Monday, August 05, 2019

The waiting lounge

"You'll find that most of them are lookalikes of famous celebrities who died in aeroplane crashes," explained the receptionist. "It doesn't do to stare at them."
"No, quite," I agreed.
"The lounge is just down that corridor, straight ahead, you can't miss it."

The corridor was narrow and flatly lit. The base of the walls up to an imaginary dado were a duck egg blue, above it a yellowing shade of ivory. The walk to the end was just long enough to be uncomfortable. At the end there was large wooden door, glazed with that security glass that has a wire grid embedded in it. Faded Gill Sans lettering that may once have been painted gold announced: "LOUNGE."

The lounge was a bit poky and the lino was chipped at the edges. To the left was a long bar serving no drinks. I looked around at my fellow passengers. Over in a corner girl in a Marilyn Monroe dress chatted to a man in Roy Orbison glasses while being ogled by an old man desperately trying to look like Mickey Rooney. Over there a man in evening dress who could have been either Ethel or Lionel Barrymore. A scan of the room confirmed further unconvincing performances. It was difficult not to stare. A young man dressed as Elvis leapt onto the bar and sprawled in an arrogant pose, I don't know who for or why. I had other puzzles to consider: none of the celebrities being badly impersonated here had died in plane crashes; was I supposed to be another lookalike, if so then who? It was all very unsettling.

The cabin crew came into the lounge and greeted everybody with professional bonhomie. The captain, a tall, suave individual straight out of Central Casting, took centre stage.

"As you know," he intoned, "One of you will die in this aeroplane crash. There is no cause for alarm, nearly all of us will come to no harm."

A quiet murmur ran across the room as his audience cheerfully accepted this and speculated amongst themselves who it might be.

"Nearly everybody will live," he repeated gravely, "But in the event of any unpleasantness or hysteria I may have to forget that somebody was alive."


dinahmow said...

I was going to ask if you'd had a nightmare...then I saw the label. So that's OK then.

Steven said...

Good spot. :)

Ms Scarlet said...

My dreams are dull by comparison - though I do often want to find out what happens next. Why don't dreams have sequels?

Kevin Musgrove said...

I did go through a phase a while back where I had a sequence of dreams as a serial but they didn't quite run together and there were some major inconsistencies in the continuity. They were very peculiar, a bit like random off-cuts from a Republic movie serial.