Later, Dad tried to defend himself. His excuse was that they shouldn’t be serving peanuts in first class, because there’s no way people will eat such cheap food when they’ve paid so much. I don’t think I buy his excuse.
Dad had an window seat, I was in the aisle next to him, and Mom had a window seat that was one row back and on the opposite side of the plane. We were separated because we’d upgraded from economy at the last minute.
“Watch this, son,” said my dad, picking up a salted legume and winking at me. He flicked the projectile in Mom’s direction.
Mom might have thought it funny to get hit in the head by a salted peanut. I have my doubts about that. I never got a chance to find out how she’d feel about it, though, because the peanut landed right in the mouth of Mom’s snoring seatmate. Mom didn’t even look up.
Her seatmate was a fat man in a suit. He had been sleeping with his head tilted all the way back, his neck rolling over the top of the seat. He had a newspaper section in his lap, folded in eights. Clearly he had been working on the crossword. He was snoring with his mouth open; the peanut went right in. After that, the man started breathing funny and swelling up.
We had to make an emergency landing in the next town with a hospital, even though we were still 800 miles from home, all because my dad flicked a peanut at an allergic man.