Phoenix Airport

​Business is Business     |     The Hollow Man Series, International Espionage

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The Phoenix Airport has always fascinated me. It’s called Sky Harbor International Airport. I get the International bit because it’s so close to foreign countries like Mexico and California, but the Sky Harbor part has always baffled me. Do the planes sort of dock in the clouds and the passengers descend one hell of a long exit ramp? Obviously, they don’t do any of that, but I wondered about what went through the guy’s head who proposed that name.

“Hey, I’ve got an idea,” Bob suggested. “Let’s call it Sky Harbor Airport, yanno, Sky…Harbor…planes and boats…boats that fly? Pretty wild, huh?”

“So what else we got?” asked the meeting manager. “Anything? Anything at all?  Come on team, now’s your chance.” Blank faces. “Does anyone know a single thing Phoenix is known for? How about a famous person?”

“My uncle Louie once passed Joe DiMaggio in Terminal C,” Dave countered.

“Great, we’ve got Mr. Coffee Airport and Sky Harbor. I guess we’ll go with Sky Harbor. But, Bob, you and Dave are both barred from future Public Relations naming meetings.”

There is an additional possibility of the name’s origin. I once flew into town when the runway was over 130 degrees. Since airplane tires back in the day tended to blowout on tarmac with temperatures greater than 122 Fahrenheit, we were diverted to another airport. Believing that was not the first time for an alternate landing field, maybe someone sarcastically suggested air traffic control should just rack ‘em and stack ‘em in the air somewhere off to the left there.

And to paraphrase the bible, “if you’re in hell, keep walking…toward the airport; it’s the fastest way out of town.” I found myself in this situation many times, waiting in a TSA line between a beautiful blonde woman and a man carrying a rooster in a cat carrier. I could have been hallucinating with a heat stroke, but I don’t think I was.

The lady walked through the metal detector and the machine buzzed. She walked back to my side and takes off her sandals (yes, there was a time before the shoe requirement). A light white sweater joined the shoes, as she folded it into another basket. With tanned legs and arms swinging, she reentered the metal detector with the same result.

A heavy sigh caved her chest slightly, but she willfully came back toward me. She removed no less than 20 gold and silver bracelets from one wrist. She placed them into a tray and reenters the metal detector. The situation was now resembling a reality TV show. She came back through the portal to eliminate her gold watch and a thin necklace. She tried again as the rooster crowed.

It was the same disappointing result. She returned to the outside and dropped her silver Navajo belt on a tray and one last time gambled on a successful trip through to the terminal. I guessed she was not Irish because luck again failed her.

The lady stood motionless, looking back at the TSA agent. She placed both hands on her waist, bringing her figure back into full focus. She glanced down. The hem of the dress rose a few inches, and the collar displayed a treat for anyone caring to stare.

“Well, what now?” she questioned in exasperation. 

“The dress. The dress!” A voice from the back of the line shouted.

Planning a Novel

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