I’m sitting in a chair in an airport. Waiting on yet another flight. Taking a drag on a cigarette, trying to read the States-Item. Hard to concentrate since it’s been such a long day.

The best routing at the best price the travel agency could give me home to Minneapolis is a Braniff hop via a torturous route: Shreveport, Fort Smith, Tulsa, Kansas City, and Omaha. At least it’s a pretty comfortable jet, not one of the old prop jobs, which is why I went for it. If you have to hop around the midwest, might as well do it in style. It’s a brand new British type, a BAC 1-11. The one sitting on the tarmac, my ride home, is painted a kind of weird tan that the airline refers to as “ochre,” but it glows like an orange fireball in the early evening steamy Louisiana sun.

The intercom in the boarding area crackles to life. ‘Mr. Donnelly, Mr. Sean Donnelly, please see the Braniff ticket agent at gate 12,’ a disembodied voice pronounces.