I will once again flag this as NSFW (Not Suitable For Work). Sam is a very creative writer – Simon
“I need a big glass of Pinot Noir,” Charles suddenly said to Gary.
“First class,” responded Gary.
“No, nothing really expensive. A house glass of Pinot Noir will do,” Charles said as his eyes darted around the terminal searching for a place that would carry what he wanted.
Gary shook his head and said “First Class as in ‘first class’ on the airplane. You won’t believe how you are about to be pampered. The wine the airline will have will be better than any of the slop in the joints in this terminal.”
“When did you go fancy?”
“Look, I have flown a lot more than you and I have flown on some of the cheapest airlines to some of the most remote places on this planet. I have also flown first class on some airlines to very popular destinations. Know which is better?”
Charles shrugged, (he was not into traveling; let alone flying).
“First class, especially when someone else is paying!” Gary said.
“Go for it!” Charles chimed in.
“It is one of the great quotes by your overindulgent character from one of your earliest works,” Gary said.
“You have read my earlier work?” Charles said sarcastically.
“Come on, our plane is boarding, and now you take the second step at enjoying first class travel.”
“Second. What was first?”
“Why finding out you’re flying first class,” Gary said, as he tugged Charles to walk faster to the boarding gate.
When they got there, there was a long line to get into.
“Follow me my good friend and better client,” Gary said, as he once again pulled Charles to the desk where the airline employee was calling out boarding instructions.
Charles noticed the stares that he always gave to others who arrogantly walked to the head of the line while he had been so patient standing and waiting.
And, I don’t think any of them had to deal with the TSA thugs, he thought as he put his own spin on doing something that he abhorred in others. First Class, he mused as he stood next to his agent at the desk.
“May I help you, gentlemen?” the airline attendant asked them.
“We have first class seats,” Gary announced and Charles noticed that everyone in line who earlier was giving them dirty looks for cutting-in, now looked at them with envy.
While the attendant checked their boarding passes, Gary decided to have some fun and make those in line feel a little better that an actual celebrity was on their plane.
“Do any of you read children’s books to your kids?’ he asked the captive audience.
A few nodded and a few hands were raised.
“Good, because standing next to me and flying on your plane is the great children’s author Charles Craig Curtis!” Gary said to a blushing and a bit annoyed Charles.
“Hey, sir? “A voice shouted out and asked a raised hand attached to a slender female added “I have a copy of his Domestically Wild with me. Can I get his autograph?”
Charles walked over and nodded at the celebrity gawkers while he thanked the woman and autographed his novel for her twin sons. As he walked back to Gary he thought The old Charles would have loved this opportunity to get laid, because the woman was attractive and there were others in line who were equally so.
He decided to get even. “Ladies and gentlemen I want to turn your attention to the real celebrity of this trip, my agent Gary Harte! How many of you remember the senator and Donna Rice?”
Over half the hands in line shot up and just as many iPhone cameras went off with dreams of selling a picture of the famous ex-senator dancing in the rookie paparazzi’s heads.
“You son of a bitch,” Gary said as he tugged Charles down the tunnel behind him to board the plane.
“It was a good payback, but I’m pissed,” Charles said.
“More people know you than me.”
They boarded the plane and were seated.
Gary took the window seat and left Charles with the aisle seat.
“We switch on the way back,” Charles said.
As soon as they settled in to their seats a stewardess came over and started pampering them.
Charles asked for a glass of wine and Gary asked for a gin and tonic.
“We have a lot to discuss and the comfort to enjoy it in,” Gary said.
“I don’t know where to start,” Charles said.
The stewardess just didn’t bring the drinks — she brought a tray of goodies.
“Know what the best part of flying first class was?” Charles told Gary after they touched down in Los Angeles.
“We arrived safely?” Gary said sarcastically.
“Nope. The hot towels for our faces. Made me feel like a million bucks,” Charles said.
Charles and Gary settled into their seats and toasted to their good fortunes. They went over the up-coming itinerary one more time and settled in for the take-off. Once airborne and after another cocktail Gary asked Charles to explain the TSA fiasco.
“You would be a lousy witness,” Gary said to him after Charles finished telling the entire TSA horror story.
“I beg your pardon, sir,” a fellow passenger said from behind the seats. “I think he would be a good witness but a better client.”
Both Charles and Gary looked at each other, shrugged, and turned around to see who had just broken into their conversation.
Their eyes were met by business cards in both hands of the fellow passenger.
The card read: Dewy & Howe… Extraordinary Attorneys
Only one missing is cheat’ em, Charles mused as he slipped the business card inside his sports coat. He didn’t know what Gary did with his card.
“If you’re telling the truth, you have one potential lawsuit against those bastards,” the man said.
“Are you Dewy or Howe?” Gary asked.
“Neither. I’m an investigator for them. On my way to Hollywood to do some old fashioned gumshoe work.”
“Do you know where the word ‘gumshoe’ comes from?” Charles asked the investigator.
He shook his head, and Charles immediately decided against hiring him or anybody else.
But maybe a story for the media when the time is right, he thought before he answered his own question. “It’s what shoe soles were made of in the old days when private detectives walked around and around looking for clues,” Charles said.
“The shoe soles were made of rubber?” Gary asked.
“No. Gum rubber,” Charles said.
“Where’s that come from — Wrigley’s?” Gary said sarcastically.
Charles thanked the gumshoe and told him he already was a client and jerked his thumb at Gary.
“Want another drink?” Charles asked Gary who nodded and Charles signaled to the stewardess.
If you missed the earlier Chapters you can find them here.