Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Mr. Hepburn's Cinderblock Castle

There is a sign posted in the airport on Eleuthera. just outside the snack window. the sign reads, "I dont wish to hear nobody's problems AND I dont wish to know nobody's business" and the quote is attributed below, to Hastings (Bugs) Peter Moss. it is written in simple block letters in bright green marker on water color paper. Hastings, or Bugs, stands behind the counter; a single, dirty salt and pepper dreadlock (curiously well-groomed) hangs well below his thighs. he smiles, drunk, and swigs again off his mountain dew.

This pumpkin-hued airport, which, at first, was a pleasant enough postponement of hatred and impatience.
Mr. Hepburn is the supervisor, in particular, for our airline, one of the three represented at this airport.
This is no longer a joke.

Our plane had almost left the ground. I was buckled in, and in one of the rear seats. Both propellors whipped into action, people had begun to chat; one woman with the Glamour photo shoot had closed her eyes; I was happy to rid myself of the resorts and the fat germans and the old man with the jowled codpiece, and the wall-eyed waitress who asked me each morning if I was ready for my "expresso". Bless her heart, though, and I mean.
And then the whine of the engines that underscored the propellors just. quit. and collectively, we cocked our heads.
The tarmac was as hot as we'd left it.

Hastings (Bugs) Peter Moss changed his pants this morning, beyond the window of the snack bar, and behind the fridge only after the he tried it in the open of that little kitchen, and caused quite a stir from those ladies in regards to the sight of his swinging willy, those ladies who waited and wiped at their brows in that purgatorious lobby.

I'd sat with the pilot and the co-pilot at the junkaroo bar, on the gigantic concrete patio fenced in by cinderblocks. we looked across at the tarmac. at the plane. the co-pilot assured me we'd be in the air tonight and dont i worry, but just keep drinking like HE wanted to. told me about his escapade in cuba a couple years back. about how when he and his buddies arrived he asked for B girls, fresh meat, you know, and they got 16, 17 year olds. Not whores, nice girls, you know, who liked to have fun, he told me.
the pilot deferred with his eyes, tapped the ash of his cigarette into the eye of the industrial wooden spool we sat around.
and the co-pilot bragged about how much he paid the man at the club, and the pool stayed open for him and the nice girls who just wanted to have fun, and how they slept on the beach, and then he listed with his fingers the meals, and about the linen curtains, and how his buddy married one of those nice girls.
And that pilot, ginger haired, with ears like oyster shells, shook his head, and did not blow out his smoke, but let it drift, instead.
The night had crept on and their doubt increased and I went in to the bar, inside, to buy another. two local girls sat at the bar; they were plastered on posters on the bar walls in bikinis, advertising the local beer. they leered at me to show resemblance, introduced themselves and told me how much THEY loved the new york subway system, and I politely raised my beer and crossed the airport, the tarmac, where a mechanic worked under a bright ten-k light, a mechanic flown in from miami so many hours later, the same mechanic who would not discover the problem with that second motor until after we'd been tucked mysteriously into a hotel by the airline, without checking in, after a meal of conch fritters and french fries.

The little man with hair like coiled bedsprings woke us early, before the light; we followed those path-side lanterns to the fifteen passenger van, this morning, as they rushed us to the airport, again, to answer our prayers and faith in the same head-scratching mechanic.
In the night, he'd given up, faith be damned.

And dear Mr. Hepburn, who always speaks in a low tremble, like fingertips on the heel of a drum, that sonofabitch, we'll he doesnt show up until late in the morning, where he promptly ushers us onto the tarmac, beyond security and out of his ear shot, and away from our whining self-importance.
On that tarmac, where we bake, until a coup is staged and we fight our way across the street to a breakfast table. I roll up my sleeves and work on my tan.
we jump at the sight of any plane that approaches. all that land are cessnas, and we consider bloody marys.

Though Hastings (Bugs) Peter Moss might take offense, willy-in-the-wind as he is, i've here, indeed recounted my problems and my own business.