The Business Trip
by Tany Z
Disclaimers: Standard disclaimers, y'all.
Author's Notes: Inspired (hah!) by my own panic at the thought of my very first overseas business trip. Which I survived rather nicely, no little thanks to all the sibs who responded to my on-list shrieks for sympathy/good wishes/burnt sage offerings. Not to mention the sweet German sibs who actually met up with me in Dusseldorf!
"Got your passport?"
"Yes, Jim, I've got my passport."
"Travelers' Cheques? And did you remember to write down all the numbers and stash a copy away -- and did you leave me a copy?"
"Yes, Jim. Done."
"Crap. Forgot to remind you to copy your..."
"Yes, Jim. I photocopied my passport and left you a copy, plus I'm carrying two copies myself. Along with the address and phone number for the American Consulate."
"Good. Now, did you remember to pack your..."
"JIM!! Gaaaah! Take a pill, man! I've been traveling all over the world since I was in diapers, okay? I promise I'm not gonna get mugged, kidnapped, lost, or do anything that'll get me on CNN. This is just going to be a nice 3 day anthropological symposium at Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf. I've known Herr Prof. Dolmen since I was 18. They've got my hotel set up, I'm being met at the airport, we've already got plans to hit a beerhall for my first night's dinner... lighten up, okay? I'm going to be just fine... stop with the hovering, please!"
"Ah, jeez, Jim. Don't pout, for cryin' out loud. Do you know how silly that stuck-out lower lip thing looks on a guy your size?"
"Okay, okay, I'm sorry. I know you're just doing the BP thing, man, and I love you for it, honest. But Jim, I am, like, a seasoned world traveler here..."
"Yeah, snigger. But I am, y'know. And I'll be just fine, and I'll be back before you know it."
"Oh, I suppose you think I'm going to miss you?"
"Don't think. Know."
"Okay, you little fink. I'm going to miss you. I'll just have to console myself with Wonderburger, maybe a couple nice big Meat-Lovers' Pizzas, drown my sorrows in a couple of Arnold Schwarzenegger rentals... OW!"
"Man, you had better behave better than that while I'm gone, or I won't bring back that two-pound Toblerone you demanded!"
"All right, Wonderburger just once. Do I still get the Smarties?"
"Yes, Jim, you'll get the Smarties."
"Now you're talking. Uh, looks like they're calling your flight -- I still have trouble believing you're going Business Class."
"Me, too, but no complaints here, man. Just give praise to the Klara Heinz Foundation for thinking it's the only appropriate means of travel for their grant recipients. Can you say 'free champagne'..."
"Sandburg! Don't get too enamored of the free champagne -- you know how dehydrating alcohol can be on these long flights. Did you pack some..."
"NO, Jim. I did not pack any bottled water. Jeez, like you think Business Class won't stock it? I promise I'll have just one glass of champagne. Okay, I gotta board. Don't forget to water the plants. Check my e-mail for me. And remember to UMMPH."
The Sentinel released his Guide from their manly hug. "Get your butt in gear, Chief. Here, grab your bag. Hold your boarding pass... no, hold it in the other hand so you don't have to juggle. Now, git. Gimme a quick phone call if you have a chance. Have fun, do good, be careful. I'll be here to pick you up Monday."
Blair Sandburg hoisted his carry-on and gave his Sentinel a 100-watt smile. "See you then, big fella. I'll have a beer or three for you. And I already know what kind of souvenir I'm gonna bring you back. Know what 'Steiff" is?"
"Never heard of it."
"The finest stuffed animals in the world, man. I figure a nice black panther and a wolf will look totally at home in the loft."
"STUFFED ANIMALS?!" Sandburg, you come home with stuffed animals, they're staying on your bed, hear me?