Chapter 2 : Airplanes suck.
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Call mum so she can take care of Agatha Christie while I’m gone; be sure to tell her to NOT FEED AGATHA DOG FOOD AGAIN! She can hunt for herself.
All my stuff's at the laundromat, so pack what I have and borrow Taylor’s stuff.
I was on my knees searching under my bed for my laptop case while talking to my mum on the cordless phone.
“No, Mum - OW - I’m fine, Mum, just hit my head!” I said as I reached my hand under my bed-slash-couch and prayed that there weren’t mice under there like last time.
I only pay three hundred a month for this apartment, but for this hell-hole three hundred is totally overpriced.
It’s a one room flat and that includes the kitchen (that will sometimes not work). There are holes in the carpet and mice are frequent visitors. Once a family of them lived under my sink - I felt guilty kicking them out, and even fed them, and now they think they own the place.
That was a year ago. There are now about two hundred of them.
I have about four pieces of furniture: one beige couch that doubles as a (very small) bed, a coffee table that doubles as a dining table, and two bookshelves that are loaded with books.
On the coffee table is my laptop. I paid good money for it, and it’s really the only thing I possess that’s in good condition.
I also have a fireplace that faces the couch, but I don’t have any wizarding callers. So it just sits there unused.
“Mum,” I said, feeling around blindly and picking up what felt like thin rope (I don’t own rope, so this is weird). “Just don’t feed Agatha dog food, okay? She hunts.”
“Fine. Anything else?” asked my mother. I could hear the telly in the back, and by the way my dad was screaming, I knew it was sports.
“Err... no. Well, please check my mail box in case anything comes in,” I said, pulling the rope out. It was a mouse, and said mouse was giving me a very dirty look.
“Sorry,” I said, putting the mouse down on the floor.
“Why are you sorry?” asked my mum, confused.
“Not you - the mouse,” I answered.
“Get an exterminator,” answered my mother point-blank. She doesn’t really approve of my guests - or hosts, as the mice like to think it.
“I’ll think about it,” I said. “Tell Stacy that when she goes to the laundromat to pick up my clothes, the key is under the doormat.”
“Anything else?” asked my mum.
I looked around to see if I had forgotten anything, and noticed that my laptop case was hanging on a nail by the door. “No, I’m good, Mum. Thanks, love you!” I said into the phone before hanging up.
I scribbled a note to Taylor and tied it to Coco’s leg, and then I let Agatha out of her cage with a note to Mum reminding her that owls do not eat dog food.
I dragged my suitcase out of a small closet that was built into the wall and packed my clothes into it (two tops, one pair of jeans, and a hoodie). I put a paperback novel that I had bought at the library for fifty cents in my laptop case, which would be coming with me on the plane. I also stuffed ten quid in my back pocket so I could get something to eat for the plane.
I have never been on an airplane before. So far I never want to repeat the experience, and I’m not even on the plane yet.
Stacy told me that I should get there at least two hours early and I (of course) didn’t listen to her, and set my alarm clock for an hour before the flight.
I’m lucky if I even make this plane.
First I had to wait through a forty-minute line (the security check) and then I thought I lost my ticket so I retraced my steps.
Turns out it was in my laptop.
Then I had to go back through the security line and I swear that the guy there groped me because elbows don’t go there naturally.
Although if I were tell my sisters what happened, they would probably laugh and tell me I had nothing to grope.
They are wonderful for my self-esteem.
So after getting groped, I found out that my flight had been delayed and I had another twenty minutes of waiting. I ran all that way for nothing!
Taylor is dead.
I was going to go and pick something up for my plane ride (I get hungry when I’m bored), when I saw it.
Pet Semetary. In paperback. All my hopes and dreams have come true.
You know how in romantic movies they show the girl and the guy running to each other in slow motion, because they’ve realized they’re soul mates?
That’s how I felt about this book.
No, I am not mental.
I ran (yes - ran) to the store where they sold books for those that were too lazy to bring their own and picked up the book.
Normally, I don’t have enough money for books, so when I see a book that I like in a store I find a seat and read until the store closes.
I am on first-name terms with a lot of managers that have to call me in and tell me I cannot just sit there and read.
But this time, I had ten quid. Sure, it was supposed to be for food, but who wants food when you can have a book instead? Not me.
The book was five quid, which was perfect - and I would even have enough for a bag of biscuits! There is such a thing as miracles.
Maybe I’ll go to synagogue next Saturday or something like that. Or I could go to Uncle Frank’s Passover dinner. I normally try to skip them (basically, because it’s awkward), but I am a believer now.
No, I am not being dramatic.
Then I turned around.
The Faithful Husband, in all its paperback glory, was looking at me. In fact, "staring intensely at me" would probably be a better description.
My nails instantly went to my mouth, which is a habit I had thought I had cured a long time ago.
I am surrounded by awesome books. I don’t know if this in a dream or nightmare. I think it’s probably a nightmare, because I only have so much time to read them.
Faithful Husband or Pet Semetary? Dead animals coming back to life, or husbands that are trying to save their wives that have been kidnapped by maniacs? Aggressive mother-killing babies or maniacs? Victor Pascow or the other guy? What do I want?
Both sound so epic.
I figured that since Faithful Husband was a tiny bit smaller then Pet Semetary, there might be a small chance that it might be cheaper, so I looked on the back; Faithful Husband was four dollars and fifty cents. I gave a sigh of relief. I would be able to get both books. This is no small miracle - this is a sign that I have been forgiven for dating the arsehole known as Percy Weasley.
I should have dumped him when he made it clear he didn’t like Dr. Who. I mean, what human being doesn’t like Dr. Who?
“Hi, I would like to buy these,” I said to the salesgirl as I put the books down on the counter.
“Good choices,” said the girl tonelessly. “That’ll be eleven dollars.”
“What?” I asked, pretty sure that I had heard wrong. Because last I had heard, five dollars plus four-fifty equals nine-fifty, not eleven.
The girl chewed on her gum a little while and gave me an exasperated look. “Plus tax is eleven.”
Okay - apparently the world is not done punishing me.
“Is there any way I can convince you to let me have them for ten?” I asked, trying to put on a winning smile.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
The girl looked over the counter and down at my feet. “What size are those?” she asked, popping a bubble in my face.
It took me a while to realize she was talking about my shoes.
“Err…seven and a half,” I answered.
“I’ll take them and the ten quid,” said the girl, popping another bubble in my face.
Bubble gum should be outlawed in public places. That and mistletoe, because in the hands of
Gryffindors and Slytheriens, it is basically sexual harassment.
Plus, none of the hot boys have it. Only the really annoying ones.
No, I’m not high-strung.
“Fine,” I said, taking off my sneakers and passing them to her along with the ten quid. “Can I have a bag for the books?”
“Sure,” said the girl passing me the bag with my books.
“Do you want the socks as well?” I asked.
I hate airplanes.
To be fair, I have never ridden one, but so far the experience is a gigantic mindfuck. First I had to go through security - which was very uncomfortable because my keys went off and they had to search me to make sure I didn’t have a weapon.
That metal rod went places that I don’t want to repeat.
Then, when I finally got on the actual plane, I couldn’t even find my seat. D5? Where the HELL is that?
Not only that, but has anyone noticed that we are in a metal tube in the sky? Made by Muggles? They aren’t exactly the best engineers in the world (and that’s being kind).
I told Luke I could just fly on my broom, but no. I have to fly in a metal tube in the sky. This isn’t natural - not in the least.
If I survive this, I swear I will do one nice thing per day for people.
Actually, that sounds like too much. One nice thing per week would probably be better.
I swear, I am the only one standing. It seems like everyone else has found their seats. I walked up the aisle one more time, hoping for the sign D5 to hit me like a ton of bricks, but no luck.
“Hi,” I said to a girl who was sitting alone. “Is someone already in this seat?”
The girl ignored me and continued reading her book.
“Err…hello?” I asked.
The girl looked up at me and jumped in her seat - I think she said something that sounded like "Victor Pascow".
“Shit, sorry,” she said, blinking a couple times. “What would you like?”
“Is this seat taken?” I asked. My patience was a little thin.
“No, take it,” said the girl, giving me a smile. “I’m Pen.”
“Oliver,” I said, shaking her hand and taking a seat next to her.
“Sorry about not noticing you earlier,” said Pen. “I have this thing that when I’m reading, everything else is just ignored.”
“Sounds like you have good concentration,” I said. I figured that if I talked to someone, I wouldn’t freak out so much about the airplane thing.
She shrugged. “My sisters all find it annoying.”
“You have sisters?” I asked.
“Three,” she answered. “All are married with kids and great careers. What about you?”
“One brother,” I answered. “I’m supposed to be visiting him.”
“I’m visiting a friend,” said Pen.
I then leaned down to get a magazine from under my seat, and noticed that Pen didn’t have any shoes - she was just wearing socks.
“You don’t have shoes?” I said, confused.
“Oh,” said Pen. “Funny story. I only had ten quid, and these books together cost eleven, so the cashier told me she would give me the books if I gave her my shoes.”
Why would someone do that? It’s insane. Not funny - INSANE.
“Well, you can probably buy some sort of slippers for ten quid,” I said.
“I gave her my ten quid as well," said Pen.
“Were the books valuable?” I asked.
There has to be some excuse for this girl’s freakish behavior, I just haven’t found it yet.
“They’re just ordinary paperbacks,” said Pen, shrugging her shoulders. “You can buy them anywhere.”
The girl’s nuts. Completely and totally insane.
“What do you do for a job?” I asked.
Probably circus or something.
“I’m unemployed,” said Pen. “I write for magazines. So far on the scale of vomit my writing is a meh, which is better than what it was before, which was full-on puke.”
“'Meh'?” I asked.
“On a scale of one through ten, it would be six,” explained Pen. “I’m doing better than before, though, and that’s what counts.”
“Do you like writing?” I asked.
Stupid question, but I needed to talk to someone. The fact that I was sitting in a metal tube was freaking me out, even if the person I have to talk to is very odd.
“I love it - I normally write comedy and sci-fi. I’m better at the former, but there’s more of a market for the latter,” answered Pen.
“What kind of sci-fi?” I asked.
The girl smiled at me as though I had asked a million-dollar question. “Nature on a rampage.
I’m working on one story where wood-choppers start to disappear from the middle of a forest.”
“So, no aliens?” I asked.
Pen shook her head. “A lot of my characters make deals with demons, like the trees in the newest one.”
“Sounds cool,” I said.
“Unfortunately,” continued Pen, “man-eating trees don’t give me the paycheck being a lawyer might have given.”
“So?” I asked. “You should do what you love.”
I really couldn’t talk though - I didn’t have her problems. Quidditch definitely brings in good-sized paychecks.
“Well, I would like a better apartment,” said Pen. “The mice consider me their guest, and I feel too guilty to hire an exterminator, because they have been really polite about the whole thing.”
“Plus, I would love a best-seller to shove in my ex’s face, because he always thought I was wasting my time with my writing,” continued Pen. “Then afterwards, I could show my sisters that I’m not Four-Eyes anymore.”
“That’s what they call you?” I asked, confused. “You don’t have glasses.”
“I have reading glasses,” said Pen, showing me the pair she had in her hand.
“Well, everyone gets nicknames. I remember back in my high school I was known as Most Obsessive Sports Player,” I said, taking a gulp of a flask of firewhisky I had snuck aboard.
“I was called Anal-Girl,” said Pen point-blank.
I sprayed my firewhiskey all over the chair of the person in front of me. Damn. Now I’ve wasted good firewhisky.
But seriously, I don’t think that’s something to tell a stranger.
“I was very neat and organized,” explained Pen, giving me a look. “Anyway, I’m babbling, and you probably have a book to read.”
Just as she said that, the airplane hit some kind of bump (how does it hit a bump in midair?), and jolted. I squeezed the sides of my armrest.
“No, I forgot to bring a book,” I said, not wanting to tell the girl that I was really freaked out of my mind. “So talk away.”
Wrong thing to say.
“All right,” said Pen, shrugging. “So every time I go over to Stacy’s house for dinner, she pretends she’s having a lawyer friend over for a meeting when she’s really trying to set me up.”
“That doesn’t sound too-”
“They are all swots and act like my writing is a phase, and I need to be tamed or something,” continued Pen, ignoring my interruption. “I’d stop eating at Stacy’s place but her husband makes really good food.”
5 Minutes Later
“-My grandma is constantly drunk-“
5 Minutes After That
“- I haven’t been in a relationship for three years-“
5 Minutes- Well, You Get The Gist
“-I’ve been selling stories to Playboy for years now, my conscious is eating me alive but it pays HUGE money-“
“- I don’t even know what I’m doing, selling these stories, because I’m a freaking virgin and the stories they’re looking for are really raunchy-“
“- I’ve been telling my sisters that I causally date someone every weekend, but what I’m really doing is watching reruns of Cheers-“
“- My sister got me a thong for my birthday; I haven’t even touched the thing. Looks bloody uncomfortable-“
“-I killed my sister’s goldfish and blamed it on the dog, I was five-“
“-When I was sixteen, my mum told me that my dog Flo ran away to a rabbit farm, when she really ran over him! And I believed her! She told me the truth last year…on my BIRTHDAY!-“
“- I have a crush on a dead fictional character who has two kids, his name is Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird -“
I think after a while she forgot I was there and just talked. I listened and drank more firewhisky - not enough to get drunk, but enough to drown out my jitters.
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