Fame on a Plane...

As promised- the writing prompt I worked on all day yesterday... Enjoy!

Writing Prompt: You’re airline ticket gets upgraded to first class- who’s sitting next to you?

… She quickly twisted her copper curls up into a messy bun while lighting her cigarette. She emptied her pockets into the top flap of her messenger bag, cursing loudly as her favorite tube of lipstick went skittering across the sidewalk into a sewer grate, lost in the bowels of New York City forever. After shoving her coat into her already over stuffed duffle bag, she dashed out her cigarette, rushed past a couple of chattering Skycaps, and into the airport. While she waited in line at the ticket counter, she jotted down snippets of conversations from fellow travelers and people descriptions. She got to the counter, handing the impatient looking middle-aged woman her ticket while loading her duffle bag onto the scale.
“Can I see some form of identification?”
Rosie handed over her driver’s license, instantly regretting the aged photo.
“Ah, yes, Miss Lannen. Only checking one bag today?”
“All I can really afford, what with your new baggage fees…” Rosie replied, popping a piece of gum into her mouth.
“We’re sorry about that…-“
“No, your not. But thanks for saying you are anyways.”
“Oh Miss Lannen… Seems there has been a change made to your ticket status,” the woman over emphasizing the wrong words in the sentence.
“Ooh! Let me guess, I’ve just won a free trip to the tiny, dark metal room for a cavity search?” Rosie faked enthusiasm.
“Quite a sense of humor you have… But no. Due to a small problem with flight capacity- it seems your ticket has been…” Rosie rolled her eyes in dread, “You’ve been upgraded to a first class seat this morning.”
Rosie almost choked on her gum, “You’re shitting me!”
“Um, no. Certainly not, ma’am.”

She finished checking in and headed off towards the security check point. After stripping off her jewelery into a plastic pan and setting her bag on the scanning belt, she stepped up to the much publicized body scanner line. Rosie pursed her lips in an air kiss, following it with a wink to the mid-60’s aged TSA guard.
“I wore my sexiest granny panties just for you, big boy.”
People in line behind her erupted in a nervous round of laughter, breaking up some of the tension.
“Before I get accused of smuggling something, my aunt flow is visiting and there’s a mouse in the house, if you catch my drift?” she arched her eyebrow.
“Excuse me, ma’am?” he fixed her with a skeptical look, instructing her how to hold her arms out to the sides.
“I’m just sayin’, I don’t know how in-depth these things are. Hey- come to think of it, did I break my wrist? Can you see if there is a fracture? Because I tripped over the coffee table in my hotel room last night-,”
“Have a nice flight, ma’am,” another TSA guard said, forcefully handing her the plastic pan filled with her jewelery.
“Rude! I was just askin’ a question,” she wrinkled her nose, stepping past him to slide her laptop back into her bag and leave.

Rosie put her rings and bracelets back on before heading off to the line of convenience shops, restaurants, and boutiques. She stepped into a news store, picking up a couple magazines before going over to an airport version of a drug store, finding a replacement for her lost lipstick and a better suits hair clip for her head, rather then the pencil that was holding her hair up. She made her way through rushing travelers to an airport pub that served breakfast.

After munching on her eggs Benedict served to her in rapid pace, she ordered a coffee to go and headed to her gate. She sat curled up in a crackled vinyl chair writing in her black leather Moleskin notebook for almost an hour before they called out for first class passengers to board the plane. She sucked in a deep breath, handed the flight attendant her ticket and was one of the first people onto the plane.

Rosie looked at her ticket to find her seat next to a window. She sat down in the super comfortable seat, looking out the window and watching airport personnel scurrying about the tarmac outside as snowflakes fell from thick gray clouds. She took a tiny tube of lotion from her bag, smoothing it into her skin as she continued to watch people outside in the cold. Rosie pulled her attention away from the activities outside when she felt the seat next to her move.

Her eyes fell on a larger man, in his mid-sixties, making himself comfortable in his seat before opening his laptop. Something in her brain clicked as she fully recognized him- his glasses and the features of his face were actually printed on the dust cover of a book in her messenger bag. It was her favorite living author, James Patterson, in the flesh, in the first class seat next to her. Rosie choked down the sudden bundle of nerves in her stomach and offered him a polite smile before subtly checking to see that the freshness of her gum has expired with her coffee earlier. She put another piece of gum into her mouth, casually watching from the corner of her eye, that the website loading on his laptop was one she recognized. He chuckled lightly after reading the first paragraph, seeing Rosie looking at him and his computer.

“I just love this woman’s blog. She’s got this quick, wicked way with words. It’s my favorite blog to read. I must check it at least twice a day to see if she’d posted anything new.”
“Ahhh, really? So she’s fairly good?”
“Oh, excellent. She’s a struggling writer looking for her big break. I think she’s from some podunk place in Michigan… Why she hasn’t been snatched up by some publishing company is far beyond me.”

Rosie shook her head, trying to see if what he was saying was for real. If anything that was happening was for real. She cleared her throat, “Isn’t all of Michigan a Podunk place?”
“I’ve never been there, have you?”
“I actually grew up there. Still live there,” she smiled, getting out her black Moleskin notebook and thin black ink pen.

James looked at her items and grew a smile of his own, “How coincidental is this? The woman that writes this blog, she swears by her Moleskin notebook and Le Pen pens… Just like the ones’ you have.”
“Oh, wow… That is a coincidence, isn’t it?” she tried to play it cool, “So how did you come across this blog?”
“My agent frequently Googles my name, in the name of good publicity and public relations.”
“That sounds fantastically obsessive,” she laughed.
“I’m sorry; I haven’t introduced myself have I?”
“No need to,” she winked, tugging his latest book from her bag and showing him.
“And you are?”
“Podunk Michigan blogger with the quick, wicked way with words…” she tried not to blush when they shook hands, “Rosie Lannen.”
His eyes lit up and the handshake grew stronger, “No kidding! Fantastic to meet you. I’m a great fan of your work.”
“Shouldn’t that be my line?” she asked, arching her eyebrow.

The flight attendant patted him on the shoulder, “Mr. Patterson, could I please ask you to turn off and stow your laptop? We’re about to start our departure.”
He politely obliged her, quickly returning his attention to Rosie, “Isn’t this just a wild turn of fate?”
“It certainly is. I was having a wonderfully craptastic morning, then my ticket was randomly upgraded to first class where I find myself seated next to an author I highly admire…”
“Should make for a great blog entry, shouldn’t it?”
“Extremely,” Rosie nodded.
“You’re blog is one of the high points in my day, I have to tell you. Your way with categorizing people and creating characters out of them, is just phenomenal, Miss Lannen. Then your photography that you inject into your blogs. My god you have such talent, in both writing and photography… Where did you get your formal education?”
“High school, one year of college, and life, actually. No formal training or degrees.”
“The emotion you put into some of your entries- like your journals from 9-11 and things you write about your family… That’s just raw. I have to admit, reading your perspective of the events on 9-11 brought tears to me.”

Rosie could only force a choked out, “Thank you… I had no idea someone of your caliber was reading it. I thought it was mostly my friends and family…”
“Listen to me, I’m sorry. I must be making you feel uncomfortable-,” he shook his head.
“No, no, no, not in the slightest. I’m flabbergasted, but not uncomfortable,” she assured him.
Once they were in the air, the flight attendant came through with her cart, “Can I get you something to drink miss?”
“Oh, I will take a bourbon on the rocks,” Rosie said, throwing away the idea that it was only ten in the morning.
“Mr. Patterson?”
“Same for me, thank-you,” he leaned towards Rosie, “It’s got to be after twelve somewhere, right?”
Rosie smiled and accepted her drink from the attendant. She rolled her cart away, leaving them to talk more.
“So what brought you to New York?” he asked after a sip of his drink.
“I was there for a meeting with a publisher that wanted to get to know me on a more personal level then e-mails back and forth.”
“For your book, right?”
“Yes. Unfortunately I flew from Michigan to New York to just be told, well, why you don’t keep trying. If you change this, this, this, and that… Basically change everything that makes the book a book, we’ll try this all again in a year… Tragic waste of money to fly to the big city to be told I suck.”
“Fools. All of them. They don’t know what they had right in front of them,” he shook his head.
“I would have rather gotten a rejection slip in the mail, then what happened in person,” she admitted, “But I tried. I can say that at least.”
“From what you’ve posted on your blog from the book, I can honestly tell you I can’t wait to read it.”
“Seriously. Do you have a copy of it with you?”
“I do,” she replied, pulling it from her bag and handing it to him, “Just ignore the tear stains and stink of embarrassment.”
“Can I have his to read? I’d like to go through it for myself before I submit it on your behalf to my publisher. I swear to not take credit for it,” he held up his hand in a boy scout gesture, “I’d be honored to help you get this published.”

Rosie felt compelled to hug him, kiss his feet, but instead blinked back a sudden wave of tears and thanked him profusely. James took out a notebook of his own, scribbling him information on it before handing it to her, “Take this. I’m looking forward to talking with you after reading this.”
She took the slip of paper from his hand and choked on the words in her mouth. Instead, she wrote down her information on a piece of paper and handed it back to him. The plane taxied down the runway in Chicago, easing to a stop at the gate. James and Rosie walked off the plane into the terminal, a few diligent paparazzi snapping pictures of the two of them together.
“Mr. Patterson! Mr. Patterson, who this with you?”
“This is the newest author to sign on with my publishing house- Rosie Lannen…” he smiled to the cameras, looking to her.
Rosie smiled and gave a quick wave before they walked clear of the paparazzo’s. James and Rosie shook hands one last time before parting ways, him bound for a plane to LA while she was headed for her flight leaving for Grand Rapids. Rosie wrinkled her nose as she walked past an airport fast food place that smelled of burning chicken…

“Shit!!!” Rosie jumped up from the couch, dropping the book she’d been reading and stumbling to get footing on the carpet as she jogged into the kitchen. She turned off the burner and waved her hand through the smoky air in the kitchen. It had boiled over and the grease was burning on the burner. She crackled a window open in the kitchen to vent out some of the smoke while lighting a couple candles, trying to kill the smell. Once she caught her breath, she leaned back against the counter and giggled to herself… Only a dream…


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