lunedì, settembre 19, 2005

The Sequel

The Confessions of Julian Ahlquist

(A continuation of the post by Romulus below. Read previous post first in order for this one to possibly make sense.)

By Remus

I contemplated abandoning the cursed suitcase at a different terminal and having that one shut-down and swarmed with bomb-squads and airplane delays rather than our terminal, so that we would be just fine. But then I was overcome by the small residue of conscience I had left, as most of it had been eroded away by violent thoughts against the French. My heart oscillated in painful gasps as I surveyed the Airport battleground. To me, this suitcase was worse than a bomb. I wished it was a bomb, so then it would blow up and disappear and leave me alone. But no, it was a normal suitcase. It wouldn’t go away.

As I headed toward an alternate terminal, I threw myself at the mercy of the airport ticket agents, saying, “Excuse me, I thought this was my friend’s bag, but it isn’t. What should I do? It’s not my bag. I don’t know whose it is.” And I didn’t mention that I had brought it through security illegally.

They asked me, “What’s your airliner?”

And I shot back in haste, “Air France.”

To my chronic depression, they explained that this terminal was, in fact, not Air France but Luftansteinawitz or something wretched like that. They commanded me to take the terrible luggage back to the Air France terminal. This, of course, was out of the question, as the legalistic French weasel from hell was standing guard at those very gates with the knowledge of our sin.

At this point, I executed a plan which I had kept in the back of my mind if all diplomacy should fail. I charged into the bathroom, opened wide the stall, and set the suitcase upon the toilet seat. Here, I rested, meditating in silence what evil consequence might come should I give this bag a final resting place in this lavatory jail. How long would this hermitage outlive the janitorial world before some unsuspecting Mexican would drop his mop in terror and run for help to the bomb squad? The police would investigate the bag, and perhaps employ hidden security cameras to discover the idiot behind the scare. Surely, either man or camera would behold my entrance to the latrine with the bag and my exiting without it, and they would have their revenge.

The toilet was not the destiny for this unholy grail, so I discerned it had a vocation elsewhere. I decided to stuff the entire suitcase into a trash can. What legal snare could grip me then? People throw a bunch of stuff in garbage bins at airports, but they aren’t crucified for it. Why then could I not throw an illegal suitcase in it as well? The answer was simple in my case: it was too big. I thought about ejecting the contents first, giving the bag greater flexibility to sail through the opening of the can, but, alas, the case was built too solid, and jettisoning the cargo would not ease its wasteful travel. So I disembarked from the bathroom on the edge of despair in the sea of chaos where time and French sought my destruction.

I found a security guard gliding innocently down an escalator. I sought to make his life miserable by heaving this burden onto him for my own salvation. Maybe, just maybe, he would be the Messiah.

I proclaimed to him, “Excuse me, sir.” After which flowed from my lips a golden-tongued stream of the most Ciceronian eloquence rivaling the rhetoric of John Crysostom himself that could persuade anyone to do anything. This man, however, was not convinced. Mental reservation had dammed the tides of incriminating information, yet still this individual, after he asked, “Did you bring this bag into the airport?” (To which I replied ‘yes’ with great vexation), told me that it was my responsibility and that I should take it to Air France. I lamented to him, “I don’t want this bag any more. Just take it and incinerate it.” But no. He did, however, suggest that I could take it to the luggage office to plead my case there. And as the luggage office was not French, I agreed to this alternative.

Unfortunately, this new destination seemed like it was in France ... allegorically. It was quite a hike, and more like a painful sprint, as I was bearing this bane of bureaucracy as well as my two legitimate carry-on’s. My tongue, once so Ciceronian, became parched like desert. An endless canal of moving sidewalks was before me, crowded with Japanese people, forcing me out onto the immobile floor, making me rely on my own locomotion for success. At this dark hour, I became convinced that I would miss my flight. I would not be going to Rome. I would not enter the Eternal City. I would be left behind.

Yet still I kept going, almost indifferent to the law now. They could harm my body but not my soul so I didn’t care. I marched up to the Baggage Office and rejoiced sarcastically to witness of very long line congesting this alleged Baggage Office. I didn’t have time to storm this Bastille so I went up to an American, a guy standing near the place with a walkie-talkie, one who understood oppression and was not shackled to the Satanism of Bureaucracy, and said, “Sir, I thought this bag was my friend’s, but it’s not. I don’t know whose it is. I need to catch a flight.” With humane undertones in his voice he told me to get in line. But in my dying breath, I called out again, “I’m probably going to miss my flight. I’m really late.” And behold! The camel was cleaved in two! He hesitated and said, “All right, go catch your flight. We’ll take it.” He popped open his walkie-talkie and reported, “We have an unclaimed baggage in sector –” as I bolted for freedom. I did not look back.

Perhaps the bag erupted in a terrorist explosion for all I know, as I ran with my back to it, for God did not find even ten righteous bureaucrats there. I did not dare look back at Sodom and Gomorrah for a water fountain, though my tongue had turned into a pillar of salt. I persevered to the distant terminal, hoping that it had not been overrun by the enemy. I passed through, the French did not decapitate me, and I came into the Promised Plane. My friends tried to interrogate me about what I had done, but I simply smiled nervously, wondering if they might still be watching me. I sat down and prayed and when the machine took flight, I knew I had won. The bag had been destroyed, and I had not.

Upon sitting peacefully in my 2nd class seat, I remembered I had discreetly removed the name tag from the evil suitcase before we went through security. I reached in my pocket and found it. “Bryan Fox.” The airport had sent Greg Roth this suitcase claiming that it was his, even though the suitcase had “Bryan Fox” written on the tag. Why would they do that? Furthermore, why the heck didn’t we check the name tag before we tried to check it in!? We could have avoided everything! Idiot! Now poor old Bryan Fox will never see his suitcase again. It’s been incinerated. We have his phone number and e-mail address, though, and John and I thought about contacting him, but we wouldn’t know what to say.

But I’m glad it happened. I do fear my return to the United States, but I am confident that I can plead my case with legalistic subterfuge. Javert will be waiting. But I am Jean val Jean.


Blogger Sass said...

Dear, brave morons . . .
and those, horrid, horrid French . . . ! . . . . . .
poor, sad camel . . . . . . .

4:10 AM  
Blogger Follow my Whimsy said...

By the time you return something else will have happened and the entire episode will be forgotten or piled under a giant pile of other more important cases.

I also dislike the French.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Jen P said...

The vitriol against the French seems undeserved, but your story is a riot.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Donna-Katie said...

I'm actually kind of fond of the French myself.

1:53 AM  
Blogger Jen P said...

The French do many things well (wine, cheese, clothing, incorrupt saints). Unfortunately, bureaucracy is one of those things, too.

11:27 PM  
Blogger Captain Oblivious said...

I am speechless. My jaw is sitting on the floor of the computer lab and other people are wondering why I'm splitting my sides with laughter.

3:18 AM  
Blogger Follow my Whimsy said...

There's another thing the French do well. They have managed to successfully run their country on nuclear power. We could do that here if it wasn't for all the scaredy cats who think we'd just have another nuclear accident. The response to that is use the nuclear power-plant design from submarines.

6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonimo said...

I was directed to this humerous story from a friend of a friend of a friend...or something odd like that...but all I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed the Saga of the UCS (Unidentified Cursed Suitcase). Thanks for the laughs, and God Bless your time in Roma.
Johanna, FUS

1:03 AM  

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