Westpoint Tales

by Kiwi

Entangled Tales - 38 - Tony

Next morning they were all up bright and early, even Jonathan. They showered, dressed, packed and breakfasted. Jonathan drove out to the airport and was parked there well before 7am. Their flight wasn't until 7.15.

They got out with their bags, locked up the car and stood there looking around the small airport. The carpark, (just a widening of the end of the road really), was big enough to hold a dozen cars, but theirs and one other were the only ones there. Inside the low security fence, the single, sealed, landing strip ran parallel to the nearby Carver's Beach.

A couple of red lights flashed out in the distance. Over to the right were several small, curve-roofed corrugated iron sheds - hangars for private airplanes. One bore a sign proclaiming it to be the headquarters of the 'Westpoint Aero Club'. To their left was the 'control tower' - a small two-storied iron building. The upper storey was a squat square room with glass walls. Aerials sprouted from the roof - one looked suspiciously like a TV aerial.

"That'd be such a cruisy job," said Jonathan. "Air Traffic Control in Westpoint - two small planes out in the morning and another back in the afternoon."

"There's more to it than that," Billy valiantly defended his town's airport. "There's other flights - Aero club and others. Sometimes there's hospital flights and other specials."

"Yeah. And, I suppose someone's got to mow the grass. Or do they just let the sheep out there on Sundays?"

"No. I don't know. How big's Balclutha's airport anyway."

"Come on Guys, be nice. Don't start squabbling on me. Let's go inside, it's cold out here."

They walked in to the small 'terminus' - smaller than most houses. It was just a big shed really, with lots of windows. The single room inside had a counter at the left end for check-in and baggage. The 'Cafeteria' was another counter at the right end, with two tables beside it. The rest of the big room - about the size of the Lewis' living room - was the passenger's waiting area, with several bench type seats scattered around. At least it was warm in there. The glass wall at the front - windows and doors - looked out at the landing strip.

The small, plump, middle-aged lady sitting behind the check-in counter, put down her coffee, put her glasses on and smiled up at them. "Good morning, Boys. Have you got your tickets handy?"

Jonathan passed them across. She scanned them quickly, and marked their names off on the reservation list, then handed them back.

"All a lot of nonsense really. I know who you are and there are no other passengers out of here this morning - not until the 9 o'clock flight anyway. There's only three empty seats left on the plane, so hop in them and away you'll go. Would you like a cup of coffee? On the house."

"No, thanks. We've just had breakfast. You two don't want a drink do you?"

"No? Well probably just as well - there's no toilet on the plane anyway.'

"Will my car be all right out there until Wednesday afternoon?"

"Yes, of course it will, Lovey. We'll keep an eye on it for you. You don't want to check those bags in do you? No? Just put them under your seats then. If you'd like to sit down, the plane will be here soon, they've already left Brownsville."

They went over and sat facing out the front windows. Jonathan grinned, "Not a bit like Heathrow in London, is it?"

Billy retorted, "I'll bet you don't get better service in Heathrow. Or free coffee."

"Stop it you two, or I'll kiss the both of you."

"Ooh, big threats."

"Shut up Jonathan."

The plane came in from over the sea, circled around and landed. They did not really see how small it was until it taxied over and stopped right outside the windows. They could see the other passengers inside the six windows along the side of the plane.

The lady, now wearing a high-visibility vest, came out from behind her counter and pushed a trolley containing parcels and mail over to the front door. When the engines cut, she opened the door and called out, "Come on then Boys. Have a nice flight."

They followed her out on to the tarmac. She opened a door at the back of the plane and started loading the parcels inside. Another door opened at the front. It unfolded down to the ground so that the inside of it formed three steps up into the plane. A face appeared in the doorway and the pilot beckoned them over.

He inspected their tickets and they found their seats. That was easy enough, there was only one row on either side of the aisle. They all had to walk in with their heads bowed as the ceiling was so low.

The pilot welcomed them aboard, using the PA system even though he could have just turned around in his seat - they were all in the same cabin. He told them to keep their safety belts fastened for the whole trip. A bit of a blurb about safety, (there was only one door anyway.), the door closed and they were off.

The plane taxied to the end of the runaway, sped along, and gently lifted off and climbed up into the sky. As they turned north, Jonathan got an excellent view out of his window of Westpoint's long streets. All Justin and Billy could see from the other side was clouds and the sea stretching to a far-off horizon.

However, they got a good view of Wellington in the distance as the plane circled around and landed there one hour later.

As they walked into the (Big!) terminus building, Billy confided, "That wasn't so bad. I've never flown before."

Jonathan touched his arm. "First time flying for me too Billy."

Justin grinned, "Just a couple of country bumpkins aren't you? I've flown lots of times."

"It's still only just after eight," said Jonathan looking at his watch. "If we were at home, we'd still be eating breakfast, and here we are in Wellington."

They walked through the automatic door and into the terminal building. The short corridor disgorged them into the centre of the long busy building. The three of them stood looking around like deer caught in the headlights. Then Justin pulled himself together.

"Come on, it's not difficult. All you have to do is read the signs and do what you're told. Now, where's our check-in counter?"

They walked along until Billy spotted the sign and they went over and joined the queue before the counter. Billy couldn't resist a jibe at Jonathan. "No queues in Westpoint were there?"

After clearing their tickets, they went to wait at the boarding gate. Sitting on the seats there before the closed door, Justin said, "There's something I want to talk about with you two. I'm glad we've got this time together - just the three of us and no-one else. Look - stand up, Billy - I want to swap seats with you."

They sat down again with Justin now in the middle. He picked up Billy's left hand and turned to look at Jonathan. "Jonathan, this is Billy Mathieson, he's ...well, he's my boyfriend. I haven't known him very long, but I do know that I love him. I really love him and he is a huge part of my life now."

He picked up Jonathan's right hand and turned to look at Billy. "Billy, this is Jonathan Shaw, my brother and my twin - my other half. I haven't known him very long either, but I really love him and he's a huge part of my life now too. Please, Guys, don't fight with each other. It tears me up inside when you do. Even if it's just in fun, it scares me. I couldn't stand to lose either one of you and I really need you to be friends, okay?"

Jonathan released Justin's, and grasped Billy's hand. He kissed Justin on the cheek. "We can be friends," he smiled.

Billy, on the other side, did the same. "I love you, Justin, and I like your brother too. We'll be friends."

"That's good," he sighed. "That's really good."

They sat waiting and watching the busy scene outside. Planes of all sizes were coming and going constantly. When the crew arrived and opened the door for boarding, they were first in the line. They showed their boarding passes and went through, down the sloping corridor which narrowed into a ramp leading in to the door of the plane.

The cabin crew welcomed them, professionally, and directed them to their allocated seats. They found their way along, put the bags up in the overhead locker, sat down and buckled up. This time the three seats were all together. Billy got the window, Jonathan in the middle, and Justin in the aisle seat.

As they sat waiting and watching the (Hundreds of!) other passengers filing in and getting settled, the two novice travellers were excitedly investigating and fiddling with all the toys provided - headphones, overhead lights and air vents, and tables etc.

While the plane was taxing out to the end of the long runway, they paid rapt and anxious attention to the emergency procedures demonstration by the cabin crew. Both of them felt under their seats to make sure that the lifejackets were really there.

Justin, meanwhile, lay back with a smug expression, trying to look like a seasoned traveller. However, when the heavy plane screamed down the runway and roared its way up in to the air, there were three sets of white knuckles clutching the arm-rests and trying to help lift it up.

The plane levelled off, high up in the clear sunshine, and they looked down on a boring sea of clouds. Billy, searching around in the pocket in front of him, pulled out a magazine. "Man! You'd think they'd put out new magazines to read. However, Whaarr! I wouldn't mind jumping into bed with one of these guys!"

Justin snapped upright. "What? Who would you?"

Billy grinned impishly and turned the magazine around to show the front of the 'Woman's World' with Justin and Jonathan's smiling faces on the cover.

"Oh. Well that's all right then. You can do that any time you like."

Jonathan sighed, "Shut up Justin. Behave yourself Billy."

The plane came down, bumping worryingly, through the clouds, and they caught a brief glimpse of Auckland city before they landed on the rainy runway. Finally released, they strode confidently into the (even larger!) terminal.

They walked along until they found the right counter, and Jonathan collected the keys and papers and signed the agreement for their pre-booked rental car. Outside they stood amongst all the smokers hanging around under the wide verandahs and looking out into the rain.

Then they made a quick dash out to their waiting car. Jonathan quickly unlocked the driver's door and jumped in. He scrambled around to unlock the other doors while Justin and Billy jumped up and down outside, getting wet. (No central locking! It was a budget rental. You get what you pay for.)

Justin sat in the front passenger's seat while Billy sprawled out across the back. "Man. This is luxury - no sisters, no brothers. Well, none of mine anyway."

The driver and his navigator sat studying the maps in the front, then he, carefully, pulled out and joined the stream of traffic. When they got onto the motorway going to the harbour bridge and heading north, Jonathan was relieved.

"We can do this - Read the signs and do what you're told!"

He was even more relieved when they finally left the city and suburbs, the motorway ended and they were out on the open road. It was still busy, but nowhere near as frantic as in the heart of the city.

He pulled into the first rest-stop they came to and jumped out of the car - the rain had stopped. Justin got out and stood up as Jonathan disappeared into the bushes at the side.

"What are you doing now?"

"Pissing."

"Good idea. You want to go pee-pees, Billy?"

The three of them stood in a row, peeing their nerves away, then hurriedly ran back to the car when another vehicle pulled in to the rest area.

"I don't know what you're worried for, Jonathan - we've got Superboy here to protect us."

"I know that. But it's still a bloody long way to walk if some bugger pinches the car."

They looked at the map again, then pulled out into the traffic heading north. After several false alarms, and a long way (!) they finally arrived at their destination.

Jonathan pulled over and parked at the side of the road at the top of the Main-street-on-a-hill.

"We did it! I thought Daniel said it was just out of Auckland - it's bloody miles away."

"Well we're here now, and it's not even lunchtime yet. Thanks Brother, well done."

Jonathan nodded and waved to their applause. "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Don't stop clapping."

"Shut up, Dork. What do we do now?"

"I suppose we find a motel and check in, and then we'll go have some lunch in this 'Riverboat Cafe' and see what happens."

"That's 'Riverboat Queen', get it right."

"Yeah, yeah, whatever. There's a motel down the street there."

Jonathan drove down to the motel, around to the office at the back and parked the car there. They booked in there for two nights - no trouble at all. They took the keys and went to inspect their two-room motel unit.

It was upstairs at the back of the old building. Their small deck looked down over the lawn sloping down to the small, muddy, tree-lined river. In the door they entered a long sunny room. A big queen-sized bed and a single bed. A couch and two armchairs, TV, telephone, radio, a small wrought iron table with matching stools. The kitchen area at the far end, with toilet and bathroom behind it. The second room opened off the side of the kitchen - a small room but with another queen-size bed, a dresser and built-in wardrobe.

Justin flopped on the bed in the big room. "What a fucking good room."

Billy lay down beside him. "Don't you mean a good fucking room?"

Jonathan grabbed both their bags and took them to the back bedroom. "Oh no you don't. If you two are sleeping together, then you can go and do it in there. I've got to eat in this room you know."

"Okay. Fair enough. It'll be much more private out there."

Jonathan - "Right. Time we had lunch. What do you say we go and eat at this Riverboat Cafe and see what we will see?"

"That's Riverboat Queen - get it right. But, okay. So where is it?"

They stopped in the motel office on the way out and the lady in there told them where to go. "It's just up the street there - at the top of the hill."

"But we came in that way from Auckland - down the street from the top of the hill."

"No, there's a fork in the road up at the corner. You came in on the right-side, the Riverboat Queen's on the left side of the fork. You can't miss it - straight up the hill there, about 200 meters."

"Okay. Thanks Lady."

They walked up the hill and found the cafe. A big old two-storied place, owner's accommodation above and the cafe below. It had obviously been extensively renovated. The cafe had the theme - and many pictures on the walls - of an old style American Riverboat.

They went in, up to the counter and stood looking up at the blackboard menu. "So, what are we having?"

"I dunno. What's the cheapest?"

"Don't you start that Billy M., or I'll just get you whatever's the most expensive thing they've got. Get what you want and don't even look at the price, okay?"

"Right, Justin, thanks. You don't have to bite my head off."

"I'll bite both your heads if you're not careful."

"Justin!!"

They all ordered the same thing - paninis, salads and French Vanilla Latté’s, then sat and waited at a table out on the balcony out the back. The cafe was reasonably busy - about half-full, but it was only a few minutes before their order was ready.

The food arrived, brought out to them by a teenage boy. He was dressed all in black - trousers, shirt and the ridiculous little black apron around his waist. His brown hair was quite long and it hung around his face. The face was young and smooth, tan-skinned but with red flushed-looking cheeks. The big brown eyes were dull and there was no trace of a smile anywhere. The kid was overweight - not grossly obese, but definitely plump - his clothes were as tight as sausage skins.

He unloaded the tray on to their table and turned to go, but Jonathan stopped him.

"Excuse me, but do you ...Oww! What did you do that for?" (to Justin who had just kicked his ankle)

"Shut up Jonathan."

The kid shrugged and walked away. Jonathan turned on Justin, "What the hell did you do that for? - Jerkoff!!"

"To shut you up of course, Dimwit. You were going to ask him if he knew Tony Duncan, weren't you?"

"Yes I was. What of it? How else are we going to find him?"

"You're not thinking, Jonathan. That kid's about our age. This is Tony Duncan's parents cafe. What were you going to do if that was him? We need a plan here."

"If that was him? Oh, right. What do we do then?"

"I dunno. Just eat your lunch first."

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