Iron & Bass

Short Boarding Ticket Story

Joe Parker - Aug. 1, 2002

Once there was a boarding ticket named Charlie. Charlie was used during a flight, then lived in a carry-on bag for quite some time.

Things were real dark inside the carry-on. Now and then a bit of sunlight leaked in when a pen or paperback book paid a visit. Charlie liked reading the book covers in the light as they slipped in or out of the bag. When there wasn't a book, Charlie would read the writing on his own body. It recorded the date and city of his birth, and the big city he traveled to as an infant.

When he couldn't read, Charlie rested and thought about shapes and numbers. His favorite shape reminded him of the device on which he was printed and considered to be his mother. Charlie liked to count numbers, and once counted well over sixty-five thousand numbers before being distracted by the arrival of a dog-eared self-help book that had received many enthusiastic reviews.

Sometimes Charlie slept and dreamt he was a hummingbird that lived in a sunny children's park in a suburb of the big city. He would hum and eat bird food while the children laughed or played on the swingset. He and his hummingbird friends took weekend trips to neighboring parks and playgrounds. Charlie learned to whistle and this made the children very happy.

Although Charlie's dreams were vivid and exciting, he was always glad to return to his life inside the carry-on. Each day he awoke with vigor, excited for the possibility of seeing a new visitor, if only for a short time.

One day Charlie was taken out of the carry-on, wrapped around a wad of bubble gum and tossed into a waste basket at the bus depot in the big city. Later that week he was transported to a garbage dump, where he lived in a soup can with a wing nut and noodle, and still lives today.