Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Cat in the Duffel Bag: How I Learned to Never Change My Seat at the Airport

The following is a true story, partially written one year ago. Every conversation and action actually occurred in this story, which has been fragmented to encompass the most noteworthy of incidents aboard Flight 914, Phoenix to Saint Louis, on U.S. Airways. The date was March 12, 2011. I still have the boarding pass.

Flying is one of our greatest achievements. We defy logic with every time a gigantic metal bus leaves the surface of our planet, performing what could only be considered a miracle in the time of the Renaissance. I often think back to points in the human race’s past, where the technologies we have today were impossible by and large, and think of how fortunate I am to live in the era that I do, where musical recordings can be captured and their brilliance cherished forever, or where the Internet allows us to talk to would-be friends on continents we may never grace with our presence.

We are a lucky species living in the best time period the world has ever witnessed, laughing in the face of logic with every time those back tires leave the ground, soaring through and above the clouds until they resemble breaking waves skimming the top of the ocean, a sight so beautiful that our ancestors would have shed tears of joy to behold. Now, don’t you feel like an asshole for bitching about paying $2.50 for a bag of pretzels?

I love flying, and I fly frequently. The spontaneous nature of my occupation as a freelance journalist sends me across the country on a regular basis, but I never dread flying. Sure, the airports themselves are a pain in the ass, but isn’t it worth it for the act of flight? It’s sort of like an amusement park: nobody likes waiting in line, but by the time you’re flying around at breakneck speeds on the roller coasters, you’ve forgotten all about it.
In March of 2011, I was invited to visit San Francisco, California on business with Facebook gaming mega-giant, Zynga. It was but for a brief 36-hour period, but memorable times were had. After my business meeting, I decided to pack it in and arrive at the airport around 4pm; I slept grimly on the eve of the Japanese tsunamis, knowing several acquaintances in the country with whom I had yet to hear from, and looked forward to resting at the airport prior to my departure several hours later. Upon arriving and checking in, I decided to move my seat down from the middle of the plane to the very last row, swapping my aisle seat to a cozy window view during a very long red eye flight; after all, I rarely have the chance to see multiple cities’ skylines during the early AM hours, as I would be in the air from 9pm until 6am with a minor stop-gap in-between.

Up until this point in my life, the mistakes I have made have been miniscule. With three taps of my index finger against the touch screen, I ruined every positive experience I have undergone and will undergo in the future while defying logic 35,000 feet in the air.

The flight to Phoenix, Arizona was peaceful. The darkened cabin of the aircraft provided the comfort needed after a long day of boardroom meetings on little sleep. The city skyline of San Francisco lit up the blackened ground like fireworks in the night’s sky, and in-between lay millions of street lights, porch lights, and headlights, resembling the stars of the sky that gravity kept to itself. Once the clouds lay at our feet, the moon greeted us in all of its remarkable, natural beauty, casting light upon the clouds as it does against beds of water. The dreams of our ancestors, so far from their realities, yet so similar to the visions they had from the outside. This is why I enjoyed flying.

We landed in Phoenix on time. All around me was the chatter of newfound acquaintances – if only for the night – taking in the tranquil flight and properly-conceived small talk. A nearby pair of strangers playfully flirted, bonding but for a brief moment before never seeing one another again. Me? I sat alone in my row, stretching my legs across the center and aisle seats while taking in my view. As we docked, I took in the final moments of what could only be described as one of the best flying experiences I have ever experienced.
Yin, meet Yang.

The Phoenix terminal is my least favorite in the country. The bland brown and silver color scheme and sharp design resembles a 1960s decorating disaster that has been renovated to accommodate the fashion of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s – possibly the worst of both areas. It is one of the few terminals where I know something will go wrong, even at midnight.

Everything went according to plan: I deboarded from my plane slightly before schedule, a bathroom was located immediately across from where we docked, and connecting gate was not too far from where we arrived. Unlike an O’Hare jog from one side of the airport to the other in fifteen minutes (I do not recommend it), I was surrounded by fellow sleep-deprived zombies who shuffled their feet to their respective gates, the slow rotating clicks of wheeled suitcases being pulled at a walking pace, and the occasional nighttime cleaning crew’s vacuum, all passive in nature and the exact opposite atmosphere you would typically associate with airports.

The calm before the storm.

I did not notice them when I arrived at my gate thirty minutes before our departure time. Reading “The Stranger” by Albert Camus while also warding off sleep, I blocked off everything and everyone around me without the God-like credentials of a public announcement speaker. I would not realize why I had not come across the perpetrators who killed my love of flying until wedged against the window, hoping for an asteroid to somehow collide with the plane, approximately ninety-two minutes later. The gate was crowded, but not impossible to find some time to relax; everyone around me was equally exhausted as I, and it seemed as though we came to a mutual understanding that we would all keep our voices low, and drift about the next five hours as passively as humanly possible.

“We would now like to greet those customers flying with us to Saint Louis, Missouri sectioned in Boarding Class Three,” said the deity over the intercom. This is code for “You’re at the lowest tier of how much we give a shit about you,” as the First Class passengers and frequent fliers with American Airlines received the initial treatment of fake hospitality and painted-on grins. Me? I was in no rush; sitting at the very back of a red eye flight will leave you without worry on exactly how soon you board. The sooner you’re on, the longer you have to sit and wait. Being the (seemingly) last person aboard the plane, I noticed my row was empty once again. With a smile, I pulled out my secondary novel, World War Z by Max Brooks -- a lengthier read for a longer flight back home -- and sighed with relief at the prospect of having another row to myself. “Good choice,” I thought to myself in reflection of swapping seats at the airport.

It was then that I heard a scuffle. I raised my head from my book to find a woman taking up the light of the aisle, like a drug-drenched lunatic in Charles Manson’s family blocking the sun from the desert. At forty-two years of age, the woman stood around five-ten and was several hundred pounds overweight. She was with her acne-laced teenage son, whom looked as solemn as a scorned puppy that has been bruised at the hand of his master for no apparent reason. Many people remark on love at first sight, how they knew that their beloved was the one person they would love for the rest of their lives the second they laid eyes on them. Likewise, they claim that when they first laid eyes on the man who robbed them at gunpoint, they knew he was trouble; they talk about how he had a bad vibe about him, or how he acted odd. I am an optimist, one who attempts to find the good in all and gives everyone their fair shake. I am not one of those people. I made no such connection. I never saw it coming.

The pair sat down across the aisle from me on the left side of the plane. I attempt to continue reading, but found it hard to concentrate over the undecipherable babble hitting my left ear like an infection. It was whiny and high-pitched with a southern twang in a woman’s voice, while the young man spoke in hushed tones, almost parent-like in attempting to contain the squeals. My curiosity, at this point, had peaked; exactly what was going on over there, anyway? Why did it sound so risqué? Was the young man embarrassed by his mother? Was she saying something embarrassing about him?

“Excuse me, sir, but you have my seat.” My train of thought was cut off abruptly. I looked up to find a man in uniform, presumably going to war, as I saw his wife and child saying their teary goodbyes prior to boarding and made a mental note of it; it is quite hard to enter a terminal without a boarding pass. The Marine was not speaking to me, however, but to the embarrassed young man to my left. “Oh, I’m sorry, we’ll move,” said the teenager.

“Just who the fuck do you think you are?” bemoaned the mother. “We got here first, so these are our seats.” My pupils had to have dilated when the terror of the situation dawned on me. They had two seats, but were misplaced. The plane was near capacity, and as I began counting heads in the twenty-one rows ahead of me, I slowly came to the realization that there were but two empty seats together on the plane, and they were beside me. “Ma’am, I do apologize, but my ticket says that your son is in my seat,” said the Marine. Right as I began to invite the military man to sit in one of the two empty seats beside me, the woman obliged. “I’m sorry son, you’re fighting for our country, I shouldn’t-a snapped at you,” she mumbled in accordance with fulfilling his request.

The young man, who I would come to know as Moochy, sat beside me in the middle seat. His nameless mother, who has been burned into my memory as “Momma,” hung out over the aisle seat. Moochy was pressed firmly against my left hip, removing the option of accessing my iPhone beyond the basics of turning it off prior to the flight.

“I’m sorry, mister,” Moochy said with slight enthusiasm, “Momma is taking up a lot of room. “ I explained that my best friend, who I had flown with in the past, was also heavyset, and I did not mind his intrusion of typical airplane space etiquette; in fact, I sympathized. He smiled out of what I would soon learn to be relief as Momma reached into her carry-on bag.

“Those no good fuckers STOLE my other bag, so I had to keep this one with the sandwich in it,” she explained to no one in particular. “Momma, please keep your voice down, there’s a baby up there,” Moochy begged of his mother. “You can’t be swearin’ like that with li’l ones around, they’ll pick up on it.”
“Can you believe him!?” Hell hath no fury like a Momma scorned. “My own son, my Moochy, telling me to shut up!” She nudged the seat in front of her, occupied by a sleeping middle-aged woman. “Hey lady, I’m sorry to wake you up, but can you believe this?” My pupils focused on the carnage at hand. “I’m sorry, I was asleep… What did you need, ma’am?” This woman was more polite than she had any right to be, given the situation. Momma asked again, “Have you ever in your life seen a boy so disrespectful to his own mother?” Moochy sulked in his seat, cheeks blazing with embarrassment. “Oh... Well, I really don’t know. I’m sorry,” the bewildered woman replied.

“Momma, you got to stop this, you’re embarrassing me,” Moochy once again begged. “You had too many drinks, why did you do this again to me?”

“Don’t you tell me what I can or can’t drink,” Momma snapped back. “I only had seven martinis, it’s not like I’m drunk!” If this is her sober, Heaven forbid. “Besides, when did you get the balls to speak to a lady like that? You ain’t never had a girlfriend! You hear that, everybody? My son thinks he’s got the balls to speak to me and he’s never stuck his willy in nothin’!”

“Momma!” Moochy was livid at this point, and rightfully so. “Why don’t you try to go to sleep?”
“I ain’t tired! Boy—I mean, sir,” she was addressing the Marine from the former incident. “I didn’t mean to be disrespectful, I love America,” she confessed through crocodile tears, “but I got a question for you.” The Marine nodded and smiled, likely reconsidering his commitment to the military, given the specimen he now knows he is protecting. “Have you ever seen such a pathetic panty-waste of a boy than my son? I bet you get a piece of ass a lot ‘cause you’re good lookin’ and all, but my boy has never been with a woman.”
“No ma’am, I am happily married and have a son,” the Marine replied. “Your son looks like a fine young man.”

Blowing spit in the wind through an exaggerated brush off to what the Marine said, Momma instead began crying real tears after a small, precious moment of silence. “Why did Robbie have to move to this Godforsaken city we’re going to?” Momma addressed the question to Moochy, who had been playing his Nintendo DS. He ignored her question as he directed his attention into disappearing into his outdated Pokemon game, being the iteration of 2003’s Pokemon Ruby.

Moochy leaned in to me with a question. “Have you ever played Pokemon?” I nodded, explaining what I do for a living as a freelance gaming and movie journalist. “Oh wow, so have you caught them all?” I began to take a liking to Moochy, a fifteen-year-old-ish outcast who life had spit at, given his living environment. He was polite, albeit simple, but anything beyond his mother was a success in my eyes.

“Moochy! Stop ignoring me!” She threw a light punch, connecting to his stomach. “Momma! Stop it, that hurt!” Moochy dropped his portable gaming device onto the duffel bag lying at his feet in reaction to the punch, clutching his stomach. Momma gasped in fear. “How could you do such a thing!?” Her face contorted in horror, as mine would soon after. “Kitty’s in that bag!”

“Kitty?” I butt into the conversation. I should have kept my mouth closed.

“Yes sir,” Momma replied, her eyes rolling from the alcohol like a seasick, brandy-infused pirate. “Our baby kitten, Kitty, he’s in our bag. Moochy had to keep him instead of the one with our snacks because he just had to have a goddamn kitten,” she said through a half-lit scowl.

“Prepare for take-off,” said the pilot. Our journey was beginning. “Please stow all of your personal electronics away until we are well in the air,” continued the flight attendant.

Moochy reached for his Nintendo DS, which Momma quickly snatched from his hands. “Did you not just hear what the lady said!?” Her eyes were more demented than before. “You have to turn this off!” Moochy looked terrified. “Momma, that’s why I grabbed it, I just wanted to turn it off.” Momma held the long, slender portable device sideways like that of a quarterback holding a football and threw it with her left hand into the floor of the plane, the Pokemon Ruby game cartridge jostling loose from the system and scattering underneath the second row to the left of ours – or so I assume from her pointing when Moochy asked what happened to his game. His Nintendo DS’s casing cracked on the lower right-hand corner.

“I shut it off for you,” Momma said as Moochy’s eyes filled with tears. “You’re too unresponsible [sic] to do anything by yourself.”

Moochy began to silently cry to himself. Pokemon clearly meant a lot to him in a life riddled with pain and the death of aspirations. I felt awful for him. In retrospect, I should have stood up for him then and there; hindsight is a wonderful thing, however.

As the plane hit high speeds and shook near the back—a common occurrence when sitting in the rear of an airplane—Momma began to panic. “Oh my God! Oh my God! We’re going to crash!” Momma began screaming aloud, attracting the attention (mostly annoyance) of those in the nearby three to four rows. Moochy was too destroyed to lift his head from his lap.

After thirty minutes of silence from Moochy, who continued to look sullen from the possible destruction of his beloved video game, I decided to take initiative in cheering him up. “Hey, do you like zombies?” I presented Moochy with the book I was failing to read over his mother’s inane mutterings to herself, or anyone she pretended was listening to her. She began inquiring as to how much longer the flight would be fifteen minutes after take-off. “Yeah, I sure do!” Moochy perked up in a jiffy at the subject. “I’m a bit of a zombie buff, myself,” I explained, “I know all the ins and outs in case of a zombie invasion.” He took a liking to the jovial conversation, a far cry from what he had grown accustomed to. “Yeah, I love zombies,” he beamed, “I often daydream about what it’d be like to be in a zombie apocalypse.” Oh, Moochy. I don’t blame you.

“Just what the Sam Hell do you think you’re doin’, Moochy!?” Momma was roaring. “Quit pestering that man, he can’t read his book with you interrupting him.” I take the blame, citing that I asked him if he had read it. “Oh Lord naw, Moochy can’t read,” she revealed. Moochy looked stunned. “Yes I can,” Moochy refuted the claim. “You just never pay attention to me enough to know it.” I handed Moochy my book, mentally noting the page I was on and giving him free range to escape the Hell of his mother’s scorn.
“Moochy, why don’t you love me? You know how nervous I get when I fly and I didn’t want to move to this awful place and your brother made me,” Momma whined. “You shouldn’t have let me drink so much, you’re letting your poor mother become an alcoholic.”

“But I tried to tell you to stop, you just don’t listen,” Moochy explained to his understanding and kind parent. “You told me I can’t tell you what to drink since I’m not old enough to drink myself.”
Momma let out a loud scoff to declare her victory by seniority over her offspring. “That’s right,” she said. “You ain’t no man yet, boy, so don’t you tell me how to live.” Was this really happening? “Now I want another drink, where’s that waitress at?”

I was fully expecting—and hoping for—the pilot to announce that this whole flight had been an elaborate prank on me. It certainly did not seem plausible; everybody became more cartoonish and preposterous by the literal minute. How would I honestly tell everyone about this with a straight face? Who in their right mind would take this as truth? Could you even begin to make up something so terrifyingly bipolar? This flight had become a stream of consciousness similar to that of a life-altering drop of hallucinogenic substances. My third eye was open, thanks to a couple of rednecks relocating from Bumfuck, Washington to my hometown.
“Hey lady,” Momma knocked on the seat in front of her. The woman had been rattled by her last interaction with Momma to the point that sleep was no longer an option, especially over the incessant whining of the beleaguered whale behind her. “Do you know why I call my son ‘Moochy’?” The woman thoroughly ignored her question, but Momma carried on as if she needn’t a person to direct her inquiry to. “It’s because he ain’t done a goddamn thing—I’m sorry, Jesus, I love you, I did not mean that—but he ain’t done a gosh darn thing except use me for my money since he popped out of me.”

“Well, I believe that’s the purpose of having children,” the woman finally responded. “You have them and raise them right, and hopefully they will be able to take care of themselves once they grow up.”
“Yeah but ol’ Mooch is a pain in my fat ass, I tell ya that,” Momma retorted. “He won’t ever turn out to be nothin’.”

“Momma, shut your mouth!” Oh Moochy, don’t. Just stay quiet and take the punishment. “All you’ve been doing all night to these people is spouting your loud ass mouth and they’re all sick of hearing it!”
Hooray, he said what we were all thinking.

The thud could be heard over the engine, though my hearing in my left ear has always been sharper than that of my right. Her knuckles connected with Moochy’s left arm. I was shocked, though I could not figure out exactly why; was I shocked that she just legit punched her son, or that she could contort her overly large body to the point of actually making it happen? Mooch let out a shriek of pain as the skin broke on his arm, bleeding slightly. His mother held out his arm as a trophy. “See what I did? Hah, that was good,” she said while holding up the ring on her finger, now engraved across the flesh of her child.

A flight attendant was called to the back after the incident. The demands for her to control her voice—not anger—were directed at her teenage son rather than her. Clearly, the flight attendants wanted nothing to do with Momma, nor did they feel like addressing the public display of affection that we all just witnessed. Judging from the bleeding arm of her spawn, I’m fairly certain he could not control her actions or verbal communications to no one in particular.

Momma interacted with said flight attendant, asking her how much longer the flight would be. “Forty-five minutes to an hour,” she said. We had barely been in the air that long. As someone who travels to and from the Phoenix airport frequently, I knew that was a blatant lie. Roughly three hours remained in the flight.
“I wish you didn’t hate me, Moochy,” Momma began crying—sobbing—aloud. “I’ve tried so hard to raise you into a good, caring man.” Moochy followed her lead with the tears this time instead of brushing her off. “Momma, I love you. I don’t know why you think I don’t.” Momma slapped him, albeit lightly by comparison to her precious blood-bringer. “Don’t you lie to me, I can tell by the way you talk to me that you’re embarrassed by me.” Who wouldn’t be?

“I just think it will be different once Robbie’s around,” Moochy said of his presumed-elder sibling. “Once we get to Robbie’s and get used to everything, it’ll all be good again,” he explained through the tears. I envisioned Robbie in my head and shrugged off the vision steadfast. This family need not expand in my mind. Momma finally settled down for a while.

Thirty minutes or so had passed since the last audible conversation between the now-sleeping Mooch and his pouting mother. All was finally quiet in the bubble of the plane we had been exiled to. I catch a fleeting glance of the woman in front of Momma, comfortable with her head drawn to her husband’s shoulder. The Marine sat erect with tremendous posture, something miniscule that I admire and envy in military personnel. All seemed fine, at last.

“Moochy! How dare you!”

Some things are too good to be true.

The once-asleep teenage boy sprung up from his nap in a daze, seemingly forgetting where he had been. Back to Hell, son. With a swing of her fist, Moochy laid back to slumber. What was intended as abuse for Moochy instead connected with my left shoulder, absorbing the blow for the sleeping beauty. I’ve been punched by stronger beasts than the Mommasaurous. I’m just happy that she was, in fact, not attempting to tenderize me for a later serving.

“Look what you made me do! I just hit that poor gentleman over there because you ducked out of the way like the coward you are,” Momma laid into Moochy, who was beginning to come to realize the situation’s gravity.

“Momma, I swear I was just sleepy,” pleaded the Mooch. He turned to me. “I’m really sorry,” he said.
“It’s fine,” I replied, “just stop punching your kid, please.”

If glares could kill, I’d be put out of my misery at the pupils of Momma. She obliged and did not strike Moochy again throughout the flight. Between her cries of how long the flight was, it became apparent that what she was infuriated by was Moochy’s ability to sleep on the plane. She could not get comfortable with her large frame on an aircraft, and thus could not fall asleep. If she couldn’t sleep, then poor Moochy sure as hellfire would not catch a wink for the remainder of the flight.

“I need a piller, [sic]” she said in reference to a pillow. Moochy obliged in forking over his own for her comfort. “No, you dumb fuck, I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout this. You know the drill.”

“Aw Momma, I don’t want to, you’re too heavy,” he replied.

Her forceful stares eventually made Moochy cave in to her demands, as possibly the strangest thing of the evening unfolded before my very eyes. Moochy unbuckled his safety belt and curled up across her protruding belly, his upper body working as a cushion for her mound of flesh from the waist up. She dug her elbows into his sides strenuously, as if to watch him writhe in discomfort.

“You’re an awful piller, [sic]” she laughed. “Be still, asshole.”

Fed up with his squirming from her jagged bones carving into him, she requested his hand. Upon receiving it, she put his middle finger to her lips and bit into it. Yelping in pain, Moochy jerked back into his seat as her laughs awoke the poor woman in front of her. “You fuckin’ crybaby,” she exclaimed as Moochy used his napkin to wrap the finger, which was likely bleeding.

“Why did you do that for!?” Moochy was once again angered. His mother laughed harder at his reaction to her act of cruelty, stirring even more nearby passengers from their slumber.

“I did it because you never listen when I tell you to do things,” she calmly explained for the first time of the night, as if she were teaching her child a fundamental lesson. “I told you to sit still and be comfy and you just couldn’t do that, you kept wigglin’ back and forth.”

All remained quiet over the next fifteen to twenty minutes, with Momma eventually bothering her northern neighbor once again. “Hey ma’am, I’m real sorry to keep bothering you,” she said through a false smile, “but what’s Saint Louis about?”

The woman seemed as puzzled as I was. “About? As in the history of Saint Louis?”

“I guess so,” Momma said. “Have any historical figgers [sic] been through there, like Christopher Columbus or John Wayne?”

A yelp of laughter escaped my mouth as the woman replied through what I could see was a smile between the head rests, “I don’t believe John Wayne was a historical figure, dear. He was an actor in western films.”
“Oh,” Momma said before laughing at herself. “I don’t see a lot of movies.” Or pay attention in a lot of classes.

Soon after this conservation, Momma began to squirm like that of her son’s pillow adventure. “I’m going to shit all over myself,” she expressed exuberantly. “These bathrooms are too little for me, Moochy.” Moochy sighed again in disbelief, as though even he could not believe the size of the tumor Momma was causing in my brain.

When she arose to attempt to squeeze into the bathroom once more, I made my break for it. I smiled at Moochy and told him I’d be right back. I hoped to be wrong in that assessment, more than anything in my life before it. My eyes frantically searched the aisle, counting heads among the seats, hoping for an empty spot anywhere but the Hell I left behind. Twice my hopes were high only to find slouching passengers, sleeping uncomfortably with their necks against the shoulder rest. The third time was a charm.

I feverishly asked the man in the center seat if the unoccupied space beside him was taken. He answered honestly by saying that it was not. I plopped down beside him and shook the hand of both him and the lady to his right. They were the exact opposite of Momma and Moochy, a young twenty-something couple comprised of good looks, culture, and rational thought. A foreign blonde bombshell and a scruffy, snarky smart-aleck; these were my kind of people.

I explained exactly why I had to move up to their row. Their eyes lit up in the fashion of meeting someone who—somehow—is in on the same inside joke that you thought to have created. “You had to sit next to her?” They saw her exploits prior to boarding, all the while this unsuspecting victim of his own circumstance was zoning out. “Did you see her carry-on?” The man asked with his eyes still wide with excitement of the stories I had to tell. “Be sure to check out her carry-on when she comes back through, it’s see-through luggage loaded with boxes of tampons.” I cringed.

“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to be quiet,” the flight attendant said to me after a tap on the shoulder. I suppose I am an easier target than that of an angry, hungry four-hundred-pound gorilla who tries to literally eat her offspring several rows back. I was so bewildered by the order for obedience that I could not reply. I sat mouth agape at the logic in asking me—who was speaking in a hushed tone—to calm down, all while a woman abused her child and assaulted a passenger for three hours without a care.

After an hour or so of talking with probably the best flight companions I’ve ever had in my journeys on a myriad of topics from politics to religion to child-abusing she-beasts, the plane had docked. My lifelong travel angels and I held back and waited for the stars of our discussions to deboard the aircraft. Moochy quickly piled out at the craft, leaving his mother to shamble amongst herself.

“Praise the Good Lord, Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior,” Momma shouted in happiness.

“Hallelujah,” said my newfound friend to my right.

I walked with the better pairing of the two I had sat beside on Flight 914 out of Phoenix to the luggage claim and said our goodbyes, parting them with souvenirs I had picked up on the promotional wing of my business trip. They earned them for offering me asylum from the wicked. As I obtained my luggage, which was lucky enough to have been spared such a terrible adventure, I walked to the exit only to find Moochy, Momma, and Robbie, who looked exactly as I imagined him: tall, big, nasty. Ten or so boxes of Playtex were pressed up against the clear luggage atop Robbie’s gargantuan shoulders.

I still have the boarding pass for Flight 914. I am planning on framing it as a testament to my ability to survive. I only wish I would have helped Moochy more than I tried to.