On the plane I meditated or at least I tried to. Most of the time I get a seat to myself. These days it’s just a ****ing Greyhound in the sky. I am not the most handsome man and the tattoos don’t help. I always wear a baseball cap with the logo: “Talk to Me About Jesus”. That usually steers normal people away from me. But every now and again I get a winner. This gives me a chance to discuss religion, which is one of my favorite subjects. Especially since I am in the business of sending souls to meet their maker. These people are usually high on Jesus or hooked on dope. But hey I am just an arbitrator. You pay I play. You want to make a deal I’ll deal. I owe no one my soul except me. This trip it turns out is an exception to the rule. The most handsome woman I have every laid my eyes upon sits next to me. There are other seats open but she shimmies down the aisle and says, “excuse me is that seat taken?” I try to keep my cool but I sputter out “Yes, I mean no…”
“Well which one is it?” she says with a smile.
“Not taken,” I stiffly mutter back.
Before I can stand up she squeezes past me with her butt in my face. She’s wearing a pair of tight leather pants and I don’t see any panty lines. I ask myself why are you even thinking about that? I need to get my head straight and she is a distraction. She plops down in the window seat and asks me if I can hold her drink, I dumbly reach out and take it. It’s going to be a long flight.
“So where you heading,” she asks nonchalantly
I lie and say Hawaii.
“Oh my God, I have always wanted to go there. Do you have family there?”
“No I just like pineapples.”
She looks at me again with those green eyes. She is a dark haired beauty with a hint of Boston in her voice. Jaw cut of stone and olive complexion. I am smitten.
“Your ****ing with me, aren’t you?” she asks.
“No I really like pineapples.” I reply.
“Bullshit, you wouldn’t know a pineapple if it bit you in the ass.”
“Ok I give, I’m going to L.A. to kill someone. Do you feel better now?”
She stares and her eyes’ widen and for a moment, I think she believes me.
“Ok pineapples, dead people, **** you.” She says and pulls a pair of headphones from her bag.
“Hang on,” I said, “I’m just messing with you. What’s your name?”
“Anna…Anna Virginia Collins” and she extends her hand to me.
We shake hands and she asks me my name.
“Rick Powers,” I say.
“What’s with the hat?” she asks.
“I use it to attract weirdo’s”
“Well it’s working”
I laugh and say, ”Yeah they are usually not so pretty.”
“Well thank you, and by the way I don’t believe in Jesus.”
And we are off into a full-blown discussion of religion, which keeps us talking for at least and hour. I buy her a scotch, straight up, and we share some inner secrets. Then I realize I have got to get rid of this woman; otherwise, things could get dicey and I can’t compromise my client or the job. I become belligerent and act like I am drunk…nothing. She just laughs at me.
“I know a drunk when I see one and your not drunk,” she say’s pointing an accusing finger at me.
“Ok I’m not, I need some sleep though.”
“Alright sleep then,” she mutters and puts her headphones on.
I close my eyes and feign sleep but I can’t get her out of my brain. I can hear the restrains of “Roxanne” by the Police leaking out of her headphones.
Who is this woman? Finally I drift off and dream of pineapples and Sting.
I am awakened by something on my shoulder. I slowly open my eyes to find her head resting on my shoulder; she is asleep and snoring. I close my eyes and think why now? Twenty years I have lived alone and never really had a girl friend or thought about having one. Now I am in love with this person and I don’t like it.
“Anna,” I whisper. “Anna, I love you.” Nothing.
I nudge her in the ribs and she stirs.
“Did you just say I love you?” she says sleepily.
I lie and say, “No you must have been dreaming.”
The Captain comes over the radio and tells we are about to land. The waitresses in the sky scurry up and down the aisles picking up trash and drinks. Time to hit the ground.
When we land things are awkward, I don’t know how to say goodbye. Anna hands me her card shakes my hand and says goodbye. I let her go thinking that I am better off without her, but knowing it’s a lie.
Once my boots hit the ground it’s time to round up my gear. I have shipped it to predetermined location in L.A. paid for by my benefactor. You can’t carry that *****on a plane anymore without drawing a lot suspicion. Nobody needs a 9MM Mouser to shoot rabbits in America. I rent a car and head for Huntington Beach. There are enough tourist there to allow me to blend in with the locals. I always stay at the same cheap hotel. No one remembers me because the turnover is so high that I never see the same person when I check in.
Once in my room it’s time to check my weapon. I can’t live without her. Which her am I thinking about? This is not good.