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The Airport Blues This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   As I stumble through an airport in St. Louis, 75c jingles uselessly in my pocket. It doesn't really matter which city I am in; my layover is painfully familiar to Americans everywhere. I enter an anonymous store to pass time browsing, acutely aware of the shop's primary function: undetected theft. I have prepared myself for high prices. I have tried to tell myself that my spare change will not buy much. I am not prepared, however, for a 79c price tag on breath mints.

The stores offer no false advertising: there are no signs announcing, "Lowest Prices This Side of the Friendly Skies," or pretending "Our Customers Fly Away Happy." Interestingly enough, however, the people I watch buying their overpriced flight candy and degrading magazines, appear satisfied. They are suspended in some kind of an alternate, airport plane of existence, in which any successful transactions are applauded with surprise. But I am stuck with my six bits, and therefore am impervious to any excessive loss. Upon further examination of the store's products, I slowly realize that unless I want to buy stamps or a coconut lollipop, I will be leaving financially unscathed.

Mildly discouraged, I seek an inexpensive outlet. Nothing in the snack bar (napkins and water are free if no one is looking), and nothing in the restaurant. The Coke machine demands $1.15.

And then I see them. Those beautiful, silver machines. My last, best hope. American businessmen must know that nothing is sacred without an uncomplicated, inexpensive means of communication. The phone company will come through for me; this I know.

I take my quarters in my hand and deposit them in succession, a foolish smile on my face. Contentedly, I dial my Hingham number direct, and sigh. The machine spits my insignificant coins back at me and gloats, "$1.95, please. Thank you for using AT&T."

I've got the airport blues.... n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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