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On The Plane (1)

by Torsten Daerr

Soon after enjoying the champagne and hors d'oeuvres in first class, Natalie fell asleep with a contented smile on her lips. She looks so happy, Steve thought. Forced cold air blows from the overhead jets. He gently covers her with the blue airline blanket. He is struck with an over-powering urge to protect her.

Whoa, Steve! What are you thinking? You are barely over a messy divorce situation, slow down! Did you forget she's married? Her husband is going to need a lot of medical care… I wonder how long they've been married? I just happened to think… if they are so financially strapped… how could she afford that expensive suit? Well, maybe she bought it before the accident. Steve, it's none of your business. Why are you always so suspicious of people?

What am I doing? I should be concentrating on the company agenda for tomorrow. This is going too fast and it's my fault… what was I thinking, buying a first class ticket for a stranger? But then again, maybe I should take more chances. Once we get to Chicago, we'll go our separate ways… I wonder if she could have dinner with me once during the week she is visiting her sister. What's wrong with me? My brain is jumping from one thought to another. I need to concentrate on business, Mr. Jameson is expecting a lot from me. What a great mentor! No, he's more than that… more like a father giving business and personal advice to his son. I overheard Bruce calling me, "Jameson's golden boy." Hope there isn't any jealousy there. Sure would like to see Bruce advance in the company, but Jameson said he will only get a lateral move. That risky investment last year made huge problems between the two of them. Wish there was some way to help him, but I'm not supposed to know what happened.

I tried to advise him about company politics when we were playing golf, but Bruce didn't want to discuss business. I was surprised when he asked me for a loan. But what are friends for? I was glad to give it to him.

Natalie:  (Stirs and wakes up smiling.) Hey, sorry about that… guess I was really tired.

Steve:  That's all right; I like to listen to you snore. (mischievously.)

Natalie:  (Indignant.) I do not snore!

Steve:  (Laughing.) No, you don't, I was just teasing.

Natalie:  Well, I bet you snore loud enough to break windows!

Steve:  I probably do!

Natalie:  Didn't your wife ever complain?

Steve:  (Pauses.) No, my wife insisted on having her own bedroom. Heather liked staying up late, while I'm an early riser. So I agreed to separate rooms.

Natalie:  (Turning bright red.) I'm sorry; I didn't mean to pry…

Steve:  It's all right. If you decide to take another nap. (Points to button.) look at this: you have the luxury of electronically converting the chair into a bed.

(The bottom of the chair raises to form an extension, while the backrest lowers. The steward will also give you eyeshades and slippers.)

Natalie:  That's incredible! I just might need to take another nap just to try out the bed! What a great way to travel.

Steve:  Flying has become so competitive that many airlines are constantly adding new features.

Natalie:  Such as?

Steve:  When I took a plane to and from Hong Kong, the plane had a stand-up bar a massage therapist and a manicurist.

Natalie:  You've got to be kidding!

Steve:  No, I'm not. One of the airlines just ordered 16 Airbus cabins with double beds and showers. There is also a plan to have exercise and massage areas. And even a casino... Of course, those planes will be for long non-stop tripsto Australia, the Far East and the West Coast of the US.

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