Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Patina (Chapter 3)

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain. We've encountered a storm system, so the turbulence might be a little rough until we can get out of it or get clearance to fly over or under it. Please keep your seat-belts fastened until then."

"Mr. Loy? Are you okay?"

"Hnhh?" Jake answered through his nose. He wasn't -- not okay, not OK, not okie dokie, or anything like that. His fists were balled together and his head was bowed in an abject trinity of prayer and terror and acceptance of fate. The doomed man trifecta. The plane lurched again, and Jake let out a barely audible squeal. A dog might have heard it, but not a human.

"Mr. Loy, I have to pee."

"So go pee, then," Jake said through gritted teeth.

"But the sign is on."

"So piss your pants, then! Which do you want more, to obey a sign or your bodily functions?"

"Mr. Loy, I'm scared. Can you take me to the laboratory?"

"It's the lavatory, but...Jesus, hell, just call it a bathroom, or a toilet. Better yet, call it the piss and shit closet."

The plane rocked back and forth, its frame shaking mightily through the storm as passengers white-knuckled their armrests and the flight attendants tried their best to appear aloof to the possible danger. The cabin lights were out. Then on, then out again.

"Mr. Loy?" Cody said through the commotion, "I don't have to visit the laboratory anymore." He began to cry. The kid had pissed his pants.


"Aw, hell. Aw, kid..." Jake said. "Hey, no -- no shame in that. Here...look, hey, let's get you cleaned up."

The plane rumbled and lurched again. Jake Loy ignored it. He took Cody to the back of the plane.

"Sir, please stay in your seat," an attendant said.

"No can do," Jake said. "I'm going to the laboratory to help my young friend recover some dignity. Some water spilled on his lap during the turbulence and I'm going to help him wash it off. Please knock on the door if you have some pajamas he could put on. "


"Thank you, Mr. Loy. I bet your mother was really great," Cody said. They had been moved to business class seats. "Did you get that from her?"

"I think I did, Cody. And she was. She was a great person. An amazing woman."

"Is she dead?"

"Sad to say, she is. But she's still here with me. Always will be."

"So you are an orphan."

"I guess so. I guess you're right."

"That sounds about right. Goodnight Mr. Loy."


Jake Loy relinquished his wardenship of little Cody -- hell, he never did get the kid's last name -- at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Wichita Airport. The kid's grandmother was waiting there outside of a purple Lincoln Continental with a bouquet of cotton candy the size of a basketball. Jake waved goodbye, but he was pretty sure the kid didn't see it. That's how kids are at that age, he supposed.

Still, as the car drove away, Jake was sure he could see the kid's face in the back seat turn and look at him with a toothy grin. Only it looked like there were too many teeth in his small mouth. And they looked sharpened. They glistened.

But that was probably all in his mind.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Patina (Chapter 2)

"So, Cody, tell me...are you an orphan or something?" Jake Loy said.

Cody shuffled his feet and furrowed his brow. "What's an orphan?" he asked.

"I guess that answers my question," Jake replied with a short laugh. There was no malice in it. "An orphan is a child whose parents are dead. I suppose if yours were you would have heard the term by now." The beverage cart came to their seats and a severe-looking female attendant of fifty or so -- maybe a little more, unlikely a little less -- asked Cody what he would like.

"A Coke, please," Cody said.

"Gotcha," the attendant said. "And you, sir?"

"Oh, I think I'll have a Coke, too, but throw some rum into mine," Jake said.

The attendant was pouring their drinks when some mild turbulence hit. Jake clutched the armrests to each side, clenched his jaw, and stared at the blank monitor on the back of the seat in front of him. The turbulence was over in less than twenty seconds.

"Didn't spill a drop," the attendant said, handing Cody his drink. Jake was still looking at the back of the seat, so Cody took Jake's drink from the attendant and placed it on his fold-down tray.

"Um, Mr. Loy?" Cody said after the attendant had passed down a few rows. Jake seemed to be in a trance. "Are you okay?"

That snapped him out of it. "Sure am," he said, although his voice lacked conviction. He saw that Cody wasn't buying it. The kid looked a little scared, so he tried his best to employ some levity. He picked up Cody's drink and sniffed it. Then he took a sip. Cody looked at him confused.

"Have to make sure," he said. "I had to check whether the stew gave you my drink by mistake. I promised the other stew that I'd look after you, and what kind of person would I be if I allowed a six-year-old kid to get drunk on an airplane?" He picked up his own drink and finished it in two huge swallows. Then he belched.

That made Cody giggle. "What's a stew?" he asked.

"A stew, young master, is a kind of hearty soup. It's thick and full of meat and vegetables."

His attempt at humor was lost on the kid, so Jake reached into his bag of tricks to try to right the course. He didn't have to dig deep. He belched again.

Cody didn't giggle; he guffawed.


"So, do you need a coloring book or something?" Jaked asked Cody, who looked a little bored.

"No thank you," Cody said. "I have my iPad Mini in my backpack, but it makes me dizzy when I'm traveling."

"Then why not watch TV? I'm sure they have cartoons and stuff," Jake said, gesturing toward Cody's monitor. "Does that make you dizzy as well?"


"Isn't that a pickle, then." Jake said. "Well, I have an idea, Kobe."


"I know, I'm just teasing. Here's what we'll do. You ask me a question, any question you like, and I'll ask you one after. Sound good?"


"You start."

Cody looked pensive for a second, maybe two, and then said, "So, Mr. Loy, tell me...are you an orphan or something?"

It was then that plane again hit turbulence. And it was much stronger than the first time.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Patina (Chapter 1)

Jake Loy thumbed nervously through the pages of the SkyMall catalog. A Green Goblin paperweight. A Thanksgiving turkey fly swatter. He was hot, his shirt collar sticking to his neck. Air was blowing out of the vent above him, but there was no freon. It was like a dry handjob. Kansas, then Birmigham. Then Hell, probably.

"Excuse me, sir," a flight attendant said, disrupting his dumb reverie. "I have a young traveler who needs a seat. He's an unaccompanied minor, so by law I need to ask for your permission that he sit next to you. Would that be okay?"

"Is he an orphan or something?"

"Oh, well...I'm not sure," the attendant answered, somewhat taken aback. Then, with more composure, "I really don't think I would be at liberty to say if he were.

"Am I going to have to change his diapers? Is he going to be bawling the entire flight?"

The attendant looked indignant. "Sir, he's six years old. But never mind. I'll try to find him another seat."

"No, sorry, I don't mind," Jake said, quickly tucking the SkyMall catalog into the seat pocket in front of him. "Sorry if I sounded abrasive. It's just that I get nervous when I fly. I would be happy to sit next to the kid. Might provide a better distraction than what SkyMall or the in-flight movies have to offer. What's his name?"


"Hi, I'm Cody."

"Hi, Cody, my name is Jake. Jake Loy. Would you prefer the aisle or the window? I don't care either way. More leg room with the aisle, but the window offers a spectacular view of our great country. It's your call, champ."

"Um, I'll take the aisle," Cody said. "But is it okay if we switch later?"

"Deal," Jake said.

"Thank you," the attendant whispered to Jake with a wink. "Let me know if either of you big boys need something, okay?"

"Yes," Cody said.

"Will do," Jake followed.

The attendant walked back to her station as the plane began to taxi. The air conditioner started in earnest. Then take off. Flight.


 When the fasten-seat-belts sign turned off at 11,000 feet, Jake Loy turned to his young ad hoc ward and said, "So, Cody, tell me...are you an orphan or something?"

Friday, July 04, 2014

Independence Day! (Again)

In honor of Independence Day, I went with the search phrase drunk American (because that about sums up the beloved holiday) and the following is merely a smattering of what Google found.

P.S. Paula Abdul wins the award for Most Prominently Displayed Celebrity during said search. You go, girl!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Canada Day! (Redux)

In honor of Canada Day, I went with the search phrase drunk Canadian (because that about sums up the beloved holiday) and the following is merely a smattering of what Google found.