Bob’s Banter: Mistaken Identity




“Thirty inches!” I screamed silently as I tried to fit into the cattle class economy seats on my flight to London. “I can’t fit in here!” I told the flight attendant.
“The others are!” he said smugly and walked off.
He returned a few minutes later just before the take off with the engines roaring and with smile on his face whispered something in my ear.

“Yea!” I nodded, “that’s me.”

“Captain said to upgrade you to business class!”

“Whoopee!” I shouted silently then looked at him with the same smug face he had earlier given me, “he must have read one of my columns!”

I walked with him climbed a few stairs and found myself in a different setting. The airhostesses were smiling and fawning over the travelers and they with stiff upper lip pretended they were used to it.

I did the same.

“Mr Lemons how are you?” said the pretty attendant.

“Clements!” I corrected her. She looked puzzled then brightened up and led me to my seat.

“Wow!” I said, “Way to go Bob!” and settled myself down till I nearly slid onto the floor.
The man across the aisle stared at me then grinned, “Bob!” he shouted and I recognized Ashok, an old acquaintance who was into company takeovers in a big way.
I had seen him at the airport earlier but he’d pretended not to have seen me, now he smiled and stretched across, “Journalism pays huh?” he winked and I winked back.

“What would you like to drink Mr Lemons?”

“Clements!” I said.

“He’ll have a Bloody Mary!” said my new friend and close buddy across the aisle. “Bob you want to know about my takeover? You must be big time huh? I could do with some publicity. Lets meet for dinner in London?”

“Well!” I said casually and shrugged my shoulders.

The airhostess smiled as she walked towards me, “Captain asked whether you’d like to come over to the cockpit?”

“Sure!” I said and followed her. I saw Ashok shaking his head with envy.

“Mr Lemons!” said the captain without turning around.

“Clements!” I said with a smile.

“This isn’t Lemons!” said the captain turning round with a frown and glaring at the airhostess, “I told you Lemons! Who’s this?”

I walked back to my seat, not the one I’d just been sitting in, but down, down to cattle class.

The flight steward smirked as he looked at me, then walked off with Lemons whom he’d located.

“Thirty inches!” I screamed.

“Sir! Please be quiet!” said the same man.

“How am I ever going to sit here for seven hours?” I cried.

“Sir, if you’re not quiet we’ll have you arrested for making a nuisance of yourself!”

“Hi Ashok!” I shouted as I saw him walking past at Heathrow, but he coldly looked past me.

“Name?” asked the officer at Immigration.

“Lemons!” I said.

“That’s not your name!” he said.

“Oh I wish it was!” I cried, “I’d have escaped thirty inches of sheer agony..!”

Robert Clements is a journalist and widely published newspaper columnist. His column Bob’s Banter is published in over 30 newspapers and magazines
Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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