Baggage Claim
Myles Wallace
[Total Pages: 13]
Wallace Page 1
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The old man with the wandering, wide-eyed gaze and melted wax features stumbles down the aisle. He carries an over-sized plaid handbag out before him. He stops in front of me-~wide, heavy, and swaying~-breathing heavily. "Is this 15A?"
    I make to move. "Yes. You have the window seat."
    He shakes his head. "I might need access to the aisle." Straining, the man hefts the bag upwards and slides it halfway into the overhead. The flight attendant, who walks unsteadily because her navy skirt is too tight around the knees, comes to help push it in.
    "I can handle it, sir," she says from his side.
    The man persists~-pulling out someone's coat to make room. The flight attendant draws a flat smile for him, takes the coat, and asks him to please get comfortable.

She stuffs the coat into the overhead and, after a brief struggle, hands him a baggage claim ticket.
    "Just wait outside the plane once we get to Chicago."
    The old man settles in beside me, too big to be flying in a plane this small where the flight attendants can't push the beverage cart down the aisle without bumping people's elbows. He goes for the armrest, and I reach for a Sky Mall magazine.
    "Those massage chairs are something else, aren't they," he says over my shoulder. I can feel his warm breath on the side of my face.
    "Yup." I turn the page. Across the aisle, a forty-something woman with wiry brown hair leans over, pulls a half-finished paperback out of her carry-on, tucks its bookmark behind her ear, and kicks the bag underneath the seat.