Something about the interior of the plane to Phoenix reminded her of images she once saw of an indian bus clinging precariously to the thinnest possible ribbon of remaining road above a beautiful river chasm. It made for a lovely view, particularly when it was destined to be your last. But then again, the desperately impassive faces of her co-passengers were not a lovely image.
Meg had never felt right about planes. She’d never been able to get over the feeling that they were little more than distended Campbell’s Soup Cans with creatively dissembled labels that made up the wings. She couldn’t get over the speed of them, skipping rapidly over millions of sedentary ordinary lives. In the time it took to listen to a fragment of a song on an ipod you’d skipped blissfully over the commutes that those below would be bitching about hours later. In the time it took to type a quick message on twitter you’d blasted past thousands of people heading in the same direction.
And yet she’d done worse. She’d flown to Iraq and back twice. She’d ridden in Armored Personnel carriers under fire with small arms fire pinging against the side. She’d clung to sandbags as artillery rounds stole the air from her chest. She’d taken a shotgun blast in her vest at close range. But in the end it was planes she feared. Planes which horrified her straight down to some untapped icy core under her ribs.
As the plane lurched again she raised a hand at the stewardess. She was pretty in the way that make men brutal, stupid and dangerous and women much the same but for different reasons. She had blond hair capping a gorgeous but severe face that was perched atop long legs whose shape could be, and were, appraised by most of the male coach passengers in spite of the unattractive uniform she sported. She was also, very clearly, a sadist in the way her eyes grazed vapidly over Meg’s desperate, outstretched arm. She would have liked to say she’d shot people for less, but it wouldn’t have been true. Every person she’d shot, and there really hadn’t been that many, had completely deserved it.
“Have you looked over the case file yet?” Nudged her partner, Albert Riggins. The nudge made her jump a little which made her feel foolish. She brought her arm down quickly with a curse that settled gently over the entire situation.
“What’s to look at?” She snapped as she shoved the proffered file back at him with her elbow. “We’re not going to crack it. It’s already cracked. Just like this stewardesses head is going to be if she doesn’t take my drink order.” The stewardess turned again in her direction toting a minuscule pillow that she seemed to have pulled from the stale air. She handed the pillow to a man in the second row who fought to get it adequately behind his neck. Meg’s arm shot up again. The plane lurched again and again the stewardesses fluttering lashes fell on Meg’s outstretched hand and fluttered away.
“Flight Attendant.” Riggin’s corrected. He had no excuse to correct her – being twenty years her elder and of an age where stewardesses still wore skirts.
“Can I shoot her?” She snatched the file from him.
“What if I said I thought she was a terrorist?”
“I don’t think you’re even allowed to say terrorist much less call her a stewardess.”
Meg blew her hair from her face in disgust which only made it settle more completely in her eye.
“It was just the once.” She said, opening the file. “I didn’t know they were so touchy. I hope her boyfriend dismembered her cabbage patch kid before he was locked up. And what’s more I bet I could make a drug bust out of her. She’s clearly carrying some coke somewhere.”
“How do you figure her boyfriends in jail?”
“Well covered bruise on her wrist and another older one above her right temple. Tattoo on her left arm.”
“You can’t even see her tattoos. If she has any.”
“She raised her arm to get the pillow. I just caught a little glimpse of it. Bad quality. Looked homemade – prison ink style. She’s a tagged woman.”
Riggins was used to this sort of thing. His eyes followed the Flight Attendant as she disappeared behind the curtain into the first class compartment. They’d followed her there before but now they were looking for something else though he knew he would never see what Meg saw as quickly. He never would admit it but Meg Brown was the best thing to happen to his homicide squad in the entire time he’d been there but it hadn’t been easy. She was contentious, adamant, opinionated, direct, and worse – usually right. She’d seen more action than anyone else, knew more about seemingly everything, and drew connections between things the way a master draws a line, or an expert bluegrass fiddler plays a bridge. For the first time in almost ten years he saw the scope of his impending retirement with a panoramic and restful view that only came with a near perfect peace of mind.
Meg turned the pages to the pictures of the homicide and laid it open on the anemic fold out table that the airline provided to make a mockery of function. Across the aisle she heard a gasp.
“Nasty isn’t it?” She said to the woman who gasped. Under typical circumstances it would have been easy to imagine the forty year old woman with a pleasant, though simple laugh but here her kind and florid face gaped open and goggled at the crime scene photos. The woman’s tiny eyes zipped from the picture to Meg’s face and back again like some fast insect uncertain of the safety of it’s landing zone.
“Oh yeah. Head bashed in.” Meg added. “I’ve seen worse of course. Hell, I’ve done worse. But this one’s special.”
She pushed the pictures as close to the edge of the fold out as she could so the horrified passenger could get a better look at what she pretended not to want to.
“You know what the killer used? This will make you laugh. You won’t believe it. Guess.”
“I don’t… I can’t imagine…” The woman spluttered.
“Come on. Guess.”
“A baseball bat?” She whispered.
“No no no. Everybody uses a baseball bat. A cucumber. A frozen fucking cucumber. Do you believe it? I mean I’ve seen everything – Bat’s, axes. Axes make a big mess. Brains and bone everywhere. Pipes, concrete, stop signs. You name it but I have never seen anyone killed with a vegetable before. It takes a special kind of weird to think up the homicidal uses for produce.”
The woman looked at her. All the shock of seeing a body drained out of her with the unmistakable sensation that she was being made fun of.
“I’m totally serious. You don’t believe me. Okay. I’m partially lying. The cucumber was used to knock him out. It was one of those big kind with the big bulb at the end. They must have sapped him just right. See? You can see it in the picture.”
She pointed at the vegetable in the close up photo. It was taken not long after the first responder showed up so there was still a pretty rind of white frost covering it like fine fur mixed with a sharp dark stain of blood.
“Then they stabbed him twenty three times.”
“With a cucumber?”
“No. Standard kitchen knife. Which was a bitch and a half I’ll tell you. You know the thing about kitchen knives? They get slippery when you stab someone with them. So when you’re investigating and you see a kitchen knife you sort of cheer because whoever did it cut the royal shit out of themselves while they were doing it. So at first I gave a nice ‘yippee’. But that’s the pisser of it. Nothing. Stabbed twenty three times in twenty seconds or so and didn’t so much as knick a finger. And of course didn’t leave any prints. But then they almost never do.”
The woman seemed better knowing that a knife had been used. Order, in her world, was restored for the moment. She leaned in closer to Meg on one of her thick, porcine arms and smiled at her conspiratorially. Meg decided that she liked her. She was a good midwestern girl looking forward to turning pink in the much hyped Arizona sun.
“Did you catch them?”
Megan cracked her brightest farm girl grin and pushed more of her wayward hair out of her face.
“Well… yes and no.”
From behind the first class curtain the stewardess revealed herself like the conniving understudy in a broadway musical. Megan launched her arm again but this time her enthusiasm caused a sudden waterfall of gory images to pour from the folder and onto the floor. The stewardess saw the spill and Megan saw her rosy lips peel back into a satisfied smirk. It was probably the closest approximation she could make to a genuine smile.
“Terrorist.” She muttered as the smirk sank back behind the curtain. “The DA had us arrest someone. Prints found at the scene. Motive. Opportunity. You know – the usual bullshit they like. But he didn’t do it.”
“I thought you said they didn’t find any prints?”
“They didn’t find any on the knife. But there are always prints around.”
“But he didn’t do it?”
“Nope. It was one of those things you probably see on the TV all the time. Discovered the cucumber. That sort of thing.”
“But you arrested him?”
“Had to. The DA had his guy. Dead to rights too. I mean it’s really the perfect thing for a DA. The whole story, laid out like an episode of TV. Easiest thing to sell to any jury.”
“But then… who did it? Do you know?”
Meg smiled at her.
“Girlfriend. But of course she has an ironclad alibi. Made of the sort of iron you could blow your nose into or wipe your ass with. She said she was playing ‘hostess’ at an illegal poker game. 10 disreputable lying jackasses have her giving out lap dances that night. And to make matters worse we have a logged witness statement from her regarding a weapons charge 10 minutes after the body was discovered. It’s all garbage of course. She killed him. I know it. She knows it. The guy she was sleeping with knows it. She knows I know it and she knows I know she knows.”
Meg sighed at the drink she should have been holding but wasn’t and looked up at the woman smiling brightly.
“She’ll snap someday. Probably sooner than later. When she does I’ll be there to break her smug little jaw and enjoy the lamentation of the woman.”
The older woman stared at her vacantly. At first the expression was endearing, even amusing, but Meg was beginning to wonder if it was the only one in her repertoire. She blinked at her from above her silly grin. When the first blink failed to provoke the change she tried it again. It took a few seconds for the blinks to take effect.
“But…But…what about the guy who got arrested. Isn’t he going to Jail?”
“Of course. But I wouldn’t worry about it. He’s a scumbag anyway. And he’ll eventually be released, probably sue the city, win, and then you’ll hear all about the prosecutorial misconduct and blah blah blah all the while this fuckjob will be spending your tax money on a new supply of dope.”
“But he’s innocent!” The woman protested, her cheeks flushing brightly with the indignity of it.
“He’s not innocent. Trust me. Not by a long shot. He’s just innocent of this.”
“So how do you know it was the girlfriend, I mean, for sure?”
“The more complete the story, the bigger the lie. Like I said this one is perfect. It even has a cop on her side. And it’s just vague enough on certain details to be barely credible. Which is how I know it’s complete junk.”
The plane lurched yet again. In the Marines this would be the time in the flight she would stare around at all the pleasant sleeping faces of her platoon and think seriously about trying to knock herself out with the pommel of her Ka-Bar. Knives weren’t permitted on domestic flights, however and she was left with throwing her arm in the air at the suddenly reappearing stewardess.
Once again she peered around the cabin like a long neck, leggy periscope but this time her disinterested eyes clicked on her outstretched hand – it being the only one up. The expression she gave it was not one to inspire a budding friendship and the speed she explored the aisle with could have been measured only by rock strata in desert canyons. Meg made sure she had on her friendliest smile when she finally came up.
“Oh, Thank you thank you Miss Stewardess.” She said and then nearly choked on it. “Could I get a whiskey sour tall, please?”
“We don’t do talls, Miss.”
Meg almost corrected her with ‘missus’ but then mentally squirmed with the all too recent memory. It was enough discomfort that it didn’t go unnoticed in the Flight Attendant whose rosy lips perked at one corner.
“Fine.” Meg relented sullenly. “A short one will do if you double it.”
The hateful woman took her crooked grin with her back up the aisle she’d come from, stopping to smile more brightly at the business man in the very nice suit who sat alone in his row. He adjusted the collar of his suit coat a little which had been ruffled by the tiny pillow. The sunlight from the open porthole window glinted off of his very expensive watch which he was trying to impress her with. They smiled pleasantly at each other for a moment and laughed at something she couldn’t quite hear. Negotiations concluded, he fished in his inside breast pocket for the money he owed her for whatever he was drinking. She took it meaningfully, her thumb stroking his as it exchanged hands. It was the kind of thing that lately had Meg either wanting to puke or unleash bullets.
“I’m not a good flyer either.” The woman smiled at her. It was a smile with no lips – the smile of a frog. Meg pulled herself away from her revulsion to address it.
“So. Do you want to know who the Air Marshall on the flight is?”
“I thought they were supposed to be secret?”
“Supposed to be, but I’m good like that.”
“What do you mean?”
Meg sat up straight and turned slightly to the woman giving her a quick once over.
“You’re what jackasses dismiss as a Soccer mom. You’re taking a trip to visit your sister in Arizona who you haven’t seen in five or six years. But it isn’t a strained sort of relationship. It’s just sort of the way life carries you. Your mother died recently or some other close female relative – I’d guess mother though. And you’re unhappily happily married – worried that your husband is on the prowl for a fling but oddly hopeful that if he does it it will cure him of whatever it is that’s been ailing him lately. Oh and one of your kids is a juvenile delinquent.”
The woman listened, and then lapsed into an uncomfortable silence. Apparently her expression could change. It went from vacant and attentive to vaguely motherly with a soupcon of tired bemusement. Something about it made Meg think of a lump of anxiously expectant unused clay. After a little while her mouth dropped open and said the expected thing.
“Of course. You have several layers of grass stains on your shoes and they’re nice shoes. Work shoes. Not the sort of thing you’d wear in the garden – which means you work and pick up the kids from practice. Your necklace has a broach or locket at the end. I saw it earlier when you helped me pick up the pictures earlier when that evil ayatollah bitch ignored me.”
As if on cue the understudy appeared from behind the curtain, pushing the drink cart before her like Sisyphus, stopping first at the gentleman with the suit. They exchanged much less pleasantries but the gentleman must have forgotten something as he dipped again into his breast pocket for money, which she happily took without saying anything.
“Then there’s the bracelet.” Meg said, watching the slow progress her drink made through the aisle. “It’s old too. Like the necklace. An heirloom type thing. I figured one or the other was meant to be a gift for a sister.”
The stewardess had lodged the freighter of drinks conveniently between them. Meg looked at it – laden with sodas and little bottles of alcohol and peanuts and the kind of food you chewed once and forgot about it. Her drink, at least the one she presumed was hers, was sloshing about on top next to another. The Flight Attendant handed it to her with a superficial salesman’s smile.
“That’ll be ten dollars, miss.”
“Not only are you a Nazi sadist, you’re a fricking money grubbing whore to boot.” Meg said icily.
“Do you want me to report you?”
“To who?” Meg was careful to show her badge as she got her money out of her jacket. “The police?”
The flight attendant made a sudden face that drifted uncertainly between disgust and something else unpleasant which was followed by a noise from somewhere in her throat that stood in for something worse. She looked away and pushed the drink freighter past them and down the aisle.
“God what a whore.” She exclaimed when she was a little more out of earshot. “Where was I? Oh yeah. Your wedding ring. Is well worn. Older. The design suggests something that was made in the eighties or early 90s. You know how they were always overdoing it back then. No offense. The stone looks real and expensive, which suggests your husband puts more value on what he can get quick without a lot of consideration. Now I can’t tell you if he’s actually cheating but I’d put odds on him thinking about it more than once because, well, what guy hasn’t?”
“I haven’t.” Riggins said suddenly. She hadn’t thought he’d been listening.
“You don’t count. You’re a cop. Cops aren’t real men.”
“How do you figure that? That’s not right.” He replied.
“Well, most guys live in a constant state of neurosis, evaluating and reevaluating personal priorities in relation to preconceived constructions of self which are based off of static cultural stereotypes they’ve adopted. To most guys this is a vague, personal understanding of their subjective identity in terms of their masculinity. But cops are different. There is a static identity of ‘cop’ that provides a much more solid foundation to their psyches. It’s a lot like being a Marine. Once you’re a Marine you’re always going to be a Marine in one way or another even if it was a big mistake. Once you’re a cop you’re always going to be a cop. Guys have to constantly check with themselves that their still guys and they’re neurotic about it. Constantly.”
“Cops cheat on their wives all the time.” Riggins insisted. “I’ve seen it.”
“Yeah but that’s BECAUSE they’re cops. Not because they’re men. Men cheat to prove to themselves that they’re still men. Cops cheat because of other reasons – a dynamic relation with the criminality of cheating. But, that’s not… You know… What we’re talking about.”
Riggins turned towards the back of the chair in front of him. One of his thin shoulders wiggled up and down thoughtfully, suggesting that he was at least partially convinced, which was pretty good in her book – particularly when she’d made it all up on the spot.
“And what about the Juvenile delinquent?” Said the woman in a voice that told Meg she’d nailed it.
“Oh. That’s easy. Most families have at least one juvenile delinquent of some sort or another so it could have just been a guess. But in this case… I don’t know how to say this… But you have a little bit of bud stuck to your sock. I wouldn’t worry about it though. No one gives a shit about weed any more.”
“How do you know it’s not mine?” The woman said, her lips thinning and her eyes darkening.
“Well… To be honest I couldn’t tell until just now. If it had been yours you wouldn’t have gotten pissed. You would have gotten defensive. You probably would have plucked it off your sock.”
“That little shit. I’m going to fucking kill him.”
“Oh. Don’t worry about it. You should just be happy there weren’t drug dogs at the airport. You’d be shocked at how prevalent it is. Your conservative neighbor with all the Viking flags, the conservative bumper stickers, etcetera – your local pastor, your kids history teacher, it’s really not that big of a deal.”
“It’s against the law.” She said with venom, as if trying to butter the cop with her moral rectitude.
“Come on. I’m going to guess you chiefed a few times in the good old days, am I right? There’s just a little part of you, even now, curious about how the new stuff stacks up against the old days. There’s a piece of you that wants to be baked out of your gourd when your wayward husband comes home late one night looking for his bottle of beer and the remote control after you’ve corralled the kids into the van, listened to the tales of shoes you can’t afford but your daughter needs for some unearthly reason. But instead you have wine. You buy it because your husband wouldn’t know a decent wine if it bit him on the ass. He’d buy top shelf expensive swill that tasted like it was brewed in a french garbage can.”
The woman looked at her suspiciously. It was a look Meg knew well and it generally meant she’d done her job. Here it just meant she’d been a bit of an ass to someone who didn’t deserve it. Meg looked at her drink and swished it around in it’s glass a little.
“Alright.” The woman said finally. “My turn.”
Meg’s eyebrows shot up on their own.
“Nuh uh. No way.”
“Oh come on, Brown. Give her a chance.” Riggin’s said, enjoying himself. “What are you afraid of? Except that she might be right?”
Meg looked at him balefully, or she thought balefully. She never knew for sure if she was getting the look right or not.
“Alright.” She said, carefully expelling the air from her lungs. “I’m ready. Go.”
The large womans face shaded red in spots again getting more vibrant as she concentrated. Meg sat still and patient, considering the drink.
“Okay. Umm…You’re not married and never have been because you’re committed to your job. Other cops don’t like you much because you’re too good at it and make them look foolish. You don’t take much time for socializing. You love what you do but there’s an artistic bent of some sort. I would guess drawing. You have no kids and don’t want any. You take great pride in your shoe collection even though you don’t think of yourself as very fashionable. You don’t get along with your father and your mother is dead – recently I think. Like me. Because you have a certain sadness that you try to hide but it still comes out in your eyes. You grew up in the city and you’re a city girl through and through and you’re father is some sort of academic, thats why you don’t like him. An academic with a penchant for younger women. Right? I’m so sorry about your mother, though…”
Meg brushed the air casually with one hand then used it to perch her chin on.
“And you’re a dog person. How did I do?”
“Well, judge?” Meg turned to Riggins. He leaned over to the woman with a large and pleasant smile that tried to suggest she’d done well. It was a variant of his ‘breaking bad news’ look but it usually had much worse information to impart.
“What’s your name, Misses?” He said.
“Let’s just be polite and say whatever you do for a living you should stick to that.”
“Did I get anything right?”
“My mom is dead. But it wasn’t recent. I was eleven. See what you did wasn’t deduction. It was projection and as such it actually tells me a lot more about you, none of which I’ll bore you with now.”
“Well, earlier I offered to point out the air marshall on the flight. Not every flight has one you know.” She looked carefully around the cabin as if searching for him. Of course she and Riggins had been introduced to him prior to boarding but she was having some fun enhancing the mystique. She made it a point to look as though she was scrutinizing the faces.
Just at the point she was about to call him out the gentleman in question breezed between them very quickly – moving towards the first class area.
“Well…” Meg said slowly. “That was him.”
“Oh dear.” Said Monica, watching him go. “I hope there isn’t something wrong.”
Megan turned to Riggins, who had seen it too. He had a look of mild curiosity, but not much more.
“Would you excuse me for a moment?” She asked both of them as the cabin intercom came to life.
“This is your captain speaking. At this point in our flight we would like to ask the passengers if there is a registered physician on board. We assure you that there is nothing to be alarmed about. One of the passengers in First class seems to be experiencing a medical emergency which may require rerouting the flight to Denver. If there is a physician on board, I’d appreciate it if you’d offer your services to one of our flight attendants or simply proceed directly to first class.”
No one in Coach moved. Which made sense to Meg. What would a registered physician be doing slumming it in coach? Which also meant that there wasn’t one in First Class and therefore none on the plane and therefore the guy in question was screwed, if he was even still alive. Which she doubted.
She pushed herself out of her seat.
“Brown…” Riggins muttered at her. “It’s none of our business.” She couldn’t help herself around corpses though. She turned and raised her drink at him in a toast, complete with goofy mischievous grin. The only thing missing was the tarnished halo and the dingy wings.
But Megan didn’t push through the curtains into First Class with her badge raised as he expected. Instead she swung into an open seat next to a guy in a nice suit, careful not to spill a drop of her drink.
“Hi. I’m Meg Brown, and you are?”
“Excuse me?” Said the man in the suit. “I’m afraid that seat is spoken for.”
“Yes. It is. By me.” She fished around in the breast pocket of her jacket. It was sometimes astounding to her just what she could discover in her own pockets.
“Miss, am I going to have to report you?” He said a little more sternly. “I know that seat is taken.”
Another thing that occasionally astounded her was the lack of observational skills in people. She would have figured that, by now, almost everyone on the flight knew she was a cop but apparently this one didn’t as it still took him by surprise when she started reading him his rights. When she finished she looked at him with just a little resigned disappointment.
“Come on, man. Didn’t your friend tell you I was a cop?” She watched his crystal blue iris narrow on her but the muscles around his eyes didn’t flex at all. It was the sort of expression guilty men used to express their guilt when they thought they were doing the opposite. “Well she wouldn’t would she? She doesn’t trust you, which figures, really, with the way you jammed up her boyfriend. Still, I guess it would have worked out for him in the end if things had gone alright. But that’s why she wanted half payment up front. Big mistake really. Who pays for drinks on a plane before the cart’s even rolled out?”
She put her drink on his open tray table, right next to the one he’d been having which was almost empty.
“How much was it by the way?” She tapped the side of his drink while staring into his dead looking eyes. They hadn’t yet fluttered once. “Ooh! Let me guess. You used a twenty to blind three thousand. Kind of tricky getting those kinds of bills which would make you a banker. Tricky – but stupid. But then if murderers weren’t so stupid I wouldn’t be so danged good at what I do.”
“Someone was murdered? On this plane?” He tried shock this time. It was like ticking off a list of guilty facial expressions.
“Now you’re just being insulting.” She said kindly. “No need to be rude.”
“Alright then.” He settled as easily as possible into his seat, mistaking it for the First Class seat he was used to. It didn’t work and he became annoyed at it. Meg had to stifle a giggle at his expense. It wouldn’t have gone over well. Misunderstandings between arresting officers and the arrested could sometimes lead to trouble as she well knew and had been recently acquainted with. But, of course, that had been a little different. In that case the guy never had any intention of going quietly, in this he’d never had any intention of getting caught.
“Who do you suppose I murdered?”
“Well that remains to be seen. It’s not often I catch the killer before I even see the victim, but if I were to guess I’d have to say business partner, co-worker, something like that. All I can say for certain is that they didn’t much care for your relationship with drug dealers. I guess we’ll find out in a little bit.”
“Exactly how am I supposed to have killed anyone? I haven’t gotten out of my seat for the entire flight and it’s a little difficult to manuever that sort of thing. I mean it’s not like it’s easy to bring a weapon on board.”
She smiled and swatted at his arm like a lady sharing the neighborhood gossip.
“Oh I know. You wouldn’t believe what I had to go through just to bring my badge and gun on board. There’s a couple of things I need your help on before we land though. Why would a guy with a three thousand dollar wristwatch buy up two seats in Coach instead of just getting a seat in First Class – or better yet, why would you even get on the same plane as your victim? I mean – I can understand not getting a seat in first class because you don’t want him to see you but shit, man. Make something up. Or is it really that bad? Are you really in so deep that this is the last move? But, being honest? Seriously? Getting two seats is just stupid. I mean really stupid. I suppose you can get on and off and not be seen, right?”
He grinned at her. Finally. It was the smile of the guilty man who thought he’d been clever. Like the kid who rigged up the Rube Goldberg device to filch cookies without being noticed only to be amused when it all goes wrong.
“Alright. Fine. We’ll play it that way. It’ll come out, you know. But here’s the thing. You got the extra seat because you didn’t want to worry about anyone seeing your little secret. The way you passed the money to the stewardess, the way you fluffed your pillow to get the poison out from under your jacket collar. It took you two times to get it. Made you sweat a little, didn’t it? It’s funny how the little things throw you off. It made you fuck up the dosage. Which is why we’re now heading to Denver and not Phoenix. He was supposed to die on the ground. Not on the plane. But you panicked. You altered the plan because it had to happen. You had to know it happened. Like getting two seats. It was peace of mind. And yet, if you’d stuck to the one tab we’d be on our way to Phoenix. Your partner would be just as dead but wouldn’t know it yet and I wouldn’t be sitting here. I still would have been suspicious but there would be nothing I could do about it.”
The grin, the stoicism, the calm arrogance all had been removed and replaced with a cool rage she could see darkening his fine blue eyes. She supposed it would have been a good time to stop smiling smugly at him but she found it impossible. She pulled her handcuffs from her front jacket pocket and handed them to him. They sat on the tray table in front of him along with his finished drink and her untouched one. He looked at the cuffs with a lot of fight left in him but when he finally put them on it was all gone, drained out as if it had been tapped.
“I’m not saying anything else until I speak with my lawyer.”
“You didn’t say much to begin with. But I’d stick with that plan. It’s a good one. Just one question: did that conniving bitch poison my drink too?”
He didn’t say anything. He just turned to stare glumly at the back of the seat in front of him. Every now and then he stared out at the open sky and the miles and miles of ground seen majestically from the window of the plane. Eventually the plane descended into Denver and the expanse of ground became smaller and smaller until they came to a stop. When it did she thought he might be sick.
Meg sighed deeply as she turned the Flight Attendant and the Man With The Nice Watch – whose name turned out to be Robert – over to the Air Marshall and the Denver Police Department. They took charge of the remaining tabs of poison she’d taken from under his collar. She saw Monica only once again, as she climbed off the plane and into the arms of her sister who looked a lot like her, only thinner and browner. She watched them cry at each other and hug and then Monica started talking animatedly as the sister led her away. Something about the scene made her miss her dog.