16 Aug 2009 @ 7:42 PM 

Chapter 2

Chapin got out of the cab and began walking toward the check in counter.  It had been a short trip so she just had her small, rolling suitcase and her laptop bag slung over her shoulder.  She walked through the sliding doors and looked around.  The airport looked abandoned for the most part.  As she made her way to the escalator she passed the ‘Jebus Counter’ as she liked to call it.  It was normally manned by volunteers with little “Jesus Loves You” or “W.W.J.D” badges, under the guise of “Information” but as soon as you asked them for directions or where a good place to eat was, they gave you a cup of coffee and cookies, handed you pamphlets about accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior, and wanted to talk about religion.  Since it was 2 o’clock in the morning the counter was abandoned.  “Don’t they think someone may need ‘information’ in the middle of the night?” she chuckled to herself.

Chapin was in no real hurry since her flight didn’t leave for another hour and a half.  She went to the counter but no one appeared to be there.  She used a nearby courtesy phone to see if she could get checked in.  The voice on the other end sounded very sleepy but assured her that someone would be right out.  Chapin felt a little guilty for waking anybody up, but she did, after all, have a flight to catch.

While she waited, Chapin looked around the airport.  The ceilings were over 30 feet high and reminded her of the ceilings in some of the halls she used to play recitals in when she was in college.  You see, she had only minored in Journalism.  Her major was music and, while she enjoyed what she did now, she longed for the days of sitting behind a piano and playing some of the great jazz standards with a small combo.  She had been a better than average pianist throughout high school and college, but not much more.  But she loved to play and had always wanted to be a professional musician, just not a struggling one and Jazz Journal let her be around great music and musicians without having to take any financial chances.

The check in clerk appeared through a curtain behind the ticket counter, wiping sleep from his eyes.  His button down white shirt and cheap blue slacks were wrinkled terribly and it was quite obvious he had been taking a nap.  She handed him her ticket.

“I’m heading back to Chicago,” she proclaimed.  He looked at her with only a forced smile.  She realized he didn’t care but she was tired too and would have liked a little positive reaction, especially considering how much had been paid for these tickets.

“Any bags to check?” he asked, eyeing Chapin’s rolling suitcase.

“No, just the carry on,” she replied.

He looked at her computer bag.  “More than one carry on is gonna cost you $75 and I’m not sure that one is small enough.  We’d have to check it.  He covered his mouth as he began to yawn.  “’Scuse me,” he said just before the yawn was through.

“They let me take both as carry on when I flew in yesterday,” she said.  I can’t believe the planes compartments have changed sizes in 36 hours.”  She was tired and didn’t need this harassment.

The clerk paused.  “I’m sure it hasn’t maam, but I would have to check the luggage for myself.”

Chapin looked around the airport, again noting how empty it was and continued.  “It doesn’t look like space is going to be an issue on the plane to me.  Does it to you?” Chapin said with an almost growling tone.

“Look maam, I have to follow regu…”  Chapin cut him off.

“We can stand here and argue about this until the flight leaves in an hour and a half or you can just stamp the ticket and I’ll be on my way and you can go back to your nap.”  She had clearly had enough, but was determined.  Now it was the principal of the whole thing and her Irish temper was coming out.

The clerk paused for a moment and looked her right in the eyes.  “You know.  You’re right.  It makes no difference in my paycheck.”  He stamped the ticket, pulled a boarding pass off the printer and handed the pile to Chapin.  “There ya go.  Have a pleasant flight, maam.”

“And you have a pleasant evening, sir.”  She was quite surprised that trick had worked.  Although she had been prepared to stand there arguing for quite a while, she was fully expecting to lose.

The clerk disappeared behind the curtain and Chapin tossed her laptop bag over her shoulder, grabbed her suitcase and headed for security.

Security was not on Chapin’s list of the most fun things to do.  She had been singled out a couple of times for the full search:  The wand, the pat down, the whole shebang.  She felt like she was being felt up by the high school quarterback after the game.  But she considered it a necessary part of her job so she stepped up to the line.

“Remove your shoes and everything from your pockets and place them in the tray,” the TSA guy said.  He had a very creepy voice, Chapin thought.

“You not even gonna buy me dinner first?” Chapin mumbled under her breath.

“Ordinarily no, but for you I might make an exception,” he said  while clearly stareing at her ass while she removed the shoes.  Chapin thought he sounded remarkably like Vincent Price in a bad horror movie.  She had no idea he would have heard her.

“Sorry,” she said, not trying very hard to conceal her embarrassment.

“Don’t be”, the guy said.  He was now visibly bending over the conveyor belt to look at her.  She shot him a look and he sat up straight with a very lecherous grin plastered across his lips.  She tossed the shoes in the tray, along with her keys and some pocket change,  threw each of her two bags up on the conveyor and walked toward the x-ray doorway.  There was a large African American woman sitting there reading a magazine.

“Step on through,” she said barely raising her head from her copy of “The National Enquirer”.  Chapin wondered if she hadn’t heard her co-workers comments, or just didn’t care.  She stepped through the arch, really hoping nothing would set it off.  The quicker she got away from these people the better.

“Git cha stuff and have a nice day,” the agent said.  She paused and looked toward a window.  “…or night,” she corrected herself and put her nose back in the magazine.

Chapin slipped here sneakers back on, grabbed her stuff and made a b-line for gate 9B.  She still had about an hour so she decided to get caught up on a little work.  She grabbed a quick seat next to a plug and pulled out her laptop, fumbling to get the power chord plugged in.  “I really hope they have free wi-fi here,” she thought to herself.  “C’mon,” she mumbled under her breath.  A window popped up on her computer screen.  Connected, it said.  “Yes!” exclaimed Chapin.  She immediately became self conscious but looked around and didn’t see anybody

She pulled up her email and gave a quick glance at the 50 or so new arrivals since her last check.  “Let’s see….spam….spam…spam…”  She began clicking the small selection box next to each unwanted message.  “…spam…spam…Jack?  Oh man, what does he want now, as if I didn’t know?”  She quickly deleted the spam messages that she had already checked and then opened the email from Jack.

“Chapin, my love,” the email started.  She knew exactly what he wanted.  Chapin began talking to the screen as if Jack were listening on the other end.

“Dear God, man!” she exclaimed.  “We have been broken up for over 9 months.  It’s over!  Don’t you get it?”  A wave of self consciousness washed over her again.  Someone was surely going to think she was crazy as a loon, sitting there talking to the computer.  “Inner monologue, Chapin.   Inner monologue,” she mumbled to herself.

‘Jack’ was Jack Palero, her ex-boyfriend.  They had dated on and off for about a year.  She found him to be controlling, anal-retentive, manipulating, and arrogant and she was beginning to think delusional.  Just the sight of his name on the email conjured up memories of when she had broken up with him last New Year’s.  He had decided to re-organize her closet.  He had complained that all the boxes didn’t match each other so he went to ‘The Container Store’ and bought matching blue plastic crates, meticulously packed each one by category, stacked them alphabetically, again by category and printed the category on each crate with a black Sharpie and the entire contents of the box neatly with a green  Sharpie.  He then created a database and entered each item, what box it was located in and where in the stacks it could be found.  Considering that he broke into her apartment to do it as a surprise, she had deemed this the last straw.

Now she received an email or phone call from him every 2-3 weeks.  He almost seemed delusional in that he acted like they were still together.  Now not only was she mad at him, but she thought he may be completely out of his mind.

She clicked the delete key without reading any further and scanned the rest of the emails.  The next email that got her attention was from Joe Bailey, her editor at Jazz Journal.  She had been waiting to hear from him to see if she had landed an interview with Sting.

“Hiya Chaps,” the email started.  Believe it or not, this was not a good sign.  When the news was good, Joe was very official and serious.  When his tone got more familiar, it usually meant the news wasn’t good and he was trying to play the comforting father figure.  “I’ve talked with the higher ups and they really want a more experienced reporter to talk with Sting.”  Chapin’s heart sank.  The magazine was putting together an issue that tied jazz influences to popular music and the Sting idea had been hers. “ I know this is hard for you, but there’s going to be other great interviews for you.  In fact, I have almost worked out an interview for you with Christina Aguilera.  Now, I know she’s not Jazz in the classic sense, but I think you can make it work.  Besides, she cut an Ella tune on her latest album. Just think about it.”

“I could have made the Sting piece work better, damn it,” she muttered then continued reading.

“Also, we want to do a piece about jazz influences in music that has topped the charts, so I am going to need some research.  This is only about pop songs that have hit number one because our copy space is limited.  We’ll talk about it more when you get back.  Oh, by the way, I assigned you to cover the Fund Raiser Patti LaBelle is putting on at Metro.  It’s really turning into a huge deal so you should be able to get some great stuff there.”

“Well that’s just great.  I’m a reporter for a supposedly respected jazz magazine and they saddle me with Christina Aguilera.  Christina Fucking Aguilera!  What the fuck?”  Chapin was becoming more and more frustrated with every passing second.  She had never been a musical snob, but even she had limits.

Chapin glanced up and noticed that the attendant was preparing the area for boarding.  She started hastily unplugging the computer and putting it back in the bag.  She would finish this when she got home, and she could hardly wait to get back to Andersonville, her cat,  Jaco and her own bed.  Andersonville was on the north side of Chicago and it suited her perfectly.  Once she got back to her apartment, she figured she would be able to deal with all this drama much better.

The boarding call came and Chapin made her way, along with a grand total of 12 other passengers to the door of the plane.  She settled into her seat, pulled out her iPod and put the ear buds in.  It was two in the morning after a whirlwind couple of days and she had a four  hour flight ahead of her.  She punched up Diana Krall’s ‘The Look Of Love’.  Diana Krall was a favorite of Chapin’s when she needed to relax.  The light piano and soothing voice sent her into a dream world and that’s exactly where she wanted to be right now.  She leaned her head back as far as she could in an airplane seat, closed her eyes and drifted off.


Get Chapter 2 in a pdf.

Posted By: Lans
Last Edit: 16 Aug 2009 @ 07:37 PM



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