The story follows Zits, a Native American trying to cope with his various past abusive adoptive parents with random acts of violence, calling himself the "time travelling mass murderer".A 2007 novel by Sherman Alexie. His take on being a homeless American Indian teenager...takes a science fiction twist, as he possesses the bodies of other men throughout time. In many ways, it was because he viewed Indian Killer as an Old Shame.
Tropes featured in Flight include:
- Abusive Foster Parents: Zits has been through several sets of these by the time the story starts.
- Atrocious Alias: Zits? Zits? Also, Helda, lampshaded by Zits
- Boomerang Bigot: Justice, assuming it's not a Fight Club-style split personality.
- The Cassandra: Justified in one case, as he's mute.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Averted: The Mexican kid's just as cruel as the others.
- Disappeared Dad: Zits' dad abandoned his mother before she gave birth to him, and because he never legally claimed him Zits ends up with white foster parents since he's not protected by the Indian Child Welfare Act, which would try to place him with an Indian family.
- Four Is Death: Zits' fourth leap is...into the body of a pilot who unwittingly helps an Islamic terrorist learn how to crash planes. And he's cheating on his wife.
- Fun with Acronyms: IRON and HAMMER. HAMMER doesn't actually mean anything, but IRON means Indigenous Rights Now!
- Gainax Ending: In-universe with the Ghost Dance. The ending itself has one as well.
- Going Commando: "Okay, I now know Indian boys didn't wear anything under their loincloths."
- Grand Theft Me: How Zits time travels.
- Healing Shiv: Not quite, Justice has a paint gun and an actual gun.
- Hypocrite: Abbad, a Muslim who drinks with his friend.
- Ironic Hell: Living as an FBI agent involved in making IRON activists disappear. Yeah.
- Les Collaborateurs: Horse and Elk. Ironically, they were remembered as heroes, but like anyone would believe how Zits knows.
- Loin Cloth: Standard clothing for all Sioux and Cheyenne males.
- Luke, I Am My Father: Zits briefly becomes his own father, who abandoned him, and sees what an alcoholic mess the man has become since.
- Malcolm Xerox: Justice
- Meaningful Name: Possessed by righteous indignation and a desire for vengeance? What is Zits' real name? Michael
- Mixed Ancestry: Zits' mother was Irish while his father was an Indian, but because his father never legally claimed him he's legally not an Indian himself.
- Naked on Arrival: An old Indian killer likes to sleep naked, so when he wakes up, yeah.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: The story of IRON and HAMMER is reminiscent of the story of Pine Ridge in The Seventies.
- Pædo Hunt: Zits got molested by several of his foster dads. It's eventually revealed that the recurring motif of someone smelling of beer and onions is tied to one such stepdad who did this.
- Punch Clock Villain: The FBI agents, the Cavalry soldiers.
- Shout-Out: The Nannapush Reservation is a reference to Louise Erdrich's character Lulu Nanapush.
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: Justice.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The whole Ethiopian Islamic terrorist story makes the man Zits possesses one.