A flight attendant learns one of the passengers has brought a weapon onboard

Janey rounded the corner into the galley with the bag of trash and once again wished she had enough seniority to be working the service in first class. The galley in the coach cabin on the 757 always reeked of the chemical toilets.

“Meg, did you see the guy in 23C?”

Meg finished counting out the change from the mixed drink and beer sales and made a note in the log. “The cute one, sandy blond hair?”

“Yeah, him.”

“I’d re-up my membership in The Club with him.”

Janey schooled her expression to remain neutral. She didn’t want to spend the rest of the trip listening to Meg’s tired stories about her mid-flight conquests from her European route days. “He set his briefcase on the seat next to him and I think I saw a gun when I asked him to stow it under the seat earlier.”

Meg waved a hand at her. “He’s the air marshal, shug’. It’s OK.”

“Meg, the air marshal checked in at the gate. He showed Bill his ID and papers. He’s in 14D right up front, just like always. I checked.”

Janey thought from the look on Meg’s face that her friend had reached the same conclusion she had: a gun on plane this size had the potential to kill them all, air marshal or no.

Meg stowed the cash in the lock box. “You go up front and see what it would take to detour us. Let Captain Wilson know we’re following policy 16 and he’ll know what the plan is.”

Janey stowed the bag in the compactor. “What are you going to do?”

Meg pulled the wrinkles out of her uniform vest. “Talk to the air marshal. Did you get counter hi-jacking training?”

Janey shook her head. “I’m scheduled next week.”

Meg’s pat on her shoulder did little to settle Janey’s jangled nerves. “Just follow my lead and we’ll be OK.”

Well, if you could accuse anyone of being downright evil, it would be him.

“Well, if you could accuse anyone of being downright evil, it would be him.”

Dan rolled his eyes. Linda always went for the extreme. Nothing was ever just sad for her. It was a tragedy. Petty meanness, the banal cruelties of everyday life became evil of Biblical proportions.

“So you’d rather have them lay nobody off and shut the whole place down?” Rick shifted in his chair, his hair standing on end from where he’d tried to finger comb it into something resembling a normal hairstyle upon spotting their Division Vice President entering the lunch room.

Linda shot Rick a glare Dan was sure she meant to look fierce. It only succeeded in making her round face look more piggy.

“No, it’s just the way they’re doing it. A month ago everything was fine,” she used her fingers to make quotes in the air, “and yesterday half of the inside sales reps gets pink slips.”

Dan suppressed a chuckle. Linda’s version of “pink slips” came out in that same whisper his mother used to talk about cancer or AIDS, like if you said them loud enough God would smite you with the affliction.

“Have you ever thought that maybe there is no evil, just different priorities than yours?” Dan cracked a baby carrot with his back teeth and waited for the group to process his question. “Maybe Masterson just has different priorities than we do.”

Dan felt someone stop behind him. He looked up into the tan face of Lloyd Masterson, Division Vice President. Masterson stuck out his hand. “How’s it going, Dan?” His voice rumbled as thick and plump as his hand was soft.

“Fine sir.” Dan let go of Masterson’s hand.

Masterson smiled at Rick and Linda and moved on.

Out of the corner of his eye Dan saw Rick and Linda gaping at him. He focused on his lunch, crunching another carrot as he squashed the urge to tell them that they wouldn’t be getting pink slips later that day with their pay stubs. Dan was IT. IT always knew before the employee.