Story telling from Australia
There were two of them; boys separated from their mothers, or maybe lost from a wandering school party. Their faces had the soft, unblemished skin of babies and they wore matching socks, clean white shirts and identical ties. You just knew they’d washed behind their ears that morning. Shaving was a long way in the future.
They got on the bus clutching take-away coffee cups – milkshake surely – and they looked so young and innocent I half expected them to hold hands. They must have been worried, having been abandoned and left to fend for themselves; if they were, they hid it well.
It was a surprise to see them wearing long trousers, even more of a surprise to realise it wasn’t school uniform. Boy scouts maybe? Wrong again. One of them had a peaked cap. Perhaps they were playing dress-up, and instead of Cowboys and Indians they’d decided to play Captain and Co-pilot? That would explain why they were on the bus, trundling across the tarmac at Sydney airport, heading for the Rex flight to Broken Hill. But where was the adult supervision? Where were the Mr Men and Thomas the Tank Engine lunchboxes, crammed with sandwiches and animal shaped biscuits covered in chocolate?
At the last minute the bus swerved, stopped, and the play pilots jumped off, skipping up the steps of a Rex plane heading for Maroochydore. Alarmingly, nobody stopped them. Moments later their smiling faces appeared in the cockpit. Neither of them looked old enough to drive a car (or tall enough to see over the steering wheel) let alone fly a Saab 340 aircraft carrying 27 passengers and travelling at 500 kilometres an hour.
Maybe the baby faced boys were being given a treat, shown into the cockpit of an aircraft so they could see what grown ups did when they were old enough? Or maybe I’ve crossed into the twilight zone, where everyone in authority looks far too young to be capable of doing the job they’re (hopefully) qualified to do.
I’m just glad I was flying to Broken Hill this week, not Maroochydore. And I was relieved to see our pilot had a reassuring amount of facial hair.