Friday, July 31, 2015

Dangerous Journey



   Sean thought that the group of travelers waiting in the Keflavík airport was more of a mix than the last time he flew—when he was pretending to be his half-brother Billy. There were more tourists now, of course, it being the high season.  Sean’s emotional state was different now as well. Then, he was still reeling from the death of Billy as well as the hardball tactics of the U.S. embassy staff and the FBI. Now, he found himself involved again, albeit in a different role, but still part of the same plot. Then, pretending to be Billy, he had made love to Þora and quickly managed to insult her with his gift of Billy’s money. Now, he was now the father of Vilhjálmur, a two-year-old with a substantial source of child support. Sean shook his head slightly—he was more than a little amazed at the turn of events in the last thirty months.

   Sean looked over at Mary, who was dozing. Pregnant with their child—the ‘goddess’—Mary was radiant in her slumber.  Looking out the window to the tarmac, a transport jet was being loaded with what Sean took to be cartons of fish. “A never-ending cycle,” he thought, “eat or be eaten.” He turned back and looked at Mary. She opened her eyes.

   “You look troubled,” she said.

   “It feels as if we’re heading into the heart of a storm,” said Sean, “I’m apprehensive. About The Matriarchy, The Brotherhood, The FBI, and about the future of my children.”

   “It’s all part of evolution. We’re a part of it, but we don’t have any voice in the matter. Whether we triumph and prevail, or fail and are destroyed, it doesn’t matter. It’s as if we’re on an invisible chain gang, trudging on, waiting for the chain to break, so then we can… ” Mary paused, then continued, “… so when the chain breaks we can rejoin the chaos from where we emerged. As long as we live we can’t escape it. But we can make the chains lighter.  When they are finally light enough, the needless suffering of humanity—the cruelty and barbarism that we are so good at institutionalizing—will end. This will come to pass. Will you and I be part of this change? Will your son and our daughter lead us out of the darkness? It will happen, someday, if not to us, to others in the future. Perhaps the human race will have to die out and be replaced by other sentient creatures before this happens. We’ve had glimpses of it in the past, your grandmother has seen it, and I can see it. When it happens next will be as big a change as the discovery of language.”

   “So we can’t escape our fate,” said Sean.

   “By definition of the word, no,” said Mary, “But we can make the most of the journey on the way. Speaking of journey, they’ve started boarding our flight.”

   The flight was full. Mary and Sean’s seats were near the back of the plane. Mary took the window seat. Sean took the center and the aisle seat was taken by a man in a suit. When they reached cruising altitude Mary pointed to her ring. Sean put his on.

   “FBI?” thought Mary. “Or The Brotherhood?”

   “Maybe that’s why they didn’t put us in first class,” thought Sean, “Shall I try to start a conversation?”

   “That’s a good idea.  Find out who he is. I’ll keep quiet,” thought Mary.

   “First time in Iceland?” Sean said, addressing the man.

   “No, I’ve been here several times. I enjoy the culture,” said the man, “The name is Miller, George M. Miller. Did you have a good visit?”

   “I’m Sean, I had some family business to attend to, this was my second time.”

   “If I may be so bold, what do you do for a living, Sean?”

   “Data systems, and you?”

   “Data systems as well: I’m the sales manager of Tripping the Light Fantastic, a ride-sharing app. We like to think of it as Uber—with a heart. We’re in D.C., Baltimore, and Richmond, soon to be in NYC. Here’s a card; it’s got a $20 credit on it, call or text.”

   “I’m just passing through, on my way to Washington State.”

   “Hang on to that card anyway, we’re working on our West Coast roll-out, early next year.”

   “Thank you, Mr. Miller, I’ll do that.”

   “Just a hunch, but I’d say he probably isn’t with The Brotherhood or the FBI,” thought Mary. “I never thought I’d enjoy sitting next to a salesman.”

   “I’m inclined to agree.” thought Sean.

   “I’m going to ‘power nap’ now, you might want to take your ring off,” thought Mary.

   “I’ll take it off so I can get a chance to get some sleep—if Mr. Miller here doesn’t mind,” thought Sean, “I suspect the Feds will want a lengthy debriefing when we get there.”

   Mr. Miller was already engrossed in spreadsheets on his laptop.

   When the flight neared Dulles, the captain made an announcement:
We are now beginning our descent, there is some inclement weather in the Washington area and we may have to adjust our flight path. Please remain seated, with seat belts fastened and seats and trays in the upright position.
   The rain had already begun pelting the window. Mary woke up and looked out. She touched the fingertips of her hands together. She then slowly pulled them apart and as she did the rain stopped and the clouds parted before the airplane.

   “This isn’t the storm you have to fear, my love,” she said to Sean, “That’s still to come.”

   They landed, deplaned, got their luggage, and made their way to customs. Two customs agents and a man in a suit were waiting for them.

   “Ms. Robinson, Mr. Carroll?”

   It was the Richmond agent.

   “Please come with me.”





Fiction 

By Professor Batty