Daily Archives: June 15, 2021

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“Picturetown, huh?” He glanced back at his prospective new customer, unable to see the holes in his head from this angle. Well, he *does* take the flights that no one else will cover, including flying to imaginary countries, counties, and cities if needed. Last week it was Oz. Week before: Wonderland. One of the Alices wanted to go home to visit a sick aunt who might or might not be on her deathbed, hard to tell. But she had to find out. Then before that: he couldn’t recall. Maybe Texarkana. “Sure, I’ll do it,” he said, not wanting to delay his reply any longer, wanting to exude confidence that he could get the job done. He’s checked all the maps in the meantime. No Picturetown in Canada or anywhere else in the world. But he’ll get him there. All he needs is the coordinates, and he can get them from Chuck and his special computer tapped into the Lemon World, the one no one is suppose to know about. Chuck connects him to the fantasy lands, and for that he gets a hefty wage in *real* money, not that fake green crap they peddle at, say, Oz. Rubles, someone tried to hand him the other day after a flight to Borneo. “No rubles,” he said in return. “*Real* money,” and he kept his hand out until actual, metal coins were laid in it, signifying a completed sales transaction. Paper money doesn’t hack it for our Marion “Star” Harding, former ace pilot in the World Wide Web War, version 2.0. Since then they’d come out with 3.0 and he was back at his desk, back to being a private pilot specializing in the weird and even profane, like sneaking the elf hookers out of Santaland and back to Easter Isle where they belong. Bunnies, he thought here. Nothing but bunnies. “5:15 tomorrow okay for you?” he asked the prospective customer, working with numbers on his computer at the same time he thought all this other stuff.

“Sure.”

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two to know

He was waiting on his brother, who was coming up from the south.

Yeah, yeah, he thinks, I could *talk* to that white lady over there about my brother and also who she’s waiting on, if anyone. I’m a social guy, you know. But — look at that look — I can tell she doesn’t like black people, or is at least scared of them. Why if I moved over one chair closer to her she’d probably call the cops on me, even though I may have a perfectly good reason to do so. What if I just found out that cokey cola was spilled under my chair, and my shoes were getting all sticky as a result. Yeah, yeah, that could be a *legitimate* reason for moving one chair down. And, let me see (he glances over out of the side of his eye), that would still leave one chair between us. But, no, that darn white woman would probably call the cops on me, or at least airport security.

He simmers down, but then starts again when he catches her eye once more, just trying to look at the plane outside. Southern Cross, he thinks. I mean, the name was *right* behind her. What was I suppose to do? Get out of my seat, go to the window — *not* getting too close to her or walking too close to her in the process — and *then* check out the (plane and the) name? No, no, all this what they call *systemic* racism isn’t for me. As soon as my brother arrives we’re going to go back to my island resort and *stay* there. No more wandering around in public. I’m *through* with white people. Had it.

—–

Oh: an announcement.

Southern Cross representative: “We’re sorry to inform you that Flight 215 that was suppose to arrive at 3:15 with 415 passengers aboard…” He stops, putting his hand to his head, rubbing his eyes as if crying (he wasn’t).

Lance A. Lott gasps in the gap. Crashed? he thinks. All aboard — dead? Representative Johnson Protocol rustled his papers nervously here, starting to sweat. The droplets then make their way over his eyebrows down onto his cheeks, eventually dribbling down to the floor. To an outside observer, and knowing this was his first day on the job (thanks Uncle Stan!), it would be understood that he just lost his place and is searching for the right page that continues the announcement. But to L.A. (as his friends call him), the pause and apparent crying seemed to be a harbinger of bad bad news. Smokey dead! And that’s about all the family I have left.

“… is 515.” the representative finally continued, restarting at the top of page 2 which contained only these 2 words. Anxiously stacking his papers against the podium, he takes his leave with this.

515? he thinks. Wtf??? He looks over at the white woman, who doesn’t seem to be very concerned. Does she know what this means? Does she even care? Is she waiting on someone from this flight? Maybe she’s just happy *she* wasn’t on that plane. Maybe she knew someone was going to die today here and is just relieved it isn’t her. Strange thoughts. Must be from that horror movie he watched the night before. “Losst”, it was called, with an extra “s” to emphasis that all the people in the show, yes, were really, truly lost. “We get it,” he said at 1/2 past 6, stuffing more buttered popcorn between his lips and thinking he should get to sleep early this night so that he can rise at the crack of dawn and go wait for his brother over at the regional airport. My long lost brother, he thinks. Another lost angel. Peter from the show falls down into a camouflaged cannibal trap in the middle of the jungle, giving him a chuckle. But enough: *switch*. TV off.

The white lady looks at him now, even leans toward him. She’d heard the gasp, seen the confused look on his face. “515” she measured out. “It means delayed.”

“Oh.” Lance A. Lott wipes sweat from his own brow with this, trying to act like he at least *thought* that’s what it meant. She returns to her start position, which means systemic racist position. Don’t come any closer, the posture and attitude warned. Or I’ll call the cops or at least airport security. I’ve given you the information you need, you dirty [blank]. Now we are done.

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