I settle down for my flight. I have a small plastic bag stowed in the seat pocket in front of me containing iPod, book, pen and a few other accoutrements that I need on my flight. I buckle up and close my eyes.
I tend to drift off while taking off, particularly if the flight is an evening one. When I next open my eyes, we are airborne but since the seat-belt sign is still on, I’m presuming that we’ve only just departed. Just as I think that, the sign turns itself off.
I remove the yellow travel ear plugs that I’ve taken to using lately which do help minimise the noise from the engines while taking off and landing. I shift in my aisle seat and reach for my book.
Across the aisle, a portly gentleman with a sad look and multiple chins asks about the travel plugs. I explain as I unravel my iPod, hoping that this conversation won’t last long.
Unfortunately, it does, even when I plug-in my earphones and switch the iPod on.
He asks me about my place of residence and tells me about his. He complains about his father-in-law being a stingy so-and-so, about his job being too demanding and then offers to give me a commission on any sales I manage to make for his summer holiday flat which is, he assures me, reasonably priced unless you are as stingy as his father-in-law is.
I decide to offer him one of my mints, hoping that he will either love it and shut up or hate the very strong flavour and shut up. He looks at the metallic box with a curious look and asks me about them since he does not recognise the brand.
“They’re American,” I say, “and rather good.”
He takes one between two podgy fingers and inspects it closely. I am not sure what he is looking for as, like all mints, it is white and round and smells of mint.
He pops it into his mouth with a pensive look on his face. I hold my breath.
“Wow,” he exclaims, “it tastes like that, erm, that thing, what is it?” He scratches his second chin and snaps his fingers, “That foot medicine – Radian-B! These mints taste exactly like that foot medicine, don’t they? Lovely stuff. Where did you say you bought them from again? Can I have another one?”
He continues talking about foot medicine and his ailments until the food is served.
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