Ancient History: Short Story: Doldrums of Delays

I wrote this while I was bored in the airport coming home from a pre-preseason trip to London with my Westminster College soccer team; I was just trying to write something amusing to keep me occupied.

Doldrums of Delays

I.

Ben Knauff is bored at the Newark International Airport. His flight has been delayed for three hours. Justin Rivas sits before Ben and yawns as he flips through the pages of a UK-Edition Maxim. A brunette model named Sophie graces the cover. To Ben’s left, Samwise impatiently waits for the flight to commence. He has urgent business in Pittsburgh; the Allman Brothers are teaming with Tom Petty for a “CAN’T-MISS” event. Rumor has it that Stevie Nicks may even appear on stage with Petty.

The plight of young Sam is shared by Blake Ordell (sitting to Ben’s right) and Cory Burns and Ande Saporito, who sit at 1:00 and 11:00 respectively. Nick Hoover is talking as usual. In between words he plays with his fingers. Rounding out this group are Garrett Horvath, Keith Little, and Todd Atwood. Todd incessantly types on his phone to an unknown recipient. Garrett and Keith are in the midst of a grueling match of movie wits (by way of a game developed by Nick Hoover). Since Nick is too preoccupied to supply Ben with a name for the game, the author of this tale will henceforth attempt an explanation of the rules: One player names a movie at random, after which the subsequent player/team must supply the name of an actor in the movie. The first player then has to supply another movie that said actor appears in. The game continues as such until one player “draws a blank.”

The airport seems to vary between stages of unrest. At present it is relatively quiet, but soon the concourse will be crowded once again. The volume of passengers seems to be taking a toll on the terminal, as small articles of trash abound on the blue carpet of gate 108B. Unfortunately, the maintenance lady who just walked by failed to notice the mess. Apparently, she is only paid to maintain the integrity of the trash cans…

Several newcomers have now entered the fray. Nathaniel Gibboney meanders over to Ben and asks him about a “love letter.” Silly man. Also joining the group is Steve Hogya, who views the author of this note with speculative curiousity. Mark Sadler and Girsh Thakar have taken seats in the fringes of the homeward bound group.

As Ben looks around he feels a certain familiarity to this airport. It’s almost intangible, yet present all the same. The gates are incredibly similar to their counterparts at Pittsburgh International, the airport from which Ben hails. It brings somewhat of a calmness to his mind, despite the calamity around him. As he gazes at the white walls, moving walkways, and large windows, he feels strangely at ease. That was, until two unexpected events forced Benjamin out of his reverie. Blake struck first, asking Ben to pick up his weighty luggage. Ben agrees, but in doing so loses his state of euphoric relaxation. Keith moves in for the kill, hitting Ben with a barrage of dance moves. Though he was caught unawares, Knauff is able to maintain a modicum of concentration. Soon thereafter he falls back into the lull of familiarity.

 

II.

            After much delay the group has finally found itself seated randomly on a Pittsburgh-bound 727. It seems as though concert and company have decided they must scalp tickets to recoup their money. Illegal! This writer won’t tell though. Ben is receiving far too many compliments for his writing. Someone should probably knock him down like Nate always does. Ben gazes out the window at his right side. The scene seems eternally unchanging: a retracted walkway, a mobile staircase, a tranquil luggage cart, a squat control tower in the distance. Across the aisle to Ben’s left, Garrett worries about his wounded knee while he tries to distract himself by reading a book titled, How to Live the Holy Life. A noble choice.

Meanwhile, Keith has lost himself in the fantasy realm of Ipodia. Who knows what thoughts are coursing through his mind to the gentle tunes of Mike Jones. Atwood has borrowed Ben’s pencil. Ben hopes he doesn’t use too much lead.

The plane finally taxis out to the runway at 7:11 PM. It was a 3:40 flight. Ben is rather distraught, as with each passing moment he is inching closer to a scheduled meeting with his Playstation at 9:00. He’ll probably miss it. In his restlessness, Ben follows Keith’s blank stare to the cracked and grassy runway outside. The scene afforded by the cell-like window is now noticeable different. Several planes seem to be in line for takeoff. Our captain informs us that he is going to try to “bully” his way in, but perhaps we are being bullied out of the way.

Nick lets out a hearty laugh in the back of the plane and proceeds into a joke about two old guys. It is met with scattered laughter.

The plane jolts to a start. Finally, home we come.

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