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On The Plane (2)

by Torsten Daerr

Natalie:  (Gives a sigh.) It must be wonderful to fly all over the world.

Steve:  Sometimes. At other times, it can be very lonely. I see the steward is ready to serve lunch. Let's enjoy our meal and then I would like to hear all about you.

Steward:  Excuse me; here is your lunch menu. The wine choices are Chardonnay, Zinfandel or Pinot Gris. (He lays a large linen napkin on their trays, then places silverware on each.)

Natalie:  (After looking at menu.) I'd like to try the almond chicken, please.

Steward:  And to drink?

Natalie:  A glass of Zinfandel.

Steve:  I'll have the roast beef and coffee.

Steward:  I'll bring those to you directly. (Takes menus.)

Steve:  While you were sleeping, I thought of a hundred questions to ask you.

Natalie:  (Teasing.) Only a hundred?

Steve:  OK. Maybe not that many!

Natalie:  Ask away… I'll try to answer all of them. (Laughing.)

Steve:  How long have you been married?

Natalie:  Only a year. Sometimes it seems longer because so much has happened in such a short time; our moving to San Francisco, the accident, dealing with the insurance company and Dave's medical care. (She looks pensive for a moment.)

Steve:  That is a lot to happen in a year. (Sympathetically.)

Natalie:  And then there was the investigation...The foreman disappeared with the payroll. The men were supposed to get paid that day. The police said they knew he had gone to the bank and withdrew cash. When they interviewed the cashier, she said he withdrew cash every Friday to pay the men. He told her it was often too late for the guys to cash a check after work. They really appreciated being paid in cash.

Steve:  That's rather usual. Do you think he was doing anything illegal?

Natalie:  No, I really don't because some of the guys said they just wanted a direct deposit into their accounts. The bookkeeper gave them statements each week for their income tax returns. He was a nice guy; I think somethinghappened to him. I know he wouldn't run away.

Steve:  He seems like a very thorough person.

Steward:  Here are your lunches. And here is your Zinfandel. Is there anything else I can bring you?

Steve:  I think we are fine, thank you.

Natalie:  This looks wonderful! I feel just like a queen. (She happily eats the almond chicken.)

Steve:  And you look like one, too; that's a beautiful suit.

Natalie:  Yes, it is nice… I wish I could say it is mine, but I borrowed it to wear on this trip. OK, it's my turn.

Steve:  Your turn? (He picks up a fork and starts eating.)

Natalie:  Yes. You asked me some questions; now it is my turn.

Steve:  All right. Ask away!

Natalie:  How long were you married and do you have any children?

Steve:  We were married three years and no, there weren't any children.

Natalie:  (Softly.) Did you want children?

Steve:  More than anything in the world! Heather said she just wanted it to be the two of us for two years. Then she would agree to have a baby. But when we had been married for two years, she asked for just one more. Her business was just taking off… I agreed to wait one more year. Looking back, I realize she would have been a terrible mother.

Natalie:  Really?

Steve:  Heather was too much like a child herself. She never quite grew up. She was the only child of older parents. They had been trying to have a child for ten years, so when Heather was born she was terribly indulged.

Natalie:  You said her business was "just taking-off" -- what kind of business does she have?

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