TRAVEL

At the Whim of the Gods #8

The image of the travelers, on the screen behind Isis, spread out to fill the face of the water.  Demeter watched Bill sign a piece of paper. Then, a uniformed airline employee released the luggage and the contestants located an open space in the terminal to heap the bags. Jane dug out the largest bag, opened the top and pulled out a manila folder.  Spreading the folder open on the floor, she grabbed up a folded card.  A perplexed look crossed her face as she scrutinized it.

There was a moment or two of quiet and then Bill, his impatience showing, asked, “Well, where are we headed?”

 “It looks like you’re going to have to use that phone number. I can’t read this thing,” Jane said, holding the card out to him.

“I can’t call right now. It’s the middle of the night over there. Besides, international calls are expensive.” He snatched the card out of her hand, looked at the front of the card and shook his head in disgust. “What do you mean you can’t read it? It says Tammy and Ludgar plain as day.”

“Open it.”

Bill whipped it open and made a face, “What’s this?  There’s no Mr. and Mrs. Whoever stuff.”

Jane took back the card, “Well it starts out with a poem, but then the print gets smaller.” Jane squinted at the card.  “I can just manage to make out most of it, but I can’t read the name of the city at all.”

Bill grabbed the card back, holding it in several positions, “I can’t even read the poem.  Too many curlicues. And why is the print so light.”

“I think it’s grey ink.”

Zeus and Isis broke in to discuss the problem and decided if Tammy were playing the game, she would have had all kinds of points taken away from her.  Behind them Bill launched off on a tirade about anyone being stupid enough to send out an invitation people can’t read, but Jane turned her attention to the other pages in the file.  She glanced over one page after another as Bill went over to a stranger and asked if they could read the invitation. When the stranger was stumped, Bill returned and continued his rant.

Finally, Bill ran out of steam and Jane said, “I’ve gone through everything she sent us.  There’s nothing in there to tell us where the wedding is or what hotel we’re staying at or where his parents live.”

“Wait, I think his parents live right across the street from the headquarters of Ludgar’s company,” Bill said, obviously proud of himself for remembering.  He continued, “In fact, they sold the land for the original factory to the guy who started it.”

Jane smiled widely, “So, where’s that?”

Bill screwed up his faced trying to remember.  Finally, he admitted, “I don’t know.  I’m sure Ludgar’s mentioned it, but it’s just a small town somewhere.”

“Well, you could call his office back and ask them.”

Bill shook his head, “I’m not calling them again. They’re probably closed by now anyway.”

“It’s just now five.  Someone might pick up.”

“That receptionist wouldn’t give me the time of day and I’m not going to talk to his assistant again.”

“Yeah, but the city where the headquarters is?  Someone else might give it to you. You don’t even have to tell them who you are.”

Bill’s “no” indicated the discussion was over.

Jane sat on the floor next to the luggage and dug through the open bag. After choosing a few items, including a toiletries bag, she said,   “Well, at least I can go change my underwear.”

The deities discussed the couple’s options as Bill dug through another bag.  When Jane returned, Bill stalked off with his toiletries bag.  Jane repacked the erupting luggage and closed the biggest suitcase.  When Bill returned, Jane tucked his items into another bag and shut it.  The folder went into her carry-on this time.  Bill suggested they store the bags while they had some dinner.  Then they could discuss what they would do.

The deities were divided about whether this was a good idea or not.  “They’ve already shot their budget,” Zeus pointed out. “Storing the luggage is just more money down the drain.”

Isis countered, “Well I think it was a smart move. It’s still hours until their flight.  Imagine dragging through the airport with all those bags.  It’s about time they had a decent meal.”

“Their breakfast was decent,” Mercury said.

“And it was how many hours ago?” Isis asked.

 The judges agreed with the male deities and subtracted some pointes, but Demeter saw things the same way as Isis.

As the deities continued to discuss the merits of the contestants’ activities, the screen followed Bill and Jane to the luggage storage area and on to a restaurant.  After ordering their meal, Bill presented a compelling argument for calling it quits and going home.  Jane was mulling over her response when the meal was delivered.  She suggested they eat their meal and let her think about what he’d said.

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