She got into this business because she wanted to see the world. At 23 years old, fresh out of college with a liberal arts degree, she wasn't sure what she wanted to do with her life just yet.
She knew her boyfriend had been sleeping with her roommate for the last two months, but feigned oblivion to it in order to get through finals and graduation. As she lit the match, she wondered if they would ever suspect her. Of course not. They never did.
Now, 21 years later, still signaling where to find exit doors and oxygen masks, Tammy feels trapped. Seeing the world one airport at a time is nothing like what she though it would be. She'd imagined exotic beaches, mai tais, and a hunky cabana boy catering to her every whim. Instead, she's worked the short hop from Portland to Seattle six times a day, four days a week for the last three years. Sweaty, cranky old men in suits, trying to slap her ass as she passes them in the aisle like she's a piece of meat. Quite the far cry from her fantasy cabana boy. But no one ever suspected her. When the bodies were found in the burned out warehouse along the Columbia River, all signs pointed to the transient population that frequented the area. She'd made sure there was nothing to tie her to them.
Now as the suit in 25D sits there scrolling his Facebook feed, staking his female friends' bikini pictures, she wonders if he's going to be next.
His brown loafers, worn, clash against the black socks - the only ones that were clean. He hasn't made a deal in a while. Three months, fourteen days, sixteen hours, and forty-two minutes to be exact. His savings nearly depleted, his wife clueless. The kids' tuition will break them if this one doesn't go through.
As Tammy walks the beverage cart down the aisle, he leans out to get a good look at her while she walks away. As he sets his Starbucks in the middle of the aisle - only a tall this time since his card was declined and he didn't have much cash - he reaches down to his bag, appearing to just be pulling out his tablet. What he doesn't realize is that Tammy saw him snap a picture up her skirt as she headed to first class.
At that moment, she knew he would be next. She saw right through the mask, as she wore one herself. The tan line on his left ring finger. The Tommy Hilfiger khakis - neatly creased. Blue and white checkered Geoffrey Beene shirt -horizontal creases indicating it was brand new, yet to be ironed. She saw the man behind the curtain for the low-life bastard he truly was. And she hated him for it. Even as she smiled warmly and made sure to "accidentally" brush up against him when she passed by, she wondered to herself if he would beg and plead and parade his wife and kids' pictures in front of her while she sharpened the blade. Would he claim he lost his ring swimming in the ocean when they were on vacation in Hawaii last month? Would he offer her money like the last one did?
Fortunately for her, she'd prepared her spot just last week. When she had an extra day in Seattle due to the 4th of July holiday double overtime she'd signed up for, she had discovered a tiny hole in the wall bar just outside of downtown. Across the street from the bar was an old rundown movie theater, closed and shuttered for years. But one of the panels on the side door was loose and she was able to ease through. As the plane began its descent, she sized him up to make sure he would fit through as well.
When his right hand slid up her leg as he handed her his garbage with his left, she had no doubt. As he walked off the plane after they landed, he "dropped" his iPhone - UGH!! only a 4th generation?! - hoping for one last pic. She bent down first to pick it up and casually tucked the address of the bar, along with the usual 9pm meeting time into his hand when she passed it back to him. His smirk at what he thought was going to be a horribly naughty evening made her skin crawl. She knew he'd be there. She knew he'd also probably already be drunk when he arrived. Hopefully, he will have at least snatched a bottle of 25 year old single malt instead of the Cutty Sark blended garbage he usually went in for. After all, it would be the last scotch he ever tasted.