© 2011 Aaron Atkinson

The Boarding Pass

She hung up her metallic red phone and stuffed it deep inside the left hip pocket of her blue jeans. When her hand emerged, she was clutching a crumpled, wadded piece of paper – her boarding pass. She handed it to the mustached man at the counter as if this were perfectly acceptable. But it wasn’t. He hesitated to take it, giving her a puzzled look.

Sara: What?

Mr. Mustache: Good God girl, what is that?

Sara: This? What’s the big deal?

Mr. Mustache: I can’t scan that.

Sara: So? Type it in.

I got the impression she’d done this before. But the man with the mustache didn’t like it. He grasped that twisted, broken thing in two hands and tried to smooth out the deeply set wrinkles by rubbing it on his pants like a shoe shiner buffs a wingtip.

It didn’t work. He sighed and typed in Sara’s boarding number. The computer beeped approvingly.

Sara sighed slightly, indignantly as she walked onto the jetway.

I hung back, just out of earshot.

Me: If you think that’s bad, you should try working with her.

Mr. Mustache: Man, I’d hate to see her desk.

Me: Just imagine her closets!

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