I can pick them from a mile off.I pray to all the gods in the air (and in the sea) to not put them anywhere near me on the plane, especially the snivelers, children with demonic cries, stinkers and people who look like they are looking to make friends for life, or invite you to join them in a menage et trois as soon as you descend the steps and hit the baggage claim.
At the gate I always do a quick scan.
I set out to find the most book-wormish, studious type and plop myself down next to them in the hope my energy seeps into them and my magic powers work to position them on the plane next to me. Sometimes it backfires and the seat that housed this Harry Potter, becomes vacant and a 'mess for a human' takes it's place. It's like the demons from the underworld have other plans and placed me at the centre of the new play. Sometimes the dread kicks in when you get on board and scan for your seat.
This was one of those times.
'Daddy, I'm bored,' said the possessed, little fidget-box, sitting behind me on Flight AK507, beating my seat with his clubbed feet. Each time there was a period of silence, I prayed that he had physically swallowed his tongue. Alas, the kicking continued and I felt each swift pelt in my back, like the princess felt that solemn pea through a sea of mattresses, (on those lonely tossy turvy nights).
I pictured myself leaping out of my buckle in slo-mo, spinning around to face the demonic child and stopping him dead in his tracks with my burning look, stealing his soul, but instead I continued flipping through the online mag in manic zest and repeating a mantra that came easily to me now. 'It will pass. Nothing stays the same. Let it go.'
The kicking continued and that's when the blood rushed to my head and the first semi-carefully concocted words strung together and exited my mouth. I directed them at the child, not at the parent. Trying with a bit of kudos to make the child think I was treating him like an adult. Mistake numero uno.
'Hey, little man, please can you stop kicking my seat?' Thank you!
I turned around.
'Cameron...stop kicking the lady's seat,' a male voice diagonally whispered. I felt confident that the issue had been resolved and the kicking was about to be stopped dead in it's tracks. A period of silence ensued and I closed my eyes and breathed a sigh of relief. It was a brief moment of bliss.
'Cameron, do you remember daddy talking about tones in people's voices?'
'Ye..es daddy,' came Cameron's somewhat bemused and frightened reply.
'What do you think the tone of the lady meant Cameron?'
I heard a snigger in the voice and that in turn tweaked a part in me that had heard this type of behaviour before.
Yes! The type where an adult talks at a child in an adult-like manner of explaining everything in a very detailed way, while the child looks perplexed and is not interested or just plain scared. The creatures who do this are doing it normally in a vocal tone louder than a normal human and it such detail as to frighten said child and those other humans around them.
That's when I realised I had been 'PAP'd.' (passive aggressive personality disorder'd)
'The lady sounded upset?' asked Cameron as if in a question, to find out if his dad would be happy with this simple answer and leave him the hell alone to rub his boogers on the window.
'Tyler,' said the male voice, turning to the child in the other seat, 'What did you think the tone of the lady meant?
Tyler fell silent. Tyler knew his dad was a nutcase.
As such, the mental patient seemed to figet himself a little and ding the bell for the steward. Someone had to listen to him surely?
'Yes sir?' said the lovely Malaysian steward, arriving by his side. She had caked about fifteen inches of foundation on her face and was wearing daddy long legs length eyelashes with a tiny bit of glitter at the ends, like fairies had carefully blown it there.
'My wife is sleeping up the front and she will need to be woken to be given her evening meal,' said the mental patient behind me. I sniggered myself now and thought how his wife had done the very best thing she could have, get away from this loose cannon, put the blindfold on and hit the hay.
'Sir, we are not serving food just yet. I will wake your wife, when the time comes.' And with that she turned and walked away with a spring of 'fuck you' in her step.
'I will wake her when the time comes,' he said under his breath, protruding his bottom lip outwards and mimicking in a degree of spastic unrest.
'Daddy,' said Cameron.
'Yes son,' said cuckoo man.
'What is Kopi Luwak?' Cameron was staring at the hold cabinet doors above, that had giant stickers of frightened racoon-like animals and steaming hot cups of coffee on them.
'Oh, those poor things,' said Red Rum, 'They are endangered animals called civet cats, put in cages to produce coffee for the elitists of our world.'
Cameron looked both stunned and perplexed. So did some of the passengers around him. An arched eyebrow from the main sitting diagonally from me was enough said.
'Let me try and explain better,' came the reply to Cameron's gormless look.
'Civet cats are made to live in tiny cages and are forced to eat coffee beans that are green. Inside their bodies there is an enzyme that makes them turn into another type of coffee bean and then they poo it out and people take the poo beans and roast them, crush them, add hot water and then they drink it.'
The ax murderer sat their looking very happy with himself and his explanation.
'Your uncle Virgil in Bali, is petitioning for these cats and doing everything he can to get them released back into the wild so they can roam free and live a happy life. You see Cameron, these cats, they need to be released because they get really sad and angry like the lady in front of you.'
Adrenalin kicked at my throat. I couldn't help it. I turned around.
'Look, all I asked was that your little boy stop kicking my seat. You are his father. Control him!' and with that I had said my piece and turned around, I had hoped for good.
'I'm gonna bite my lip on that one,' came the reply directed at the back of my head. This followed by a clenched fist that bashed the arm rest. By this point I had had enough, it was time to shut this nutter down. I spun my head around and spoke through the crack in between the seats.
'Hey Cameron,' I got the kid's attention almost immediately.
'Your dad was in captivity once, its called an Institution, but some not so good people let him out and now it's time for them to capture him and put him back before someone hurts him.' I turned around, then second glanced over and said my final piece.
'Oh and by the way Cameron,' I said nonchalantly, 'your mum doesn't need sleep, she needs a restraining order!' pointing at the decrepit creature that had slid down his seat and was now the subject of smirking from the passengers around him. I even got a little hand clap from the man who was sitting next to me. I closed my eyes with victory and smiled.