Amish leaders are locked in vigorous debate after a member of their community accidentally reinvented the jet engine. Hand-woven and finished off with a short length of ribbon, the three-stage corn doll can produce 45,000 pounds of thrust in a manner not at odds with the Bible.
“I was creating a cereal-based decoration, using traditional methods that God would approve of”, insisted Joseph Fisher, “but it was my turn to scrub the chickens, and I didn’t want to do it. To take up more time I added a couple of extra twists and a low-pressure bypass nozzle, and that’s when it span into life, using principles well beyond my comprehension.”
The development has angered many elders, who fear ‘luck of the straw’ reinventions could undermine their simple way of life. Daniel Stoltzfus is a member of an ‘old order’ of Amish that rejects even simple advances such as soap, toothpaste and aerosol deodorants. When he speaks up for his beliefs, he often finds himself standing apart from the wider community, or at least a fair distance downwind.
Stoltzfus insists that an organic jet engine could destroy their primitive society, leading inevitably to budget airlines, holiday romance and unwanted pregnancies. “I can accept that my daughters may have unwittingly pressurised an old wooden buggy”, he conceded. “And I suppose they could have inadvertently knitted an instrument landing system. But if there’s so much as one ‘happy accident’ on their test trip to Vegas, I can assure you there’ll be hell to pay.”
Stoltzfus is progressive compared to his father, a man who eschewed walking upright and opposable thumbs. After some thought, he’s concluded that corn-doll powered flight may not anger God entirely, as long as no Amish find the experience convenient. “We’ve introduced steps to keep journey times the same as travelling by horse”, he explained. “They involve a lot of standing around while we check for forbidden technologies, such as hand-cream, lip balms or bottled water.”
“There’s no reason why flying should have a positive effect on our society. That’s why we’ve recruited the management from Heathrow.”