So, you find yourself at an altitude of 2,500 feet, and your parachute has failed to open. Not your day, is it?
Here are some things you might want to do:
Deploy your reserve parachute.
Seems obvious, doesn't it?
You'd be surprised.
If your reserve parachute fails to open, deploy your preserve parachute.
This will not slow your descent in any way, but it will release a jam jar, which may strike you on the head, knocking you unconscious, and thus allowing you to plummet to your death in a more relaxed frame of mind.
If consciousness persists, pinch yourself.
If you open your eyes and see black-and-white footage of two men sitting in a boat doing nothing in particular, you just fell asleep watching The Red Fisher Show.
Do not feel embarrassed.
At some point, everyone who watches The Red Fisher Show falls asleep, and many subsequently dream they are plunging to their deaths.
If, instead of Red Fisher, you see the ground approaching you at speed, you may be a fictional character in a metafictional novel.
Check to see if you have an improbable name such as Hanford.
This is a dead giveaway that you are a fictional person.
If, on the other hand, your name is John, relax.
You are probably in a memoir, so obviously you will survive this fall or else how would your memoir get written?
Unless you are ghost-writing it through the medium of a Ouija Board.
If you are communicating through a Ouija Board, or if your name is not Hanford or John, proceed to Stanza V.
If you see Stanza IV above you and Stanza VI below, you are inside a poem.
This is also a metafictional situation, but it is less serious than being in a novel as poems tend not to last as long.
Stay calm and wait for VI.
If you are in a Choose-Your-Own Adventure book then you clearly should have picked the other option—the one where you don't jump out of the plane.
Did you remember to dog-ear that last Decision Page?
If you forgot to dog-ear the page, you will have to remain here until the End.
That would be the white space immediately below the last stanza.
Some distance below that, you may see another poem, or even a story.
Do not take any notice of it.
It was written by an entirely different author who doesn't know you from Hanford and his (or her) story is in an entirely different sphere (or, more literally, rectangle) of reality from this one.
You wouldn't fit in there anyway so there's no point in trying to reach it.
It really is none of your business.
You'd just be a big non-sequitur there.
It would be a good idea at this point to think positive thoughts.
Do NOT under any circumstances entertain such thoughts as, "I could have gone bowling."
If you ever reach a point in your life where this statement is both desirable and true, your life is over anyway.
Instead, think about this: you could be eating bacon right now.
There may be bacon in heaven.
You are a regular churchgoer aren't you?
The Church of Bacon awaits you.
If you aren't a regular churchgoer you may have to entertain the notion that there is bacon in hell.
Maybe there is.
Really, just think about the bacon.
Even if you do splat and make a mess at the bottom of this poem, that won't be your problem.
It will be the copyeditor's problem.
He will not understand why there are intestines piled at the bottom of this page.
He will probably think they are a scene break.
He will lie awake at night thinking about how no one in their right mind uses ampersands for scene breaks nowadays.
Actually, if you think about it, the copyeditor might not even get a look-in.
Not if the contest judge has a go first.
This is one of those poems that's quite good right up until the end.
The judge thinks this last scene, much like a character hitting pavement at speed...falls flat.
Not all poems need to end with a bang.
Some do, though.