For those of you writer-types, I have a guest post on character development over at Studio 30 Plus. Follow this link to check it out.
Oh, and a mind-blowing Valentine's Day to you, Dear Reader.
To read this sordid fictional saga from the beginning, please click here.
“I can’t put you on this flight.” The airline shrew, Satan’s stoolie, said it with flippance. Like the snow wasn’t blowing a screen of white outside. Like every flight would make it out that day. In fact, she even emphasized her point. “All the flights are going. They are. You’ll be fine leaving at 4:30.”
“We’ll never make 4:30.” The wife, she was always a pessimist. Her whole life, she fought the demon of negativity, battled it with an iron will, pretended to be positive, so perky that everyone thought that’s exactly what she was.
Until she encountered the worst situations.
Her husband knew the real, the dark, her.
In ten minutes, they were through checking bags. Through immigration. Through customs. Even through the enticements of duty-free. They were standing in front of the gate for the flight they were supposed to be on.
It was still there. Still boarding.
“We should try to get on that flight.” She threw it out there, casual-like. Somehow, her negative inner twin knew it would be the last flight that left that cursed day.
And, so it was.
“I can book you on the 11:35am to Boston tomorrow.” The same smolder of hell-fire behind those shrew-ish eyes. “You’ll be in Milwaukee by tomorrow night.”
The exhausted couple booked themselves into an airport motel. Rode the shuttle. Ran with all their luggage through knee-deep snow and howling wind. They drank. Oh, how they drank, until they heard Satan’s cackle mixing with the wind outside. “You won’t make the 11:35. I’ll see to it.”
Ladies and gentlemen, Air Canada flight blah-blah-blah to Boston has been cancelled. The devil touched the landing equipment, and the plane is broken, and because the bowels of hell are involved, we can’t fix it.
“That’s what I get for saying we wouldn’t leave yesterday. I’m sorry, Dear. Me and my negative mind. It jinxed us. I’m so stupid. I’m badbadbadbadbad.”
“Stop crying, Sweetheart. Really. Stop it. People are looking at us. STOP. NOW.”
“Hello, Sir. I can book you and your wife on the 5:55pm to Boston, ending in Chicago the following morning. No flights to Milwaukee, though.”
“We’ll rent a car and drive.”
“Why can’t we just freaking rent a car and drive from here? Really” Why can’t we?”
“I already told you to stop crying. STOP.”
“But, we’ll be like that movie. Like John Candy and Steve Martin.”
“Don’t even bring that movie up. Just stop talking.”
“But – “
“We’re NOT renting a car, and that’s the end of it.”
Ladies and gentlemen, the 5:55 Air Canada flight to Boston has been delayed until 8:55pm. Thank you for your patience.
“I TOLD you we should’ve driven.”
“How was I – “
“Don’t talk to me anymore.”
Welcome to Boston! We are so sorry for the awful time you’re having, and we’ve booked you on a whole new itinerary in the morning, all the way to Milwaukee. Aren’t we the greatest? Here’s a bunch of vouchers for everything, and thank you for flying Air Canada.
“Sweetheart, please stop crying and just go to bed. You’ll feel better in the morning. We have great flights and everything.”
“You should try to call and check us in.”
“Just do it. You’ll see.”
Lightning flashed. Thunder rolled. Flames shot from cracks in the earth, and Satanic cackles shot like evil fireworks into the night sky.
“Sir, you and your wife are not booked on any of these flights. Good luck getting to Milwaukee tomorrow.”
“But, wait! WAIT!” She waved two crumpled coupons in her husband’s face. “We got these in Montreal. American Airlines from Boston to Chicago. PRIORITY. 8:35am. Maybe they’re still good. Maybe our luck is turning……….”
To read the first installment of this fictional saga, please click here.
Winter light glinted on Satan’s stalactite teeth, as he put the taxi in reverse and tried to back out into the interstate. The bumper hit a wall of snow; burning rubber dug them another level into hell.
Sound. It came from everywhere at once, obscured by white. The ground shook, and her screams merged with the bulk of a snow plow. It careened around the stranded car. Or, maybe it went through it. Left them marooned inside a mountain.
When she blinked again, the car was moving, but all she could see was white. Cotton fluff and heavy clouds. Blurred bullets, screeching and screaming by. She squeezed her husband’s hand. Closed her eyes.
Prepared to die.
“Est-ce le chemin de l’aéroport?”
A t-intersection. Satan chose left and dragged his prisoners on a cackling ride around a parking garage at the back side of the airport. Far away from any terminal with one hour until boarding.
“A sign! There. Terminal. Go left.” The couple shouted in English.
Satan didn’t understand English.
“A droit! A droit!” The poor couple didn’t know right from left by that point.
Somehow, after two close calls with snow plows, after three separate crashes into snow banks, after a scenic ride around the back side of the airport, after two accidents and three detours, Satan dropped the couple off at the terminal.
Forty-five minutes until take-off.
He walked them up to the ticket counter, and light twinkled on his fangs when he smiled at the gate attendant. Perfect English.
“I’ll leave these people in your capable hands. You know where they need to go.”
Flames smoldered behind her eyes. “Yes sir. You leave them to me.”
To be continued……….
Cold steam blasted from the back door of the taxi. Maybe the driver cackled. She leaned back in the seat. Decided that diabolical laugh was a trick of the wind. And the snow. The wind and snow.
Crusty wipers scraped across glass, a howling tunnel of a white world visible through the cracks front and center. Sides opaque. Back blurred. She held her husband’s hand as the cab driver merged onto the interstate, with two new souls in tow.
Ten miles per hour.
A horn blared, and everything lurched sideways. The world was dark. And slippery.
“Is this hell?” She whispered it.
“Je ne sais pas où je suis,” muttered the cab driver.
“Jesus Christ!” The husband shouted.
Another car. The width of a credit card between them. Perhaps it was a single snowflake that saved them from eternal damnation.
“Où suis-je?” The cabbie was mumbling again.
The car inched forward, into the swirling inferno of white. Lost in the wake of every other car/truck/van/lorry/moped/bicycle/bus going anywhere.
“Est-ce le chemin de l’aéroport?”
“How are we supposed to know the way to the airport?” The doomed couple shouted in unison. “You’re the cab driver.”
Always remember this: when stuck in a dastardly situation, it is a bad idea to yell at the driver.
Especially when the driver is Satan.
For Lucifer rotated the wheel. The errant taxi careened into a snowdrift. Stalled. On the interstate. In a pile of white where no one could see.
Lucifer turned around. Enveloped the couple with frozen eyes. And, flashed an icicle smile.
To be continued……….
Lou Mello has slaved and toiled and suffered. For years and years and years. And decades and decades and decades. I think he started working before I was born.
We’re giving him a party. An All Rotary All The Time Party to celebrate how much harder he’s going to be working, now that he’s retired.
Please come and fete Lou, either in person or online. We will have a Google+ hangout set up, and we will have MTM-crafted paella for those who come in person.
What: Lou Mello’s All Rotary All The Time Retirement Party
When: Friday, January 11, 2013 at 7:00pm
Where: Our house (message me if you need directions)
What you can bring: Yourself. Your date. Your hungry tummy. Your voyeuristic tendencies. Many felicitations for Lou.
Please RSVP in a comment on this post, or send me a message to let me know you will be there. If you have already let me know your plans, you do not need to reply again, unless you want everyone to know you will be there.
Did I mention we’re having homemade paella?
HAPPY RETIREMENT, LOU!!!!