YOU short story: The Enigma in 25C

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Illustration: Michael De Lucchi
Illustration: Michael De Lucchi

My safety and emergency procedure training flickers through my mind rapidly, trying to find a match with the situation I find myself in. My instinctive alarm bells are ringing, but I can’t quite decide if this is an emergency or not. I may look like a flight attendant in a pretty scarf and fancy hat, but underneath my glamourous uniform is a constant state of awareness. Four hours into our flying time, I’m worried about the passenger sitting in 25 C.

He’s an elderly Japanese gentleman, wearing a perfectly pressed suit and carrying a silver fortified briefcase. We initially struggled to put it in the hat rack for takeoff; he insisted on having it on him – so we compromised and placed it under the seat in front of his. He looks ill and hasn’t accepted a meal or a drink since boarding.

I check the passenger information list to see if there’s any information from his connecting flight and am alarmed to see a note from the crew that operated his Tokyo to Dubai flight. Passenger refuses to eat, acting strangely. Looks ill. Uncooperative with crew, remain alert. I check his connecting time – one hour, fifteen minutes. Nowhere near long enough for him to have eaten at the airport. In his state, I’m surprised he made the connection at all. The list informs me that his name is Mr Nakagawa, and I decide that this, along with his visibly deteriorating heath, is enough for me to try and start a conversation with him. I’ve seen way too many medical emergencies to take this lightly.

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