The Last Flight

This is what the end looks like. A flag draped over a departing airplane, the last flight – the last bridge. A sign of honor and gratitude from the departing – those never to return – grateful for so many years of connections. Of weekends spent in the lavish hotels. Of trips to the beach, smelling the salt seas; the mountains, the plains, the great savanna with its traditions steeped in the history of an indomitable people. I knew the old Venezuela – the one that Lufthansa remembered, flew to – served. The one of beer, and beach, and the beauty of great open places that knew no masters; that were safe and comfortable for so many – rich and poor alike. Old places – predating the commies (damn their resentment, those who only destroy, who think only in envy, greed and violence). Who deny the comforting equalizer of trade – because they would not compete; because they cannot compete.


Business, the security of value, shared by those who understand it – the bridging of worlds, bringing people together. Commercial connections which are not predatory – cannot be because they are voluntary, predation is only possible using violence and coercion – at the service of greed. Greed is no friend to competition – the commies know this too, not that they admit it; because their greed is vulnerable to those of us who understand it.

I was not there when this last bridge was closed. But I was there when the first bridge collapsed. It would have been hysterical, if it hadn’t been so pathetic, so sad. Something for Stephen Colbert; for The Onion – the comedians – had not opining been illegal; worthy of jail time. That time, the great bridge between Caracas and the ports – the main artery that was the lifeblood of that sweltering city, built by the last dictator; that one competent – had collapsed. Fallen over. Not from an earthquake, which would have been lamentable. But through socialist arrogance – bravado. For days – weeks in fact they had taunted the west, “American engineers think they are the best,” and “Those who studied in schools in the United States think they are the only ones able to perform great feats.” They had sawed the platform from the pylons – pretending that their need alone would free them from the laws of physics. Attempting to cut and re-weld the road – it failed; they failed. The collapse of the 60 year-old road was heard around the country; around the region. Many laughed – I did not. It was the beginning of the end – and I knew what was coming.

They rebuilt it – put their socialism aside, told their unions to go home, wrote exceptions to their regulations, and just bought a new one. They had to – collectivist ideas are great; until you need a new bridge! Then, well – go with what works, I’ve heard some people say. What works is the market – competent and cold, producing engineers that can, well build bridges, in fact.

But I digress. Another bridge has been cut. Lufthansa has ceased to fly. This time, the Bolivarians cannot use money – because they don’t have any. They can’t buy airplanes, much less build them. So they must wave resentfully as the Germans withdraw – never to return. This is the revolution. Many will say, in the future, “From whence does Venezuela’s isolation stem?” Confused, because most do not watch history, nor understand it. For those of us who do both – we see the ending of air bridges as the only possible response to the collapse of terrestrial ones.

About Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist and a playwright. His most recently released work is "Dreams of the Defeated: A Play in Two Acts" about a political prisoner in a dystopian regime. His novels include "I, Charles, From the Camps" about the life of a young man in the African camps and "Lords of Misrule" about the making and unmaking of a jihadist in the Sahara. "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" and its sequel "The Burning of San Porfirio" are about the rise and fall of socialist Venezuela (with magic).
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16 Responses to The Last Flight

  1. A tragically elegant narrative.


  2. Lino Miani says:

    The United States had better be ready to respond to the collapse when it finally comes. The vacuum will otherwise be filled by violence and tragedy and China.


  3. Aastha says:

    the way you narrated this…hats off


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  6. Manuel Peña says:

    Such a shame to see a once prosperous and beautiful country fall into such despair. The people that were once calling for a socialist government are the ones crying today for the lack of food. A prosperous country now dying a slow and painful death. I pray for those people that I once knew and call my friends.


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