After a brief respite in Costa Rica, I managed to snag round trip tickets to New Zealand. I was supposed to catch a ten hour flight to Auckland after hopping on a connecting charter plane to the capital of the Cook Islands. I was invited to an old friend’s wedding and I was looking forward to three weeks of misadventure-free relaxation. But as luck would have it, Fate had other plans.
It was three in the morning outside my house in San Jose, Costa Rica. The summer night air was cool and deliciously mellow. It was so nice and quiet outside that I was sure nobody was awake. But I was there just a few yards from the main road, looking like a lost tourist. The only thing keeping me company were my two bags of hand luggage. I was in my usual khaki pants, Timberland sandals (I hate wearing shoes for long trips) and that signature cap.
I may have sh*t, showered, and shaved. I may have packed my bags. I may have all my travel documents ready. But it was so restful at that time of the morning, I wanted to head back home to my big comfy bed and sleep!
Before I even got the chance to give in to the temptation, a black BMW appeared out of nowhere and skidded on the blacktop. It was Philippa. She had been the driver I had hired the day I set foot in Costa Rica. The driver’s automatic window slid down and the first thing I saw is a big smile from a beautiful blonde young woman wearing a limo driver’s uniform. I can only smile back.
“Hello boss,” said Philippa in a raspy voice, and right on cue, the car’s trunk jerked open. She sounded like a young Kathleen Turner with a thick Italian accent. She stepped out of the car and immediately took my luggage. Philippa told me, the first time we met, that she was a college student, saving up for an engineering diploma. The twenty-two year old stood as tall as me but she looks so thin. I swore the wind might give her a compound fracture. But appearances are deceiving as this bambina grabbed my ten pound hand luggage (EACH) like it’s McDonald’s takeout. She carefully and effortlessly placed them at the back of the car.
Philippa may look elfin, but she tells me she works out in the gym three hours per day. She’s of hardy Sicilian stock, she blurted out once. I had no reason to doubt her. She can kick anybody’s ass. She has a black belt in tae kwon doh and knows judo. A trained marksman since fifteen (her Dad’s from the Italian Marine), she also happens to be good with a gun. She’s a precision driver and is not clueless around a car. She’s quick to move and takes direction quite well. Which is what I want in a driver. She is such a talent. Philippa is the perfect bodyguard and driver. She also happens to be gorgeous. A bit of a tomboy, but nonetheless, a godsend.
I had easily grown fond of her these last few days. That’s why I always have her around. She can be a fun girl. And I love fun girls!
I yawned as Philippa opened the door for me. It was quite dark inside as I swung inside. But I shrugged and hoped my eyes would get accustomed quickly. The second I closed the door, Philippa hit the gas and we sped towards the highway.
“There’s brewed coffee on the tray, boss. You like, yes?” The car picked up speed at the turnpike. She does have a great sense of urgency when she works. Good thing, I don’t see any highway police.
I looked up at her on the rearview mirror and smiled, “You really know how to pamper me, Philippa. And I hope you had a good evening.”
I sipped the small flask of hot coffee and was waiting for the buzz to kicking in. It tasted uncharacteristically bitter.
“Yes, me and my girlfriends had nice time last night. I…(trailing off as if to watch me) hope you don’t mind if they join us tonight.”
“What do you mean…” Suddenly I felt someone move beside me. It was so dim inside that I hadn’t noticed someone was sitting far beside me. The rushing streetlights we passed by gave me some illumination. I squinted to make out the shape of a small girl.
I was surprised how I didn’t react as quickly as I wanted to. Seconds later, I was starting to feel woozy. Everything around me began to slip away. Did Philippa drug me? My mind was racing.
The small figure came closer. “Helloooo there, welkoom to our terrorist group ‘elle aye bee eye aye’ ” said the little girl who with upon scrutiny wore a full body outfit made of Lycra. She sounded like someone I’ve heard from North Dakota. And I remember her face having wet red lipstick. I was beginning to think I was dreaming.
I couldn’t even register a response when my vision became blurred. My vision soon swam to darkness. I felt my head on the head rest and drifted off to oblivion. I would be sleeping again, after all.
My last thought was, “did she just spell ‘labia’?”
(to be continued)
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