Brig moved back to his spot on the airport floor and sat down with his back to the wall. He could feel the eyes of his fellow passengers on him as he pretended to study the information on his boarding pass. Other church members or Salt Lake City residents surely recognized him, or at least his name, and wondered how this wretch of a man could be the direct descendant of one of the most beloved leaders in Mormon church history. Others, perhaps less familiar with the church, might have wondered what relation this guy might have with the Division I university that shared his name, and still others might have questioned how a bum like him had found the money, or earned the mileage, to upgrade to business class.
Whatever. Brig didn’t care. He just prayed that nobody sat next to him on the flight to San Francisco. However, judging by the number of people in the waiting area, that wasn’t likely. Consequently, Brig lowered his expectations to just hoping that his neighbor would be a quiet, uninterested fellow traveler that would let him fly to San Francisco in peace.
Brig checked his cell phone to see if he had received any new text messages. Nothing. He dialed his voice mail, entered the password, and learned that he had “no new messages.” Brig was not surprised, but it still depressed him. His family hated him. He no longer had any genuine friends. His secret life of a drug addict limited his “friendships” to those who wanted to sell him drugs, and those who wished to use the drugs with him. He had convinced himself that he didn’t care that nobody cared, and he was going to make everyone sorry that they hadn’t treated him better, particularly his father. The only person he had hoped to hear from was his ex-girlfriend, and he hadn’t heard from her since the day she left him several weeks ago.
“We are ready to begin boarding United Flight 5223 with service to San Francisco,” announced the gate attendant. “First and business class passengers, those traveling with infants, and those that may require additional assistance are welcome to board.” She scanned the crowd. Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber were nowhere to be seen. “In a few minutes, we will begin general boarding. Please show your boarding pass and government ID to the gate agent as you proceed through the boarding gate.”
Brig rose to his feet and made his way through the gawking crowd to the line that had formed for pre-boarding. He kept his eyes pointed to the floor, careful not to make eye contact with any of the other passengers to avoid conversation.
He fell in line behind a young couple traveling with several children. The smallest, an infant, slept quietly on the mother’s shoulder. The father was busy collapsing the tandem stroller, and weakly admonished the three older children to “quit playing” and “hand the nice lady the tickets.”
Please don’t let them sit by me Brig silently prayed. He liked kids. Had once hoped to have ones of his own, but at this stage of his life he couldn’t imagine himself married with children. He couldn’t even take care of himself.
The father, who was about Brig’s age, was wearing jeans and a short-sleeved dress shirt. Although non-Mormons may not have noticed, Brig could see the subtle outline of the man’s temple garments, or Mormon underwear, underneath his shirt. Adult Mormons found worthy to enter and attend sacred services in Mormon temples were required to wear “garments,” special underwear as part of their faith. It was only recently, after meeting Happy, that he stopped pretending to be a Mormon and discontinued wearing the sacred skivvies.
The father was finally able to herd his family onto the airplane. Brig stepped forward and handed the “nice lady” his ticket. It was the same woman that had processed his upgrade and given him his business class tickets. Brig noticed now that the name on her badge said “Tina.”
“I knew I would see you again. Why don’t you join me? I’ll buy you a companion ticket and you can fly to Hong Kong with me,” Brig flirted.
“Oh wow. That’s a wonderful offer, but since this flight is full, and I have this job…” the gate agent said sarcastically as she took Brig’s SLC to SFO boarding pass. She tore off the stub and handed the rest of the boarding pass back to Brig.
“It’s only a matter of time now,” Brig continued. “I had a vision while I slept, and the Lord told me you are to be my next wife – my tenth! Come, woman! Obey or suffer eternal damnation!”
“That’s really weird,” Tina said with sincerity. “Enjoy your flight Mr. Young.”
“Ah. You’re no fun. I guess the mile high thang is out of the question?”
“Excuse me?” She knew what the “mile high thang” was, and it shocked her that this customer thought he could speak to her this way.
Uh-oh, she’s getting pissed, Brig thought to himself. He must’ve crossed that line people without senses of humor are always referring to. Should he abort or press on? He mistakenly chose the latter.
“It’s alright darlin’. I’ve been a certified member of the Mile High Club since 1998. I’m sure I can get you in. I’d love to be your sponsor.”
“Careful Mr. Young,” Tina raised her eyebrows menacingly and warned Brig, “I don’t care how many frequent flyer miles you have. I will not let you talk to me that way, and I will have you taken off of this flight by security if I have to.”
“Well, that escalated quickly.”
“Not another word!” Tina warned.
“Fuck ya’ then, ya’ fat twat!” Brig said. Fortunately, it was to himself.