Sunny Days at the Sea

Langdon watched the sky through half-slitted eyelids. The sun was warm on his face, his back rested comfortably in the cool lower layer of sand. The beach he lay on was empty and clean, devoid of the holidaymakers and cigarette butts and children and beer bottles and seagulls that despoiled the other Los Angeles beaches. The roar of the surf built in his ear and a gleaming white plane raced overhead, so close that Langdon felt he could reach out and touch its pregnant fuselage.

“Airbus A380,” Langdon whispered, “Korean Air flight 387, Los Angeles-Tokyo.” He followed the huge plane as it climbed, disappearing into the glare over the ocean. The swept crosses of airlines soared across the harsh blue Californian sky, their passage marked by the puffy lines of contrails. For Langdon, the contrails graphed the intricate dance that was LAX. Each day thousands of planes took off and landed, disgorging hundreds of thousands of passengers. Their bags wound their way through the bowels of luggage system, reuniting at the baggage claims before disappearing into taxis and shuttles and the cars of friends. Thinking of it all made Langdon dizzy, and he closed his eyes, floating into a blood red universe where the sound of the ocean ocean, the planes, and his heartbeat blended into a unending music. Time passed, and he thought about the airport.

“Hey kid, get up, get out of here. This is a restricted area.” A shadow fell over him, the dark shape of an airport security guard. The guard was short, pudgy, sweating through his khaki uniform despite the sea breeze. Holstered on his hip way the plastic module of a taser, a gray plastic mating of a television remote and a gun. Langon stood, brushing sand from his smooth hairless body. Proudly, he walked over the hot sand to his bike, which lay sideways on the plant covered dunes that fronted the beach. Under the eye of the guard, he got on and peddled unsteadily away, merging into the streets of Westchester.

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