Flash Fiction Friday (#2) – Cross Country

“Good bye, Honey” Blake Conlon says to his wife. Kneeling down in front of Keely, he says “Knock ‘em dead today, Sweetie. No one know as much about River Otters as you do.”
“Thanks, Dad” she says with tears in his eyes. “Good luck to you.”
“Sweetie” Blake says, “I feel terrible to be missing your presentation. You know I have to go to New York, it is part of my job. Do you want me to bring you back a snow globe?”
“Yes, please”, Keely hugs her dad fiercely, sobbing slightly.

Grabbing his overnight and laptop bags, Blake heads out to the door to catch his flight.

The cab, security, and boarding all went pretty smoothly. He waits as the plane reaches altitude, to pull out his laptop and start working. He only has about four hours of battery life and a five hour flight. He wants to update the error handling code in their PharmDataUploader application in order to catch a couple edge cases. This is the reason he is on the flight. Ever since being acquired, SaluSciens has been rewriting all of their code to run faster and be more resilient. He is set to present the new version of the product to senior management at the new parent company.

Signing in to the $30 airline wifi, thank you very much corporate card, Blake checks his email before diving in to programming. His inbox is filled with the basic noise he is used to, code drops, requests to fix bugs, announcements as to which taco truck will be on the corner this week. He checks out the most recent PharmDataUploader code from their source control system, and tries to focus.

The flight attendants pass out coffee and a nice, but tiny snack pack. These things are quite expensive, but within his daily meal per diem. Thank you, Corporate Card! Blake is able to balance his drink, snack, and as his laptop on the tiny tray, and is eventually able to finish a small portion of the code. As he is sometimes paranoid of losing code changes, Blake immediately checks in his code only to find that the plane’s internet connection is down. Darn it. This sucks.

The rest of the flight is uneventful as Blake continues to work on updating his code while also watching his laptop’s battery meter. It finally gives up as the plane begins to descend. Blake puts his laptop away, leans back in his seat and tries to stretch out his back. These stupid seats are really not ideal for software development.

Touching down, Blake grabs his cellphone and pulls up his hotel information. He will be taking a cab from Newark airport into New York city, getting settled, then meeting up with coworkers for dinner. It’ll be good to get a sense of what to highlight in his presentation tomorrow. They’ll probably hit one of those trendy sushi places, like Nobu tonight. Thank you, corporate card!

While having the cell phone in his hand, he checks the corporate email. Marked as urgent is a note from his divisional vice president saying that due to bad weather on the East Coast, they are canceling the presentations and that he should stay on the West Coast. Shoot!

After deplaning, Blake runs right to the airline counter, books passage back the way he came, literally on the same physical plane, and immediately runs back to grab his flight. He doesn’t have time to charge his laptop, or even get a book from the Hudson news stand.

The flight home is a long, boring, blur, as Blake was only able to find a copy of the USA today to occupy his time. He catches a cab to head home, walking in his front door too late to hear about Keely’s river otter presentation.

Blake’s wife actually found the whole story amusing, and is just happy that he is safe and not stuck in an East Coast snow storm. As Blake is wired from traveling all day, they stay up until almost two in the morning chatting about Keely and the oddness of flying cross country twice. Checking his email once more as he goes to bed, Blake sees that he forgot to cancel the hotel room reservation. Since company policy states that he was supposed to cancel the hotel room the day he found out his plans changed, Blake drifts off to sleep annoyed that he will have to pay the hotel cancelation fee out of his own pocket. Thanks for nothing, corporate card.

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