[The Golden Triangle, 1,006 words, Genre: Mind Fudge]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
There was a time in the nineteen-eighties, where a couple and their youngest son flew to Thailand. Their son who was four years old was full of glee at the prospect of his first overseas adventure. It was a dead zone, Thailand. Just around Chang Mai. But they did not understand why it was a dead zone. People told them it was a dead zone on their flight towards the area, but nobody had ever told them what a dead zone was. The father laughed it off. Saying that it was superstition. Nothing but superstition. People around him, at his response, nodded and smiled. There was something happening there that the father did not quite understand. They nodded politely and went about their business. There was something going on that the father did not quite understand, but he was happy. And because he was happy he did not have a care in the world about these sort of things. The family had booked a one way ticket to Chang Mai for each of them. When they arrived at the airport each of them had an arrival card that they had to fill out. On the arrival card, it also had a departure card. When the wife asked the husband, “We haven’t booked our tickets back yet. What should we put in this spot?” Signalling to the area that was blank with the plane’s departure code.
The husband replied, “Just put in the same flight number as the one we arrived on.”
Twenty-three years later someone else was preparing to go overseas. Louis had been unemployed for a long period of time. At twenty nine years of age he was looking for a fresh start. Somewhere to go. His paid employment was subsidiary. That was, he was not being paid that much and had very little avenues in terms of opportunity. He had attempted to find a job, but simply could not. The only work that was given to him was casual. And so he sought opportunities for himself. One job advertisement came up on social media. He selected it and found that there was a paid internship available and so he investigated it further. It was his opportunity for a better life. Or so he thought.
Louis organised the tickets to Chang Mai. Accomodation was already booked and so when he arrived in Chang Mai, he would be fine. He had no definitive date of going back home, so when he was told on the flight to Chang Mai, to write down his departure flight number he didn’t know what to write. Instead of writing anything, what he did, was write down the flight number that he had arrived on. He didn’t expect anything to come of it.
When he checked through airport security they didn’t give him a problem. The next thing after that, he took a taxi to the hotel. He went to the hotel, he found the surroundings comfortable enough. Though a little flash. It was something right out of a Californian movie, it was. A swimming pool, a hotel dormitory. He couldn’t justify what sort of place this was. Some sort of symbol for consumerist culture. Some sort of identification of material wealth. A horrible sacrament that was to everything that was considered holy and sacred. He could not feel at ease in these surroundings. Already he was losing his mind. Just because of the identification of material wealth that existed in places like this.
That is when Louis noticed a guy, a couple of years younger than he. Walking around, in good shape and athletic. Louis didn’t understand it. What was he doing in a place like this? The surroundings didn’t fit his mentality. It was at a complete contrast to his character.
A few days past. That is when he noticed another man. Slinking in the shadows. He was mumbling to himself, gibberish or some other nonsense. Louis thought he caught the words, “I wonder if he did it too?”
That is when Louis snapped into action and decided to confront this shady character who was slinking in the shadows, “Did what too?”
“You heard me… Ah well…” The man was nervous. Louis studied his facial features more. This is when Louis observed a direct correlation in features between the younger man that he saw around the hotel and this man, the older man.
“Did what too?” Louis was more stern this time when he questioned him.
“Well… I was wondering if you put your departure flight number as the same flight you arrived on? You see there’s a problem there that not many people know about.”
“I see. I did. What is the problem?” Louis enquired.
“I’ll explain what happened to me. You see twenty-three years ago I came here with my son and my wife. We put the departure code as the same flight that we arrived on. When we attempted to leave the country we found it all too much. They said we could not leave the country unless on the flight that we entered our departure code. It was quite a shock and there was no way around it. We weren’t connected, we didn’t know what to do… So we just kind of settled in here into the hotel. My son got a job as a model and supports me. But my baby’s mumma, she couldn’t take it, she couldn’t take the fact that we were stuck here forever and so she threw herself off of a building. It was all quite traumatic.” Louis stood there taking it all in, shocked himself. “She couldn’t take the fact that we were stuck here forever. Do you understand that, this is the golden triangle, this is where people go missing… This is it. The legend. The madness. It never stops.”
Louis did not know what to say. He was going mad… He had already gone mad. This just added to the sentiment. The Californian culture… And now he was stuck here forever. It was all, all too much.