This is the story of Bill Baugh, a man who is going on a business trip to Chicago, but to make his family happy brings them along too, calling it a vacation. He jumps between the two and eventually is overwhelmed by tasks. This story isn't quite finished yet so I'll post it in parts. This is my story for the month of April.
Buisness trips… blech. Trips out of state are only enjoyable if the only reason that we go is to lie on a beach absorbing life’s beauty. Not if it’s a two night stay in Chicago.
Bill Baugh sat in his cubicle at Wasser, Inc. a highly renowned banking service in Bauxite, Kentucky. He gazed down the hallway. Only a clock, stating his third hour of overtime that day, hung on the wall.
“Damn,” Bill said to himself. At least the only bad news that day had been this trip. He pulled out his Post-It notes and began writing out what he needed to bring with him. Suit, combs, tooth brush, was he forgetting anything? He couldn’t go on any business trip! He had a wife and twins at home. He wasn’t just going to leave them behind while he dodged gangsters in Chicago, his wife put up with enough most of the time. Bill thought of himself as a shining example of a bad husband and horrible father. He forgot about his and wife’s anniversary from filing over a thousand people’s insurance payments by birthdate.
And as for the kids, he barely knew them. Some bloke could waltz into his house and declare he was the father of the kids and they’d have no reason to object.
“So this is where 4 years of accounting got me…” he spoke once again to himself. The office was utterly empty, save a few of the rats his moronic boss disregarded to exterminate, even after multiple complaints from other workers…
Bill had lost focus again. Those attention pills weren’t helping worth a damn. He always lost focus of whatever he had been thinking of whenever in deep thought. What else would he need to take with him to Chicago?
It was then that Bill received a notification. He turned to the monitor to see his wife had posted to Facebook that the twins had created a mess in the living room. The image attached presented this well. He tried to find humor in the picture… but he couldn’t. His lack of fatherhood was haunting. Pretty soon he won’t even know himself anymore, if he ever did that is. That’s when Bill hatched an idea. Why doesn’t he take his wife and kids along on the trip? That way he could make fun out of an inevitably dull trip. He logged of the computer and stepped out of the office, forgetting his Post-Its next to the computer.
Angela was her name, still as beautiful as she was ten years ago. Bill had technically met her at a bar. He had been so drunk he believed he was Jesus and commanded all in the bar to bow before him. Some other drunken maniac shoved him into a table, shattering the entire object. Bill hit hard and had to be taken to the nearby hospital by EMS. In the back of the first response ambulance is where he met Angela. He was conscious for seconds as he stared into those luscious blue eyes, swayed by her soft, mellifluous voice. He was hypnotized by her beauty and was about to say ‘Hello!’ when the idiot behind the wheel hit a speed bump at at least 50 MPH, throwing a tranquilizing needle off a shelf and into Bill’s skin, knocking him out again.
When he woke up at the hospital he demanded to see this angel again. Bill got restless when the nurses attending him refused, and he was tranquilized again. It wasn’t until a week later when he was actually released that Bill saw Angela again. It was love at first sight. Again. Bill wasn’t surprised at all when he learned her name was Angela, the word angel right there in her name.
At the rest is history. They got married a year later and here he is, about to ask if Angela would like to go on vacation.
“To Chicago?” she asked him, “That’s not exactly my idea of a vacation spot.”
“It wasn’t mine either…” Bill thought out loud, but quickly recollected himself, “There weren’t any cheap enough flights to anywhere else.”
“Then why don’t we wait? We have all the time for a vacation later this summer!”
“Sorry Angela, but I don’t think I’ll have a better chance for this much time off later.”
“Are you sure? I’m not complaining, a vacation is a vacation, but it seems so sudden.”
“Look, baby, if I promise you this will be the best week of our marriage, will you go?”
Angela thought for a moment and responded: “Okay, but only if you promise.”
“I swear on my job that you will love every moment of it.”
“You’ve got an amazing way of persuading me, Bill.”
“As you do me, now let’s get the kids ready.”
“What? The kids too? I thought you meant just the two of us?”
“I wanted a vacation so we could get away and have some fun. The kids are entitled to this too.”
“I guess so, but don’t let them get in the way of… us.”
“I got it. Now let’s hurry. We’re already off schedule.” He fished in his pockets for his Post-Its, and after finding nothing, he went inside in search of his twins.
Bill retrieved his suitcase and began to get things together. Clothes, toothbrush, suit, he went through the list in his mind. Then a new thought emerged in his mind: How will he dodge Angela during the business part of this vacation? Angela always wanted to be a part of Bill’s job. It was none of her business. Hell, it wasn’t even Bill’s business, it was just his career. He started plotting out the events of the trip: For the first three days he would be more than safe, but the last two days would be hectic. At exactly 9 AM Bill would need to be at Sears Tower, meeting with guest and fellow banker Toshimo Candiro of Japan. Then at 12 PM he, his boss, and Toshimo would discuss partnership over lunch, and at 5 PM the three would meet at Toshimo’s suite for final discussion. Depending on Toshimo’s response to Bill’s boss, the last day may not matter. Damn, what had Bill been doing? While running through the day in his head Bill’s wife had fetched the kids and had gotten them packing. How long had Bill been standing there?
It doesn’t matter, unless this week goes well, Bill could say goodbye to his job, fortunes, and maybe even his family.
The airport, of course, was packed. There were humans scattered in every direction without any order. How could so many people fit in one building at a time? Bill and his family filed through the thick mass of bodies to a ticket booth.
“Ello, sir, may I help you?” The Latino man at the register spoke to Bill.
“Hello, we have four tickets to Chicago.” Bill said as he handed over his passport.
“Horale, I got you holmes. I have some family in Chicago. Nasty place, I’ve been there, lost three homies in a single drive by.”
Bill’s wife glared at him. “Please stop, sir, we get it.”
“Right, right. Sorry to spoil the trip.” The man handed back the passport and four tickets.
“I thought you said this would be a romantic trip.” Bill’s wife quietly pestered.
“Girl, we aren’t even there yet. That guy was a gangster, of course he’s going to have seen the worst. We’re just travelers. We will see the best.”
“The second I am held at gunpoint I’m leaving you.”
“Calm down, you’re scaring the kids.”
After that exchange, the rest of the walk to the plane wasn’t any easier. The final doormen denied access to three people ahead of them in line and each protested for at least ten minutes. But everything calmed down on the flight. Only four more hours and Bill would be relaxing in their five star suite in Chicago…
“Oh, sh*t,” Bill said out loud, to the irritated glare of an elderly woman across the aisle with a five year old. Bill had forgotten to book a suite! He fumbled around his body in search of his phone. f*ck, Bill thought this time. He’d forgotten his phone somewhere. Dammit. What a great start to the vacation.
He now had to ask his wife to borrow her phone and try to contact a hotel. What a horrible idea. He could see the scene now. She’d demand take off to be postponed and she’d take the twins with her and she’d go home. Not to mention that it was midnight in Chicago at the time, and what hotel does “over the phone booking?” He was about to stand up and ask his wife on the other side of the plane to borrow her phone (Bill and the others were separated during seating) when a female voice came over the intercom.
“Now beginning take off procedure. Please seat and fasten belts.”
Oh god no, Bill thought, female AND Asian. Perhaps the plane will crash, and Bill wouldn’t need to worry about a suite. No, that’s a horrible thing to think. As the plane took off Bill was lost again in thought. He wasn’t able to find a way out, as he dozed off about ten minutes later.
Bill woke suddenly as if hit by a truck. In fact he had, that previous dream ending rather dreadfully for him. It turns out it was just the landing in one of Chicago’s airports. Still pitch black sky, but Bill stared into the illuminated city from within the airport. Bill and family found what they actually remembered to bring along and headed out.
“Where are we staying, daddy?” one of the twins asked Bill.
sh*t, Bill thought, the hotel…
“Angela, can I borrow your phone? I want to make sure the hotel knows we are here.”
“Why? Can’t we just drop in?”
“They’ll want to see us in. I have to be sure they’re expecting.”
Bill took his wife’s phone and noticed full connection from the airport’s stellar service.
“I’m not getting a connection here,” Bill lied, “Let me go around the corner and see if it gets better.”
“Bill,” Angela said and was ignored, “Please hurry!” she called to Bill.
Bill passed by another man around the corner.
“Excuse me, sir. Do you know any hotels around the area?”
The stranger smiled and gave directions to a very nearby hotel. Bill thanked him graciously and returned to his wife.
“The place is nearby, we can walk it.”
“Walk? Bill, I haven’t forgotten what that lobbyist said before. Chicago isn’t safe. We need to take a cab.”
“And you think that’s safer? This city is crawling with fugitives and if we’re stuck in a little cab, we’d be even easier pickings.”
“Bill, this trip to Chicago was a terrible idea. We aren’t safe here!”
“Angela, I promise from the bottom of my heart,” a cold one, for sure Bill thought, “that nothing will happen to us here, and we will love it.”
Bill took his wife’s warm, calming hand as they walked out of the airport.