swear to you, goosebumps ran all over me like 10,000 cold ants.
You know I’m not the one to get scared, shit, I spent 6 years in Vietnam. But something about this
situation, something about that pilot telling me to run and this…woman running towards me,
something seemed so wrong.
“Joe, are you there? Joe?” I blurted into the radio. Joe was our night security guard. He didn’t
Shit… I looked through the window just in time to see the woman run into my tower. I heard the door
downstairs slam open.
I honestly didn’t know what to do. This wasn’t a rational situation, you know? If it were some sort of
terrorist, or whatever, I’d know what needs to be done. But this… Was this situation malicious? It
was certainly strange, and that exact weirdness, that not knowing what is happening is what made
me run into the bathroom and lock the doors. As I turned the lock, I heard the control room doors
You know how in your generation’s movies you just hear quiet footsteps of some invader slowly
looking for you? And then the shadow shows up under the door? Well, this was the opposite. As
soon as those doors opened, chaos began. I tried peeking through the keyhole but all I was able to
see is fast shadow running across the room, accompanied by tremendous noise. I swear I was so
shocked that at one point I nearly opened the door just to see what is causing all this.
Then, a hard slam into the bathroom door had me nearly fall on the floor. And then, nothing. Silence.
I could lie and pretend I was brave enough to get out of that bathroom soon after, but I wasn’t, I’ll
admit it. I stayed in there the whole night, waiting for the morning shift.
Around 7:45am I heard a familiar voice say “What in the fuck…?” It was Clark, the morning shift
I opened the door to see a scene so twisted that even to this day I remember every detail. The
control room was nearly totaled. Radios ripped out, papers and manuscripts everywhere, radar
screens smashed to pieces.
When the police came, I gave the full report. It took 11 days to repair all the equipment and get the
room fully functional. The security guard on duty that night was fired. They even started considering
installing security cameras (I know, I know, today that seems like a normal thing to you, but it wasn’t
back in the day). Police had no idea what to make of it, they just urged us to report anything
I used the 11 day break to sort myself out, and by the end of that forced vacation, I was convinced
that all of this was caused by some deranged woman, possibly a mental patient? Whatever made
me sleep at night, right?
I came back to work on March 4th. I was a bit worried about working nights again, but I was
convinced that whoever did this was far gone by now.
The next month or so was very uneventful, just how I liked it.
Iowa was scheduled to get hit with a big snow storm that day. Most of the flights were grounded, but
some were still in the air, and I had to work. I hated it because if we did get hit with heavy snow, I’d
probably end up being stranded.
I wish that was the worst thing that happened.
Around 11pm that night, when it was already snowing big time, I received radio message from a
small private jet that was some 50 miles away. They were getting caught in heavy winds and the
pilots wanted to land on our airport immediately. Now, jets like that would traditionally be too big to
land at our strip, but the emergency like this called for overriding of guidelines.
“Flight 676, you are cleared to land, but we have to remain in contact at all times, this strip’s pretty
short, do you acknowledge?”
“Sure thing, let’s just put this puppy down, shall we” the pilot said.
It was snowing heavily by that point. Thankfully, we had a cleanup crew deice and clean the runway
before they headed home, so it was still in decent condition. Again, back then, we were way more
relaxed about the rules. I took a look at the strip to make sure it was clear.
And out of nowhere, just when I forgot about her, she appeared. She was just slowly strolling down
the strip, about 100 yards away from the tower. Her bare feet slowly moving across the freezing
The worst part about it… She was looking straight at me again. Again with those crazy fucking eyes.
This is when I realized what the most disturbing thing about her was… She wasn’t blinking. I was
looking at her for good 2 minutes, winds and snow blasting in her face, and she wasn’t blinking. It
was almost as if she didn’t want to lose a fucking millisecond of looking straight at me.
“Oh god…”
“Flight 676, maintain, I repeat, maintain the altitude until further communication.”
“Traffic Control, this is 676, that is a negative, we cannot maintain with head winds like this. We have
to land. Are we clear? We are 6 minutes away.”
I couldn’t risk the lives of people up in that plane. I had to land them, despite this… whatever this
was walking down the runway.
“Cleared to land 676.”
I put down the radio and looked through the window. She was now some 10 yards away, coming
closer to the tower.
Though I shouldn’t under any circumstances leave the control room, I ran down to the first floor and
locked the outside door. I knew she was close and I knew she was coming.
When I got back to the room, I heard the radio.
“Control Tower, we are approaching the runway, please advise”
“Rotate 3 degrees right, acknowledge.”
“Copy that, we see the lights now. See you soon!”
I looked up through the window and could see the plane in the distance. There was no trace of the
woman on runway. I sighed a breath of relief. I was going to deal with this issue after the jet had
safely landed.
At that moment, a loud noise broke through the tower. I didn’t want to believe it, but I was afraid that
the first floor door had slammed open. How the hell? I locked it, I know I did. And then, goosebumps
overcame me again, almost as if my body could feel something that I couldn’t.
My first instinct was to lock myself in the bathroom again, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t leave the radio.
Footsteps on the metal stairs were getting louder. She… I assumed it was her, wasn’t running at
least. But the violent sound of footsteps made me think she was, what, slamming her feet into the
ground with every step she made?
“676, this is Traffic Control, I have visual confirmation. Clear to land.”
I heard the control room doors open. This is when I realized just how afraid I was. You know, I’m
almost 70 now and am not embarrassed to admit how scared I was at that moment. Matter of fact, I
was so scared that I couldn’t even turn around, if you can believe that. I just couldn’t face what was
behind me. This was very unusual because I was always composed and rational. Always, whether it
was being stuck in a ditch in Vietnamese jungle or being nearly hit by an 18-wheeler on the highway.
Always calm. And there I was, staring straight at my radio, unable to turn my head and face it.
I’m sure your friends on the internet will laugh at how I reacted, but I guarantee most of you would
behave the same. Your body just doesn’t behave normally when terrified.
“Traffic Control, 30 seconds out, here we go” came from the radio.
I slowly pressed the talk button on the radio, my teeth literally chattering.
“All… all clear” I muttered.
Then I felt a cold breath on my neck.
She was behind me. Breathing slowly into my neck. I could feel the lips move up to my ear. You
know when you were a kid and someone was messing behind your back, making faces or bunny
ears and you could somehow feel it? I could feel the mouth an inch form my ear, though I couldn’t
even see her with the corner of my eye.
I was still nearly paralyzed. I admit, I used to ashamed of my inability to act in this surreal situation.
But now when I look at it, no one can tell me they’d react any differently. It just wasn’t earthly
situation, you know?
“Come down… to field… come down.” The whisper crawled into my ear.
You’d normally think that hearing a voice would somehow defuse the situation, or at least brush
away any thoughts of supernatural, but that voice was so different than anything I’ve ever heard. I’m
not a writer, I can’t explain it. It was cold, inhuman even. But what scared me the most was the
anger I felt in it. Though she whispered, I could feel the rage. And, I don’t even know how to put it
into words, her voice lacked something that every other voice had. I don’t know.
“Touched down! Traffic Control, 676 is on the ground. Hope you have some hot chocolate ready!”
The woman behind me snapped back and I heard what I assumed was running. I forced myself to
turn around just in time to her running out, barefoot.
“676… welcome” I made myself say into the radio. Though my legs were still foreign to the rest of
my body, I propped myself up and looked through the window. I was expecting to see the woman
running out, but she was nowhere to be seen. I thought that she was still in the building.
This time I managed to get the security guy on the radio and he showed up few minutes later. He did
a full walkthrough the tower, but no trace of the woman.
I started feeling relieved only when the police showed up. They thoroughly searched the building
with no success. They did notice the trace of footsteps coming from the neighboring corn field to the
tower, but there were no prints going back.
Imagine my situation at the time, just take a second to think about it. You are the only one to ever
see this woman, I’ll call her a woman. I wouldn’t be surprised if the police started thinking that I was
hitting the bottle during work. I decided to keep it to myself until I could prove there was this person
disrupting (or haunting?) the airport. I couldn’t really quit, and honestly, would you? Probably not. I
mean, yes, these were two absolutely surreal experiences, and I did feel some sort of intangible
hazard, but I didn’t think my life was ever in danger. I decided to stick with it. Winter was almost
over, anyways.
Spring brought more horror than winter ever could..
The city council finally listened to me and decided to install a security camera. Due to municipal
bureaucracy and limited funds, or so they say, they only mounted one camera that could stream
video to the control room. Stream, not record. Let that sink in. Who installs cameras that only
stream? Town of Atlantic does, that’s who. Anyways, I had to pick my battles, so I had them install
the camera in front of the tower door, that way I could always see who’s outside.
A good month has passed since the last encounter, and to be honest, the horror started to dull away.
It was still fresh in my mind, yes, but the lack of new developments had me thinking it all ended as
quickly as it started. In my mind, she was probably some lunatic who decided to move on.
Then, on May 3rd, I received a memo letting me know I needed to stay late that day, since some
local politician’s plane was due to land around 10pm. Naturally, I guess, my mind went straight to
thinking about the crazy girl – you know, this was the first late night for me since the last encounter.
9:45 pm came around and there was no sight of the plane. I didn’t care though, my eyes were glued
to the binoculars, searching for any movement on the strip. Even a minimal commotion, and my
heart would race. Then, Jesus, it still scares me to this day, then, for some reason I decided to look
down at the monitor that camera was streaming on, and my world turned upside down.
I expected her, I really did. You can expect something unnatural, but you’re never really ready for it.
You always hope that it was just your imagination, or something. But no, there she stood, right in
front of the camera, in her summer white dress.
She looked different, though. She was holding her arms as if she were freezing, she was shaking,
and I could hear crying through the shitty speakers they gave me. This wasn’t the entity I
remembered terrorizing me.
Then, she looked up at the camera. And though the picture was grainy and black and white, I could
see tears in her eyes.
“Please, it is freezing out here…” she cried at the camera. Audio was obviously out of sync as she’d
open her mouth and voice would come through my speakers much later. “Please…”
I’m not sure what you’d do in that situation, but I immediately saw an opportunity. If I can bring her in
and call the security guard, I’d finally have the proof that I wasn’t making it all up.
“Jerry, get to the control tower, right now please” I said as I stood up.
I walked down, I know, I shouldn’t have left an active control tower, but this was my chance. I
propped the door open, adrenaline fucking bursting through my pores.
“Are… are you ok?” I mumbled with my voice cracking like schoolgirl’s. Shit, I was scared, man, you
She was still sobbing, hair covering her face. I was shaking, not sure whether from cold or fear, or
both, but I needed to get her to come in. I stepped out.
She took a step towards me, still crying.
“Ma’m, are you alright?” I spoke again, this time more firmly.
She moved the hair off her face and looked me straight in the eyes. God damn, I can’t explain it, but
her eyes, although still filled with tears, just weren’t the same as on camera. They widened, and I
swear to you, she wasn’t blinking.
“Ma’m, please step back” I said as she moved another step closer, now about a foot away from me.
“Ma’m, please step back” she repeated my words, nearly freezing blood on my veins.
My legs gave in and I almost fell to the ground. Her voice… her voice wasn’t the same one that
spoke into the camera. This voice was… genderless, is that a word? Her voice didn’t belong to a
woman or a man, I swear to you. But that wasn’t what petrified me. Fuck, see these goosebumps?
Now you know I’m telling the truth, right?
Her fucking voice came out with delay, just like on the camera. Her lips moved, but the words came
out a few seconds later.
“What the fuck…” I mumbled as I leaned against the door, not believing what I was seeing.
“What the fuck…” she mumbled back at me, that god damn voice coming out after her mouth had
“Leave me alone, get the fuck away from me!” I screamed at her. And I mean screamed, I never
heard myself this loud before. Accumulation of all fear and anger, I suppose.
She took a violent step towards me and her face got so close to mine, I think her nose touched me.
She opened her mouth wide, as if she were screaming, but it was silent. And fucking then, seconds
after she had closed her mouth, scream came out of her throat. It was fucking unearthly and so
piercing that I was completely shell-shocked and unable to so much as move.
I was frozen still in the spot, and she, without moving her face from mine, she raised her right arm
and pointed at the corn field. Her eyes were so wide that they didn’t look human anymore. She just
stood like that for good 30 seconds, or eternity in my time, not blinking. I couldn’t take it any more, I
just couldn’t. I gathered all of bravery I’ve ever had, and I pushed her.
Unlike invincible creatures in today’s books and movies, she fell as any normal human would. She
fell on her back, but as soon as she hit the ground, she got up unnaturally fast. I mean, no human
I’ve ever seen got up with such speed. At that moment, I was certain that this was the end of me. But
as soon as she stood back up, she turned around and ran towards the field. I didn’t want to stop her,
I’m not sure I even could.
I stood there for some time, trying to figure out what reality I lived in, and then finally gathered myself
enough to climb back to the control room. The security guard showed up good 35 minutes later,
giving me some bullshit excuse for taking so long. Politician’s plane landed late as well, and I chose
not to tell anyone about the encounter as I was running the risk of sounding insane at that point.
I didn’t know what to do, but I did know that she wasn’t going to leave me alone.
I spent the next 6 nights at the airport glued to my binoculars, scouting the ground for any
movement. I talked the guard into doing a walkthrough of the strip every couple hours, just on the off
chance that she’d be caught. Naturally, I didn’t tell him what to look for because I didn’t want to
sound crazy when he found nothing.
It was night seven since the encounter, and I was spending my hours staring down the binoculars. I
saw the guard walk around around 8:45pm. He saw me in the tower, so he laughed and waved,
giving me thumbs up. This wasn’t going to work; she wasn’t about to get caught.
When I showed up for the next day shift, everyone was giggling in the break room.
“What’s going on here?” I asked, wanting to join the fun.
“Oh, you know” Jerry, the guard said, bursting in laughter with others.
“Huh, I really don’t, what’s the joke?” I asked again, you know?
“Well, I was just telling the guys about your boring nights” he said chuckling and air quoting the
“What do you mean?”
“Oh come on man, it’s only guys in here, it’s alright” he responded.
“No, I really don’t get what you mean,” I said, getting irritated.
“Well, I did see you guys last night, so I was just telling the boys how good you have it up in the
control room.”
“What do you mean, you guys? Who’d you see?”
“Aw come on now, man, I saw you and your lady friend up there last night when I did the
walkthrough. Remember me waving at you?”
Like reversing a fucking VHS, memories from last night started pouring through my mind. Nothing
happened, though, nothing that I could remember. I was looking at the airfield the whole night, Jerry
even saw me and waved, and nothing was out of the ordinary and…
His wave, his laugh, the thumbs up.
“Yeah, I saw your lady friend standing behind you when I waved, I’m sorry, I didn’t know it was a
I don’t know how my legs worked, but I used them to run out of the break room, escorted by laughter
from my coworkers.
First thought: at least I wasn’t going insane. Someone else saw her, you know? Second thought…
What in the god’s name… She was behind me? For how long and how in the hell didn’t I hear her?
I honestly had no idea what to do at that point. The only hope for my well being was that she’d get
caught by someone other than me, otherwise everything I said to anyone would make me sound
Two weeks had passed by with no further sighting of her. Then, sometimes in early June, and mind
you, I was still scanning the airstrip every night, I saw her at the edge of the field.
She just stood there. I must’ve watched her for 2 hours and she didn’t move a finger. She just stood,
looking straight at me, 100 yards away in the control tower. After the initial shock, and again, every
time I saw her was a shock to me, I did the only logical thing and picked up the radio. I called Jerry
and asked him to do a walkthrough.
As soon as the door of the airport barn opened, she slowly walked back into the cornfield, never
taking her eyes off me. By the time Jerry walked by where she stood, she was long gone.
This happened every night for the next 8 days. She’d stand at the edge of the field, staring at me
and not blinking, and every time Jerry would come out, she’d slowly disappear into the field. One
night I called Jerry up in the control room for a sip of whiskey, hoping she’d come out and I’d show
her to him.
It’s always so convenient in movies, though, isn’t it? The entity whose existence you’re trying to
prove never appears before witnesses, right? Well.
Jerry came up and we shared a nice bottle of Jack Daniels over some small talk. I was discretely
keeping an eye on the corn field.
At the same time she always appeared, I noticed movement in the field.
And there she was. She came out of the field and froze in the same spot she always does.
I had to be careful. I was so excited, man, I was overrun with emotion, she was finally about to get
caught! But I had to contain myself so I could look somewhat sane when telling Jerry what was
“Hey Jerry, do you see what I see?” I asked as I handed him the binoculars. “Down by the cornfield.”
Him staring down the strip were the longest 5 seconds of my life.
“What in the world is that girl doing there?”
Man, the sense of fucking relief I felt.
“Alright, I have something to tell you,” I spoke calmly. It took about 5 minutes to give him a gist of
what was happening. All the stalking, control room destruction, incident on camera…
“Jesus man, why didn’t you tell me something earlier?” he asked, looking worried.
“Would you have believed me if I did?” I asked with hope.
He just shook his head.
“Alright,” Jerry said as he stood up, “you call the police and I am going down there to speak with her.
I’ll hold her until they come.”
I wanted to tell him to be careful, I wanted to even stop him, but more than anything really, I wanted
it all to end. I dialed 911 while I watched Jerry walk down the strip towards this, this thing by the field.
She wasn’t moving, matter of fact, she was still looking straight at me.
It was late and Atlantic is such a small, uneventful town that cops said it’d take good 15 minutes to
come to the airport. I had binoculars pointed at her as Jerry approached.
I saw that he started to talk to her. She was still looking straight into my eyes, all the way from there.
Then, without taking her eyes off me, she leaned towards his ear and whispered something, I don’t
know what, I’m not a lip reader. He took a step back, then another one. He turned around and
looked at me. I’ve never seen such a terrified look on another human. This man was beyond himself,
face so petrified he didn’t even resemble the Jerry I knew.
He ran into the field.
“Jesus…” is all I could say. And she was still looking at me, only she had this, what do you call it,
misbehaving smile on her face.
I had it. That pilot and Jerry both ran away from her after she whispered something to them. And I,
why was I still here? What was happening to me?
I fucking had it.
I ran down the stairs and out of the tower. She was standing in her spot. As I ran to her, I could see
she still had that fucking smile on her pale face.
No more talking. This wasn’t a movie and I wasn’t about to let her run again.
I tackled her. It sounds funny, I know, but I ran into that bitch and I hit her hard. We both hit the
pavement and as soon as I got on top of her, I noticed she still had the smile, even though there was
a big cut on her forehead. She wasn’t talking, she wasn’t resisting, she was just laying there, smiling
at me and bleeding.
I heard the car pull up by the strip and you can imagine how thankful I was when I saw it was the
“Over here! Here!” I screamed as I held her down, though she wasn’t really trying to escape.
As the cops ran towards us, I looked at her one last time. “Why? Why?!” I asked, so frustrated, so
She just smiled even wider.
“See you later, alligator,” she whispered, second before police officer pulled me off her. Her words
came out with delay, again.
That wasn’t the last shock of the night.
“Help me officer, this man, this man was trying to kill me!” the girl cried as officer helped her up. “He
tried to murder me!”
I was speechless. This… woman, I thought she was, what, a demon? was now acting human. I was
sure she was finally caught, but as the cop turned to me, I realized.
I was alone on the strip, nearly choking a defenseless woman. Jerry was nowhere to be found.
“Take me,” I said as the officer stepped towards me. The sense of helplessness was the most
overwhelming feeling I’ve ever experienced. “But please, don’t let her get away.”
I spent the night in jail, certain that I was going to be found guilty for everything, with the only
witnesses long gone to who knows where.
When my buddies from the airport came to bail me out in the morning, I was so tired, I didn’t feel like
explaining anything. I just told them that “if Jerry were here, he’d tell you.”
“What? Jerry’s at the airport right now,” my buddy said.
I was in disbelief, but I didn’t want to waste a second. 20 minutes later, I was standing in front of
“Jerry, man, why didn’t you tell anyone?” I asked, nearly crying from all emotions.
“Tell what?” Jerry answered as he laughed and looked around the break room that was now full of
“Jerry, I went to jail because of her, man. You gotta tell them.”
“Look, man, why don’t you get some rest and we can talk about this later, alright?” Jerry said in a
condescending fucking voice, patting my shoulder.
I lost it. I just started crying. I was the most helpless man in the world. There was nobody that could
help me, and this hurt more than not understanding why Jerry chose to act as if nothing happened
last night.
I walked out of that airport, never to come back. 3 days later, I received a letter in mail giving me
formal “you have been terminated” notice. Followed by a call from police department, saying that no
charges will be filed as the woman is nowhere to be found.
I moved to New York to live with your aunt after that. I never did see the woman again, and to be
honest, to this day I am not sure what I dealt with. If I had to put my hand on the bible, I’d say it
wasn’t a human who stalked me those nights in Iowa.
At that point, my aunt walked into the room.
“Is he talking about that woman in Atlantic again?” she said, trying to look irritated.
“I was just telling the boy about what happened to me. Worth knowing what’s out there.”
“Oh stop it, Alex, poor guys doesn’t need to listen to your rambling.”
“Rambling? Rambling? How about that since I left, that damn airport has had 41 air traffic controllers
quit? How about that?”
“Well, I think it’s time to go, we overstayed as it is,” my aunt said, trying to get out of the awkward
“I’ll walk you out,” I said.
When we got outside the house, my uncle sat in the car, but I had to ask my aunt.
“Was that all…” I started but she interrupted.
“Oh, goodness, no. We don’t like to talk about it, but your uncle started his depression medication
around that time, and it affected him in a strange way. It was back when medications weren’t well
researched. That’s why he was let go and unable to work at airports again.”
“And the woman?”
“Well, yes, there was a girl there. Luckily, cops got him off her before he did any damage. But he’s
been under control ever since. No incidents, knock on the wood!”
As she opened the car door, I whispered one last thing.
“And all those controllers who quit, is that true?”
My aunt’s smile went from genuine one to one that was very obviously forced.
“We better get on the road now before the night falls, honey. Call us sometimes, you got our
number, you know. See you later alligator.”