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.