The phone would not stop ringing. Every couple of minutes, it would
ring four or five times and then stop. Daria sighed from underneath her
green jacket as she lay on her bed. She had returned from the airport
in disgust a few hours ago. Grandmother Ruth must still be a little
peeved at me, Daria thought, over what had happened when Ruth had last
paid a visit after Jake’s heart attack.
A couple of weeks ago, the courier had dropped off a packet with
four round trip tickets so that the family could spend Christmas
vacation in Hawaii with Grandmother Ruth. The only problem was Daria’s
ticket was on a separate flight than the rest. They had run out of
seats, Ruth had explained over the phone when Helen had called her to
question the weird arrangement. Jake, Helen, and Quinn would fly out
Friday evening first class from Lawndale International while Daria
would be flying standby sometime Saturday afternoon. That’s all that
they had left Ruth assured her family.
Jake wasn’t willing to pay the over priced parking fees at the
airport and Helen wasn’t willing to point out that she paid much more
every day commuting to her office. Daria had suggested and they had all
agreed to ask Trent to take them to the airport. After Daria had boldly
entered his room and endured the nearly endless teasing from Jane,
Trent’s sister, Trent had agreed to play taxi as he had a gig with the
band later that evening anyway.
Friday evening had gone off without a hitch. Trent had arrived
promptly two hours before their flight (Only Daria had noticed Trent’s
slight case of the shakes. Jane must have had forced feed Trent endless
amounts of coffee before hand.) and had taken all four of them to the
airport without any problem. Daria had noticed that the flight was
extremely underbooked with many empty seats. She had shrugged it off
thinking that a unnormally large amount of customers had canceled at
the last minute. While she watched the plane fly off into the sunset,
she imagined it flying into the sun setting at the end of the runway
but it was not to be. Trent had dropped her off at home on the way to
the show and she had spent the rest of the evening packing an extra set
of clothes, (5 minutes if that) answering her email, (Another 5
minutes. Two notes from Jane and 316 pieces of unwanted spam telling
her how she could grow her penis even larger.) and working her way
through a half gallon of Fudge Ripple while watching old movies on AMC.
The sun rose on a very bad Saturday morning. Sometime during the
evening, a winter storm that was suppose to miss Lawndale had turned at
the last minute and dropped an eighth of an inch of snow. This had, of
course, shut the entire city down in a panic. National guard troops
were patrolling the city guarding from looters, lines stretched out
into the parking lots at all of the area supermarkets, and the local
mayor was on the phone begging for help from the state’s governor.
She spent all of 10 seconds trying to decide if she should even make
the effort to get to the airport. She had turned on the television to
discover a local reporter (blond, missing a few buttons on her blouse,
and a toss up if she had spent more money on her teeth, her hair or her
breasts) praising the heroic efforts of the airport crews on keeping
the runways clear as she showed the viewers at home the damp soles of
her Manolo Blahnik leather loafers. Helen would kill her if she
canceled she thought as she opened up the Yellow Pages looking for taxi
cabs. Daria knew that most of the high end companies would be blowing
off today in fear of denting their high priced rides. She skimmed the
listings looking for a small company.
Thirty minutes later, the worst looking taxi cab she had ever seen
pulled into her driveway. She stepped into a cab filled with hanging
beads and the chanting rhythems of Tibetan monks. Daria held on for her
life as the driver whipped the hack through the streets of the city
like he was running past the Border Patrol and he had a trunk full of
contraband. In the fifteen minutes it took to get her to the airport,
he had told her about his entire life. He had come to the States in
search of a better life for him, his wife, and his twenty one children
still living back in Tibet. he had even pulled out his wallet to show
Daria all the pictures of his little ones and his veiled wife as he
plowed through a red light, raising the anger of the motorists he had
cut off. Daria tipped him an extra twenty once they had finally made it
to the gate. It was against her better nature but maybe it would be
better if he got the money that he needed as quickly as possible. She
smirked at the “Free Tibet” sticker on the bumper as it sped away.
Daria had just checked at the ticket counter and boarded her plane
when her day went from bad to worse. Out on the tarmac, a lone
underpaid refueler for the Roentgen Services Company had just
mistakenly hooked his fuel nozzle to the oxygen intake value on Daria’s
plane. Soon, the plane was filled with the toxic fumes of jet fuel
causing the crew and passengers alike to escape from their flight.
Daria soon discovered that there were no back up planes as they had all
been rerouted elsewhere. With a sigh, Daria made her way back to the
nearest taxi stand pausing only to make sure she sprayed some mud and
salt on the blond reporter she had seen beforehand.
Daria stared up at her ceiling. The phone had finally kept quiet for
more than 10 minutes. When she had arrived home, after another thrill
ride, she had left a message on Jane’s voice mail. Jane had mentioned
something about leaving to head upstate for an artist’s retreat early
this morning. Daria knew that Jane threw herself into these retreats
and would only arise some time after they had kicked everyone else out.
She didn’t expect Jane to get the message but she at least wanted to
touch base just in case. She had then headed to her bedroom where she
had collapsed on her bed. It hadn’t been a long day. Just one she
didn’t want to think about anymore.
The phone rang again. Daria sat up with a sigh. She knew that this
was going to continue. She didn’t really care who was on the other end
of the line. She just wanted her rest and not to think about another
messed up Christmas. She removed her jacket from where it had fallened
onto her lap when she had sat up, walked over to the phone on the floor
and wrapped the phone with her jacket, muffling the noise. With a
smirk, she slid open a desk drawer, dropped in her package and closed
the drawer with her bare foot. She turned to walk back to the bed.
“Daria, I can see you though the window,” Jane’s muffled voice was
heard from outside. “I know you’re in there. Come out. Come out where
ever you are! It’s Christmas eve and I’m not letting you mop all alone
at home. I saw what you did to that poor smuck at the airport.”
Daria ducked to the floor. Damn, she thought. She knew that Jane would do her best to get Daria our of her seasonal depression.
“Daria, I’m going to start stripping if you don’t at least come to
the window. What will the neighbors think? What will Helen think when
she hears about what happened? Hey buddy. What do you think of these?”
Daria’s eyes went wide as she flew to the window and threw it open. A well made snow ball impacted the dead center of her face.
“Got ya! I knew spending all those dollars on the dunk tank would
come in handy some day.” Daria slowly wiped the wet mass from her face