“Extra Baggage”

“Extra Baggage”

For close to 10 years I made a trip to a small island 1200 miles south of Howland Island. An island not on any map and so tiny, no one saw it bobbing in the Pacific Ocean.  It’s there that I would visit Amelia.  Yes, Amelia Earhart. She’d been there since 1937, alive and well.

The first couple of months were tough. She’d say to me, ‘You come every month and annoy me for a week, can’t you tell someone where I am?”  I’d say, ‘Sorry, no can do, I have a strict confidentiality agreement with all my clients. Now where are those cocoa plants?”  (Not Godiva, but gets you by in a pinch.) She’d toss me a grouper instead and I’d swear to myself I gotta find another job.  At night we’d light the SOS logs on fire and I’d tell her the latest conspiracy theory on her disappearance.

“So people think I was captured by the Japanese?’ She’d say. “Yep.” I’d say.  “Squash that rumor, will ya?, She said, “we need to keep the peace with them right now. And if I hadn’t learned about sushi in Tokyo, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

That’s what I liked about her: she was a positive person. Which is a rare thing when I’m visiting.  I’m not saying I didn’t get the occasional coconut to the head when she was really moody, but this was a woman who lived life on her own terms, something I’ve noticed make a lot of my clients happy.

Around 1946 my visits to that island were tapering off. Until the fall of 1948 when I had my last visit with her. I could tell she was sad about the Change.

“Come on, cheer up, you’ve inspired countless women to soar to new heights!”   (I like puns. Deal with it.)   “You bucked the traditional system Amelia!”  (I’d learned a bit about motivational speaking at this point from Eva Peron.)

“But I’m not finished.”  she said.  “That’s up to you.” I said.  As I flew away that last time I looked back and saw her working on the engine of her plane, the Electra, once again.  And after a moment I could have sworn I heard the sound of an engine start to rumble.

It was either that or my stomach. It’d been a week since I had a tub of Rocky Road and man I was hungry.

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