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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Minute(s) (as in time) (03/03/11)

TITLE: Last Call For Flight 208
By Kathleen Langridge


“One moment, please?” Karl’s secretary said. I wanted to tell her I didn’t have a moment to give but of course that would have been unnecessarily rude. Why do phone kiosks have to be open for one and all to hear your conversations in airports? This is 1977 for heaven’s sake, one would think there were people looking for places to leave bombs or abandon babies. A bit of privacy would be nice.

“Hello, Kitty,” Karl said, “I thought you would be on the plane by now. Is everything okay? You are coming aren’t you?”

“Yes, the plane is delayed by fog in London, sorry. I wouldn’t miss my first Blazer game especially as they are sure to beat the Sonics, hands down, and on their own court.” I said laughingly. “Trust me to book a flight from Portland to Seattle on an International turn around.”

“Can’t you switch to another flight?” Karl asked anxiously. “I’d hate for you to miss any of the game while Seattle trounces Portland.”

“Trounce Portland with Bill Walton playing us right into the NBA finals? I don’t think so. I suppose I could get another flight. But how will I let you know which one; you’ll be leaving for the airport soon, won’t you?”

“No ‘problema,’ I’ll check the TWA flight and if it isn’t coming in I’ll watch for all the other Portland flights after that. Don’t worry about what time you arrive. We’ll make the game in plenty of time.” Karl reassured me in his usual kind manner. I really liked that about him, he was always kind even gentle toward me over the six months we had been dating.

“Okay, I’ll check some other flights and be there ASAP. Bye for now.” I waited a moment to hear his ‘bye, see you soon reply’ and left the phones to see what my options were at the TWA desk.

When I first learned that the flight delay was caused by fog in London and that I was booked on an International turn around flight I should have pursued my options at that point instead of waiting. Oh, the wisdom of hindsight. Now the very patient and helpful TWA personnel were saying I had just minutes to get the Continental desk and get a ticket on their next flight to Seattle. They did book the ticket, but I still needed to sprout wings and fly or I would miss the flight.

Raincoat over my shoulder, carry on bag in one hand and handbag in the other I began a very fast walk through the airport. Suddenly, I heard, “Miss Bradford, Miss Bradford” looking over my left shoulder I saw a cart and the driver was calling my name. He stopped beside me and said with a huge smile, “Hop on I will take you to the Continental desk and then to your departure gate.” I froze; I couldn’t believe it. He said, “Better hurry though, the plane will be boarding in minutes.” Hopping, as encouraged, I tried not to panic at the thought of missing this plane. My smiling driver had me at the Continental desk faster than a speeding bullet and they were waiting for me, the ticket extending from the waving arm of an enthusiastic agent. “Hope the Blazers win,” she smiled as she pushed the ticket into my hand. “Now hurry!” Repeating my earlier hopping activity my driver put the ‘pedal to the metal’ and off we flew headed for my departure gate. I had no time to wonder how the ticket agent knew I was headed for a Blazer’s game. We stopped at the departure gate to hear the announcement, “Last boarding call for flight 208.”

“Thanks, so much, “ I called, over my shoulder, to the driver as I hurried toward the door of my flight gate.

“Your welcome, go Blazers!”

Momentum moved me toward the gate and the smiling Continental staff, no time to wonder how both the ticket agent and the driver knew of my reason for travelling. My anxiety at arriving on time must have shown, the kindly agent said, “No need to rush now.”

As I entered the plane showing my ticket the steward said, “Oh, Miss Bradford, the Captain, a huge Blazer fan, has upgraded you to First Class.” Who cared how he knew, I thought enjoying my First Class seat.

We made the game, with minutes to spare! Who won, Portland of course?

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This article has been read 469 times
Member Comments
Member Date
D.A. Urnosky03/11/11
Nice story with a tension build up but I was anticipating an ending that never occurred. How did everyone know she was a Blazer fan?
Nancy Bucca03/11/11
I think the way they knew might have had something to do with the "open phone kiosks" mentioned in the first paragraph. Exciting story and very enjoyable read.
Karlene Jacobsen03/12/11
Great story. I like the pace buildup to the end when you get your character to the game.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/17/11
You had a lot of suspense built up. I was sure there was going to be a bomb on the plane. I liked how you had my heart thumping. I did feel a little let down in the end, but the fact that you did surprised me made up for it.

Try to stay away from clichés like pedal to the metal and no problema. You also used your instead of you're welcome.

I enjoyed the characters and the trip back to the 70s when air travel was much simpler. You did a good job trying to show her anxiety instead of just tell. Keep those stories coming.