Thursday, May 04, 2006

Chapter Fifteen

A suffocating sense of déjà vu rolled over Alma as she lined up at the same airport gates, waiting to be processed into the same boarding lounge. No doubt to sit in the same uncomfortable plastic chairs and drink the same lukewarm tea (obviously, not exactly the same tea, she thought, unless they have some very efficient recycling systems here). Her brain felt spongy and unfocused, and she found herself yawning and dragging her feet.

There was one difference, of course. This time, she was not a lone traveller, but trailing after the unlikely Derek Blond, falsetto super-spy. Who, apparently had ways of finding things out. Alma looked him over with bleary eyes. Shiny shoes, neatly pressed raincoat folded over one arm, pink Argyle sweater knotted around his neck. He took her elbow in one manicured hand and steered her to the end of the queue.

A thought surfaced slowly in her fogged mind.

“Derek, how did you find the egg in my bra?”

“Shhh! Not so loud! The walls may have ears!”

“There aren’t any walls. This is a huge airport building.”

“Er…fair comment.” He seemed strangely flustered.

“Did you use one of those X-ray machines?”

“Ooh, no!” Derek spluttered in horror. “You would have noticed that! It would have aroused your suspicions in an instant! No, we merely scanned your bosom and ran it through the mammo-comparator program (adjusting for height, perceived weight and nippular elevation).” His left eyelid twitched, just a fraction, and he cleared his throat loudly.

Alma considered his statement. There was an anomaly somewhere. She could almost hear little cogwheels turning and ideas clicking into place. Something Derek had said…

A sudden blaring alarm made her jump. Ahead of her, a bored security guard was explaining to a skinny Goth that, while she may have removed her earrings, nose stud and seventeen bracelets, she must still have a sizeable chunk of metal about her person, which would need to be removed to stop the alarm sounding. Perhaps a private room, if Madam’s metalware was intimately attached?

Metalware! That was it!

Alma had gone through airport security yesterday, through the X-ray machine, and the alarms hadn’t gone off. Why hadn’t the egg been picked up? How criminally lax! A sense of righteous indignation boiled up in Alma’s stomach, evaporating her fogginess and torpor. Throwing off Derek’s restraining hand, she bore down on the nearest security guard.

“You! Yes, you in the blue. Where were you yesterday when I came through with THIS in my bra? It’s metal, isn’t it?” She whipped the egg from its hiding place and brandished it at the hapless man. The bright metal glittered in the airport lights, and she gripped it fiercely, digging at its hard surface with her chipped nails.With her free hand, she clutched the guard’s collar, and began shaking him furiously.

“What if it had been a bomb?” screamed Alma. “What if I were an insane bomb-throwing maniac? What if this were TICKING?”

“Er…Madam…” choked the security guard, struggling and sweating.

“What? What?” shrieked Alma, aggressively waving the egg under his nose.

“It IS ticking!”


By Dr Forte, Ginger and Non-Ginger Cat.

Illustration by Julie Oakley.


Blogger lucy pepper said...

thank you doc. :)

11:19 PM  
Blogger Dr. Rob said...

tickerty boo!

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool twist on the story - and to think I was almost going to offer to write this chapter - so glad I didn't ;)

7:06 PM  
Blogger Aunty Marianne said...

oooh. short but very very alarming....


Who's next?

1:42 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Gosh, we've moved a long way from Clare's first chapter!

4:48 AM  
Blogger Julie Oakley said...

Oh gosh is it my turn to do the illustration?

12:06 PM  
Blogger Clare said...

Haha, that's hilarious!

Love it.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Clare said...

Ooh, the picture is very good. One of my favourites.

4:37 PM  

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