George and Marion
A Tale of The Undead
by RR Haywood
‘I need to stretch my legs dear, would you excuse me for a few minutes.’
‘You know what the experts say George, they warn about deep vein thrombosis and recommend you walk around every so often. You remember Kitty and John? Well John got deep vein thrombosis, mind you that was from sitting in front of the television but the fact still remains that you need regular movement. You go ahead and have a walk; I know how restless you can get.’
‘Thank you dear,’ George rises from the seat to stand in the aisle. It wasn’t a matter of leg room; the business class seats had plenty of leg room and the flight wasn’t that long. It was something else that caused George to leave his seat.
Making his way down the aisle George nods genially at the air stewardess, apologising for blocking her route as she pushes the heavy drinks trolley along.
At the front of the row of seats he pauses, staring out of the thick window of the door. He spends a few minutes lifting himself up on his calf muscles and flexing his legs. To any casual observer he is an older man with medium build, short very tidy hair greying at the sides. A tidy moustache adorns his upper lip, neatly trimmed and giving him an air of cultured refinement.
With a white long sleeve shirt tucked into his beige casual trousers he looks every part the tourist.
He strolls on, moving up the aisle and nodding politely at other travellers as they pass in the aisle.
Again he pauses, admiring the view from the window. Once sure the stewards are out of sight he moves forward again. Heading towards the toilets and waiting patiently outside the locked door.
‘Thank you very much old chap,’ George smiles and nods again as the toilet user comes out. He waits until the man walks away before closing the door quietly and moving forward again.
He pauses at the door to the cockpit. Checking round for an intercom. Nothing apparent. It must be an older model not yet fitted with a two way speaker system.
He knocks on the door, two raps then three, two more, one, then three. The raps quick and successive, the pauses brief but noticeable.
‘Can we help you?’ A voice calls through the door. George knows he is being watched from the spy hole and stands back to offer a full view. Making a quick turn to show his empty hands.
‘Code alpha two six three zero one zero whiskey one zero,’ George speaks quickly, his tone although perfectly polite is clipped and short.
Inside the cabin the co-pilot turns to the captain, ‘it’s an older chap, he’s given the right code though.’
‘You sure?’ The captain twists round to stare at his colleague. The co-pilot nods firmly, checking the daily code issued in the security book, ‘definitely, spot on.’
‘Best let him in then,’ the captain remarks with a worried look.
The co-pilot checks the spyhole again, getting a full view of the smart looking older man. He unfastens the locks and swings the door open.
George smiles at the man and steps in, waiting politely as the door is closed behind him.
‘Captain,’ he nods at the seated man, ‘co-pilot I presume?’ He asks the standing man.
‘Er yes, can we help? This is very rare to have someone use the code on a routine flight,’ the captain asks, staring at the man with interest.
‘Ah yes my upmost apologies for the intrusion and I do beg your forgiveness but you see there is some concern with one of your passengers.’
‘Oh really?’ The startled captain asks.
‘Yes afraid so,’ George says in his clipped tone with a firm nod, ‘chap in business class, seated in row H, seat number one,’ George stands easily, every part the politely spoken cultured man, ‘saw him arrive at the airport, no luggage you see, roused the old suspicions. Followed him about a bit, looked nervous, somewhat furtive and worried, white chap, medium height and nothing remarkable about him except he has a very strong tan which suggests he has had a very recent spell somewhere rather hot I would say. In the airport he neither spoke to anyone nor engaged any other persons. Watched him board and take a seat ahead of me, no hand luggage either which I thought was odd. After all, we are heading to a Greek holiday resort. But this chap, well he certainly ain’t Greek,’ George pauses, smiling at the two men and making sure they’re keeping up, they both nod, clearly listening intently, ‘I had an opportunity to speak to him, just in passing you know, got an English accent. Definitely home counties, possibly Surrey. But the thing is,’ George pauses to take a breath, ‘he’s muttering constantly, and I caught a few words here and there, what he’s saying is a prayer given before death.’
‘Terrorist?’ The captain asks immediately, his hand already reaching to activate the radio system. Neither of them asks who this man in front of them is. They don’t need to. The international security access code used to gain entry to any secured in-flight cabin meant he was on the list. And if he was on the list that was good enough.
‘Afraid he may well be,’ George replies in an almost apologetic tone. ‘Of course he could just be a nervous flyer but, no,’ George shakes his head, ‘he does not fit the profile of any known insurgents or current players. I would suggest Captain that he is a solo opportunist.’
‘Solo opportunist?’ The co-pilot asks with a puzzled expression.
‘Yes, you know. Doesn’t belong to any cause or faction but still bears a grudge…that kind of chap. Now I saw this particular fellow pass through the security procedures, he had no metallic objects and his shoes were removed and checked. So whatever he is carrying is about his person. In this hot weather and wearing only a t-shirt I would hasten to add whatever the item or items are, they are strapped to his legs.’
‘Legs?’ The co-pilot repeats the last word again, ‘why legs? Why not internally? Couldn’t he just be a drugs mule?’
‘Ah yes, a good observation but one which would not render a man so concerned, for if the contraband is inside him he has no fear of being apprehended by normal means, no on this occasion I would suggest whatever he is carrying it is strapped to his legs.’
‘Right, so we’re either looking at a drugs mule, in which case nothing for us to worry about and we’ll alert the authorities on arrival…but I’m guessing your concern is such that you consider him to be a direct threat to the security of the aircraft.’
‘Yes,’ George smiles, ‘well done that man,’ he adds without a trace of sarcasm, ‘very glad to have a crew of such aptitude on board.’
‘Okay, what do you suggest?’ The captain asks, deferring to the man’s obvious knowledge.
‘Ah yes, well I have just the thing here,’ George removes a small pill case from his pocket and flips the lid to reveal a few capsules within the recess, ‘get one of your stewards to pop this into his drink and he’ll be out in no time at all, won’t feel a thing.’ George clicks his fingers to emphasise the point.
‘Really, wow,’ the co-pilot takes the tiny capsule in his hand, staring down at it.
‘Not the capsule you understand, just break the two ends and put the contents into whatever beverage he takes, I would suggest you offer a free drink to everyone in that section to be sure he takes it, say it’s your birthday or something and it’s with special compliments. Not alcohol though, he hasn’t touched a drop of the hard stuff since we’ve taken off.’
‘Right,’ the captain stares at the pill held by the co-pilot, ‘right…yes…well…er…we’ll see to that straight away.’
‘Well done chaps,’ George smiles and turns for the door.
‘Er…who are you?’ The captain asks.
‘My name is George old chap,’ George turns and gives a tidy smile, ‘and I was never here.’ He nods, opens the door and walks out, closing the cabin door securely behind him.
Part Two of George and Marion coming soon…