The Keynote Speaker

Jonathan M Barrett

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2010 Jonathan M Barrett

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Raindrops race horizontally across the window, and the fuselage shudders against the gale. So this is Wellington. I'm reminded of last year in Reykjavik as we jounce along a runway beside an angry grey sea. There's a hint of the volcanic in the surrounding hills, and the same clouds too, wind-ripped like strips of dirty wool caught on a barbed wire fence.

They'd told me I'd see a model of Gollum straddling the terminal building, but, no doubt, a gust carried the poor fellow off towards the Pole. I cannot restrain my sigh: once more, Antoine Maercx, keynote speaker, arrives in Ultima Thule. So be it. I let the other passengers assert their importance by hustling into the exit queue, and it's with languor that I retrieve my carrier bags from the overhead locker. (The sensitive observer might suspect Weltschmerz.) The shopping in Melbourne was satisfactory. I bought a koala bear fashioned from a kangaroo pelt for Jean-Luc, and a kangaroo in koala fur for Sandrine. For Annik I bought lingerie, and, for my current wife, nothing. I suspect the right thing is waiting for her in this wet and windy place.

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