S & M Files, Part XIV

Distribution Permission

This version of S & M Files is freely distributable provided that the copyright notice remains intact. All material in the Annals, unless otherwise stipulated, is copyrighted (1999-2006) to Michelle A. Hoyle & Stephen B. Dodd.


*** This is an S&M Files breaking information update!
Yes, news as it happens!

In this episode watch as
-> Stephen is smothered by The Monster That Ate Tokyo
-> We learn how 50 pound boxes, trains, planes and stairs do not mix
Sit back. Relax. Enjoy. Hey, this didn't happen to you. ***

Returning to Jolly Old England

After a pleasant time in Canada, we felt the need for a more inexplicable, chaotic and less predictable life style, and thus sought a return to the unusual happenstance that is Britain.

Due to budget constraints, we tend to fly on airlines that have only recently been able to afford regular maintenance. This is partly due to the fact that there is a tax on being, um, British. Well, not a tax per say but a definite penalty. As in a hockey game where a player does something "bad", the British have done something "bad" - that is they are and have been and will be, well, British.

Thus our penalty for bad behavior is we pay hundreds of dollars more for the same flight than Canadians. Whereas it costs $699 to fly from Edmonton to London return, it costs $1099 to fly from London to Edmonton return.

One second. Please hold...

Yes, oh, one clever reader has just phoned in on our S&M Hotline (Call Now! Operators are Standing By for *You*) with the remarkable suggestion of purchasing our expensive British tickets out of Canada. Ah, a clever idea indeed, dear reader, but we have already cottoned onto this little trick. The above inflated prices are already purchased long distance out of Canada! They know where we live. I won't venture into the local travel agent price in the interests of our viewers with weak or strained wallets.

In today's adventure, S&M fly Air Transat. In Swahili, where their head office could very well be, Air loosely translates as "Chin" and Trans means "Knee." The trailing "at" is a joiner such as "to." Thus we discovered we were flying in the luxury of "Chin To Knee" airlines.

Ardent TV watchers may have noticed the clever commercials of nice airline crews removing rows of seats and throwing them out onto the tarmac to make even more room for the lucky passengers of XY airlines.

This is not our airline.

In fact our airline is the one that follows around XY airlines waiting, watching, lurking until those seats are thrown onto the tarmac and Chin-Knee employees can swoop down and ferry them away to secret laboratories where top scientists with little pocket protectors supervise workers in installing more rows. More rows! More! More! Ha ha ha! All is proceeding according to plan! Soon the world will be... Ooops, is this thing on? Heh. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Look! Over there! Seat sale! Seat sale!

With tiny seats crammed 3 by 3 by 3, what's the worst nightmare of all travellers? How about sitting in the middle seat? How about sitting in the middle seat between two sumo wrestlers? Well, dear Stephen didn't quite have it that bad. On his left he had a beautiful and intelligent Michelle, on his right he had...
...the monster that ate Tokyo (!) and all the Sumos in it.

This man did... not... fit... into his seat. If it wasn't for the protective dyke of the arm rest, I wouldn't be talking to you here today. He flowed like a giant jello pudding in every which way - under the arm rest, over, across. My life became his.

The poor man had to spend the entire flight with his arms crossed, or I would be eating forearm sandwich. He uncrossed his massive arms once as I was drifting off, and I woke up to this wall of flesh waving across my vision, my world.

So he sat there crammed in like an apple in an egg cup. At first he thought I must be hogging part of his seat belt, but it turned out the standard Chin-Knee belts are not big enough to contain the man that ate Tokyo. Apparently this has happened before on Chin-Knee airlines. When the stewardess came, she did not, as I had feverishly hoped, move him to business class. Rather she produced a long length fabric to extend the seat belt the requisite several yards.

Even the trolly going by would require that he move his stray mass out of the aisle and into... my seat! The little armrest sighed each time under the pressure of a dozen gravities. To even turn on the overhead light it was necessary for him to painstakingly climb out of his seat, raise the armrest, push the button, lower the armrest and climb back in. This was not a process that you wanted to watch. This was my world.

And, dear reader, how could we add salt to the wounds of this already inflamed story?

Oh, I know. Let's give the Tokyo monster a head cold!

<Harruum> <Haruk> <Hurrrmm> <grooook>

And then it happened! POW!! An incredible noise! Deafening such that it could only be a Magnum going off in my ear. I half leapt out of my seat! It was tragic! The poor man, under such pressure, has literally exploded in the lightly pressurized cabin seat. Deafened and sickened! Oh, the humanity! Oh, the...

Oh. He sneezed.

POW!! He sneezes again with a great heaving convulsion and then...and then... with some trepidation... he slowly examines his hands for shrapnel or other wounds.

We are joined at the side. <sniff> Siamese twins. When he moves, I move. He shifts, <snarrrk> I shift. I resist the urge to surrender to the soft, sweet flesh pressing against me. <snozt> He drifts to sleep <hurm> <harum>, nodding his head forward, forward, forward. Each jerk I feel rippling through his body, reflected through mine. I have gained 465 pounds. We are one. <SnoOOrk>

Only 7 and a half hours more to go.

Trains, Stairs and Boxes

Some clever chap realized it might be wise to have the airport we fly into be built almost directly on top of the train station. A very considerate approach, with only one minor drawback...

Apparently it never occurred to the designers or architects of this great plan that people arriving via plane might have *luggage* with them! Oh, yes! I know. This is a novel American concept. But it is true. I confess, I had *luggage* that day. And even with a pitiful weight allowance allowed by Chin-to-Knee airlines, we still managed to pack two big moving boxes plus overstuffed shoulder bags.

So, there we are time and again. There is even have little guard rails to prevent you from shoving your cart with luggage et al down the stairs in a great heap of disaster. Down below the trains - your train to be precise - whiz by while you carefully step by step haul your luggage down.

Sweating, I drop the last of the stuff and pondered the fate of the poor people who *arrived* by train only to find nothing but stairs awaiting their stack of boxes. Little did I suspect that this would be my fate the same hour...

We are ready. I have hauled our boxes down the platform to await the next train and fight for a spot on the train for our precious cargo. The train arrives, people unload, people unload and... people unload. In fact, people just keep unloading out of the cars. Finally seeing a free spot, I grab a box and make a dash at the door but... SLAM! the door closes on me. BUZZZZZZZ! The door complains loudly as it tries to crush my body in two! BUZZZZZZZZZZ! I hear ringing through my ears as I painstakingly extract myself (BUZZZZZZZ!!) and the box from the doors onto the platform.

Panting, I look at the train suspiciously. Michelle pushes the door button which cheerfully swings open. She hops on. I grab a box and SLAM! the door closes in my face! This time it will open for no man. Wedding vows normally include till death do you part, but I'm sure mine never said anything about till train do you part.

There she was on the other side of the glass as the train slowly pulled away from the station. I suppose it could be romantic, separated by the long sighs of a train under steam, but the last sight I saw of my love was her holding the tickets aloft. *Our* train tickets.

Alone, in the station. With my boxes. My *big* boxes.

Well, not quite alone. There were all the other people who didn't make it on. Apparently in another flash of brilliance, the planners never thought to allow time for people to get off *and* get on the trains. As they are fond of saying here, "Ah... clever!"

The next train was scheduled to arrive on a track not 20 feet away. Not so bad. I slowly haul my boxes closer to a phone and called Michelle on her mobile. (My mobile was at home.) The phone conveniently took credit cards. Not so convenient for my wallet. The minimum charge was £2 (about $5 CDN). Michelle would wait in the last train station inside the ticket gates amongst the hussle and bustle and eventually let me through. Little did she know...

Well, just like the computerized display said, my next train arrived exactly on time. That was the good news. The bad news was it arrived on the *wrong track*!

HUFF! Pickup box and run it across.
HUFF! Run back!
HUFF! Grab other box
HUFF! Run it over
HUFF! Try to get into the train...
... with its doors closing.
Too late. Bye Bye Train.


I risked my boxes on their own good behavior and took a trip back to central train HQ. (Are people really going to steal a pair of 50 pound boxes? Or, more importantly, will I return to find a full armored bomb squad in the process of detonating my spare underwear?) Next train is on Track 3... in a completely different part of the station.

STOMP STOMP! Down the stairs
HUFF! Grab box
HUFF HUFF HUFF! Haul box UP the stairs
STOMP STOMP! Down the stairs
HUFF! Grab box
HUFF HUFF HUFF! Haul box UP the stairs
STOMP STOMP Find a cart
HUFF! Into the cart
WHOOSH! to the next track.
HUFF! Grab box.

Oooh! Look, this track gets a down escalator. "Wusses," I mutter.

WHIRRRR Down the stairs
STOMP STOMP! Up the stairs
HUF! Grab box
WHIRRRR Down the stairs
HUF! Grab box
HUF! Move box to platform
HUF! Grab box
HUF! Move other box to platform

Up! Down! Up! Down! <wheeze!>

Time to spend another 5 bucks and call Michelle again.

It was a long day.

*** Stay tuned faithful readers!

In our next episode we watch as Stephen is propositioned by a gay telephone booth, discover why major traffic arteries enjoy sudden concrete walls in the middle of the lane, and pit an afternoon jogger against a speeding locomotive - (guess who wins!). ***

[Michelle's Mind]

S & M Files
Ep. 1 (I) | Ep. 2 (II) | Ep. 3 (III) | Ep. 4 (IV) | Ep. 5 (V) | Ep. 6 (VI) | Ep. 7 (VII) |
Ep. 8 (VIII) | Ep. 9 (IX) | Ep. 10 (X) | Ep. 11 (XI) | Ep. 12 (XII) | Ep. 13 (XIII) | Ep. 14 (XIV) |
Ep. 15 (XIV) | Ep. 16 (XIV)