The Following Takes Place At 3am.

“Welcome to Christchurch Airport, Singapore Airlines hope you have a pleasant stay in New Zealand. The local time is 08:30.”

As the door to the Airbus A380 opened for the first time in over twelve hours, I was reminded of the joke Lee Evens t

old. As the air from outside rushed in, the compressed farts of hundreds of people rushed out. Over the course of the twelve hours I had played all the mental games you could on an aeroplane. Guess which passenger was the Air Marshal, who would be the first to panic if the air masks fell from the roof, which passenger was the most likely to be a terrorist, which baby would cry next. Since it is physically impossible to sleep in those seats in Cattle class, (unless you do as the old man next to me did, pop a small pink pill and didn’t wake up until we landed. At one point I thought he might be dead, so who would be the first to be eaten in a zombie attack?) that sort of thing whiles away the long crushing hours of boredom.

I had been awake since 08:30 on the Wednesday morning, and it was now the same time on the Friday morning. I didn’t know if I was coming or going, staying or leaving, craving a cup of tea and some cornflakes or a pint of lager and a kebab. It didn’t matter what time it was, in my head it was 3am and all I wanted to do was sleep. But you can’t. The best way of beating jet lag is to battle through it and go to bed when it gets to bedtime. Also, I wanted to get myself zzzzzzz sorted with the hostel, buy a car zzzzzz get a phone card zzzzzz meet up with friends zzzzzz WAKE UP! I had to get out of the airport first. On my information sheet for the hostel, it clearly says that a shuttle bus can be called for using the sign posted telephones in the arrivals area. No matter how much I searched, I could find not one single solitary indicator as to the mystical telephones’ whereabouts. I walked over to the Information Desk and asked the nice lady there. She politely pointed first toward the telephone, then to the big sign over her head proudly proclaiming the required information. That sorted and the bus on the way, I headed for the toilets. As I washed my hands and stared at my reflection in the mirror, I decided it must have been me who was first eaten in what the movies dubbed “Zombie Terror on Flight SQ212!” Slack jawed, pink eyes, bad breath. All I needed was torn clothing and I’d be ready to star in the sequel.

The place I had chosen for the first few nights was a former jail house, converted to a travellers hostel. All the guests are jokingly referred to as inmates, with the staff as wardens. As you would expect, the former cells have been converted into dorm rooms, but there are many original features preserved to give the place life. Have a look at www.jail.co.nz for more details, one of the things they fail to tell you on the website is that the jail has a reputation as being haunted!

I had been looking at a website for a used banger, something with loads of space and reasonably cheap. The map on google earth showed me it was about a mile from the hostel, and since I had all day to kill and had been sat on my arse for the past thirteen hours, a good walk was just what the quack ordered. So, off I trot, passing a protest camp against capitalism set up in the park. Yeah, smash the system, replace it with zzzzzzz what, sorry dozed off there! I found the car lot easily enough, then discovered that the owners had flitted in the night. No cars, no workers, just empty desks with bits of paper laying around, and their website looked up to day too. Back to the hostel, past the protesters “2, 4, 6, 8, Lets all go and smash the state!”

Feeling like the star of “Zombie 4, back for more” I found a second used car lot, a little further away. This time, transportation that was a little more fleet would be in order. Moments later and 10 dollars poorer, I was cycling serenely on a sit up and beg, one gear, no brake bicycle wearing an ill fitting helmet and being over taken by fit girls on mountain bikes. It was at least better than walking. When I found the place, the sales man explained that zzzzzz, and that zzzzzz gripple nuts were important. They all looked the same, I was torn between two cars and one had flowers which was different zzzzzz no tape deck in that one though zzzzzz blue, thats a good colour. Rubbing eyes redder than a pool ball and making sure my head hadn’t floated away, I made my escape before dishing out for the 1984 Toyota Hi-ace that had a wooden steering wheel. Well, all I could see it as was a classic VW camper van, the sort my friends and I once planned touring around Europe in. My heart was screaming yes yes yes buy that one, it’s what you always dreamt of, but my head… The last order the captain of the ship made before setting the course for home and getting back to the hostel on auto pilot was to walk away from the hippie wagon. The journey back past in a blur, I didn’t care I was being overtaken and I could barely focus on the shapely Lycra clad buttocks that flew by. Making it back, whilst locking the bike up, I got into conversation with a German couple. We watched “Life of Brian” in the telly room. After the film it was suggested we go to the nearby pub. My watch said 22:00, but by now I thought I would never sleep again, so what the hell. To the pub!

(I managed to avoid mentioning the war, and Hitler was only mentioned once because zzzzzz!)

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About Steven R Harrison

Greetings! Thank you for having a look at my blog. On here you will find my epic adventure around New Zealand that I undertook in 2011-12, now available to buy with more pictures and in hard back entitled 'Blogs, Bikes & Jelly Beans' from Lulu.com and Amazon. Since returning to Blighty I have been writing my next novel, Attack of the Atomic Airships, which will soon be available to buy from all the usual channels. For now though, since my travelling days are 'on hold' for the time being, I hope you will enjoy some 'Flash Fiction,' that is, fiction of around 1000 words or less. The subjects are varied, but usually gravitate toward SF. The first one is called Continue? Yes / No. I hope you enjoy it!
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