© 2012 Aaron Atkinson

Suits, Ties and Scotch

It’s a long flight from Las Vegas to Kansas City. And it had been a long week. It was late in the afternoon and the air on the plane hung heavy and unseasonably hot. We had just reached cruising altitude when I reached up to open my vent the rest of the way. The business man across the aisle loosened his tie and ran his hand through his salt and pepper hair. As uncomfortable as I was, he looked worse.

When the flight attendant came around I ordered my usual afternoon flight libation – tomato juice. Mr. Loose Tie ordered a scotch. No sooner had the words left his lips when he corrected himself… two scotches.

A few minutes later he poured the contents of two little brown bottles into his clear, disposable airplane cup. The ice floated drunkenly to the top as the apple juice-colored alcohol swirled and cooled. In four big swallows his cup was empty. He winced then smiled slightly. A quarter of an hour later he stopped the flight attendant again. He held up two fingers as he mouthed “two more scotches” to the attendant. Moments later they came. This time he sipped them back.

Somewhere over Colorado a middle-aged woman wearing a navy suit and a grumpy face made her way toward us. She stopped in the aisle and leaned on the side of the seat in front of Mr. Loose Tie. Her grumpy face turned grumpier as she looked from his face to his cup and back to his face.

Navy Suit: Is that scotch?

Loose Tie grinned slightly and said, “Yes.”

Navy Suit: It’s four o’clock on a Thursday. You’re still technically on the clock. And you’re drinking a scotch?

Mr. Loose Tie then squinted his eyes as he looked at her. He then glanced at the face of his silver watch. Then with a look of defiance he took two mighty swallows and polished off the contents of his cup.

Loose Tie: No. I’m not drinking a scotch.

Navy Suit: Very funny. You’re not drinking a scotch, you drank a scotch.

Loose Tie: (Smugly)┬áNo I didn’t. Not technically. I didn’t drink a scotch. I drank four of them.

She shook her grumpy head and threw her brown hair over her navy shoulder as she turned and strutted back to her seat.

I grinned.

And took another sip of my tomato juice.

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