Charles Bins

The speaker in the airport crackled: “Ladies and gentlemen, we now have a severe weather advisory in effect. There will be no flights in our out of Detroit Airport for at least the next two hours. We will update you as soon as possible.”

“January: Trapped in Detroit again,” Jack thought to himself. He was well acquainted with the Detroit airport. It was the waypoint between his home in White Plains, New York, and Grand Rapids, the headquarters of his biggest client. Undeterred, he headed to the bar and draped his overcoat over the barstool next to him. Tapping his Amex gold, he ordered a Manhattan and took a long sip, eyes over his glass.

The bar was open on two sides and people were shuffling in. He scanned the room, seeing what he could see and if anyone would catch his eye. A pretty redhead in a green dress sat alone at a table in  the center of the bar playing with her phone. He swaggered over, drink in hand. “Mind if I join you?”

“That depends,” she said, flashing him a sideways glance with an impish smile Jack found intriguing.

“Depends on what?” Jack beamed back.

She took him in for a moment. “On what you’re about.”

“Well, if you were planning to fly this evening, I’d about say, we have something in common.”

“Stuck in Detroit,” she said. “Sure, have a seat.”

“What would you like to drink?”

“Oh, just a Sprite,” she said politely. She let Jack prattle on about his single life in New York for over an hour — and gave him little information about herself. He was successful, entitled and conniving, just as she suspected.

The din in the bar was interrupted by another announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, I regret to inform you: The Detroit Airport will not open for flights again until at least mid-morning.” Everyone groaned.

Jack figured there would be a mad scramble for taxis, so he’d better act fast: “Say, I’m going to try to book a room at the Marriott. I know the night manager. Would you care to join me?”

“What do I owe you for the drink?” she asked curtly.

“Why nothing,” he said.

“Why nothing!” she scowled.

The young woman pushed back from the table, her chair squealing like a pig against the tile. Heads turned. She stood up, still glaring at Jack, and grabbed her coat with a flourish. Then her voice rang out so everyone within a half a mile could hear it:  “Fifty dollars! –Fifty dollars!?