The man entered the airport with an air of ambiguity; his knee-length black wool coat looked expensive and professional, yet at odds with the faded blue jeans and grey turtle-neck sweater worn underneath, which didn’t scream businessman as the coat did. With only a small briefcase, swinging rhythmically along with his casual strolling pace, what else could he be there for, but business? His demeanour gave further evidence to this theory; he was confident, and comfortable, like he travelled through here frequently.
Suddenly he paused, in a busy thoroughfare, and bent down besides a bench as if to adjust his laces. He wasn’t wearing any laces. People continued moving in a firm wave around him like the parting of the Red Sea. His arm brushed the leg of a young teenage girl, a backpacker one could guess by the dishevelled look she was sporting, slumped on the seat nearest him, fast asleep. She didn’t wake. Her large, and filthy, purple rucksack was being used as a footstool, with her slim pale legs sprawled across it elegantly. Not any of the many people squeezed onto this little cluster of benches had noticed the man stop, or noticed the fact he’d bent to tie a non-existent shoe lace.
Therefore unseen, he proceeded to slide his long slender fingers over an indiscernible panel on the case, which was now on the floor wedged between his foot and the backpack. A keypad soon revealed itself, and he entered in a six-digit number. He waited until the clock above the keypad lit up 9.00 am in red flashing lights before returning the panel with a satisfying click. Before standing, his sharp cold eyes darted from side to side – checking that he was indeed unnoticed. Convinced, he rose; skilfully sliding the case backwards, under the bench, with one Italian-leather clad foot as he did so. He noted that it was barely visible behind the gigantic piece of crap the girl was practically laid on. He liked that.
As if he’d been there hours, he went to check his watch; flicking his wrist gracefully to reveal an expensive chocolate-brown crocodile skin strap. The intricate hands told him it was 8.05. Perfect.
And with that final gesture – he was quickly away towards the exit.
Paul. That’s what the badge read ain’t it? He knew it did, he thought as he pinned it to his uniform. That sure wasn’t what people called him. They called him Paulie. He sighed heavily and brushed the donut crumbs from his protruding stomach in a heavy-handed fashion – missing a fair few of them. His shirt was popping open. Why couldn’t his mom wash his stuff without shrinking it? He would have to tell her when he got in. He barely had anything to wear that fit him.
He shoved open the door to the dark room, and plodded slowly towards his station. Simon, the night-guy, had already took off, and the chair lay empty. A glance at the monitors told him he was six minutes late. Oh well. He didn’t care – nobody else did. Nothing ever happened in this section. His job role, and camera room, only covered Terminal five’s entrance hall and shops. It was small and uneventful.
He sat down with a groan, and the chair made reluctant noises in return at the expanse of weight he had just planted on it. He was ready to start his day. He began by scanning the multitude of screens before him for any interesting activity, there was a hot backpacker asleep on a bench, but he couldn’t see up her skirt so he kept looking. He could do this all day.
Behind the inanimate form that was the sleeping backpacker, a mother was struggling, struggling to hang on to both her suitcase and her child. She was pretty. She wore a bright red woollen coat, which had drawn his eye, and her hair was the colour of spun-gold. Her face was alive with frustration, and an added layer of amusement; he could discern a twinkle in her eye through the sternness she was attempting.
As much as she was visibly stressed, she was evidently still amused by her child’s capers. The child, a young boy of no more than three, was sprawled face-down across the airport’s smooth floor, like a starfish. He was so close to the bench upon which the backpacker lay that his mini Nike trainer was pushed up against her over-stuffed pack, and his tiny scrunched-up hand was near enough under the bench. The mother remained stoic and unmoving as she watched on with patience; one hand firmly retaining its grip on the suitcase’s handle, the other reaching for her phone in her coat pocket.
The child’s brown leather coat was rumpled in response to his tantrum, and his bowl-shaped blonde hair cut was flopped over his face like an upturned mop; his left hand was clutching a square powder-blue blanket like his life depended on it.
He wasn’t really looking at the child though. He was looking at the mother. She had beautiful features, and lovely slim legs, which were clad in tight blue jeans and knee high boots. If he looked closely enough he thought he saw peanut butter on her right thigh.
He got bored of the mother after a while. He moved his gaze over to the bench where upon the backpacker lay, and looked to the two seats at her right, which were occupied by an elderly couple. The man was sat directly next to the backpacker, with his wife to his left. They had similar builds – both rounded and short in stature with matching shades of grey hair. They appeared to be arguing.
The man seemed flustered as he removed his glasses in a fidgety manner, and pulled his spotty handkerchief out of his shirt pocket in an attempt to clean the perspiration from the lenses. In the mean time his wife had been talking to him, or rather at him. From her gestures she seemed to be reprimanding him for something or other – perhaps something forgotten? A bag or an imperative item of clothing? He was wiping vigourously as she spoke, keeping his eyes cast downwards like a puppy being scolded.
He hadn’t noticed some chestnut brown strands of hair that were coming closer and closer to his shoulder, they were in fact already touching his light grey jacket; it was the kind every gentleman over the age of 60 has, his own dad had one in cream. The head of the backpacker was soon lolling tantalisingly close to the man. The wife hadn’t noticed – she was too busy seething.
Next to the older couple, taking up another two benches, were a family of five. The mom and dad looked exhausted, as they leant on each other in a defeatist drooping manner. Two of the children were boys who seemed to be playing happily together on the bench, and were maybe 10 and 13, the other, a girl, was marginally older, maybe 17.
She looked appropriately annoyed to be going away with her family, and hadn’t looked up from her tablet for the time he’d been looking. She didn’t need to though – he was more captivated by her youthfully curved frame that was so scantily clad for a winter in London. She had on little denim shorts that were ripped and frayed at the hem, and a sleeveless band t-shirt featuring The Clash. It was nicely fitted to her body. She had her smooth long legs stuck out in front of her, in a way that said she didn’t want to be there. Her bare feet, with painted red nails, were crossed over each other, and her vintage worn-slouched boots were set down under the bench beneath her. She was tanned. A nice brown skin that was probably unnatural, but he didn’t care; he liked it. Her hair hung down to her breasts in an alluringly messy way, it was a brown colour on top and blonde at the bottom. It was something he’d spotted on quite a few kids her age coming through here recently. Must be a trend.
He spent a good while looking at the teenage girl before moving onto the next bench. He might go back to her in a moment. The occupants of this bench were foreign, perhaps West African. A woman and a man, probably husband and wife. The man had a thick knitted yellow jumper and jeans on, definitely affected by the cold British weather. The woman was dressed in a colourful dress and matching hat, created from a scarf with the same bold blue and yellow pattern as was on the dress. She was suitably large – her squishy shape complemented her jolly mannerisms. She was smily and gave the room a warm atmosphere , he could feel it even through the monitor. She was joyfully chatting away as she knitted something bright green and horrendous looking, completely unaware of the fact that her husband was dead to the world.
She seemed to be having the same effect on him as he watched her because before he knew it he was drifting off to sleep, her continuously waving plastic needles were swimming before his drooping eyes.
He jumped awake.
Nothing woke him to his knowledge, he was just jolted. Like you sometimes are when you’re in a light slumber. Quickly he scanned his screens to ensure everything was alright. He was fine nothing had happened, they were all still where he left them. Even the first mother was still nearby, now sat on the final bench in that little circle, coaxing her son’s mood along with an ice cream, which he was dribbling all over her beautiful red coat. The kid was smiling a toothy-grin now though, through the chocolate.
He didn’t understand.
This was an entry into this week’s writing challenge; “Oh the Irony”. I am also taking part in National Blog Posting Month so any ideas prompts were going ot be helpful. To start this challenge I looked up what irony in literature meant and ended coming to dramatic irony. Upon looking this up I came across a quote from Alfred HItchcock that basically said if you are watching a film and the characters are talking about something really trivial whilst the audience are screaming at the screen because they know a bomb is about to explode, then that is dramatic irony. This inspired me to persue this story idea, I don’t know how successful it is but I am sure someone will comment and let me know!