Air Iraq

Flying Air Iraq from Tokyo to Bangkok, a few months before Kuwaits invasion, you check in your luggage and bus out to where your bags are lying beside the plane. You reidentify them, they shrug, and pop into the plane it goes, you follow.

At the door a steward with a chest the size of a kettle drum searches your scrotum for incendetarys. Then flushed and post-coital you proceed to your seat.

I was surrounded by Japanese middle aged males, presumably off to be base in a foreign country, well away from the moral restrictions of home. The stewards and stewardesses donžt speak Japanese at Air Iraq and their level of cordiality is not of the fawning type the Japanese are more used to.

Those in front have tobacco and duty free whisky and are acting like the naughty children they were never allowed to be. Their perms and arrogance mark them as lowest level Yakusa gangsters, selectively breed for empty craniums. The barrel of humanity contains dregs, you take the cream of these and give them disposable incomes and your heading in the right direction- but still nowhere close.

Directly in front of me was a crew cutted beast, a protruding lower lip and jowls giving him the unlovable expression of a pouting three year old. He was also inflicted with a mole the size of a small truck in the middle of his forehead. Ha Ha poor him. He bounces on his seat excitedly, making my writing difficult, his gonads obviously twitching.His mother might love him but the stewardess, coming from a country where the thoughts in your head and the look on your face are immediate family and not distant relations- rolls her eyes and curls her lip every time she passes him. She does this even on the rare occasions he doesnžt grunt at her and laugh mindlessly.

She's squatly muscular, dark haired, deeply tanned with bright blue contact lenses over her deep brown eyes. Cross between a savage, drug dry Barbie doll, and a cross-dressing truck driver. Every 30 mins to add to the theatre we have the security clones. Same height, same moustache, same mirror sunglasses, standing, stretching and swivelling, fixing each and every passengers face for signs of nervous perspiration or fanatical resolve. Every 30 minutes, team of three,(probably another playing possum). They have special bullets, made for firing in planes that have just enough velocity to penetrate your skull before exploding. At the first sign of a stretch I deadpan, try to stare them out as the drunken Jap in front-pants and rubs himself as he mounts his armrest. I retire to the bathroom. My challenge is to keep my stream of urine focused on the bowl in the bucking 747 economy toilet while at the same time brushing my teeth. Having spent 20 minutes for the privilege of this reeking, blindingly bright, turbulent dunny. I mentally count the passengers, divide by the toilets and multiply the result by two cans of steaming output. A couple of bathtubs of piss have poured through this bowl. I gargle and spit, shake and zip.