Three hours after King Tsao young woke up on board Flight 226, he discovered that he was not en route to the UK. Here’s what took so long. King Tsao woke up next to a frightened middle-aged woman who compromised about an hour of his time talking about airline safety and ‘how often these planes get hit by birds’. She (Claudette) then commanded about thirty minutes more to apologize for what might have been unnecessary fear escalation in an environment from which there is ‘no escape’. King Tsao had a few Zanax in his carry on and dropped one in Claudette’s drink when she excused herself to use the restroom and asked him to hold on to her drink. The next thirty minutes were high anxiety for Dr. Tsao young. He mostly just twiddled his thumbs and dried the sweat from his upper lip. What he did was both wrong, and possibly harmful; depending on what other drugs she might have in her system, not to mention the plethora of possible allergic relations and dangerous but unlikely side effects. Luckily, Claudette’s reaction to the anxiety meds went just as planned and she was off to sleep just thirty minutes after consumption.
King Tsao felt like he could finally relax and mull over what had happened at the Toronto International Airport. He remembered that he saw Martin. He grimaced at the thought. He knew they were boarding the same flight. He retraced his steps in his mind: He was at the boarding gate- that was as far as King Tsao could remember. What lead to boarding the plane? It was a total blank. He decided the best way to retrieve his lost memory would be to clear his mind and relax. Surely it would come back to him. So, King Tsao turned on the small TV screen in front of him and selected a movie from the in flight entertainment. It was at that point that he thought he’d better check the live “My Flight” option which displays where you are at, distance traveled, and distance to go. It was also at that point that he realized that he was not on his way to London, but in fact on a plane to Santiago del Sorio, Spain. The revelation was bittersweet. He would most definitely miss his convention; on the bright side however, now that he knew Martin Lebrowski was not on the plane, he could get up and stretch his legs.
King Tsao stopped on the way back to his seat to inquire with a stewardess about the likelihood of getting a connecting flight to London upon arrival.
“I’d like to inquire avout the likelihood of getting a connecting flight to London upon arrival in Santiago del Sorio.”
“Um. I will have to check, sir. I’m glad to see you are okay, sir. You gave your mom quite a fright in Toronto. You two nearly missed the plane. She wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to bring you on board unconscious. But, I am glad-" King Tsao interrupted, "You know, I really don't think it is necessary to hash over all of the details. In fact, it was quite an embarrassing incident. Just let me know when the next plane departs for London and I'll try not to blackout again. Thank you."
Claudette was in a daze when King returned to his seat. Unfortunately, she overheard his discussion with the Stewardess. “Sir. I apologize.”
“Listen, Claudette, it is really not necessary to apologize again. I am a confident traveler and you did not scare me with your fears. The way I see it, the worst that can happen is: the plane goes down and I die. There are far worse ways to die. Trust me. I have seen the worst possible scenarios in my field of work.”
While it was externally inappropriate to suggest the event of death to an obvious Aero phobic, King needed to know where she was at with the drugs he slipped in her drink earlier. Her unfazed reaction revealed that she was clearly still under the influence. “No sir,” she mumbled, “What I am sorry for is carrying you onto this plane earlier.”
Claudette was dropped off at the Toronto International airport by her now ex-husband, Jack. She was sure that the depression and overwhelming desire to die would make flying much easier. What did she have to lose? Her life in Toronto? Lost it. Her husband? Moved on. Snickers (her dear labradoodle)? He belonged to Jack now. Claudette thought she would be completely at ease on this flight. How invigorating! Braving the open skies for her new life in Santiago Del Sorio. She was free as a bird.
She was as scared as a live shrimp on a hook when she sat down in her exit row seat and realized she was the only one in the row. Salvation was on her shoulders alone if that plane went down. She freaked. Knowing there was still thirty minutes before take off she escaped the plane to ask the ticket agent at the gate to please change her seat. Before she could, she saw Dr. Tsao Young passed out near the neighboring gate.
King Tsao took about two and a half minutes to absorb what Claudette had revealed. He did not believe in speaking out of impulse (something he had learned when he was running for mayor). Instead he looked straight ahead at the blank screen on the seat back in front of him, and he practiced silence while he thought about what it was he wanted to say.
“Claudette. Are you crazy?” King Tsao asked, still staring at the blank seat back ahead of him.
Claudette pursed her lips and took a deep breath in and then out. Then she said unwaveringly, “No Sir, I am not crazy. I am not the one who passed out mid-terminal. I am not the one who slept with my secretary,” her speech was escalating to a yell, “ and I am not the one who asked to sit alone in an exit row. Alone! In an exit row!”
King Tsao was mortified. Claudette was making a public nuisance. What happened to that Zanax? Did it seriously wear off that quick? This woman was mental. And Dr. Tsao Young was in a situation from which there was ‘no escape’. He popped a Zanny and realized that he and Claudette were more alike than he could have ever imagined, despite their social differences. He was fast asleep in about ten minutes.
The stewardess approached. “Hi there. Claudette Shoely, right?”
“Yes.” She replied.
“It says here that you requested a low calorie meal. Would you like a turkey sandwich or the hot dish which is chicken breast and brown rice?”
“I’ll have the turkey sandwich, please.”
“Okay Mrs. Shoely, we’ll be coming around with food and beverages shortly.”
“Thank you. Hopefully my boy won’t pass out in his dinner. Poor thing. He’s out like a light again.” She pet his head.
The stewardess flashed a sparkling and empathetic smile. “Maybe I should bring him a turkey sandwich too? The lasagna could get messy.”
Claudette nodded. “As long as it comes with something chocolate for desert. My boy just loves chocolate.” She giggled a bit and looked for a mother's approval.
“That will be no problem Mrs. Shoely. No problem at all. I’ll stick a little something on his tray for him.” She smiled again. Claudette thought the stewardess was clearly a mother.
“That’s very sweet of you.” Said Claudette as the stewardess tip toed away.
King Tsao woke up to a half eaten turkey sandwich and a glass of water. Claudette had a mouthful of food. She looked at him like a deer in the headlights. She then struggled through her dry turkey sandwich mouth to say, “Ahrgain, I feerl rike I harve to aporogize. You shee you were ashreep and I'm-a-bip of a nervousheater so I fimished mine and tried choo wake choo up", she swallowed and took a swig of King Tsao's water, "but you were really knocked out and so I thought maybe I could finish this before you woke up and you’d never know what happened, but obviously you did wake up and so for that I am very sorry but I think the stewardess on this plane has a real sweet spot for you. Maybe because I told her you have narcolepsy. So she will most definitely bring you another meal if you just ask for one, or if you feel uncomfortable, I don’t mind asking seeing as how I ate your meal without you knowing and that was just unfair and so, yeah, I will ask for your meal sir. You just don’t even worry about it. Also I am sorry I yelled earlier, I am just going through a lot of stuff and I think I just took it out on you, and that was also unfair…”