Airport Jaunt

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
One individual faces a series of events that lead him to question his existence.

Submitted: October 30, 2014

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Submitted: October 30, 2014

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~~When it comes to my writing, I’m as blind as an engine.

As a writer, I struggle with the perceptions cast by my words. For one, what images do they elicit within readers? Above all else, this haunting obsession is especially true when it comes to limning scenery. As a lover of picturesque settings, I frequently over-accentuate the details when I describe a scene, and this often results in readers confronting a maze of words and ultimately relying on themselves to determine the meaning or the story rather than the story itself. Alas, I have devised a bit of a sample—not just for myself—but also for the reader.

Perhaps the most disillusioning revelation that has affected me is the notion that no matter what I write, no matter how much detail, no matter how much I personally like it, the reader will never experience the exact same effect as me.

Let me offer an example. Read the story below and please describe your reactions.

Coccainified Treasure Chest Carousel

By Jack Riovocci

Cheap lights brighten tattered seating by Gate 23, which is filled by the emigrating aromas of expensive airport coffee. You’re awake, standing in front of the arrival/departure board, a series of blue and red lights and all sorts of gizmos flipping, moving, changing, lest the world may stop otherwise. Of the noticeable items displayed, times and flight numbers do red flips, reshuffling and updating.

Looking at the board makes you dizzy, so you take a seat and stare at a docked plane.  Beyond the zipping luggage carriers and other machines out on the tarmac, some tiny green and red runway lights slant into the amethyst sky from that angle. A new announcement about a gate change arouses a group of forty to fifty people farther down the terminal, who suddenly flock away in a bodily gray and black blur just as plain as the faded ashen carpet throughout the terminal.

“A mister Rex Lozenger, please come to the baggage claims desk,” the announcer adds to the ending of the announcement, and this is a most stirring statement.

Rex Lozenger, it has a comfortable ring to it because it is your name. You realize it is in fact your name which means you should be on your way to the baggage claims counter.

Noticing a sign with an arrow pointing straight to indicate the baggage claim area drops from the sleek, abstract lines of the ceiling, it guides you further along the terminal, away from the darkness repelled by the windows and the aroma of coffee.

 Shops and boutiques brighten in your peripheral vision until you step onto a leveled escalator. The stores are so common that you don’t even throw a glance. Gucci, Godiva, to name a few. The lame ride ends and you continue with a brisk pace, following the arrows as they come. A few people are moving around but the place is mostly empty.

Another sign points downward, to a plunging metal stairway.  In seconds you’re at the bottom, searching for the next sign, but there isn’t another sign because you made it to the baggage claim area.

Carousels are whipping unclaimed bags around and around curvy courses, but, strangely, nobody is waiting to retrieve them. The baggage counter appears at the far end of the area. A woman behind a glass panel meets eyes with your approach. She slips into a soft, irritated smile.

“Ah, you must be Mr. Lozenger.”

“The one and only,” you say.

But as you look at her face, expecting another smile, paperwork is pushed under a slot in the glass. You realize the glass is more than glass; rather it is a transparent barrier that separates you from her, from her world.

“Please sign for your luggage, Mr. Lozenger.”

“Alrighty,” you say, aiming a smile at her through the glass.

Blue ink whips around the fine curves in your cursive signature before you shove the paperwork back under the slot. Once again, to say thank you, an irritated smile materializes.

You say goodbye anyway.

Turning, you notice the cheap lighting has been dimmed a little. But it’s also colder and particular gloomy aura looms farther along the claim area. The whole area is empty. Oddly, it seems the lighting arrangement lures you towards one particular carousel.

Unable to question anything, you head over to the carousel. Bags are gone. Nothing is moving. Then an alarm roars and the conveyer belt begins moving. One large black suitcase ruffles out the flaps in a wall where the carousel reappears from the loading bay.
 
The walls, windows, ceiling, and floor, suddenly fold into your sightless eye.

The blackness unfolds to a tropical illusion, a Caribbean oasis, (or is it a mirage?) or at least you are induced to believe such, for the carousel is now a river-like flume, complete with gentle dropa and rises, surrounded by tall palm trees. On the flume, you see a similar black suitcase, or so you think, pass behind the palms. Actually, it is not a typical suitcase at all, for when you rush over to the flume, to see it, the suitcase is shaped like a ship, with a main deck, three masts, and slots for guns to poke out and fire. That was after a furry hand reached out from the bag and unzipped it, with the inside opening to the shape of the ship. Blink if you must, but it will not help. It will all be there.

The ship nears your position along the flume, jostling against the sides while stuffed animals begin to appear on the deck and climb the masts. Pirate stuffed animals, that is, bearing swords, guns and hostile glares. Some have eye patches, surprisingly. They yell and sing in childish warble. Suddenly, a cannon ball smokes through the air and slams into the rear of the ship, sending it veering over the flume railing, and the crew tumbling into the palms. I leap sideways, between trees, to avoid being run-over by the fiery luggage. I see fuzzy arms draped over the translucent green palms high-above, still on-fire, burning, unmoving. As the smoke hanging out on the flume clears, a black triangular object nears, grows into a three-story, five mast, ship with fluffy white sails, and the stark phrase, “Death to ye whom bow not to the fluffy beard!”

 Out from the smoke emerges the ghostly guise of the other ship, with a short and fat teddy bear with a beard occupying the frontal portion of the ship. He wields a sword and in no way looks cuddly or adorable.

You probably will not be able to decide whether to endorse slight fear or encourage laughter, but heed my warning, and don’t make a sound. Though the improbable vision ends in a fiery catastrophe, the chanting grows louder.

 "Fluffy beard is the most ruthless paradigm of decadence; for he sews his fur with the skin of other; he joyously bathes in the blood of his slayed adversaries; he flosses with their hair; when he is bored, he throws the bones of his nemesis and tells his dog to fetch them,” they sang.

“When the dog fetches the bone and brings it back, fluffy grinds it into crack.”

“Crack,” the word echoed sharply throughout my subconscious mind, pervading my subconscious thoughts until they became conscious ones, until they entered the stream of cognizant thoughts circulating the twisted mind that improbability of the daydream reminded me I have.

“Oh, shit,” I thought. I remembered I had snorted a line of cocaine in the bathroom. How long had I been daydreaming?

Reality was revived instantly. I was sitting in the terminal.

“Last call for Flight D9334 to Shanghai,” the attendant said. I hopped up and caught the plane just in time.

Once on the plain I darted down the aisles till I located my seat, and the whole time I had to refrain from laughing since it was akin to meandering down a hallway of fun house mirrors. I took my seat nearly in tears from containing my laughter. The flight was half empty so I was fortunate enough to not have to share my elbow room with anybody. As the plane begun to taxi, pulling away from the terminal, turning, I looked back at the terminal where I had been sitting. Standing atop one of the chairs by the window was Fluffy Beard, and it seemed he was waving his short, handless arm. In awe, I was oblivious to the stewardess who, in the meantime, had approached me and said, “sir, what would you like to drink?”

Quickly, I turned and fixated on her to reply, but as I did, her eyes diverted to beyond me—out the window—back at the terminal. And with her free hand she briefly waved back to my bewilderment. Where in the hell am I?


© Copyright 2018 Riovocci. All rights reserved.

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