Airplane Boredom

Fiction by Phillip Yuen, Painting by Soul26



Bored on the airplane? What can you do? Look around. You’re confined with a hundred other unique universes going on. They all seem boring? 

All you see are the backs of heads that are so motionless they must be empty.

What did you pack in your bookbag? Don’t rummage through it, your neighbor is sleeping. Think about what you put in there. You have a book in your hand. Did you have a second book, are you a second-book kind of guy? Last time you reached into the front pocket you remembered rummaging through a bunch of garbage. Scrap napkins that you didn’t use and now are no longer usable. Crumbs of food that make you question your cleanliness. Junk mail? Scraps, spam, and scams.

Was there anything interesting to see? All visible windows are closed, except for the one across the aisle. You see clouds. Fluffy, and despite having only a few different hues and shades, they have clearly defined dimensions.

A flight attendant walks by with a garbage bag. Should you reach into your bag and throw out the scraps? Won’t it be embarrassing to dig through your backpack and take out a wad of trash, showing everyone on the plane how much of a slob you really are? And the neighbor to your left is still sleeping. 

The other neighbor pulls out a Kindle. He truly has multiple universes in his hand.

You notice that the neighbor on your left also has a book nestled in the seat pocket that she hasn’t opened. You can only make out the first word, “Beach”. Which wouldn’t normally excite you but you remember another universe behind you who had a book named “Beach Read” unopened on her tray table. This wasn’t an airplane, it was a jigsaw puzzle, a miracle.


You look back and you can only see the front cover of the book. You look back at your neighbor’s copy. Same all-caps text, same font, same bold white color, same matte blue background— they were the same!

“I guess it’s a book you only read on the beach,” you say out loud, to the slight vexation of your right neighbor, and which was not heard by your neighbor to the left but did stir her awake.

Your neighbor with the Kindle was reading about the future of cryptocurrencies and how to get out in front of the next Ethereum. You look back at the open window from before and see now that it is closed. With your other neighbor now awake, you reach into your bag to find out what in fact was in the front pocket of your backpack. Scraps of papers, receipts, spam mail, old movie ticket stubs, used metro cards. An old lotto ticket. For November 14, 2023. How old? Have you checked it before?


Before you were seated, you overheard the flight attendant saying the inflight WiFi was not working but the curiosity, and potential was killing you. You pull out your phone. At least you weren’t bored anymore. The WiFi costs $8. It was a gamble. You pay for it and check the lotto numbers for November 14, 2023. It was a jackpot. You held a ticket worth 580 million. A world of possibilities opens up before your eyes.





Phillip Yuen is a writer of prose and code who hails from Flushing and is currently based in Woodside, Queens. He considers imaginative, witty, and intricate narratives to be the superior art form and aspires to craft them. Aside from writing, he also enjoys playing pool, kayaking, and trying to keep his plants alive.




Soul26 is a graffiti writer from Denver, CO. Painting since 1993, the move to Colorado from Oklahoma in 1994 is when his journey in graffiti took off. For the past few years, Soul26 been developing his graffiti style into an abstract form. Follow Soul26 on Instagram @soul26ism