The Man in 12E

He was last on the plane,
The middle-aged man.
With his orange madras shirt
and his fake, sprayed-on tan.

The hair on his head —
What little he had —
Was greased to his scalp
And really looked bad.

He gnawed on his gum
Like a cud-chewing cow
And clomped up the aisle
Like horses pulling a plow.

From the front to the back
His eyes they did roam
For that one empty seat
His butt could call home.

As my luck would have it,
Not many were free
And the one that he noticed
Was the one next to me.

The man in the aisle seat
Let out a big sigh
And he whispered to me,
“We’re stuck with that guy.”

I turned to the window
And stared out the glass
And prayed very hard that
Our row he would pass.

But he reached us and threw
His huge case on his seat
And proceeded to stomp
On 12D’s legs and feet.

“Let me stand in the aisle,”
12D started to say,
But the guy heaved his body
O’er the man anyway.

He noisily wrestled
His case to the floor
And just when I thought
I couldn’t take any more

He dropped in his seat
And took out his black cell
Then he dialled a number
And started to yell.

“We’re leaving on time.
I’ll call when we land.
I didn’t lose much . . .
Probably under a grand.”

The stewardess asked him
To turn off his phone
But he turned it back on
When she left him alone.

I looked and I noticed
He’d started to text
And I wondered just what
I ought to do next

When the pilot announced,
“We’re the next ones to leave,”
The man threw his phone
In the seat-pocket sleeve.

I closed my eyes
As the plane left the ground
Happy to know we were
Finally homebound.

His arm suddenly jabbed me
He’d invaded my space.
I found myself wishing
For a large can of mace.

He started to sniffle,
To cough and to sneeze
And moved his leg over
Right next to my knees.

I plastered my body
To the plane’s plastic wall
And cursed whoever designed
Airplane seats, oh, so small.

When I wanted my iPod
From my carry-on case,
I bent down to get it
From out of its place

And on top of my backpack —
Resting under my seat —
Were the horrid man’s
Stinky, disgusting bare feet.

“I needed more room,”
He said with a wink
That made me so angry
I could barely think.

I wished that I’d had
A curtain to pull
To stop me from seeing
Any more of that fool.

Instead I just turned
My head to the side
And kept my eyes closed
For the rest of the ride.

I turned on my iPod
To listen to tunes
And prayed that the plane
Would arrive fairly soon.

When our flight finally landed
He took out his phone
And called his poor wife
To announce he was home.

Then he jumped to his feet
And he clomped up the aisle
But I stayed in my seat
For more than a while.

I didn’t want to chance
More time with that guy
It was bad enough spending
Three hours in the sky.

My tale’s almost over
Just one thing to say
About what I did
At the end of the day.

I Lysoled my backpack.

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