LAST night, California night, Jamie called from the large item collection area of Ngurah Rai International Airport.
His voice covered in a patina of exhaustion. He has been in Bali for a day, but had to go back to the airport to rectify a ticketing/baggage transfer mistake.
On his way out from Japan, at the ticketing counter, a tall striking half-Japanese half-Prussian woman stood behind him. She lived in Paris. She was wearing a conservative Chanel shift. Black. She also wore Chanel no.5. Her eyes were hidden behind large sunglasses (again Chanel). But it was obvious she had been, or still was, crying. A slight delta of mascara had formed on her ivory cheeks. Her head was hung low.
Jamie, being a gentleman sometimes and a rogue others, decided to be a gentleman. He told her a joke.
What is the best time to eat reindeer meat?
When you are hungry.
She smiled. Perfectly contoured lips the color of deep rose parted. They spent the next 20 mins in conversation.
When they reached to the front of the line, Jamie, still the gentleman, allowed her to go first. She suggested they check in together. Her luggage consisted of one oversized, hard sided Louis Vuitton trunk. It was wheeled up by a porter.
Jamie's consisted of a surfboard coffin.
Jamie winked at the young Japanese agent. Her face turned crimson. He then turned to the Prussian and did not say a word. They spent the next five minutes simply gazing at each other. Not one word spoken.
The flustered agent eventually reached across the divide and handed the Prussian her tickets. De Gaulle. And Jamie his. Ngurah Rai.
Jamie bowed slightly, turned on his heels and strutted in the opposite direction, the scent of flowers and civet cat excretion following. The Prussian stood in a slight daze for a moment before turning toward her departure zone. The scent of saltwater following. Jamie slept on the flight, as is his want, landed in Bali and proceeded toward the baggage claim. He waited. His coffin was not there.
In its place was one oversized, hard sided Louis Vuitton trunk.
Jamie took it back to the hotel. He could always get more boards and this gem, this relic of a fleeting moment was infinitely more valuable. Not just because it cost more, but because it held secrets. It held power. It was his own Ark of the Covenant. Jamie looked at it through the night. He did not sleep.
In the morning he took a cab, and the trunk, back to the airport. The rogue had yet to appear. Gentleman holding firm.
He called me when he reached the desk and relayed the story. Thanks to Boost Mobile he could provide the details I asked.
He then hung up. I do not know the end.