Secret Agent Paniel Diper: Chapter 3 - The Flight
Although he hadn’t flown for many years, Paniel wasn’t nervous. As he entered London Airport, his heart rate quickened in relaxation. He strolled breezily into the terminal, casually glancing at his printed and laminated email confirmation for the check-in details. Then, with a calm air of grace, he walked towards security.
As the security officer placed a tray in front of him, Paniel asked whether he should remove his watch. The officer said yes. Paniel skilfully removed his watch, then asked whether he should remove his shoes. The officer said yes. Paniel removed his shoes effortlessly, then asked whether he should remove his belt. The officer said yes. Paniel removed his belt, then asked, with the detached curiosity of a man who had clearly been through the process many times before, whether he should remove his trousers. The officer said no.
‘You can never be too careful these days!’ Paniel quipped as he sauntered through the x-ray, ‘I could have a gun!’ As he refastened his belt, the security officer wished Paniel a pleasant flight.
‘You too,’ he replied before setting off for Departures.
Since there was no time for Paniel to return home before the flight, he had no spare clothes with him - so he bought a tuxedo at the airport. He made sure to ask for a receipt. He then went to Boots for his toiletries, again asking for a receipt (and making a mental note to check whether toiletries were also covered by MI6’s Reasonable Expense Policy for Freelancers). Then, positioning himself directly below the departure board, he waited for his gate number to appear. Paniel knew more than anyone that it was essential to go to the departure gate as soon as possible - you never knew when a plane might leave early.
After a couple of short hours, Paniel and the other passengers began filing onto the plane. When everybody had taken their seats, the flight attendants passed through the cabin to check that all seatbelts were fastened. Paniel caught the eye of one, and casually enquired about the pilot’s flying experience. She told him there was no need to be scared, and he quipped, ‘I’m not scared,’ winking at her (with both eyes).
As the plane began to pick up speed on the runway, Paniel clenched the armrests in a deeply meditative manner. The lady next to him told him not to worry, and that he was much more likely to be struck by lightning than killed in a plane crash. Paniel turned to her, raised an eyebrow, and calmly asked why the bloody hell she was talking about dying just before they took off.
As the aircraft left the ground, Paniel let out a sophisticated scream. They encountered some turbulence on the way up, and he vomited into the sick bag. He was now sweating profusely, adding an attractive sheen to his face. It was just as well, as a pretty flight attendant was approaching.
‘Sir, I need to ask you to relax’, she said, her voice loaded with sexual chemistry. He looked up at her and, with the faintest hint of a seductive smile, asked to be let off the plane.
‘Sir I can’t let you off the plane, we’re thirty-five thousand feet above the ground.’
‘How long until we get to Silicon Valley Airport?’ Paniel spluttered.’
‘Eleven hours, sir.’
‘Well,’ he said, breathlessly, ‘how on earth are you and I going to kill eleven hours at thirty-five thousand feet?’
‘Sir, there’s an onboard entertainment system on the seat in front of you containing several of the latest movies and—’
‘No,’ said Paniel, inhaling sharply after every other word, ‘I meant… how are… you and… I going… you know… it was… a sex quip… unless of… course you… actually want…’
‘Sir, I’m going to walk away now. If you need something, press the button above your head and somebody else will come to help you.’
Paniel spent the next six hours focussing intensely on all three How to Train Your Dragon movies, then slept for the rest of the journey.