#FlashFictionChallenge Update – Round 2

airplane-take-off-airport-vector_21-51576694Back in August, I shared a post about entering NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Challenge. I have had a few requests to post the rest of my submissions.

The first two rounds of the Challenge include everyone, and you accumulate points from those collective rounds. The top five writers in each group then move on to the third round. The number of writers drops to about 240 from the original 1,400 or 1,500.

I was lucky enough to tie for first place in my group, earning 26 points total! For those interested, this is my second submission. All writers get 48 hours to write the 1,000 max piece of fiction. I was given the following theme:

GENRE: Comedy

LOCATION: Airport baggage claim

OBJECT: A tuna sandwich

Happy reading!

Title: Payment Upon Delivery

Synopsis: Alexa discovers that escorting her nephew safely

home proves to be more difficult than she anticipated.

Word Count: 1000

“I need to go to the bathroom.”

Phillip voiced his request in a desperate way that only

seven-year-olds can as they exited the jet bridge. Alexa

had never seen a human consume so much root beer in three

hours, let alone one only 43 inches tall. Though, if she

were honest, she didn’t spend much time with pint-sized

humans. He must have been too engrossed in his video game

during the flight from Denver to Toronto to notice his full

bladder.

“Can you make it until we get to baggage claim?”

“I guess so.” He looked up at her resolutely and wide-eyed

through his dark-framed spectacles, then winced.

“We’ll hurry, buddy.” Alexa gave her nephew what she hoped

was a comforting pat on the back and tussled his blonde

hair.

It was not Alexa’s first experience with the labyrinth

known as Toronto Pearson International Airport, and she

knew from sad personal experience that a two-hour layover

was no guarantee they’d make their connection to Halifax.

She had no intention of staying overnight in Toronto again,

so she grabbed Phillip’s hand and raced through the

corridor and down the escalator to baggage claim.

As soon as they found their carousel, Phillip dumped his

backpack at her feet and sprinted gingerly to the restroom.

When Alexa agreed to escort her nephew home, her sister,

Samantha, had sweetened the deal by offering her free

airfare and a $500 “incentive.” She had no time for the

trip, but it was impossible for someone on a student budget

to resist. Jokingly, Samantha had given her $250 beforehand

and promised the rest “upon delivery.”

Alexa stood silently and stared at the empty conveyer belt

as it grinded round and round for an absurd amount of time.

She thought she might be approaching a Zen state (at least,

what passes for Zen for anyone trying to finish their

master’s thesis in the next two weeks) when her phone

buzzed.

“911” Phillip’s text read. In a panic, she scooped up his

backpack and sprinted to the men’s room, ignoring the

surprised looks a few gentlemen gave her as she entered.

“Phillip! Are you okay?”

“There’s no toilet paper,” a small voice answered from a

corner stall.

“Seriously? You just gave me a heart attack.”

“Mom always carries wipes in her purse.”

“I don’t have any wipes, kiddo, but maybe one of these

gentlemen—” she said, making the mistake of looking up,

then quickly averted her gaze again. “Maybe someone would

be nice enough to pass you some under the door?”

“Got it!” Phillip announced victoriously a moment later.

Alexa made a hasty retreat and was standing at the carousel

with their luggage in tow when Phillip reappeared.

“We’re going to have a discussion about the proper use of

911 after we get through customs,” Alexa said, giving him a

stern look.

“That’s not my suitcase.”

“What?”

“That’s not my suitcase. Mine has a Superman tag.”

Alexa examined the navy bag at her feet. Nope, no tag. She

sighed. Her eyes scanned the carousel, no navy bag there

either.

“There it is!” Phillip pulled on her sleeve, pointing to a

gentleman pulling a matching navy suitcase towards customs,

and sprinted off in pursuit.

“I’m sorry, sir,” Alexa said, breathless, once she caught

up to Phillip and the businessman, “but it seems we have

picked up each other’s suitcases.”

He looked skeptical, so to expedite the process, she

pointed to the Superman tag and smiled.

“Ah yes. My apologies.”

“No harm done.” She shrugged and smiled, glancing down at

her watch. “Safe travels.”

Turning to Phillip, Alexa said, “We’ve only got an hour

before our flight, so let’s get moving. Just smile and stay

quiet.”

Eventually, they found themselves standing in front of a

checkpoint agent.

“Good afternoon,” Alexa said in a cheery tone.

“What is the purpose of your visit?”

“Family visit.” Alexa smiled. The agent did not smile.

“How long do you intend to stay?”

“Three days.”

“I live here,” squeaked a small seven-year-old voice.

The agent gave Alexa a reprimanding look.

“I am returning him home to his mother, my sister, in

Halifax. He is a Canadian citizen.”

“Are you bringing gifts or food with you?”

“No.”

“Yes we are,” Phillip said helpfully. Alexa gave him a

questioning glare and then smiled at the agent.

“We don’t have any gifts or food that I’m aware of.”

“Granny made me lunch,” Phillip continued. “A tuna fish

sandwich and chips and apple slices and homemade chocolate

chip cookies.”

Alexa closed her eyes for a long moment. “I apologize. I

didn’t know he had packed a sack lunch.”

“I didn’t pack it. Granny did.”

“Travelers are required by law to declare all plant, animal

and food items they bring into the country. Any items you

bring across the border that you don’t declare are subject

to further inspection,” the agent scolded. “Have your bags

been in your possession at all times?”

“Yes.”

“No they haven’t,” Phillip piped up.

“Yes they have,” Alexa countered through gritted teeth.

“A man picked up my suitcase by mistake.”

“It was just a mix-up at the baggage carousel,” Alexa

interjected, pleading with the agent. “It was resolved in a

couple of minutes.”

“Ma’am, we are going to need you both to step aside for

additional screening.”

Resigned, Alexa watched the clock tick down the minutes

until their flight was scheduled to depart while agents

rifled through their baggage. She looked over at Phillip,

who was happily eating the tuna sandwich and chips that

customs had finally returned to him.

When Alexa agreed to escort her nephew home, it had seemed

easy enough. Now, “upon delivery” never seemed so far away.

As if he felt her stare, he looked up at her and smiled,

offering her a chocolate chip cookie. She opened her mouth

to say something, but reconsidered. Accepting the offering,

she reached an arm around him and hugged him close closer.

Delivery could wait another day.

“I need to go to the bathroom.”

Copyright by Jessica Llanes 2015.

Published by: jnawlins

Professional freelance writer, editor and food critic who also staged at a French restaurant. Book worm, music lover and runner, I am currently residing in great state of Texas but call New Orleans home.

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