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"I mean I'm not that kind of girl."

She stepped past him, opened the closet door, and caught sight of Bettmann rounding a corner on his way to catch Flight Seven-seven-seven as she herself turned in the direction of the triumphal arch.


Bettmann waited until the hubbub in the passenger cabin had died down, and then he opened the door that had remained locked since he had flashed a badge at the caterers of the Air Russia Airbus designated Flight Seven-seven-seven, stepped on board the plane, and ducked inside the lavatory once he was out of the caterers' sight.

After stepping out of the lavatory, Bettmann quickly spied one of the flight's few empty seats, and strode down the left-hand aisle with an affectation of calm. As he took his seat, a young girl positioned next to her mother softly sang from a songbook spread across her lap:

Star light star bright,
The first star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.

Bettmann smiled beneath his false beard and muttered "Hello" to the elderly Russian woman seated beside him, and she smiled back, blissfully assuming that her neighbor had already stowed his carry-on in one of the overhead bins now snapped shut for take-off.

First Star by W.R. Hammons:

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