Title: Adventures in Airborne Travel, Pt 2 (2/7)
Series: 100 Original Fics
Character: Fox Maharassa
Prompt: 006 - Hours
Spoilers: Post FH strips
Summary: The 2nd of Fox's articles/blog posts about his birthday trip to Hawaii.
Word Count: 1245
Date First Posted: 10-09-2011
Date Revised: -
Notes: Big thanks to L for the beta and Dino for helping me think of horrid things to do to Collin. Poor Collin. I like Fox's revelations of his magnetic status, hee.
Feedback: always welcome, as is constructive criticism.
Also Archived At: LJ
Adventures in Airborne Travel, Pt 2.
By Fox Maharassa
With one hour before our flight lands, I have barely enough juice left in my laptop to chronicle these exploits, though I will try.
My partner is an excellent traveller. Give him a book and a set of headphones, and he’ll quietly amuse himself for however many hours it takes, interrupting only to eat fine cuisine and sip on some champagne, before napping with an eye mask and one of those comfy blankets pulled up around him.
Of course, that’s what it would be like in a perfect world where we were sitting anywhere but coach.
Don’t get me wrong, coach isn’t bad. I’ve heard the trains in India are far more harrowing, but, it’s coach. If you have flown, I think everyone reading has at least one story that you can say ‘this would only happen in coach...’
But, I digress. It’s a little unfair to lay all the blame on this particular budget form of travel. The whole travelling ‘getting-from-point-A-to-point-B’ experience itself is traumatic, that just happens to be one part of it.
As mentioned in part 1, First Class is not an option, and with a full flight, our seating preferences go by the wayside.
The row is empty when we stow our hand luggage and sit, and Collin takes his place in the middle seat next to me at the window, looking at the empty aisle seat next to him.
Now is probably the right time to impart some other information to you, gentle reader.
I, Fox Maharassa, am, what is deemed to be in Layman’s terms, a freak magnet.
I don’t know whether I excrete some kind of scent that only the socially left-of-centre can pick up on, or if it’s a subtle body language cue I don’t even know I’m giving. But, put me in a room of mixed people, and I won’t find the guy that does taxidermy as a hobby, he’ll find me.
I’ve never really seen it as a disadvantage before, given my profession, though Collin has innumerable times. The interactions can be really interesting, and they can be sometimes terrifying. Taxidermy-guy was really sweet, and great to talk to. However, the guy that struck up a conversation with me in the music store, and then attempted to lick my palm... not so much.
So it’s good and it’s not so good. And being on a plane, after all the troubles we’ve already had today, the needle is sitting firmly on ‘not so good’.
Collin stares at the empty seat beside him and then glances at me, and without words I know what he’s thinking.
Please don’t attract a freak to sit next to me.
“You never know, Boss,” I tell him. “Maybe the guy won’t show up.”
That perks him up, and we watch as people file through our plane’s aisles, taking their seats. Each seat that is taken that isn’t in our row is a cause for silent celebration.
But it can’t last. It doesn’t last. Our row’s final occupant shows up and proves the old saying without a doubt -- You can choose your airline carrier, but you can’t choose your seatmates.
There’s a guy walking down the aisle that is probably half a head taller than the tallest person I’ve ever met, has the chest-width of me three times over, is wearing a Navy Seals cap and is heading right for us.
“Oh no,” Collin breathes.
Sure enough, Navy Seal man opens the overhead compartment above us and frowns at our bags.
“Sure you fellas won’t mind if I move these over a bit,” he says, and pushes them to the side before shouldering a large duffel bag into place on top of our stuff. He has to slam the compartment down three times before it’ll shut properly, and Collin winces at each attempt.
He sits down, and his girth takes up his seat and a little of Collin’s, who scoots closer to me automatically. “I don’t check any baggage, y’see,” he says by way of explanation.
“Uh huh,” I answer.
“Did you fellas check anything?” he asks, leaning towards us and pointing.
“Yes, sir,” I confirm.
He sighs and shakes his head. “That’s where they get you. When you check your baggage.”
Collin looks at me then, half-furious, half-despairing, and one eyelid spasms. The freak magnet has struck gold yet again.
Turns out our Navy Seal friend (for anonymity reasons, let’s call him Stan, a good name for a Seal) is happy to lean across Collin to talk to me. I should mention that Stan’s breath is rather strong, as is his particular ‘natural musk’. After finding out what I do, he proceeds to spend the first two hours of flight time fervently imparting a few very interesting conspiracy theories.
(He has proof, y’see, but cannot divulge too much to a journalist such as myself as it gets into heavily guarded State secrets, and flights such as these are routinely bugged to source out subversives.)
Collin seems grateful that he’s not being talked to, but horrified at Stan’s lack of bodily hygiene and lack of personal space despite many non-verbal cues encouraging him to contrary. He tries to read his book until Stan realises it’s written by a former Democrat, and starts up about how Ronald Reagan is both our country’s greatest and most under-appreciated President.
This kind of political flint normally starts a burning fire of back-and-forth debate when my partner is concerned, but -- and I’m not sure how I was successful -- I silently communicate to him that this is an argument best avoided with a man who is easily a slab of 240 pounds of muscle.
The gods are with me. Normally Collin wouldn’t pay heed to my telepathic messages, but something in my -- and probably, Stan’s -- demeanour convinces him otherwise. He puts away his book and becomes embroiled in looking through the SkyMall catalogue. (I believe we’re now committed to buying some ‘Spirit of Nottingham Woods’ face decorations for the trees in our new yard; he’s going to hate himself come tomorrow).
I try and dissuade his conversation by looking out my window, or putting my eye-mask on to go to sleep-- It is a red eye flight, after all-- and, with some encouragement from the flight attendants, Stan decides to try for sleep.
Collin and I breathe a sigh of relief, until the snores start.
Colin leans over to me and whispers, “Do you have the noise-cancelling headphones?”
“Sure, they’re--“ I pause and cringe. “They’re in my carry-on.” We look up simultaneously to the unreachable overhead locker, and to Stan’s inert form blocking the way, one beefy arm dangling over the side of the armrest, dangerously close to Collin.
I’ve loaned him my iPod, but it’s not quite doing the same job, and yes, that eye twitch has made a triumphant return. In further compensation, I have given the flight attendant’s my credit card and carte blanche for whatever alcoholic beverages Collin might need to make it through this flight alive.
Should Collin’s wrath actually succeed in bringing down this plane before it lands, I would like to load this article into the black box to be recovered, as a record of how and why events transpired.
One hour to go, and he’s twitching and muttering to himself.
God help us, I think Stan would be proud.