Meg Brown #2: Too Much Peace of Mind (sampler)

Something about the interior of the plane to Phoenix reminded her of images she once saw of abus in India clinging precariously to the thinnest possible ribbon of road above a beautiful river chasm. It made for a lovely view, particularly when it was destined to be your last.

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 aesthetic structure was casually appraised by most of the male coach passengers. She was also a sadist. You could tell by the the way her eyes grazed vapidly over Meg’s desperate, outstretched arm. Meg wished she could 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?” her partner, Albert Riggins, nudged with his elbow. It 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, taking a portion of her stomach with it. The stewardesses long, fluttering lashes fell on Meg’s outstretched hand and fluttered away again just as quickly.

“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.

“No.”

“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.”

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Categories: Meg Brown Mysteries, Writing Samples | Leave a comment

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