Charles relaxed in his seat as the plane’s wheels lifted off the runway. In moments they were at cruising attitude and he briefly mused how only a few months ago he was sitting next to an Amish kid needing deodorant on an uncomfortable bus ride.
This time a middle aged attractive woman sat next to him; long brown hair and enough perfume to let you know she was wearing it. She was obsessed with moving her hair from her face. She constantly cocked her head in such a way it fell over her face and than she would either use he head or flick her head to make her hair fall away. After that she glanced at Charles each time as if to see if he observed her.
After drinks were served she said, “In case you are wondering, I am Danielle Collette.”
Charles smiled and looked out the window.
She cleared her throat and leaned close. “You must not watch much TV. I’m the ‘other woman’ in New York DA.”
“I don’t watch TV,” Charles said.
“I was in the movie Measured Response,” Danielle said.
“Let me guess,” Charles said. “You were the “other woman.’”
“You saw it!” Danielle said.
“No,” Charles said. “But your range as an actress seems limited.”
“Stewardess,” Danielle called and motioned with hand to come. The stewardess arrived. “This man is pestering me can you have him moved.”
Charles started to stand.
“To the contrary,” a plump woman in the seat across the aisle said. “She has done everything to make advances at the gentleman and he has merely rejected her ego-driven desire for attention.”
The stewardess’s eyes danced back and forth between the three. “Ma’am we have a seat in the back perhaps you will feel more comfortable there.”
“I’m Danielle Collette,” she said. “You can’t treat me that way.”
The plump lady said, “I’m Wanda Kotterman. I’m an FBI agent and this woman is a hair flick from being cuffed.”
Danielle quickly moved to the other seat.
Charles held his hand across the aisle. “Charles Arnold, thanks.”
Wanda shook his hand. “I know, my husband and I bought a car from your dealership a couple of years ago.”
“Was it a good car and did we treat you right?” Charles said.
“Good service and we still own the car,” Wanda said.
“That’s good to hear,” Charles said. “I suppose if the car was a lemon and you got bad service I’d be wearing the cuffs now.”
Wanda smiled broadly.
“I don’t have any cuffs on me,” Wanda said. “But I am curious about something; when did you come back?”
Charles smiled. “Actually, I’m not back yet.”
“Are you okay?” Wanda ask. “There was a rumor you were kidnapped, but then it was reported you just walked away.”
“I really don’t know,” Charles said. “It’s complicated; other than my name I have no idea who I am.”
“You got to be kidding me,” Wanda said moving across the aisle and sitting next to Charles. “What is it, amnesia or something.”
“I haven’t seen a professional,” Charles said. “I worked for a lady in Indianapolis and she hired a private detective to find out who I am and that’s why I’m heading to Atlanta.”
“Does anyone know you’re coming home?” Wanda said.
“No,” Charles said. “I don’t want this getting out. Frankly, I was a little afraid of authorities being involved. And I thought if my wife and I had some sort of break-up we could meet and settle things without publicity, lawyers, or drama. I don’t know whether I left under amicable or hostile circumstances.”
“If it means anything to you,” Wanda said. “Your business had a good reputation and you were known as an honest businessman.”
“That’s good to hear,” Charles said. “By the way, what do you do for the FBI?”
“I’m a field agent,” Wanda said. “I help investigate and look for bad people. If I can ever help you here‘s my card.” She dug a card from her purse and handed it to Charles.
“Thanks,” Charles said and tucked it in his shirt pocket. “I have you ever dealt with anybody who had amnesia.”
“I’ve dealt with people who said they had amnesia and those who wished they had it, but never anyone who really had it,” Wanda said seriously.
“How can you tell?” Charles said. “Do you think I’m faking it?”
“They say there is a look and I think you have that look,” Wanda said.
“What look is that?” Charles said.
“Like you’re lost,” Wanda said. “All the fakers I worked with were engaged so to speak, aware. You, on the other hand, look at people almost as you should know them, but afraid you can’t remember them. Like a person with Alzheimer’s. My father had it, so I’m an expert.”
A light conversation continued until the plane landed and they parted.
“Good luck, Mr. Arnold,” Wanda said.
“And you too, Mrs. Kotterman,” Charles smiled broadly. “And if you ever want to trade that old car of yours in…”