“This story is just a lie. I mean… I don't believe it,” said the old man sitting next to me. He bent down towards me and whispered, “You were only nine?” I nodded. He chuckled as he leaned back again. His rosy cheeks were nearly red. He took off his fogged up glasses again and started wiping them off with a blue napkin. He shook his head and chuckled again.
“What would you like gentlemen?” Asked the flight attendant as he pushed the cart past our seats. His teeth, shiny as pearls, contrasted with his dark complexion. He held his unusual smile as he continued looking at us with intense curiosity. The old man ordered some booze for us and tomato juice for himself. I took my poison sugar-free.
I tapped the old man on the shoulder. “She had kids, you know.” He took a sip of his drink and looked towards me. “But her husband, you know, he was away all the time, but he was real religious, and when he found out, I heard he wanted my blood on his hands.” He rubbed his nose as he listened with a faint smile on his lips. His glasses had fogged up again. I unbuckled my belt and sat facing him. “But this was Iran. There ain't no fucking laws in that place. Anything goes. I banged her a couple more times and when he started threatening me, a bunch of kids from the neighborhood… the real tough kids and I, we messed him up real good. We beat him with a shovel. I shoved the tip up his nose. Way up… way up. He was bleeding from every hole….”
The old man interrupted, “Wait a sec, that's enough. That's a little too graphic for my taste, son.” He took another sip from his tomato juice as he signaled an attendant. “How may I help you?” she asked. “Can I have an apple juice? My stomach is acting up again,” he asked urgently. “I didn't mean to upset you man. But it's… you know… it's reality,” I said, crushing a few ice cubes under my yellow teeth. “It's all right son. But to take a break from all these sex stories and this last bloody one, tell me more about your life right now. You told me you were going home for your new year celebrations but didn't tell me anything about your family.”
“You know,” I started, ” I don't have a family now, so you know, every night with a different chick, my last one had an ass just like an apple… you know whadamsayin? So I do her every night and I'm really… the size… and I'm like… but as far as my parents, they're real rich. My dad had this job in the government in Iran, you know with the big dogs, and he made millions. So when we came to L.A., he went to a real state agent and the guy showed my dad a house for… four hundred grand. So my dad's like, 'what the hell is this piece of shit?!', so he bought a house for a million a week later.”
“You rich bastard!” the old man pronounced as he laughed hard at his own comment. At the same time, the passenger sitting behind me tapped me on my shoulder asking for a pen. She said: “My pen just died. Do you happen to have an extra one, my good fella?”
“To be honest with you,” I told the old man, “I'm not rich at all. I had to work all my life. I started when I was young… um… it was, I mean, I was stealing and shoplifting and all that. To me it was work though. I was real good at it. I worked everywhere, from Lozangelis to Israel to all Europe, just shoplifting my way to success.”
“How did you get into that?” asked the old man. “Oh, it started, simple enough, with basically just a pencil one day. I borrowed it and never gave it back and it just… you know, the feeling was incredible. I mean if I were as rich as my dad and money didn't matter and I bought…expensive sunglasses for my… girlfriend, you know, that's… but if I steal it… man, what a rush! And we were the best. We were… especially in New York… a bunch of us in this neighborhood and we were like the mafia. I mean we could take whatever and people got slapped around if they said a word. We were like, 'Fuck you! Pay me!'”
The old man was not feeling too well so he tried to take a nap although his eyes looked half open as he started snoring. I looked around a bit. The girl behind me was looking around too. She was gorgeous. She had beautiful sky-blue eyes, which were matched by her light eye shadow.
Later on, while I was waiting for my luggage, I saw her again. “Here's your pen back” she smiled, offering the pen back to me. “This actually belongs to the guy next to me… I saw him around just a second ago,” I responded. “Thanks,” she said, “I wanted to tell you something though. You look very familiar. Have we met before?” She asked, smiling a bit. “Hlane? I mean here in plane… in the airplane?” I responded back. “No,” she shook her head, “Weren't you our gardener briefly? Didn't you come with your father one day, remember, you both had to share a shovel? Last year's spring? You didn't see me, but I was watching you from my bedroom. You've gained quite a bit of weight but I remember your face.”
That was so funny. She had me confused with someone else. “No, that's… you have me confused me with someone else… I'm actually… I am looking out for my luggage. It's a black leather… I don't see it.” I saw the old man watching us. She came closer, “I could be mistaken, but I remember there was another guy there too the last day. This guy, my dad said he was an Iranian teacher out of job, and he was helping you out. I don't know if he were your friend or… “, I had to interrupt her then. This was becoming annoying. “You have me confused and this is becoming very very annoying. Please go away. You have me confused with someone else… honest.”