Mter the run down to The Central Belt the train
came into the big station. When I got out and turned
round you saw Lanna step from the last coach with her
ghetto blaster and bag. I got a taxi.
The taxi did 85 on the motorway and you saw a
good deal new signs from The Highway Code.
Inside the terminal building the ﬂight number was
up on the te汬y-display thing: six and a half hour delay.
You gave your bag to the check-in person and they let
you choose a seat from an actual model of the aero
plane. I chose a no-smoker over the wing so I wouldnt
be near Lanna. The check-in person put a sticker on
my boarding card then gave me these vouchers cause of
I took the escalators up to The Aerogrill Bar. Lanna
was at the far end with the ghetto-blaster at her feet. I
turned and moved back downstairs where there was an
other bar ca汬ed The Flight Deck so I plumped for that.
There was a Form畬a One machine so's I waited till the
kid got off it then I rested my Southern Comfort and
lemonade on top the machine and played away. I could
never get onto the best level so I let out a big huﬀ of
disappointedness and looked round. I walked over and
sat at the bar. I've been delayed by six and a half hours;
I'll be here all night and I'll no be there ti汬 about ten 楮
the morning, I says to the barmaid.
You'd be better through the Departure Lounge be-
fore they close the Duty Free; theyve got a good bar there
too, the barmaid goes.
Aye? I went.
had another Southern Comfort and lemonade then
picked up my shoulder bag and walked to the Depar
The security girl explained I co畬dnt go out again
told her that was okay. The metal detector beeped
walked under it. I mustve been mortal cause I
sumley supposed it was the glitter 楮 my knee.
The security girl patted me down across the shoul
ders then round to the front of the dress her ﬁngers flut
tering over the bra but she touched the wee plastic con
tainer round my neck.
Whats in that? she says.
Oh thats for when you go swimming so you can take
any keys or money with you and not have to leave them
on the beach, I went.
Anyth楮g in it?
My ﬂat keys, I says.
That'll be it. Can you go through agam without
them? she went.
lifted the luminous string over my head and
handed it to her then walked back through. The machine
didnt beep. The security girl kneeled and touched me just
where the skirt started then pushed both hands round
and up across my bum pressing the dress material against
me. She jumped up and goes, Right thanks, then handed
the keys back. My shoulder bag had gone through this
conveyor belt thing so I grabbed it and moved off to the
Duty Free shop.
Standing in one of the brightly lit aisles
checked my spending money got from that novel.
£350 cash changed and a envelope of traveller's cheques:
bought a carton of Silk Cut, a bottle Southern
Comfort and a waterproof watch. I paid with a £200 trav
eller's cheque. Smiling I walked over to the bar.
have a Chaos please?
A Chaos, Southern Comfort mixed with Baileys;
thats what we call it,
Aye? went the barman and he laughed.
A guy at the end of the bar in a T -shirt who had
been yapping to the barman laughed too.
drank the Chaos then ordered another.
Want a drink? I says to the guy in the T-shirt.
We had a bit of a ceilidh and
bought the guy a few
more pints lager. He was quite funny with his Central
Let's sit over there,
says when he bought a round.
We sat on this long purplish bench where Lanna would
be able to see us when she came in.
I was nodding at him as he told a story about a night
out. He told about his local pub. Everyone was so poor
that you only dare hand over pound notes across the bar
cause if you showed even a ﬁver you'd get hassle all night.
You could go in and spend £40 if it was in pound notes
but woe betide if you had a tenner. I leaned over a little
and started the snagging of him. He put his arms round
me and a晴er a bit I gave him seven out of ten on the
Is there anywhere we can have a little lie down? Just
a bit of a cuddle cause I'm jiggered and this ﬂight's not
going till about half six, I says.
A lie down? he goes.
Youre something else you, he says and laughs.
He put his arm round me and sort of tickled my
nose with the fringe of his hair. I moved my head back a
Nah, I've really got to get going, he says.
Eh? I goes.
I've got to get away home, I'm this shift the morrow.
What do you mean; I thought you were away on this
ﬂight? I says.
What? I work here. I drive the polishing machine up
慮d down all those lousy corridors.
God almighty, I went and shook my head.
He stood up and rufﬂed my hair, Have a good
time there, and take care, he says and walked over by
the bar. He nodded and winked at the barman then
I looked one way then the other. The Departure
Lounge had rea汬y 晩led up. Just then Lanna walked in.
Two guys with taches were walking either side her. She
pretended not to see. She sat down way over by the Duty
I leaned forward and took out the bottle Southern
Comfort. On the plastic Duty Free carrier bag was writ
GOODS TO BE E塐ORTED INTACT
I twisted open the top of the Southern Comfort and
poured it into my glass.
was lying on the bench with my legs curled up and I'd
tugged the thin dress down over as much of my legs as I
could cause it was cold. Someone was shoogling me. I
opened eyes. Everyone was moving. I sat up and used the
lighter on a Silk Cut. Lanna was sat over with the two
boys who were draining some cans of beer. The ﬂight had
been called. I squinted at my watch: half six. I picked up
the shoulder bag. 䅬l the seats and ﬂoor were littered
with empty cans and bottles. I followed the crowd down
a long corridor then onto this banister and ﬂoor that
moved. At the gate a rubber tube took you into the front
door of the plane.
The stewardess moved her mouth at me and pointed
to my ear.
switched oﬀ the Walkman. Me and this bother boy
behind me had to remove our Walkmans ti汬 after take off
cause the music can get picked up on the captain's head
Hey, this is good stuff,
bet he'd like it, goes the
bother boy, laughing.
moved along the aisle to the no-smoker seats over
the wing. Lanna was sat directly across from my seat with
another guy next her. She mustve chosen that to try and
get away from me. Our eyes met and
laughing. The bother boy with the Walkman was sat next
me. I started putting my seat belt on and straight away
the bother boy says, What tapes have you got?
I looked round but no drinks were getting served.
Next thing the plane was bumping along then swinging
round onto the bright, lit-up runway.
keeked over at the
young guy sat beside Lanna. The plane started shaking like
nobody's business then trundling down the runway. I
could feel sweat in my pa汭 and you didnt have Lanna
there to hold hands. Lanna was snagging the guy next her
and we werent even off the ground. I says to the bother
boy, What resort are you going to? He says the name of a
Right, I goes and
grabbed his hand and held on .
here were bad sinking feelings. Clouds were through
the window next to my cheek. A stewardess was push
ing a drinks trolley downhill on the aisle.
What you drinking then? I says to the bother boy
but when I tu牮ed round he'd gone fast asleep still hold
ing my hand. I ordered three Southern Comforts and
lemonade and a can of beer in case the bother boy woke
The ice cubes in the plastic cup vibrated so I did the
last drink in a oner. The Southern Comforts came in tiny
wee bottles. I drank the can of beer too then stepped over
the sleeping boy.
Lanna was still in a clinch with seat 27B.
paid a visit to the toilet then hung round outside
smoking a S楬k Cut. They had started serving a meal.
Back in the seat he didnt wake up so
ate all my
meal with another can of beer then I ate the sweet and
cheese out of the bother boy's tray. When all the trays
were cleared away I says no to coﬀee. There was a leaﬂet
in the seat back; it showed stretching exercises for long
ﬂights. I laughed then nodded oﬀ for a bit.
woke my ears ached. The plane was coming
ou saw no greenish hills. There was o湬y the brownish
ness of rocky places then a dry-looking reservoir with
layers of whiteish salt. Then you saw nothing but houses
that were the colour white and the bright blue of rectan
gle-shaped swimming pools. Dots of layed-out fruit trees
moved under the wing and we crossed a road with tiny
cars then you could see all this dry sticky-up grass as we
came over a tall perimeter fence and concrete streaked
with rubber rose up towards then with a bang the plane
landed and everyone clapped and cheered. The bother
boy sat bolt upright, bleary eyed; he just started clapping
oming out the plane into the morning it was already
hot like there was a hair dryer in your face. Lanna had
gone we汬 ahead and got on the ﬁrst bus to the terminal. I
got on the next. The bus had no seats;
stood close to
each other, sweating and their arms held up gripping
straps on the roof. 䅬l swayed as the bus moved oﬀ.
In the airport bu楬ding it was cooler with the air
conditioning. You walked past a booth with passport men
inside wearing uniforms that were the colour green. I
held up my passport but they just winked at me. You
could sme汬 their foreign-smell cigarettes; I wanted to buy
a packet straight away.
Lanna was across at the far side of the conveyor
belt. I lit a Silk Cut and walked to the toilet. I splashed
my face and used some spray-on deodorant.
When I got back, my bag was one of the ﬁrst to
come round. I yanked it up and walked away. Lanna was
sti汬 stood waiting. I passed the customs bench and out
the sliding door. There was a long ra楬ing with people
leaning along it holding out cards with names on them.
At the end of the railing there was a big sign:
YOUTH MED TOURS
HOTEL ROZINANTE BUS.
There were gangs of young folk with ghetto-blasters
standing in groups talking and laughing. I carried my bag
out the front doors into the heat.
The taxi at the top of the queue had an older man
in. The older man got out and sm楬ed. He put my bag in
the boot. When I shut the back door the skin on my legs
stuck to the hot seat. I edged forward so I could sit on
the dress material and I started winding the window
do睮. The driver climbed in the front left side.
I says the resort and Hotel Rozinante.
He moved the gear stick that was ﬁxed to the steer
ing column. It was an old Mercedes Benz. I'd never been
in a Mercedes Benz before.
Breeze came in the window as the taxi moved out
the airport. You saw the clear greeny blades of a palm
tree standing high in the bright light. We were on a
straight towards the sea. The lines on the roads were the
colour yellow. The No Overtaking sign had the red car on
the left. My skin felt queer and sure enough there was a
kind of ﬁlm of dust on everything.
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested