Victor’s whiskey coloured eyes smoldered with annoyance. “Mon Dieu! He just dumps us here at the commercial airport and tells us to take a flight to New Orleans? He truly is the Devil!”
Gideon also seethed with anger. “The private jet to take us to the job down south broke down. The boss said this would be the quickest way to get to our assignment. Not even he can get the plane repaired in sufficient time.”
Myrth fingered the thin gold chain of her amulet under her red, silk blouse. “I will see what I can do to speed this process along, but I have never been in a commercial airport and do not know what to expect.” Even though she is a witch and a devil’s agent her eyes roved around fearfully.
Beth ran a hand through her short, red bob, agitation showed in her green eyes and her look of discontent illustrated her state of mind. “The last thing I remember before I died and became a soul collector was the plane crash which killed Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper. None of them made it to Devil’s agent but the incident left a bad taste in my mouth for flying commercial.”
“Well we are here so we may as well get our tickets. The flight leaves in an hour,” Gideon resigned himself to the ordeal ahead.
Before they reached the ticket counter, a uniformed airport employee greeted them and requested their passports. Myrth whispered to Beth. “He reminds me of the Walmart greeter.” Beth nodded and giggled more out of nervousness than amusement.
They strode to the counter for ‘Fly with Us Airlines’ to pick up the tickets they had been told would be waiting for them. Their carry on bags were the only luggage so at least they needn’t be concerned with lost baggage.
The line was rather long and the four, friends as well as colleagues, waited their turn. Victor’s eyes scanned the utilitarian building for anomalies. Beth looked ready to cry, Mryth ate a piece of chocolate and Gideon tapped his foot in a random pattern on the cheap, dull grey carpet.
Finally it was their turn. The young woman behind the counter appeared too young to carry the responsibility of the position. Her long, blonde hair was tied in two bunches like a schoolgirl’s, her blue eyes shifted from left to right and back again as if watching a ping-pong game.. And her pink lips were set in a determined line.
“May I help you?”
Gideon glanced at the others but they had all stepped back leaving him the place of honour at the head of the queue“ Yes,” Gideon the designated spokesperson (even devil’s agents had been schooled in political correctness) said. “There should be four tickets waiting for the flight to New Orleans. It leaves in an hour.”
“Passports please. Do you have any luggage to be checked?”
“No.” The four agents handed over their passports. Human bureaucracy demanded such documentation and though rarely used their boss had provided them for an emergency. Gideon guessed this counted as one of those times.
“I’m terribly sorry but I have no such reservations.”
Four pairs of eyes snapped toward the customer service rep. They were not happy eyes. The young woman’s demeanor shimmered with a hint of dread.
Gideon suggested, with a tight smile, that she look again.
“I have sir. I did double check. No tickets for your group appear on my computer.”
Victor held onto his patience with a short leash. “May we speak to your supervisor, please?” The last word reluctantly escaped past his lips.
“Of course, one moment and I will call him. If you could move aside while I contact my manager and let the next passenger through…. “
“We.Are.Not.Moving.” Beth bit off the words glaring at the woman.
“You must make room. Our regulations insist we keep the line moving.”
“We.Are.Not.Moving.” Repeated Beth.
Five minutes later a man slipped behind the counter. He was shorter than Gideon’s six feet, scrawny, with large, brown plastic eye glasses. And a receding hair line.
Victor looked at Beth and pointed with his chin for her to deal with the bureaucrat.
Beth stepped to the counter, thrust her ample chest as far forward as she could and batted her large eyes. “I am sure this is a simple misunderstanding. May we have our boarding passes please?” Her voice sounded as sweet as a chocolate sundae with the works. The other three gawked at her, having never heard her use such a tone.
The man smiled, adjusted his tie and hitched his pants. “I’d love to help y’all out.” His home was obviously the region the group hoped to visit. “But Miss Mary Sue is correct. No reservations were called in for any of your names.”
At this point Myrth had had it. She shoved past Beth, slapped her amulet out from under her blouse, locked her eyes with his and said, “Please may we receive our tickets?”
The pen pusher, K. Josef, according to his name tag, stared at the jewel on Myrth’s charm. His face slackened. He hit several computer keys and four boarding passes eased out of the printer.
Gideon and his friends grabbed the papers and trotted off in the direction of the boarding gate.
Yet again they had to line up, for security this time. As they neared the designated area the guard examined their passes. “I’m sorry these passes are invalid.”
“What do you mean invalid?” Gideon roared. “We just picked them up from the ticket agent. The guard, almost as tall as Victor’s 6’3″ with a muscular physique, gestured for them to step away from the vicinity.
This time Victor maneuvered to the front of the group. “Why are these tickets invalid?” He enunciated each word carefully.
“They show 1Q84 which is not a valid code according to the rules.”
Unlike earlier the group’s collective patience was tapped out. They did not ask to see his supervisor. Victor merely looked the man in the eyes, clamped his fingers on the man’s neck and repeated. “Why are the passes invalid?”
“Oh my mistake,” the guard, Mr. Franz, murmured. “They are fine. Go on through,” and bowed as the group trooped in front of him.
“These people must live in Kafka on the Shore,” Myrth muttered.
By the time they had walked down hallways, ridden a freight elevator and a train, and went up one escalator and down another, Myth stamped her foot in aggravation. “Damn it! I feel like Alice in Wonderland. Going down the Rabbit Hole. Where is the boarding gate?!
Anxious they might miss the flight, they arrived at the boarding lounge. “What no coffee? No wine? Is this how humans travel? They do not have to worry about going to hell, they are in hell,” Gideon exclaimed.
They ran onto the plane. Gideon plopped into his seat and snagged the steward. “I want a Bordeaux right now.” He didn’t say please.
The steward struck Gideon on the shoulder, who had turned away to speak to Beth in the next seat. When Gideon faced the server he was shocked to see Mr. D, his boss smirking back at him.
“I just wanted you guys to know how good you have it working for me. Not to worry, the jet with all the amenities will be available to bring you back home.”
Blogophilia Week 21.6 – A Simple Misunderstanding
Hard, 2 pts): Use the title of a Murakami novel
I used two: 1Q84,and Kafka on the Shore,
(Easy, 1 pt): Include an encounter with airport security