Demeter fast forwarded to live scrying and served dinner. Throughout the meal, Persephone kept up her litany of complaints, so the mother was glad to finish the meal and close the door on her whining daughter. After cleaning up the kitchen, she plopped down on the sofa with the latest copy of Gods’ Magazine to see what the celebrities were wearing.
Before long, Zeus was back. “Hello, it’s Zeus. Our lines are so overloaded with calls the circuits have jammed. Please bear with us while we make repairs. In the meantime, here’s the latest from Philadelphia.”
“Thanks,” Mercury said from the screen behind Zeus. “Just a few moments ago, the flight attendants herded everyone back to their seats. The plane pulled away from the gate and quickly taxied to the runway. Then immediately, the pilot cut back on the engines. That’s when tears came to Jane’s eyes. Moments later, the pilot revved the plane again and began picking up speed for takeoff – but it was too late. Jane was all in. I don’t think Bill realizes she’s crying. He’s reading and she’s turned toward the window.
“Crying costs points,” Zeus reminded the audience.
“Even if she knew, I don’t think it would make any difference. She’s only human,” Isis lamented.
Demeter went to clean her face and get ready for bed. She was tired, but there was no way she’d be able to nod off until she knew whether Bill and Jane made it to their next flight. It wouldn’t take long for them to get to New York. Then she could sleep.
She was back on the sofa when Zeus said, “Hello weary gods and goddesses. Welcome back to Jagged Journeys. It’s nearly midnight in the States and our travelers have just landed in New York. How are things going, Mercury?”
“Not very well. They’re just beginning to deplane and they’ve lost a lot of points, even though it was a very short flight. Hunger’s making them edgy and fatigue is taking a toll,” then Mercury said, “Oh no!”
On the screen Eris, Greek Goddess of Chaos, Strife and Discord, drove a baggage cart and had Bacchus as a passenger. The deities conferred with the real baggage handlers and made up some excuse for being there, even though their cart was from another airline. The real handlers nodded in agreement. The mischievous pair started selecting bags as they came off the plane. The selections seemed random, but Demeter noticed they didn’t miss a single one of the Sadek’s bags. Then just as they started to drive away, Eris let out a sinister cackle and tossed a hang-up bag back onto the conveyer. A close-up of the tag proved it was Bill and Jane’s.
Zeus asked, “Why this turnaround for Bacchus, Mercury? He helped them in Philadelphia.”
“It seems to me he’s had a few drinks since then. He may not even realize these are the same passengers,” Mercury explained.
“Could you tell where they’re headed with the luggage?”
“No, it was too dark. I didn’t know those luggage carts could go so fast!”
The scene changed to the baggage claim area and Demeter thought it ironic the hang-up bag Eris tossed away was the first piece of luggage out of the chute. Bill grabbed it and put it with the carry-ons. Bill continued to look hopefully at every bag that came around. A few steps away, Jane hung on to a pay phone. As the conveyor rolled to a stop a collective groan rose from the crowd. Not one of them had gotten more than a portion of their luggage off the flight.
Zeus observed, “Eris and Bacchus didn’t take enough bags to disappoint all these people. The airline must have routed some of the bags to the wrong flight.”
“Mercury, has Jane reached anyone?” Isis asked.
“She’s on hold. She spoke to several people without getting much information.” On the screen, Mercury disappeared and Bill dragged their small pile of luggage over near the phones. She covered the mouthpiece and asked where the rest of it was. He just shook his head. Before she could ask more questions, she returned her attention back to the phone. Then she slowly hung up the phone, shaking her head.
Mercury re-appeared and said, “I just flew over to the other airport. The flight pulled away from the gate while Jane was on the phone with someone in the terminal. There’s no way they can meet up with their friends on this side of the Atlantic.’
Jane headed to the ladies room and Bill waited by the phones. Demeter thought he was probably too tired to do anything else. Just then an airline employee came out and announced to the crowd the luggage mess wouldn’t be resolved until the next day. There weren’t enough personnel on hand to take all the claims before the airport closed. The man handed cards to whomever wanted one, including Bill.
“What are they going to do, Mercury?” Zeus asked.
Mercury replied, “What can they do? The way your storm tore up the skies, every hotel room in the area is full. There are no rental cars and only a few taxies. Who knows if they would even be allowed to sleep in the terminal? This was the last flight in for the night.”
Zeus preened, “It was one of my better storms, wasn’t it?”
“No doubt a…” Isis began and then asked, “Wait, what time is it?”
“The clock just rolled to midnight here,” Mercury said.
“Then start adding points to the tote board,” Isis said, “because we’re gonna have listeners out there who want to help. Just look at Jane!”