Their bodies floated on the raft that had been hastily put together. An arm dangled dangerously into the water, as did the other person’s leg. The second person stirred slightly thinking they’d heard something. The person squinted and thought they could see a shadow coming towards them through the fog. Then the person passed out. The shadow grew larger as it came towards them.
‘Mister play-it-safe was afraid to fly… He packed his suitcase, kissed his kids goodbye. He waited his whole damn life to take that flight, and as the plane crashed down, he thought, well isn’t this nice?’
I woke up on the plane with this song going round in my head. What a great premonition. Now I was definitely on edge. It had been a weird flight, and we still had an hour to go. First there was the turbulence. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been on a lot of flights and turbulence doesn’t scare me, but this had been the worst I’d ever experienced. This was the kind where people were gripping onto the seats to stop themselves from banging their heads on the ceiling. Then a woman had been taken ill with intense stomach cramps and they had made the announcement for anyone with any medical experience to come forward. Someone had come forward and taken the lady to the rear of the plane, and every so often beeping could be heard. Maybe it was a microwave or something, but it had put me on edge. I was convinced that every time an announcement was made, that they were going to divert us and make an emergency landing. I tried to look out of the window to see where we were, but all I could see were the mountain peaks. Was it my imagination, or were we flying lower than usual? Maybe the mountains were just closer.
A few hours later, as Petra the barmaid handed me my cold cocktail, I was happier. This was better. Much better. We had arrived, checked in for the night and then tomorrow the island hopping would begin. First we had to attend the welcome party.
‘Penny for your thoughts.’
‘Oh, hey. Sorry, I was just daydreaming. I love this place, I wish we could stay here for a week instead of going island hopping.’ Andie had a habit of creeping up behind me when I least expected.
‘It could be worse. You could be stuck back in the shop serving customers all week, but you’re in Greece. Remind me why you’d rather be back in nowheresville?’ She poked me with her cocktail straw.
‘That’s true. Its just that I hate these fam trips, everything is always planned down to the last second, with no free time to just relax and breathe. Just once I’d like to be paid to sunbathe on the beach for a week’ I sighed.
‘The point of these familiarisation trips, is to familiarise yourself with the holidays we sell back at good old Ruby Slippers Travel. We have to experience everything in case we get asked about something. You can’t tell someone you’ve been to Greece but haven’t seen the islands! They wouldn’t trust you if you didn’t know the product you were selling!’
‘I know, I know. It’s just wishful thinking. Aren’t you supposed to be mingling?’
‘I have been mingling. You haven’t. Go and speak to Kyle over there. He’s a travel writer. Isn’t that what you wanted to do? Go and ask him for tips.’
She was right. Good old Andie. We’d started together and she knew me better than I knew myself. I turned to look at her, but she had already moved on to the next person on her radar. She was all about making connections. I walked over to the guy she’d pointed out. He wasn’t bad looking either.
‘You must be Kyle. I’m Quinn. I work with Andie over there. She says you’re a journalist.’ He frowned. Then as he realised something he laughed.
‘Oh right, sorry, I expected you to be a little paler. She said that you didn’t get out much so I assumed she meant you’d be pale and… nevermind. Sorry I didn’t mean to put my foot in it.’ Oh. Great. What had she told him? I’d get her back for this.
‘That’s ok, no, I do travel a lot but she means back home. She keeps winding me up about my lack of a social life.’ Great, dig myself in deeper. I felt my face heating up, and tried to distract myself with the cocktail umbrella. ‘Anyway, I work with her back at Ruby Slippers.’
‘Ruby Slippers? What kind of a name is that?’ As he spoke, I realised he wasn’t alone. I’d forgotten he was talking with someone but I’d assumed he’d wandered off.
‘How rude of me, this is Mike. We sort of work together.’
Mike raised his eyebrow in Kyle’s direction. ‘If by work you mean compete against each other for the same jobs, then sure.’ He retorted. Mike looked like Kyle’s complete opposite. Whereas Kyle wore a short sleeved, brightly coloured Hawaiian shirt, and was tall and looked athletic, Mike was short and pale, wore glasses and a plain long sleeved shirt buttoned all the way to the top. He shifted slightly as I noticed the sweat patches under his arms.
‘I thought everyone had seen the Ruby Slippers Travel adverts.’ I tried to change the subject. I’d ask Andie if she knew what he meant.
‘Oh, yeah, now I remember. Ruby Slippers Travel. There’s no place like a home away from home.’ He clicked his heels and spun around three times.
‘That’s the one!’ I laughed. ‘It’s so cringe worthy it hurts.’