56 hour Chinese –

The reading of the Play was over and everyone stood up and clapped and then it was time to return to Toronto.
There was a two hour stop over in Philadelphia.
Then there was a three hour delay.
Then we got on the plane and everyone was complaining about connecting flights and  not enough room in the overhead cabins for the shite they bought while waiting.
Soon everyone was seated and buckled in and nothing was happening.
There was a quare whine out of the heating vents overhead.
A German fella beside me kept looking at his watch. He had an out of control moustache, brown jacket and tie and smelled like tobacco.
Soon the captain announced there was a problem with the air-conditioning and we’d all have to get off again while it was fixed.
The stewardess in the lounge told us the flight would be delayed for another three hours but not to go anywhere in case it was sooner.
So I went for a Chinese and a pint in that order.
Talked shite to a fella in the airport bar about the Stock Market. Reckoned he had it solved. Made five million last year on buying low and selling high. “That’s all you gotta do, buddy…’
Sure this is great material. Characters like this. I might write about it someday. You wouldn’t know. Pint there, barman, and whatever Gordon Gecko is having here.
After a while he had a flight to catch to Vegas so he left.
Speaking of flights, I decided to head back to see what was happening.
I had a bad feeling when the airport lounge was empty.
There was the silent echo of human activity, but not a living soul except for the stewardess talking rapidly on the phone by the desk.
I walked up and she saw me and asked: “ARE YOU MICHAEL DONNELLAN?!”
It was hard to know how to answer. (Maybe she’d read my stuff?) So I said: ‘Yeah…am…’
‘OH MY GOD! You’re the guy we’ve been waiting for!’
This definitely sounded good til she said: ‘Didn’t you hear your name being called?’
‘Eh….you called my name?’
‘For the last 45 minutes! Where did you go?!
‘For a Chinese. And a pint….’
‘But you were supposed to stay here!’
‘You said there would a three hour delay….’
‘I said “Up to” three hours. The whole flight is waiting for you! We’ve been calling and calling…’
She picked up the phone. All panic and shouted: ‘He’s here. Don’t take off his bags!’
She hung up. Turned, took my ticket and ushered me in.
On the plane. Everyone clapped sarcastically and I took a seat. Listened to the buzz of the engine and tried to ignore the hateful looks.
Thirty minutes later the pilot said: ‘We’re just waiting to taxi. Due to the DELAY…. there are now seven other flights ahead of us. Please be patient.’
No one felt patient. The German fella turned and asked: ‘Where did you go?’
‘For a Chinese. And a pint.’’
‘You Irish, you’re always drinking.’
Then the pilot came back on and said we’d all have to get off again. There’s a storm gathering in Toronto and by the time we get there it’ll be too dangerous. Everyone sighed again. Probably no flight tonight.
We all got off. There was pandemonium inside. People wanted complimentary food and hotels and new flights.
The German fella kept shouting about his luggage.
Everyone seemed to think it was the Irish prick’s fault for going for a Chinese and a pint.
Four hours passed and they announced a hotel. There’d be no flight tonight. Everyone got a voucher for a bottle of coke and a sandwich was told to queue for a booking on the next flight tomorrow.

So how long did it take to get back to Toronto in the end, Micky?
56 hours all up.
Did you get rich off the Stock Market since?
Not yet, no.
Was it a nice Chinese?
It fuckin was.

Buy Mick Donnellan’s Novels here.

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