Really? Really? First officer was bad, really bad, but at least when someone said that, they still knew he was a pilot. Or at least that he got to sit in the flight deck. But steward? Did the uniform, the hat, the bloody epaulettes say nothing? And this was from someone in the airport. Sure, she was just a waitress, but she saw pilots and stewards every day, and had to have some sort of method for telling the two apart.
Or maybe she did, but he just happened to give off such a strong "steward" aura, that all the physical evidence in the world could not move him over to the "pilot" category.
It certainly hadn't helped that he had only been able to buy a glass of water and a peanut butter and jam sandwich. From the children's menu. Not exactly a very pilot-like lunch. He supposed he couldn't blame her for thinking that the tiny little man munching on a child's sandwich alone at an airport deli wasn't a pilot.
He wouldn't have believed it either.
He hadn't been having a full-on cry. He hadn't. Everyone was just making too big a deal out of it. His eyes had gotten a little watery in the sunlight, so he had Douglas take over and went to the loo. He had washed his face, and the water had been too warm, that's why he had come out all red and wet. And he had a bit of congestion which made his voice a little froggy, nothing to make a fuss about. And he must have been low on potassium, because that "quivering lip", as Carolyn had called it, was just a bit of a twitch. And no, he had not needed that hug; he went along with it to humor her. Then Carolyn's perfume had been to heavy or something, which was why his eyes had gotten watery again. She should know better than to wear a strong fragrance in such an enclosed area.
And Arthur shouldn't have joined in. He hadn't needed it; he was in control.
At least Douglas knew better than to try to give him a hug. He had, however, been the one to come up with the follow-up plan.
"Miss, now Miss, you will find that my sandwich is still not correct. I ordered tuna salad with onions and mayonnaise on rye, not turkey with mustard on wheat."
"My…apologies, I must have misheard you, sir."
"No trouble, dear, seventh time's the charm."
"And anything else for you, Ma'am?"
"Yes, I think I will have another roast beef sandwich, only this one with the meat cooked rare, the edges lightly charred, and the bread heavily toasted. I would like swiss cheese melted on it, but horseradish put on after it has been cooked. Nothing ruins a sandwich faster than overly warmed horseradish. And a half order of crisps, lightly fried, with extra seasoning. And both had better be hot when they come out. You have all that, dearie?"
"…Yes. Fine. And can I get anything else for you, young man?"
"Can I have scrambled eggs?"
"I'm sorry, we've finished serving breakfast."
"Can I have scrambled eggs on a sandwich?"
"I'm sorry, I don't think we have the ingredients for scrambled eggs out anymore."
"Do you have eggs?"
"Brilliant! Then I'll have scrambled eggs on a sandwich!"
"No, sir, I…oh, never mind. Your orders will be out shortly."
"Do hurry along, miss, your other customers don't appear to be too pleased. And there are an awful lot of pilots here; they tend to gang together, so you have to watch out."