The Snake on the Plane

Maybe it was a mixture of Valium and pre-flight drinks or just the fear of going home; but after waking from an uneasy nap at 40,000 feet — the plane shuddering through turbulence, staring in terror at the emptiness of clouds — the slight tickle of a fly on Jeremy’s elbow, combined with someone else’s black cardigan poking between the seats, became something terrifying — a venomous snake or hairy tarantula waiting to bite.

The man next to him — whose name he would later learn as Archer Smedley, an insurance broker from London — with a plastic knife in hand, a knob of butter on the end, during mid-spread of a scone, became the unfortunate victim of Jeremy’s panic as a jerk and then a wild flailing of his arm, to bat away the imaginary reptile or arachnid, landed Jeremy’s elbow in the broker’s face, and the scone in his lap.

A few apologies later, a fresh scone, the misunderstanding resolved over drinks, the two got chatting; a mixture of guilt and gullibility forced Jeremy into purchasing some life insurance from Archer Smedley — with some discounted travel cover thrown in — but little did Jeremy know that this man — amiable, animated, gaudy though honest, with a dry sense of humour, a blood-stained gingham shirt, and a fractured nose — was the same person who had relieved him of his wallet and passport, leaving him stranded at the terminal with nothing but a sore arm and some phoney insurance papers in his hand.

© 2017 Occasional Dreams
In response to: Three Line Tales, Week 59
Image by: Brian Gaid

Many thanks to Sonya for hosting Three Line Tales.


4 Replies to “The Snake on the Plane”

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