Grabbing a toothbrush app I head for the airport. Protocols require I yield virtual weapons prior to boarding. I’m forced to check my phone.
I already feel naked without my phone virtual gun app, so I don’t mind the TSA x-ray and strip search. However, I do miss my toothbrush app.
Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, Puerto Rico. Construction everywhere. My FIAT connecting flight is at the other end of the terminal.
The flight leaves in 45 minutes. Sprinting, I can make it from one end of LMMI to the other in 3.5 minutes, but construction slows me down.
I didn’t have any luggage. I figured they’d just lose it anyway. Even so, I reach the FIAT Air counter five minutes after my flight left.
A large crowd is still in line for this last connection. Maybe the flight is delayed! I run up to the counter. “Can I still get on?” I ask.
The FIAT attendant looks at me. “There is no flight.” she says. “No. Here’s my ticket. I want to get on that flight.” “There is no flight.”
“You mean the flight has left?” “No. There is no flight.” I look at the crowd behind me. “You mean all these people are here for nothing?”
“They are from the last flight, also cancelled. They’re waiting to see when we decide to fly.” “You don’t have regularly scheduled flights?”
“Our pilots don’t want to fly today.” “Huh?” “You heard me.” “I need to be in the southern Caribbean ASAP.” “You’d better get started then.”
“OK. When’s the next flight?” “Can’t say.” “Is this how you run your airline?” “We’re Fiat Air. We Decide When You Fly and When You Don’t.”
Due to the construction, the Fiat Airlines counter is outside the terminal and not air conditioned. I begin to feel the Puerto Rico heat.
I hold up the badge on my cell phone. “I’m a detective. A life is at stake. I’m commandeering your plane.” “I told you. There is no plane.”
“You said there is no flight. You didn’t say there is no plane.” “There is no plane thus there is no flight. The pilots took it with them.”
“I assume they flew the plane out of here.” “I really couldn’t say.” “So there was a flight, but it’s already flown.” “I really don’t know.”
“Any other airlines fly to the island?” “Mid school year?” “No, I’ll wait until fall.” “Not likely.” “Thanks for nothing.” “Glad to help.”
I’m stuck in a PR flightmare. Nearby, scores of stoic travelers cope with edgy progeny or gaze outside where shimmering palms are at hand.
I’m here for the duration and I don’t like to wait. A hard truth crashes over me like a wave against the shore. I didn’t bring a swimsuit.
My cellphone has a swimsuit app, but I didn’t bring a harness thong or a waterproof case. Any swimming I do will be completely unsuited.
As I stand lost in thought a round little man wearing aviator goggles approaches. “Where ya headed?” he asks. I tell him my destination.
“I can fly you there.” he says. I look him over. Imagine a fighter pilot as portrayed in a movie like “Top Gun.” Then imagine the opposite.
(The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery)