Chapter 3 – Extract 3 from The Paradise Induction!
He gave Chris a look as if to answer yes.
“I see,” said Chris. He bit his lip as he thought about JFK Airport Check-In.
“Well, at least you’ve been honest with me,” Chris continued. “Can’t say fairer than that.”
He glanced over to the security lady who was now dealing with his bag. She was doing a second check on the Audiclean product he had. She’d removed the head and was putting the bottle through for an X-Ray.
“Hang tight,” said the young guy. “It’ll be over soon.”
“Thanks,” Chris said and waited as the last of his items were examined.
The lady handed his bag back to him. “I hope I’ve put things back in the order they were in.”
Chris smiled. Grabbing his shoes and belt, he put himself back together again. “Thanks very much,” he said. “See you later.”
They waved him off and he took his seat in the small departure lounge to rest his head for a few more hours. More people gathered; Chris counted around forty.
Boarding the plane and the thirty-seven minute flight to the Pharisee Islands felt as instant as sitting down then standing up.
As the plane touched down, Chris looked out the window with slight disbelief.
He was actually here.
He was going to be working in the Caribbean as a beach bartender. This was actually happening!
All his fears from earlier had evaporated and were replaced with a wide grin.
Following flight safety announcements, the plane door opened and the humidity outside fell in.
Single file, each person departed from the plane. Chris alighted on the island sweaty and sticky, feeling the heaviness of the heat on his skin, through his black suit. He walked, bag in hand from the tarmac of the landing zone into the immigration department of the small airport. From the outside, it had a clean, cream appearance, but inside, everything that was supposed to be white was yellowing.
Most of the passengers appeared to be ex-pats in their 30s and 40s, who were questioned about their reason for entry, while a few local residents in their 40s and 50s passed through a separate security line with no challenge.
“Next one, step up!” said the dark skinned immigration officer, who was sat in a small booth labelled Non-Belongers. To hear the Caribbean accent inspired joy in Chris’ tired body. I’m really here! he thought.
Chris stepped up, relieving the travel and Work Permit documents from his bag, and smiled. He’d deliberately gone ahead of the Work Permit medical tests that Immigration and Labour Departments requested. He presented a completed blood test, stool test, urine test, skin test, spine X-Ray, chest X-Ray, and the second BCG of his life. He pulled out proof of his clean criminal record and the papers that authorised him to work for Five O’Clock Somewhere Beach Resort.
“What’s the reason for your visit?,” said the officer as he began to read the documents.
“I’ve come to work. That’s all the documents fully completed and I’ve even made sure to do extra medical tests as well, so I should be fully covered.”
The officer glared at Chris, then looked to another immigration worker who was stood at a far side by the carousel, where luggage from the flight was beginning to emerge.