Kate Boudreau used a tissue to retrieve the wet object from the side of the toilet. “If I find another used condom in an airplane bathroom, I’m going to—”
“Plant a video recorder in there and charge a fee not to air it on YouTube?” Rocky Puffer suggested.
“Make a little money on the side by putting a vending machine in there?” Betty McDonald said.
“Tie it around the gentleman’s genitalia,” Kate finished. “I fail to see the excitement in having sex in a public bathroom.”
“Never stopped you.” Rocky deposited a bag of trash into the larger bag Betty was holding as she stood in the aisle.
“That’s different.” Kate followed Rocky’s movements. “The pilot’s loo is large and doesn’t reek.”
“Someone’s trying to justify her behavior,” Rocky said.
“I’m not trying to justify anything. I’m just saying, if you’re going to play Flight Attendant and Pilot, use your imagination while you’re at home. I don’t want to have to pick up after you.”
“Not to change the subject, as scintillating as it is, but how are Rich and Jenny doing?” Betty asked.
“Never better. Why?”
“There are rumors going around.”
“Saying what? By who?”
“Nothing specific. Just that they might be on the rocks and that Patricia might be involved somehow.”
Kate focused her full attention on Betty. “Where did you hear this?”
“Now don’t get mad at her, she’s just trying to get the real story,” Rocky said. “If we’ve heard about it, you know everyone else has, too.”
“That pisses me off. It’s nobody’s business what happens on our personal time.”
“So, they’re good?” Betty asked.
“Better than good, they’re great.”
“I’m relieved. You know I was there when they met for the first time. I told Jenny she was smitten, but she wasn’t having any of it. She had that look in her eyes.”
“I know that look,” Rocky said. “It was the same look Miss Kate had when she met Darrell.”
“His name is Darrell Arthur. He flies helicopters for tourists in Hawaii. We met him on vacation earlier this year,” Rocky said.
“He’s not a pilot? I’m confused. I thought you only dated pilots.”
“I didn’t date him, I just had sex with him. It was only once. Our vacation got cut short when Patricia got hurt.”
“How’s she doing?”
“Good. No more crutches and she’s done wearing the walking boot.”
“Why do I get the feeling there’s more to all this than you’re telling us?” Betty asked.
“Isn’t there always more?”
“I suppose. What’s the official word? I’ll start spreading it around so the other gossip will come to an end.”
“The official word is that everything is going great with Rich and Jenny and doubly great for David and Patricia.”
“No one is going to believe me. We have to give them some of the juice or they’ll keep nagging me.”
“We should tell them they had this big blow-up with Patricia and Jenny thrashing at each other like wild cats,” Rocky said, his eyes gleaming with excitement.
“Then what?” Kate asked.
“One thing led to another and they ended up kissing and then they had this great big orgy and all was made right with the world.”
“An orgy makes everything right with the world?” Betty said.
Rocky shrugged. “Couldn’t hurt.”
Josh Garrett poked his head around the corner. “Captain says you’re taking too long. Double time it. He wants to get out of here, it’s his wife’s birthday.”
“We’re on it, Josh,” Betty said. When he disappeared around the corner, she added, “If he had his nose any farther up Captain Wilson’s ass, it would be stained brown forever.”
“Betty!” Rocky’s eyes widened. “You’re not usually so catty. I love it!”
“I’m tired of everyone getting promoted around me. I’ve been with Ballinger for eight years and what do I have to show for it? Even newcomers like Patricia get assigned better flights than I do. It’s just not right.”
“Have you told anyone how you feel?” Rocky asked.
“I’ve written letters and sent e-mails. It doesn’t do any good. I realize I’m older than everyone else, but I’m one of the best FAs around.”
“Damn straight,” Kate said.
“Maybe I’m getting jaded. I didn’t plan to spend my life picking up condoms and having my toes stepped on, you know?”
“I know,” Kate and Rocky said in unison.
Betty waved a hand in the air. “Forget I said anything. I’m just tired. I’ve got some down time this week. I could use the rest. Maybe it’ll give me a whole new perspective.”
“Or maybe you need to get laid,” Rocky said.
Betty’s laughter spilled down the hallway. “Rocky, you are a joy to work with. I always know when I’m on a flight with you, I’m going to have a good time.”
“What am I, chopped liver?” Kate asked.
“Of course, you, too.”
They quickly finished the task at hand with Rocky gathering the bags of trash while the two women used sweepers on the aisles.
When they were finished, they gathered their belongings and de-boarded the plane, heading for the Ballinger Air flight lounge to finish their paperwork and head home.
“It’s been a joy, ladies. Kate, don’t forget our stay in Bali is coming up.”
“How could I forget? I’m looking forward to it.”
“Tell Jenny hi for me,” Betty said.
“I will. Safe flights until we meet again,” Kate said.
“Safe flights,” the two FAs echoed.
Half an hour later, Kate was welcomed home by the sight of twinkling Christmas lights surrounding the windows. Jenny and Patricia were hanging greenery on the porch railings, along with red velvet bows.
“Hey stranger,” Jenny said. “You look tired.”
“I am. I want to sleep for a week. The decorations look great. A little early isn’t it?”
“It’s the first Sunday of Advent,” Patricia said.
“It’s still November.”
“Jenny, Betty says hi.”
“She’s so awesome.”
“She’s also fed up with everyone being promoted but her.”
“What’s up with that?” Patricia asked.
“Age,” Jenny said. “She’s not even that old. Ballinger likes ‘em young. I’m going to have the same problem ten years from now.”
“We all will,” Kate said.
“Except Rocky. With men it’s different. When their hair turns gray it’s distinguished. When a woman’s hair turns gray, they hand you a box of hair color and say, ‘Get rid of the gray, it makes you look old.’”
“I’d love to stay and chat about Advent, getting old and whatever else pops up, but I am dead on my feet. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Get some good rest,” Jenny said.
“Glad you’re home,” Patricia said.
Kate left her bags by her door, stripped and slid into bed with a weary, but contented sigh. There was nothing better than sleeping in your own bed after being away for a week.
Her to-do list called to her, but she shoved thoughts of it to the back of her brain mumbling, “Tomorrow.”