Demons in the Spring
“Ghost Plane” is from Joe Meno’s collection, DEMONS IN THE SPRING (Akashic Books). Meno’s short fiction has been published in McSweeney’s, TriQuarterly, Mid-American Review, and other journals. He is a winner of the Nelson Algren Literary Award, a Pushcart Prize, and was a finalist for The Story Prize. He is the author of two story collections and six novels, including MARVEL AND A WONDER, which was selected for several Best Book lists, 2015. He lives in Chicago.
Meno explained how he came to write “Ghost Plane:” At a party, I overheard someone telling a story about a young American woman who had tried to commit suicide overseas and who had a hard time boarding an airplane because of it. I began to think about who the girl might be. I started writing the story to figure her out and also as a response to a certain kind of girl that seemed to become popular in the early part of the 2000’s: one who was beautiful and a little bored and also sexually permissive, the kind featured in various reality shows, Paris Hilton, etc.
You could see a number of these young women taking on that particular role, and even though there might be a real intelligence or charm there, the role they had chosen for themselves was preventing them from being anything other than a dull sexual item. There is something incredibly attractive and tragic about that person and I wanted to explore that. Also, my wife and I had been to Belize, and the juxtaposition of the beauty of the natural world with the decay of the city seemed like a fitting place to set a story that’s basically about finding something beautiful or surprising in someone you had already made your mind up about.