Chascot and the Rastas


Alexander Wightman


All characters in this book are fictitious and any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental.


Chap 1


Julian, for that was his name and we all knew it by now, was fey. His delicate head rested on a tall slim frail body and was topped with a mane of long blond wavy hair. He was sitting two seats to my left in the first class cabin of the big airliner and shaking like a leaf.

            He was not the sort of person I would naturally take to as I am more a man of action myself and the son of an engineer. Julian definitely looked a bit on the arty side and dad's friend Toby the beer drinker would have described him as precious. Not that I have an ounce of prejudice in my body mind you, it is just that I am very wary of artists and actors and the like. They have far too much imagination and that is not a good thing to have in an aeroplane.

            Consider the facts. When you are far above the clouds there are two elephants sitting on the door you came through a few minutes earlier. If a window blew out the fattest sumo wrestler sitting beside it would go out like a cork out of a champagne bottle. All the engines are already on fire--but hopefully just on the inside. The miles of different coloured electrical wiring might have been fitted by someone with no lining in his nose.

            Too much imagination tends to bring a twitch to the lower left eyelid. It is the same sort of twitch Lady Jane gets when she knows I am around but can't see what I am doing.

            "Air stewardess! Air stewardess!" Julian cried out in a properly trained theatrical voice which carried the length of the aeroplane.

            The stewardess reluctantly approached ready to give him the kiss of life or put him in a plastic bag or whatever they are trained to do.

            "I am ill, I am airsick, I have claustrophobia, I am going to die, I need a doctor."

            "There, there, sir," said the stewardess smoothly. "No need to panic. We are still on the ground. We haven't even left the ramp. I shall get you a glass of water and an aspirin but really there is nothing to worry about--we have a safety record second to none. You will be quite safe--I promise."

            "I can't stand it," shrieked Julian. "If I had known it would be like this I would never have set foot inside this monstrous machine however much he pleaded with me."

            Normally I would have sat back with a barely concealed snigger and enjoyed the performance. But I didn't want the hard looking old man sitting next to me think I am a sadist. I am not and in fact I can sometimes be quite sympathetic. He himself had a look of loathing and disgust on his face as he watched, like everyone else, the little drama.

            Now there is one thing I think I can rightfully claim, apart from being an English gentleman and rather dignified, and that is I am a helpful sort of person.

            "Excuse me sir," I said as I stood up by the old man and tapped the stewardess on the shoulder.

            She turned and I said with the confidence of a professor of brain surgery, "Pardon me miss but I am a very experienced air traveller and I am quite sure it would be of great help to this gentleman if he sat next to the window. I would be happy to change seats with him--I have seen this sort of thing before and the window seat always works wonders."

            They always think boys want to sit beside the windows but if your mum and dad have been killed in an aeroplane you tend to get different priorities. It is not that I am scared you understand. It is just that I prefer to sit next to the aisle. In the event of an emergency evacuation I shall be first down it and out of the emergency exit like the cork out of that champagne bottle I mentioned earlier.



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