Only one of her five diesel generators are rumbling at this hour, it’s all that’s needed to power cruise ship C6FV8, because she is firmly docked today at the San Juan, Puerto Rico seaport. It is embarkation day, in a matter of just a few hours C6FV8 will disgorge 2,500 fattened and sun burnt tourists and replace them with another 2,500 pasty white and already fat passengers ready to see the Caribbean. At 5 pm, two more of the diesel generators will spring to life and the ship will back slowly away from the dock. Another cruise has begun. C6FV8 will have 799 crew members on board, normally she travels with 800. One crew member is missing. The list indicates a lone hair stylist from the spa is vacant.
Meanwhile, somewhere over the North Atlantic, cruising at 34,000 feet with a speed of 469 knots, the gleaming silver hull of this Boeing 777-200 is blinding in the cloudless mid day sun, as you attempt to make out the tail number. It’s N762AN and today it’s flying as American Airlines Flight #57, from London’s Heathrow Airport to Miami International.
Onboard Flight #57 is a bunch of noisy Brits off on “holiday” and despite the 9.45 a.m. departure, they’ve already started drinking. The flight is full, but as you make you way back on this twin aisle aircraft, you will arrive at Window Seat 42J. Here you will find the shade down and a slight brown young man seated sporting a boyish haircut. His short black hair is mostly hidden by a turquoise Tuque, a 2 day growth of thick beard crowds his face, sunglasses hide his eyes and ear buds firmly planted in an attempt to drown out the constant white noise. He’s trying to sleep a bit.
If you venture close enough, you will catch a whiff of dissipating alcohol vapors, this passenger had obviously been drinking heavily the night before, mixed in is an oily sweat smell reminisce of some high school gym locker room. This person obviously didn’t bath this morning either. Those with a especially discerning palate will pick up the scent of unwashed clothes as well. Pity the poor soul who must endure the 10 hour flight seated next to this jet setting vagrant.
Yes, my dear reader, the passenger in question is indeed TC, now racing to catch C6FV8 at it’s next port of call. My brown tiger, the person I profess to love with all my heart, who I worry and dote on at every step. Who I fawn over, protect, badger, and cajole while staying only a whisper’s edge away from the quick swipe of a young tiger’s sharpened claws.
… more as the day unfolds.