The plane roared as ally John jumped into the emptiness underneath. A short moment of total freedom came up to him. Flying like a bird, almost weightless, he inhaled the feeling.
A few more seconds and it was time to open the parachute. It would pull him up again and then bring him to earth in a slow hover. He had to land in a field slightly away from a huge manor. Unseen, unnoticed, on an almost moonless night.
The parachute did not open. He pulled the string again, pearls of sweat on his forehead. Now it would open! But again: nothing. No up-swing, no hovering, instead a deadly fall. Panic rose in the paratrooper John. He fell faster and faster, the earth came closer, he recognized the trees, the house, the landing-field way too far away already. He felt his face heat up, despite the icy air that was now grabbing at his skin. His pulse-beat as fast as his ever-faster fall speed. Under his helmet a drop of sweat ran into the collar of his jacket. If not for a miracle, it was his end. He thought of the girl that he wanted to marry, she was waiting for her war hero. He began to recite the Lord’s Prayer.
His feet broke through glass, he landed rudely on something … soft. He heard a splash around him, feeling wetness everywhere, sweeping over him. He snorted, it smelled sour. Puzzled he touched his face, licked his lips, he knew the taste. When the moon emerged from behind a thick cloud and shone into the greenhouse, he recognized he had landed in a huge pile of tomatoes. He began to laugh and laugh and did not stop. John was the son of a tomato farmer.