My Pythagorean amigos at the Trifecta Challenge have posted a picture challenge this weekend. I won't post the picture here, because it's not mine, but if you follow the link above, you can look at it. I call this "Flight Delayed".
It was so late even the pseudo pushcart vendors selling sunglasses and worthless plastic toys had closed up shop. Thunderstorms crossing the Texas prairie had set up a chain of delays that put him into his home airport several hours later than he had planned, in the bizarre emptiness of 12:34 AM. Everything was still there- the darkened McDonalds, the sports bar with a chain in front of the door- but everyone was gone, as if the apocalypse had come and no one told him.
Dave had performed a weekend in Indianapolis, which went well, besides a few hecklers to quiet using well honed putdowns, a drunk waitress who kept ignoring his protests that he was married, and a morning radio DJ who wouldn't let him complete a thought before segueing into a Nicki Minaj record. Annoying, but part of the job. Dave shrugged off the indignities of the weekend, walking through the empty airport towards his car and finally, blessedly, back to his tiny home.
The money wasn't great, but it was enough. The travel was aggravating, but it provided loads of anecdotes he could stretch and contort into material. Dave walked down a long hallway that led from the terminal to the parking. He could see out either side, watching the road below. A shuttle left the brightly lit terminal, taking no one nowhere. In the end, Dave thought, he did it because it was all he knew how to do and get paid for.
It wasn't curing cancer, Dave thought, or inventing the next iPhone. It wasn't defending the unjustly accused, or feeding the hungry, or inspiring inner city teens to pass AP Calculus. It was what he could do, and even if he saw less talented peers getting wealthy from TV deals, he was OK with the long nights and long, dull days, because over 100 people per show, six shows per week, left the room happier than they came in.