|Blogs > rm_Slatz2005 > "When Irish Eyes are Smiling."|
The Chirstmas Angel
The Chirstmas Angel
As the icy wind howled through the metal walls of the jet way all he could think about was how much he hated coming back to this town. At least he hadn’t thrown away his long blank cashmere coat; he had forgotten how comfortable and warm it could be and how necessary it was to protect him from the lake effect wind chill. Having to go to baggage claim pissed him off to no end. He remembered the days when no one bitched about him carrying on a garment bag and the pleasure of having real cutlery in first class. A smirk appeared on his face as he adjusted the shoulder strap of his attaché remembering the flight attendants he intimately came to know through his endless travels. But those days were over, business now consumed his personal life and his desire for adventure was all but a distance memory.
The gates were emptier nowadays, no families waiting for their loved ones, no tears of joy as anxious wives or girlfriends strained to see the silhouettes their soul mates step off their planes. Instead only anonymous and weary travelers making their way past bomb sniffing dogs and armed security personnel.
As he approached the baggage carousel he scanned the area for his limo driver. “Mr. Stewart”, “Mr. Delong”, “Mr. Lin” the signs read, but no “Mr. Logan”. It was to be expected, he knew traveling the day before Christmas was going to be hell and that regular corporate travelers were few and far between. He grabbed his black Tumi from the conveyor and headed out the exit door to the curb in hopes his driver was circling the arrival loop. The sliding glass doors swung open and the brisk realty of his trip hit him squarely between the thighs. The smell of car exhaust was mixed with the chilling bitter cold air but no limo in sight; he lit a cigarette and wished he hadn’t gotten of that plane.
Fifteen minutes passed and the soft thin leather of his shoes was no match for the frosty air as his toes began to tingle from the vigil. God he missed Tony, (his regular driver from the old days), but the image of Big T at a dog track somewhere in Florida enjoying a well deserved retirement brought a real smile to his face for the first time this trip. He began searching for his Blackberry to find the number to the limo company. As the stylus was about to hit call he heard a faint voice coming from the open window of a late model SUV pulling up to the curb. “Mr. Logan?” “Excuse me sir are you Mr. Logan?”
Before he could respond the passenger door swung open and a woman motioned him in. He curiously approached the vehicle and leaned into it to find a rather petite young lady under a traditional drivers hat and bundled in a torn green parka. She shuffled a pile of maps to the floor and dusted off the seat. “I’m Nicole…I am so sorry about this mix up but I’m your driver.” Once making eye contact he noticed the mascara disaster around her eyes and figured it to be the result of intense crying. “I have had the worst day of my life and I really feel horrible about you having to wait but I can explain, just please let me get you to your hotel so you won’t have to take a cab.”
The airport traffic Nazis were now approaching the car and her anxiety about the situation started to intensify. “I know it’s not the car you expected but I can get you to the Ritz in about twenty minutes, it’s the least I can do.” He stepped back, looked at the line to the cabstand, felt the tingling in his toes and decided what the hell it was going to like this for the next three days. He grabbed his bag and tossed it into the back seat when he noticed the infant car seat and what looked to be a mix of milkshake and cheerios covering the worn leather upholstery. “Sorry, it’s my sister’s car and I didn’t have time to clean it up, just toss them in the very back”. Once loaded up he slid into the front passenger seat and fastened his seat belt for insurance.
“Thank you, Thank you so much for trusting me” she said as her tiny frame relaxed and she merged into the exiting airport traffic. “I owe you an explanation, I just go this Job last week and because I’m new I get the runs no-one else wants. I guess I got you because of the holiday.” She continued on with her ranting while trying to merge onto the expressway, “I had a late run last night and decided to keep the limo at my place because your pick up was so early. When I got up this morning the car was gone and a note was on my door saying I was fired for poor customer service and that I would have to personally explain it to you.” The tears started forming in the corners of her eyes and her voice cracked as she spoke “ The only reason that son of a bitch fired me was because my client last night wanted more than just a limo ride, he wanted laid and I wouldn’t oblige. My sister let me borrow her car to come get you. I’m sure once we get to the Ritz we can find you another car service for your stay in town.”
The weather was turning nasty as the taillights in front of them disappeared in the white out that slipped in from Lake Erie. Nicole’s knuckles were turning white from the grip she held over the wheel. Without realizing it, she cracked the window, lit a long slim Capri and then shocked at her own behavior quickly put it out in the ashtray filled with empty candy wrappers and change. “My sister is going to kill me for smoking in her car. Some habits die hard…OH MY GOD, HOLD ON!”
The SUV managed to stop inches from the rear end of the salt truck that had come to a halt in front of them. Traffic was going nowhere and the wipers could barley keep up with the falling snow that was now turning to ice on the windshield. The expressway had officially become a parking lot. They sat quietly for a moment letting their heart rates return to normal. Reaching out his hand he turned to her and smiled “I’m Jim by the way, Jimmy to my friends, Mr. Logan is a bit formal for two people about die on an expressway”. She smiled back, “Nicole, a very unemployed limo driver at your service.”
To be continued: