Our descent into City Airport was like the drop-ship scene in the movie Aliens. The BA CityFlyer Embraer 190, a narrow-body twin-engine airliner, rolled over into a 40-degree bank and started bucking like a mechanical bull. Simulated “chimes” began chiming frantically. Flight attendants bolted for their seats. The German businessman in the seat beside me, obviously a nervous flyer, immediately adopted the “brace” position. I gripped his shoulder reassuringly and shouted into his ear like a drunken redneck, “WE’RE ON AN EXPRESS ELEVATOR TO HELL! GOING DOWN!”
And so began my latest trip to London. This time, I wasn’t there to talk to “the Left” or to hunt down endoparasitoid xenomorphs. I was there on Serious Conspiracy Theorist Business, which I explained to the chirpy MI6 operative posing as a “survey taker” that followed me out of Border Control asking questions about my “nation of residence” and my “experience with the passport scanners,” and so on. She was wearing one of those rubber “Mission Impossible” masks that made her look like a middle-aged British woman. I waited for an opportunity, head faked, juked right, and lost her in the crowd. As I entered the “Arrivals” lobby, I turned and shouted in her general direction, “NOT MY FIRST RODEO, MR. PHELPS!”
I don’t know what was up with all the shouting. I’ve been experimenting with different types of medication for this sinus condition I’ve had for months. My Sinus Specialist diagnosed me with “long” or possibly “permanent Covid,” or some yet-to-be-named debilitating syndrome caused by some other bio-weapon that produces cold-and-flu-like symptoms and has a survival rate of 99.8 percent. So, maybe it was bad reaction to my meds. Whatever it was, I was feeling jumpy.
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