Now, I don’t want to be the one who bears the bad news, but waiting for four hours in a cunting airport waiting room is enough, but only because of the fact we can’t enter the cocktail lounge on our own accord. Age, as time allows, is little more than an indication of our time on Earth. And I hope to have as little time on this godforsaken rock as possible, and I’d prefer if I didn’t remember much of it before leaving.
We huddled among four chairs, sharing a Twix bar and muttering about how stupid we were for showing up so early. But my issue was with the security. They act as if I, a perfectly…somewhat sane boy would destroy one of their beloved planes. I have no interest in ruining your perfectly good flight by ramming it into a priceless landmark.
But the trip through security was the ticket! Kent had gotten through unscathed despite his numerous metallic objects, like belts and piercings and rings, and so on. So I felt pretty damn secure going through. I removed my ankh necklace, watch, and shoes and tossed them in a bin and shoved them into the hungry mouth of the x-ray machine. Then I went through the detector, which decided, “Hey, I’m gonna f*ck this guy over and beep!” And so it did.
My mind did a back flip and I face palmed right there. My belt! My damn belt. I quickly undid it and held it up to the elderly security guard, but he smiled and said, “Well, we gotta make sure.” And began his uncomfortable groping of every inch of my person. From behind me I heard Sam laughing like a hyena on pot. As the old man finished his perversion of innocence, I turned back to Sam and flipped him a rather thin bird.
“Now, I may have forgotten to mention once we get to Salzburg…” I began, leaning into our grouping of four chairs in the waiting area. “I haven’t exactly secured a ride into Bad Reichenhall.”
“Well, I’m sure there are buses.” Wyatt assured us. But I found his hope rather misplaced. This wasn’t exactly good news. I was a moron.
“Sure.” I agreed, trying to lie like my father, an expert. It must have worked, as Kent went back to his iPod he had bought with stolen cash. He must have been some sort of genius on petty criminal acts. I began to wonder if he could hot-wire a car.
Then I took a look at what I was reading: Time magazine. It would be my last English magazine for quite some time. Luckily I spoke and read fluent German and French. I knew Kent and Wyatt spoke some German, and Sam was Spanish by birth, so that was in order.
Wyatt began going on about some jazz band that I had never heard of and whose members had probably died long before I was born. How futile, their existence. What to say to Saint Peter when they died…?
“Yes, I played music.”
“Well, then you’d best see Mr. Satan about that. I hear he has reservations.”
I had often thought of challenging the devil to a contest. I could imagine the rewards, and the thrill of saying ‘I beat the MF-ing devil!’ Of course, then I realize…I have no skills.
Gee, only a mere FOUR HOURS later, we were on the Lufthansa plane to…well, we had no idea. All I knew was we had a connecting flight to Salzburg, and we’d be landing somewhere in Germany prior. For some ungodly reason, the tickets we had decided to separate us into little islands of normalcy among a plane of bad Englishmen and loud Germans.
I found myself seated next to a woman with a baby of say…a few months. Thing is, like the cultural phenomenon of complete movie clichés, the child simply would not shut its mouth. The screaming! The damn screaming echoing in the cabin, and my ears popping uncontrollably because I was the only one who didn’t buy gum in the lobby. As we reached cruising altitude, I thought quickly and as its mother looked away, I swiftly removed a Valium from my pill-box and flicked it in the boys mouth. I have to assume he swallowed it, as he was quiet for the rest of the eight hours. He was either asleep or dead, and I couldn’t be bothered.
This is where Vertigo set in, as I was stuck in the center isle and couldn’t see out any of the windows to the left or right of me. I lost track of time as we passed over many a time zone. The large monitor hanging at the front of the aisle recorded that we were somewhere over Wales. I suddenly had the urge to suggest to my doom-mates a trip to go see good ol’ Nana in London. She was a woman thriving on her husband’s life insurance, flirting about with her new husband around the world. And because she bore my father, I hated her.
The cabin began to spin. I have to assume it was in my head, because no one else seemed worried. Things had become a Wizard of Oz Technicolor. I panicked to get rid of the things I’m sure would be scurrying down the aisle. And so they did: a monster on wheels. I began to sweat. Was this jetlag or something far worse? I reached down into pillbox again and popped a Valium into my own mouth and swallowed hard. The next hour or so became a complete blur in my vision. Things melted together, and the next thing I knew, there was a tray of food in front of me on the pull out table thing.
As far as my drug-raddled brain recalls, it was a platter of white chicken and a crusty roll. But then there was the cherry cheesecake, which did not fail to please. Shocked at the utter taste, I ate every last morsel. The blur stayed away for the remainder of the trip.
Stepping out into the cold white airport, I saw that we were in Dusseldorf, Germany. Thing is, I thought we had died and gone to Purgatory.
It was a white expanse, with windows for every wall and opaque plastic covers to everything. I soon stumbled into my travel mates and we exchanged a word or two before heading to security.
“Did you finish that Swine Flu pamphlet we were given?” Kent asked.
“Huh?” I asked, very confused.
“Are you thick?” Sam asked. “They gave ‘em to us on the plane!”
“Oh, sh*t.” I muttered, digging through my pockets for it. I must have written it in my blur of drug inducement. But then I felt it and took it out to find…I had filled it out, the thing is, I did it under the influence. I almost laughed at what I had written.
“Oh, jeez.” Wyatt laughed, looking over my shoulder. “Location for the next two weeks: Your mom. Freaking A!”
“I’m so getting sent back.” I coughed as we approached the gate for security. But that was when I noticed the security guards standing in front of a Swine Flu warning. They were dressed in full German army get-up, and they were holding a series of huge semi-automatic machine guns. I began to sweat again like I did on the plane.
Oh, God, I thought, I’m going to die. Die here, and they’ll ship my body back home and mom will cry and Greg will say “I always knew that boy was trouble”. Then comes the lawsuit against Germany and the international incident report and then the missiles and the Third World War.
I was fatalistic, sensationalist, and too afraid to care. I stumbled forward to the Visa stand and showed them my paper and my passport with a bored glance toward the guards. They were sentinels; made of stone and muscle and rage. Then, in a seemingly uninterested motion, the man stamped my Visa and waved me through.
“Danke schoen.” He said.
I smirked. We were still alive.