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North of Purgatory: A Coma Diary

Part IV
Tommy Udo , June 11th, 2008 00:00

After a trip to the airport in Dade County, Florida, is rudely interrupted by terrorists, Tommy Udo realises he may be able to make some money by reporting on the story.

Tommy Udo\'s coma diary

Metal shutters started to close off part of the departure lounge. I stood up calmly and walked towards the closing grilles, ducking under before the Chinese hijackers noticed.

The airport wasn’t busy but the people there were in a panic. “This is no dream!” a woman was shouting. “This is happening!” That’s a line from Rosemary’s Baby: this is kind of significant in an oblique way.

I was shitting it. Years ago in real life a crazy man held a loaded gun pointed at my bollocks in a bar in Barcelona. It was that kind of fear: visceral horror that my guts and brains were about to be revealed and mashed. I had no sense of this being all in my head. It was as real as I imagine an airport siege could be. As with my trip to the war, there were all sorts of nagging little details that you don’t get in dreams or at least that you never remember from them.

I took out my mobile phone and tried calling The Sun’s newsdesk: at least get me some work and wedge for being here on the spot. But just then a bunch of muscle Marys in urban cammo arrived and started high fiving and loading up big guns and inserting “motherfucker” and “motrherfucking” at least six times in every sentence. In retrospect, it was a scene lifted from Aliens when the colonial Marines go into action. Something wasn’t right, though. They were all wearing blue do-rags. Then it dawned on me: this ain’t the FBI, it’s the Crips! A street gang posing as special forces were going to storm the airport. Were they in on the hijacking? Or was this an opportunity in a turf war with a rival gang? And do they actually have any presence in Florida?

Well that’s a screenplay I’ll probably never get around to writing because I went to the bog (yes, I shat and peed in my coma reveries) and when I was washing my hands noticed that I was wearing the best leather jacket I’ve ever seen. It was cut like an old car coat, double breasted, heavy old black hide. Not too worn but not too new. The lining was intact and there was a tailor’s label that could have been a real 60s/70s maker or some faux retro brand. I couldn’t remember where I bought it or even when I bought it. Maybe that should have been my wake up call. One minute in a state of honest panic and the violence taking place around me, the next looking in the mirror thinking: damn, this is a bloody fine leather jacket.

I have to tell you that no such leather jacket exists outside of my mind nor sadly could it ever. It was a Platonic ideal of a leather jacket that would only be disappointing if it ever took material form. But that’s really the story of life, right?