Flash Fiction Friday – Waiting To Board

Technically it’s Saturday here but I go by my usual rule of “it’s Friday until I go to sleep” so here’s a Flash Fiction Friday snippet. It’s a tiny meet-cute!

Waiting To Board

His thumb hovered over the screen, ready to tap the moment the next, and final, question of the night. It wasn’t often he made it all the way to the final round without being eliminated, and though it was hardly gonna make him rich he always took it just a wee bit too seriously. Not that there was anything else for him to focus on right then, sitting by the gate awaiting the boarding announcement for an already severely delayed flight. 

The question popped up on the screen. 

“Which of the following language is not an Indo-European language?

A. French

B. Hungarian

C. Farsi”

Shit shit shit. The countdown was so quick, eight seconds, seven, six. Languages weren’t his thing by a long shot.

Five seconds. Had to be Farsi, right? Iran wasn’t in Europe!

“Hungarian,” a voice over his shoulder said, and his eyes darted over barely catching a glimpse of chestnut hair and a blue scarf before returning to the screen. Could that really be right? Three seconds, two sec- he tapped Hungarian. A moment later the answer flashed onto the screen and he did a little arm-pump of triumph.

“Told you,” the voice said again and this time he looked over long enough to take in the basic details of the face. “That you did,” he said. “Thank you.”

“What’d you win?” she asked.

He glanced at the screen again. “Uh, two bucks, and a confidence boost,” he said and grinned sheepishly.

“Good deal. Congrats,” she replied, words lace with a giggle. “I’m Meg.”

“John.” He hesitated a moment, trying to read whether more conversation was desired. “So are you a language buff or was that a bold guess?”

“I mean, I am, but… that question was super basic. I’m honestly surprised they had it as the last question, I thought everybody knew the answer.”

“Well, I didn’t.”

“Guess we both learned something new then.”

Another mostly content-less message came over the loudspeakers, informing them that their plane would in fact leave at some point. They both hushed to listen to it, then looked at each other when it finished. For a moment he felt a strange sense of vertigo, like his next move had the potential to take him down an entirely different path. “So…” he said. “What do you think, will we board before midnight?”

“No fucking way,” she said and they both laughed like it was quite a bit funnier than it probably actually was.

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