Chapter 4

(Posted – 5/20/2021)

The rising sun beamed through Geneva’s International Airport’s glass wall. Ink pooled in spots of the Swiss customs stamp as it dried in my passport.

My first passport stamp. Was she supposed to stamp the first page instead of the middle…

“Sir. You must move, now.” The French accented customs officer gestured toward her side like a model revealing a grand prize. Her blonde hair graced a dangling calico scarf that obscured her name tag, while her blue eyes matched her uniform.

Red-eyed travelers groaned behind me as I stepped to the side, and spilled my clothes onto the floor. The blonde rolled her eyes and resumed a French conversation with her coworker while I scurried for my clothing. The coworker was a stretched brunette version of the blonde that didn’t help anyone, or wear a name tag. The blonde interlocked her fingers, and mimicked a washing machine’s agitator. They laughed as the blonde’s manicured nails beckoned the next traveler.

A stout curly haired man inhaled, adjusted his garment bag, and raced to the blonde’s counter hoping to break the twelve-foot sprinting record. He collapsed onto the counter, and surrendered his emerald passport.

The blonde maintained her conversation, took the passport, stamped a page, and returned the booklet to the panting owner.

She didn’t look at his passport, I need to get out of here.

Zipping my filled bag I left while the customs agents laughed, and discovered all the signs were French.

I haven’t left the airport and I’m already lost.

A wall had a three-story coffee ad featuring the actor Robert White holding an espresso while a blonde dangled from his shoulder.

It’s been awhile since his last spy film I didn’t realize how long his neck was. Okay, I need to get to a bank, and maybe look for breakfast.

(Posted – 5/20/2021)

Panting increased behind me as the stout man from the customs line hurried toward a set of signs.

I followed him as he hurried around a corner. Clearing the corner, I faced a line of closed frosted glass doors.

He’s faster than he looks.

I opened a door, and was hit by a wave of noise as carts sped past, valets yelled French, and travelers claimed their bags.

A German shepherd sniffed me, and headed for rows of luggage. I avoided its red leash as a clone of the blonde customs officer mumbled French to me while struggling to control her pet.

What’s a dog doing here?

Beside me sat a herd of panting retrievers, collies, and a poodle. Behind the dogs was a room where suitcases rode their metal carousel, and children played or sat on the circling baggage. Stores lined the corridor as I approached an up and down escalator. The stout man wiped his brow as he took the escalator up. 

I followed. The glass entrance showed passing cars. A taxi drove by with the stout man in the backseat.

Exiting the airport, I faced the oncoming cars with an extended hand. “Taxi.” I yelled, and startled other travelers.

Are they called taxis here?

A car pulled up. Its window rolled down, and the driver spoke French.

I bit my lip, and leaned into the car. “I’m sorry, do you speak English?”

“Ah, American.” The driver said with a French accent. “Where you want… Go?… Hotel?”

I rummaged my pockets. “No, a bank.” I showed him Gavin’s bank list. “Which?… Closest?”

He snatched my note, and hunched toward the light from his window. Squinting at Gavin’s writing he pointed to the middle address. “This close… Come.”

I exhaled. “How much is it going to be?”

“What?” He snapped. “Come.”

I jumped into the backseat, we lurched forward, but stopped avoiding a passing car. French words flowed from my driver as he thumped his steering wheel, and merged into traffic.

I’m in a foreign land, riding what I hope is a taxi. Wait, he’s taking me to one of Switzerland’s top banks, he’s going to overcharge me, or kidnap me. He knows I’m alone, and don’t speak French…

The driver continued his verbal lashings at the car he almost hit.

He could be plotting my death, and I wouldn’t know it. I should pretend to understand what he’s saying.

I smiled and nodded to him from the rearview mirror during his tantrum.

His eyes narrowed on me. “You… Sick?… Feel bad?…”

I blinked. “No, I’m fine thank you.”

He continued his French taunting as Geneva swooshed past.

I bet he’s ridiculing me. Wait, I have only American money, how am I going to pay him?

(Posted – 5/20/2021)

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