Lorraine arrived at the Asheville Airport in plenty of time for her connecting flight to Charlotte. She loved the way the airport had been updated. It had been so dingy before, but now it felt more modern. She browsed the bookstall for something to read on the plane, and picked up a copy of Fredrik Bachman’s Britt-Marie Was Here. Stephanie from Chifferobe in Black Mountain had mentioned the book, telling Lorraine that the main character was a bit like her: misunderstood. Now Lorraine was curious to meet this character and see what possible similarity she could have with someone fictional.
With the book tucked into her Louis Vuitton travel bag, Lorraine made her way to the small restaurant on the main level. She needed a good breakfast to fortify her for the trip. She dreaded the hike in Charlotte between the E Concourse where the puddle jumpers landed and B where her flight to Mexico City would depart. It was miles and she detested those moving sidewalks. They just made her dizzy, and she detested those people for whom the moving sidewalk wasn’t moving fast enough. They would rush up behind her and get all pissy if she wasn’t plastered against the side so they could race by her. She was so fat right now. She had trouble squeezing into her size small Eileen Fisher outfits and refused to replace them with mediums. But right now she needed comfort food. A big pastry and a latte would be just the ticket. She would worry about a diet after these dreadful holidays.
The flight to Charlotte was over before she had even settled properly into her seat, and the hike to the B Concourse was even worse than she remembered from the last time she flew. Annoying men in business suits shoved by her as she gripped the handrail on the moving sidewalk. She would have stuck out her foot to trip one, but didn’t want to damage her shoes. Her feet were so delicate that she required only the most expensive shoes which Tops had to special-order for her. She was so broke these days, that she didn’t want to have to order a new pair. The business men were safe from her.
She had time to kill at the gate before her flight, so she treated herself to a very small Cinnabon and another latte. The flight would be hours long and she didn’t like to eat airlines food. She decided to splurge and get a big Cinnabon to eat later on the plane. She just didn’t trust that food on the plane in those tiny sectioned dishes.
Her seat on the plane was in bulkhead, as she liked to stretch her legs. It was worth the extra expense, even though she was counting her pennies. Before she dozed off, she thought about Frederick. She loved him dearly, of course, but she couldn’t take the holidays. They upset her apple cart, as he grandmother used to say. She would return to 44 Cherry Street when those tacky Christmas decorations were removed from the streets.
She awoke when the captain announced that they were preparing for landing in Mexico City. She pulled out her make-up case and touched up her black eyeliner and mascara. Applied more red lipstick, and fluffed up her cloud of black hair. The Eileen Fisher outfit she had worn was perfect for travel: the white shirt and black pants didn’t wrinkle and she looked fresh.
Once she was in the bustling airport terminal, she wondered how in the world she would get to Oaxaca. She hadn’t told her sister she was coming so it would be a delightful surprise for her, so there would be no limousine waiting for her. She would have to take a taxi, but had no idea how far it would be to get to her sister’s hacienda.
She made the one tragic mistake that all travelers must try to avoid. She looked like she didn’t know where she was going, and was thus a target. As she wandered around looking for the exit and the taxi stand, she was approached by two very friendly gentlemen dressed in black. “Can we help you, Señorita?” they asked.
“Oh yes!” she exclaimed. “I have to get to Oaxaca. My sister lives there on a large hacienda, and I have no idea how to get there.”
The two men exchanged glances over her head, and one man said in a voice heavily accented in Spanish, “Si, señorita, We can help. We have a car outside and would be honored to escort you to Oaxaca. It is very dangerous in Mexico and we will keep you safe. There are bad men here in Mexico City. The buy and sell drugs. You must be very careful.”
Lorraine breathed a sigh of relief. She had been just a tad worried, and now she was safe. One of the men took her Vuitton bag and the other held her arm in a tight grip. They led her outside to the arrivals area where a long black limo was waiting, the driver also in black with a cap pulled down low over his eyes. They helped her into the backseat, sitting on either side of her, and as they pulled away from the curb and were leaving the airport, one of the men pulled a black bag from the floor of the car and jammed it over her head.
She struggled to get away, but where would she go? She was in a fast-moving limo with men in black, with a bag smelling strongly of marijuana covering her face.
“Oh, dear,” she thought.