Thursday, April 25, 2024

Short Story

There were once two men coming back to Washington D.C. on a flight from Toronto. You could just tell that they lived in D.C. Both had blue checkered shirts. The younger had khakis and the older had a dark blue vest, dark blue pants, and shiny leather loafers. He had a black watch on his wrist.

The men reek of the intelligence and power that breeds in the city. The city that people think governs them, controls them. But that’s the federal government. That’s Washington. 

D.C. is a city and like everywhere else, it’s controlled by that government. The city has no power over what people say and do in other parts of the country. It’s a fallacy.

The younger man wanted power but couldn’t get it. His light brown hair was slightly greying, it was the type of grey that thirty-something-year-old men have. The hair merged into a beard, and he was sucked into an article in The Economist about Columbia University. A physical edition of The Economist

Probably an edition that your parents have on that table in the downstairs guest bathroom that has crickets in it. He has probably just moved into the city in a small, downtown apartment and works on Capitol Hill. He didn’t belong, so the Washingtonians call him a transplant. 

He doesn’t understand D.C. yet. He still calls National Airport Ronald Reagan National Airport. 

Reagan! 

Nobody calls that airport by that name unless you were a Republican, and you would be shunned for that. Hopefully, Dave grows into this city.

The older man has silver-grey hair that seemed almost dyed to be that colour. His checkered shirt is dark blue — of course, as is the rest of his outfit. He wants everyone to know his name.

His eyes are dark brown. He seems clumsy. He takes a call right before passengers are required to turn on airplane mode. 

He was, in fact, sitting next to the other man, stealing his seat on the call, before the two realized that John Stevens was sitting on the other side of the aisle! He ordered a beer. He likes beer, like Brett Kavanaugh

He doesn’t read, but instead, tries to sleep on the 50-minute flight. He perceives he has “status” over others, probably because he lives in Potomac. He has lived there for a long time, but isn’t from there. 

No, he moved there because of work. He moved to the D.C. area because he wanted to be a lawyer to the political socialites. Then he met his blonde wife and had three kids who were all on the football team at Sidwell Friends School. 

They divorced six months after their graduation. So, she moved back to wherever she was from, and he, well … he retired from his position, kept the house, and got a motorized sailboat to take to the Chesapeake Bay every weekend, especially Labour Day Weekend. It’s his favourite. 

He’s dating a younger blonde woman. He didn’t change — he probably never will — and neither will he move for anyone. Simply, because he doesn’t have to.

You don’t know why these men were in Toronto. Maybe they’re both Canadian or have business in Toronto. What’s curious though, is that they are flying on a cheap airline, where everyone is treated equally. 

Both these men crave power. They live in a city that stands as a cornerstone of the world’s future. That’s why both paid to be in aisle one, even though it’s basically economy. 

They are not even flying into National. No, they are flying into D.C.’s international airport, where they cannot see the city. They can only see Maryland’s farms and fields from the air. If they travelled on a different airline to National, they would see the entire city. They would kick back and relax in business class where they can put their feet up, drink from crystal glasses, and be treated like kings.

From their thrones, they would look out of the window and see their kingdom of white marble and a smooth river. They would truly think they have power.

COVER PHOTO: Morgane Evans

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