Friday, November 12, 2010

Lady Astray, New Beginning

Napolean Otto wished he was not on a plane. He had never really like planes, but there were times when it was necessary to use one. He had boarded the flight in Detroit, made a change in San Fransisco, and was about five minutes out from landing in Sydney, Australia.

I have been on this plane for too long, Napolean thought to himself, rustling his caterpillar mustache. He huffed a sigh, tilted his head back and closed his eyes. He was not tired, but his eyes did not want to stay open either. The familiar ding, ding of the seat belt activation bothered him more than the average person would generally be bothered by such a plain sound.

He sighed again, quick enough to jostle the bristles of his thick black mustache. Napolean's mustache was peppered occasionally with stark white hairs. His wife always told him that he should dye it all one color, rather than letting it go slowly into a hodge podge of black, white, and gray. "It looks so messy when it is all different colors like that," she would bark crisply at him. She would never look him in the face when she said this, but insisted on it anyway. He would only wiggle his lip at her, to see if she would notice, but she never did.

Napolean Otto wiggled his lip in much the same way now, with that same mild irritation that he always tried to express in response to his wife's comments. He blinked slowly, settling into a fine squint that left him looking very angry indeed. The flight attendant stopped next to him just then, double checking for buckled seat belts and smiling in his direction absentmindedly. He blinked at her, and she gave a small nod in recognition.

"It will just be a few more minutes, sir." She finished off the comment with another practiced smile. Napolean was not buying it. He let his thoughts wander to his mission in Australia.

Doctor Jack Price had been a long time friend to Napolean Otto, and Napolean was not about to forget it. That was why Napolean was going to visit Jack now. Jack had returned from a mission trip for Doctors Without Borders about a month and a half ago, but Jack's working partner had not returned from her mission on her pre-determined date. Mariana Wilkes was approximately three weeks late in returning to Australia, and Jack was concerned for her.

Napolean was not sure exactly the relationship that Jack had with Mariana--they always claimed that their communications and interactions were purely for professional purposes only, but Napolean Otto was not very well convinced.

Napolean was jostled by a bit of turbulence as the plane descended further. He gripped the arm rests for security, and ground his teeth together in an effort to not let his nervousness show on his face. The gentleman to his right urged the woman next to the window to open it, so that they might look at the pink clouds. Napolean did not care about the pink clouds, and rather wished that the woman would not let herself be wooed by the man in the middle. The man was not good at making a smooth line delivery, so her reactions alternated between laughing at him and laughing with him. Napolean was more or less disgusted by it, but he remembered back to when he was courting his own wife, before they were engaged. It had been a fun time, a care free time. Maybe he should not be so quick to judge.

Before he knew it, the plane had touched down, and he stood quickly to collect his bag from the overhead cabin. No one ever dared to take space away from Napolean after he had stood up in the aisle. He was not a large man by any means but plump, and also had an intimidation factor that most people picked up on and also tried to avoid. His wife also told him multiple times that his mustache forced people away from him. Napolean did not mind one way or another what people thought of him and his mustache, but figured that anyone worth talking to would find that his mustache was not that intimidating after all.

Napolean Otto exited the plane quickly, thanked the pilot and attendants on his way out, and made his way toward the customs desk. After his passport was stamped, he went through security and found a beverage counter. The airport in Sydney seemed relatively empty for a weekend, but it could have also been the fact that it was still early morning, and many travelers may not be up and about. He ordered a water and tipped the clerk more than was necessary for such a small purchase.

Napolean walked further through the terminal before he found where all the people were sitting. Most had gone through preliminary security and were sitting by their required gate, waiting for their flights. Still, it seemed odd that so many people would sit still so consistently. The phenomenon made him uneasy, and he quickened his pace toward the exit. Napolean hailed a cab and gave directions to the driver for a small hotel on the western edge of town. I should probably continue on to Alice Springs tonight, Napolean thought, sipping his water in the backseat of the cab. That is another flight though, and that last one wore me out.

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