Short Story 18e of …

blog post
This is part five of the 18th in this series of those not accepted by journals for publication.




Part Five

I called the Federal Air Marshal Service to get back onto the on-call roster and was given a flight the next day to DC. (Forgive me for not mentioning my part time job earlier.)

The FAMS supervisor didn’t give me a specific person to be watching, “just do the basics.” My surprise was intense as seeing a gator in a Minnesota snowbank when I saw who was boarding ahead of me – Phillip Gretsch. I had a bucket full of questions I’d not ask aloud. Could I report his being on the flight and bill C-gibs for my time on the flight? Would his daughter Melissa be on the flight? Should I report to TSA and FAMS that I had an oral contract to watch Gretsch for another reason.

I boarded with the first-class paying customers and went to my aisle seat two rows behind Gretsch. As soon as we reached cruising altitude, I hit the restroom so I could do a video with the camera mounted in the frame of the nonprescription glasses I wore for the flight. There was an auto upload to FAMS, but I could have a tech friend get me a truncated copy for proof to C-gibs that I was on the job for her. A little later, when the first-class restroom was busy, I walked the aisle of business and coach class glancing side to side to get an answer to one of my questions. I didn’t see Melissa, but I’d only seen a picture of her so my recognition would not necessarily be positive.

Being conflicted when landing at Dulles is an understatement. FAMS required check in immediately after the flight, but my contract with C-gibs was to watch Gretsch. Well, Gretsch didn’t seem to be in a hurry to leave the deplaning gate immediately. I took a genre watching scenario with a folded USA Today to see if Mellissa deplaned with the coach class and joined him.

My FAMS dedicated ringtone, Chet Atkins’ Mr. Sandman, interrupted my observation activity. FAMS paid me a little under $500 for the flight to DC and return home via Boston, St. Louis, and Denver. It doesn’t take an Einstein to do the math difference if I could count the hours just to DC at the rate I’d quoted C-gibs.

Upon arrival at the office and catching an extended full night of Zs, I sent C-gibs a text and E-mail. I got no response, but I slept 12 hours.

As my octogenarianism continues, my mind wanders as I wonder.
Or could it be that my mind wonders as I wander?
It is a fact that I have opinions – or is it?