How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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North to Alaska: Will We Make it to the Airport?

When my sister, Mary, and I booked this trip, by way of Vancouver the year before, I’d been gung-ho. The day for departure had arrived, but my heart wasn’t in it.

The afternoon before our flight, I booked a taxi online, then called by evening to check the booking with a human being. Everything was fine. We were set.

When I go away, I use Gravity Pet Feeders (one for each cat with kibble and one full of water for both). That taken care of, Mary and I watched a movie when Dickens waddled to the sofa and sank into the carpet at my feet. His breathing laborious, heavy, and shallow, terrified me. Was he knocking on heaven’s door? What timing for a vet visit so close to our flight. Dollars spun in my head. I picked him up. His eyes were dull and half-mast. What to do? We analyzed the circumstances and an Aha moment struck. Unbeknownst to me, he and Lady Gaga thought they’d arrived at Kibble Heaven and gorged on the mountain of food before it disappeared. Dickens stuffed himself to bursting and had to wait it out. Lady Gaga, ever a lady, pushed away from the tray sooner than he. Just. An hour later Dickens’ breathing better, we toddled off to bed, I wrestling he’d make it through the night; Mary off to sweet dreams. Dickens isn’t her cat.

I never sleep well before a trip. Worried about the scheduled taxi pickup in the dark hours of the morning—more like the middle of the night—I woke up at 2 a.m. sleep gone. My bedside alarm finally jolted me out of a doze two hours later. The travel alarm I’d specifically purchased as a backup had failed. Mary’s phone alarm rang first. Good save.

Forty-five minutes isn’t a lot of time to get ready and out the door but we managed. Dressed, beds made, breakfast choked down, dishes rinsed and deposited into the dishwasher.

As I scrambled, the phone rang with an automated message that our taxi was in transit. Five minutes later, another call: the cab waited in the driveway. Mary gobbled her cereal as did I. My bags were already upstairs by the front door; hers in the trunk of her car.

What is it with taxi drivers with his personal items in the trunk, leaving little room for passengers’ bags? I’ve seen it happen before. He didn’t know how to position them to close the trunk. Exasperated, I leaned in and made them fit. Our carry-ons came into the back seat with us. I had asked for the $35.00 flat rate to the local airport. Agreed. You have to ask for it. Mary and I each kicked in $20 for a five-dollar tip, considering the ride lasted 15 minutes and the storage shortage in the trunk.

An airport attendant, mere feet from the door we entered, approached right away and helped with printing the boarding passes and luggage tags. The agent told us to bring our luggage to the conveyor belt and goodbye bags. They weren’t even weighed. How does that happen? Wow! Mary over-packs coming and going and fussed about paying extra for an overweight bag.

What a difference between Hamilton Airport and Toronto’s Pearson, or are domestic flights less complicated? A previous domestic flight we’d taken from Toronto was nothing like this one. No hassles: no crowds, long lines, miles to walk, and no belt or shoe removal. The Waiting Area was one minute away from—what else?—a Tim Hortons. Mary needed a coffee; I held off a few minutes. Fumble fingers me almost tossed the hot liquid all over myself when I did. How I managed a quick save, I’ll never know.

“What was that?” Mary asked with a smirk. A few minutes later, she up-ended her coffee on the table where her brown overflow carry-all/purse rested wide open with now wet contents. After our boarding passes had printed, the lovely attendant mentioned boarding would be late about an hour. Our Direct flight to Vancouver needed to be refueled and prepared for return there. I wondered why our boarding pass and the electronic posting still say 6:25 a.m. Mary had checked if the plane would be on time the previous night as you’re supposed to. Confirmed. Flight time not changed. By 6:40, the overhead flight information flashed:

Flight 241 departure 6:25 a.m. Delayed. Estimated 7:25 a.m. 

Thank you.

Our waiting area for Gate 3 had a scattered dozen souls. An announcement over the loudspeaker apologized for a minor delay: some valve(s) had to be replaced. Valve(s)? Didn’t sound minor to me. I believe in transparency, but this was scary news. Why were valves mentioned at all? And don’t say they are a minor fix. What’s minor about them? They all feel major to me since we’re to lift off into the sky.

~ * ~

Next on February 9, 2018: Where’s the Easy Button?

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

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#BlogBattle Week 8

This week’s theme is: Madness

To join, Check out http://rachaelritchey.com/blogbattle/

Madness

Mickey prowled the house. She paced from room to room, flicked through all 60 TV channels. Nothing interesting after another rotten day at work. I can go to the gym. No, don’t want to.

She hadn’t realized how graveyard still her house had become till her cell intoned the tinny version of a Rolling Stones top hit. Having wandered into the kitchen, she peered at the wall clock. Probably a telemarketer at 7:00 p.m.

An excited voice droned into her ear before she managed a hello. Yanking the cell away, she made a face and sighed. “I can’t understand a word. Can you slow down? Please” Working fingers through straight cinnamon hair, she prowled the length of the room.

A few words jumped out of the garbled rush, “…cruise…skill…question…”

“No thanks!” Her voice hung in the air, loud and ugly, as she flipped off the phone. “Why’d I pick up the darn thing?” She threw herself onto the sofa, limbs loose and sprawled like a rag doll.

She sat up. Attentive. What’s that? At first Mickey thought she’d imagined the faint sound. A baby crying? None of her neighbours were associated with any. She waited, then jumped up rushing to investigate outside the front and side doors and the windows open to the cooling May evening. The dead-end street remained silent. Empty. Lifeless. Waiting. Waiting for what? Stop it! Back and forth she strode down the hallway from the living-room to kitchen and back again. Listening between floor creaks.

“Meow.”

“We do not have a cat.” A laugh simmered in her throat and she set it free till she cackled, beside herself. Wiping aside tears, she opened the front door again. Nothing on the porch or on the road. No cats anyway, which wasn’t unusual. The two old ladies with cats lived further up the short street and kept them housebound.

This is crazy. It’s as if a cat’s in the walls. She laughed again but didn’t sound merry at all. Ears plugged, head light, her heart bumped and ground.

“Meow.”

Mickey yanked the broom out of the cleaning cupboard and poked about the kitchen beneath the chrome table and chairs and into all the empty corners. She continued through the bedroom, dining-room, living-room, and even the bathroom. She listened at the walls careful not to scape an ear on the white stuccoed living-room.

“Meow.”

Where is the darn cat? Slashing her broom like a saber, she tore up the L-shaped stairs to the second floor. Inside empty closets, in half-decorated bedrooms, around and behind unpacked boxes she poked and crawled. Nothing. Down the stairs and two short flights more to the basement she raced. Lights on, she surveyed the rec room: burgundy carpet and orange couch. Bleh. No turning down free anything thanks to her husband.

A basement window stared half-lidded. The only one without a screen. Open. The only one not painted shut. Stupid. Stupid. Up on the milk crate beneath the window she’d last opened it, Mickey removed the supporting pole and latched the window shut. “All quiet on the subterranean front.” She giggled, a nervous vibration. A cleansing breath in and another one out, then another; her heart slowed to a steadier beat. Laundry-room. Check. Furnace room. Check. Closet. Check. Behind the bar. Check. “No cats and no mice. All is quiet. ”

The broom back in the cupboard, she realized night had fallen. A glance at the clock announced 10:15. Wow, over three hours gone. Is this place haunted or what? Work tomorrow. Bedtime calls. I’m talking to myself now?

***

“Meow.”

Wide awake, Mickey had no idea if she was dreaming or not. Heart thrashing like a revving rocket, her eyes shot open. She couldn’t breathe. Where are you? What are you? Lightheaded and limb-rigid, she drew in air a silent gasp at a time.

“Meow.” The tone sounded angry and much too loud and close.

If it’s real, I bet the darn cat’s on the window’s ledge. Almost confident the cat yowled on the other side of the screen, she leaped out of bed. Hands swift behind the curtain, she wrenched the window pane down.

Miaow.”

“Shutup-Shutup.”

“Meow-Miaow.”

Hands over ears, Mickey shut her eyes and clenched her teeth. “You’re driving me crazy.” She grabbed her alarm clock-radio, pillow and blanket and slammed the bedroom door headed for the sofa. Sleep did not come. The plaintive meow persisted although weaker. She tossed and turned until the alarm jarred her into consciousness and onto the floor.

***

Tony sauntered in after his night shift as she finished applying mascara. “I’ve never been so happy to go to work as today.”

“Uh-huh.” He appeared tired as he kissed her on the cheek and headed towards the kitchen.

“Wait. I have to tell you— This house is haunted or something.” She rushed through the details until breathless.

Brow furrowed, her husband stared at her long and hard from the door jamb he leaned against.

“What? It’s madness, isn’t it. You think I’m crazy?”

”I hear it too. Wait here.” He flung the bedroom door aside. Mickey watched one-eyed around the corner as he pushed back the curtain. He roared with laughter, a belly laugh so deep he almost growled.

He called over his shoulder. “Come here.”

“Why?”

“Come here. You’re going to pee yourself.”

“Like I didn’t all last night?”

“Meow.”

Tony stretched out a hand towards her. “Come on,” he said shaking with mirth.

“Ta-da.” His eyes grew large and he rushed to catch her as Mickey folded into the floor.

A cat pinned between the inside window pane and the screen glared back with dark, curse-hungry eyes. “Miaow!”

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