2. Sleepless In Chicago

I was resentful that my daydreams had been disturbed. 

I had been reviewing in my mind the whirlwind of events that had swept me up from my humble caravan life after the devastation that followed the bankruptcy of my freelance copywriting business of fifteen years. 

I thought my life was over. 

I was still licking my wounds from losing everything, I mean, everything. Home. Business. Second marriage. Car. Possessions. Money. Credit cards. Even my self-worth. 

Now I found myself on a plane flying across the Pacific with literally everything I owned packed into two bulging suitcases and one carry-on overnight bag. 

My thoughts had been of the precious cargo I was carrying in my stowed luggage, the files surrounding a mystery which had fallen into my lap just before leaving Australia.

(Clues to this secret are revealed as early as Chapter 1.)

But right now my mind was focussed on rather more immediate concerns like, are we going to make it?, when a voice from inside my head replied: Yes, and won’t this make a great story for your book!

Book? 

What book?

As I thought about that for a moment I began to relax and enjoy the ride. 

My palms and heartbeat returned to normal. 

Before long there was another announcement and I held my breath as the voice from the p.a. spoke the words I wanted to hear:

“Ladies and gentlemen. We’ve just been given clearance from Chicago Airport. We’re now preparing to land.”

I could sense the feeling of relief throughout the plane. 

The flight attendants began to bustle around as if, for an indefinite time, they had been frozen in their tracks by some kind of freeze gun. 

In no time a rain-soaked runway rose out of the darkness to meet us and we were taxiing along the tarmac at Chicago. 

I was relieved, to say the least, in spite of the inflight reassurances from the cockpit as well as the one in my head.

In the airport lounge we were greeted by the news that all flights in and out of O’Hare were now cancelled, and incoming flights were being diverted elsewhere “due to the ceiling-to-ground lightning.” 

We had been the last plane in. 

The airport was closed for the night, which meant I no longer had a connecting flight to New York.

Great.

At the desk we were told bluntly, “Sorry, no free overnight accommodation. You’ll have to spend the night in the airport lounge.”

Want to read the whole story? Click here!

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Neil Smith has written extensively on life (and how to deal with it) including 3 non-fiction books and numerous blogs. To read more CLICK HERE.
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Illustration by Jeff 'Wizard of Draws' Bucchino at www.cartoonclipart.com

Note: Illustrations are used only in this blog and are not included in the book

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