Arnon Grunberg

The engineer

An old piece of bread

Shortly after landing at JFK I rummaged in the pocket of my pants in search of my cell phone.
It must have slipped out of my pocket while I was sleeping, typing or eating. I looked under my chair. Nothing. I removed the cushion of my chair, which can be used as a floatation device. I noticed that other passengers were staring at me while I was holding this floatation device.
To avoid misunderstandings I called the stewardess and explained the situation to her.
I was flying business class and the chair could be transformed into something that resembles a small bed.
The stewardess looked under the chair, in the chair, in my pockets, and then she said: “I have to call the engineer.” The engineer came in very quickly and he started dismantling the chair. The stewardess said to me: “You are sure it’s not in your pocket or in your bag? If we do all this work for nothing we will kill you.” Many things were found inside this magic chair: A small bottle of perfume, a toothbrush, something that resembled an old piece of bread, part of a napkin, a very old newspaper.
I left the plane without my phone.
The first thing I did in my apartment was listen to the messages on my voice mail.
The chair had been completely dismantled and a woman said: “We found your phone. At least I hope it’s yours. We found many things.” I took a cab back to JFK.