Monday, January 26, 2009

Zoo Finale: In the Falling Airplane

Nastily funny black comedy to wrap things up; rivals Seven Rooms as the best story in the book. An apologetic student hijacks a plane after failing the Tokyo University entrance exam for the fifth time. Any number of passengers try to stop him, but invariably trip on an empty soda can and get shot.
Meanwhile, a suicidal salesman is attempting to make one last sale - the poison he'd planned on killing himself with. Haggling furiously with him over the price is a woman on her way to get revenge on a man who did something unspeakable to her in high school. (We're not told what, but both the salesman and the hijacker nearly throw up when she tells them.)
Very dry all the way through. "Do you believe in the prophecies of Nostradamus?" is the salesman's opening line; "I'm not really in the mood to die," she explains, vaguely exasperated.
"If this were a manga, the hero would rally us together and we'd take the hijacker down. But if, for example, this were the last short story in a collection, we'd be doomed."

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