Wizki on a Long Haul Flight
The small furry animal known as Wizki had just settled back into his seat to watch the
in-flight movie when Fiona tapped him on the shoulder to wake him with the information
that she was going to the airport now and Wizki had better get himself ready for school.
Poor Wizki was going to be left alone for the week while his mum was gallivanting all over
the world on a crummy business trip. Like so many things in his life, it didn't seem in the
least bit fair. She got to see wonderful and exotic places while he was doomed to the
torture of double maths. How had this come about: it wasn't right. He hated maths and
doing business in far-away climes seemed just the kind of thing Wizki would excel at,
wheeling and dealing with people who had never come across him and hadn't yet realised
that, as cute as he was, he really shouldn't be trusted.
But Wizki had a plan, and that plan involved coming along with Fiona whether she liked it
or not. Like a prisoner of war in a POW camp (but with considerably less cause for
complaint), Wizki had been scouting for weak points in Fiona's security set-up which he
could exploit to his advantage, and he had finally found the optimum vulnerability and was
plotting his escape.
The resourceful pup had discovered that Fiona had a secret pouch in her hand luggage
that she rarely used. Every other of the 23 pockets in her handbag were put to use on a
daily, sometimes hourly, basis, but this one somehow had been overlooked. He had
spotted it one day while searching forlornly for chewing gum, which he needed to mend
his miniature clipper that he’d scuppered in the bath with missiles made of chunks of
soap. He had serious designs on that pouch. He thought if he shrunk himself down
somewhat, scrunched himself up a tad, he could fit in the pouch quite nicely. This was one
of those times when Wizki really benefited from being a stuffed toy: most normal dogs
would struggle to maintain the circulation required to supply blood to real live knees and
ankles while constricted in such a confined space, but Wizki wasn't like normal dogs. He
was far cleverer and he was stuffed with kapok, and he had a level of flexibility those poor
puppies made of flesh and bones were unable to achieve.
Wizki prepared the pouch ready for his journey. He deposited a tiny torch and a book to
read - Huraki Marukami's The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, which took up half the pouch. He
used a tiny sliver of margarine from the kitchen to grease the zip because it stuck a little,
which was a good sign because it clearly indicated that the pouch was never used.
Nothing could go wrong: he had considered every angle and it was all going to work
So, on the day of departure, Wizki waited till Fiona was making her last checks of the
house, fastening the windows, ensuring the taps were turned off, drawing the curtains,
securing the backdoor. And he carefully, quietly, oh-so-delicately, undid the
sweet-smelling zip, and snuck himself inside.
It was wonderfully cozy in the pouch, and Wizki soon made himself at home. He jettisoned
the book because it made the pouch too cramped, and he jettisoned the torch because he
had conspired to waste the battery before he had chance to use it. He managed to
refasten the zip behind him, leaving all but the tiniest stalk of furry tail sticking out. This is
a lovely sized pouch for a puppy who is traveling, he thought. It might even be a good
place to sulk when they got back home, should ever the occasion to sulk should arise,
(which it often did, let's face it). A perfect spot, all in all, for a creature like him to hide away
unnoticed in order to stowaway on an international airplane in contravention of all
respected pacts and treaties between diplomatically-aligned, non-warring nations.
Wizki heard Fiona's footsteps return to the bathroom. He listened as she shuffled pieces
of paper, muttering 'tickets, passport, money'. He heard the bag around him rumble
gently, and then a quick, decisive zip as the outer bag was shut.
"Bye, Wizki. Have a nice week," Fiona shouted. She listened for a reply or the scamper of
tiny paws as Wizki ran to her for a goodbye kiss. She heard nothing.
He's sulking again, she thought. When I get back, I really must find out where his new
secret sulking place is located. Little did she suspect that she would find out where Wizki's
new secret sulking place was long before she returned.
All the way to the airport, Wizki sat snugly inside the pouch inside the bag. He heard the
taxi door, he felt himself lifted up. There was a flurry of fuzzy words that Wizki didn't
understand from the international travelers in the departures zone of the airport. There
was a long period of quiet as Fiona patiently waited in the line to check-in.
Fiona reached the front of the queue and took her turn with the check-in girl. She was
asked whether she had packed her bag herself, and Wizki thought, yes, most of it,
chortling to himself that he was being really naughty. And Fiona was asked could anyone
have interfered with your baggage, and Wizki sniggered inside thinking, yes me! And
when Fiona went through security the security people saw a strange shape in Fiona's bag
that looked not unlike the outline of a small cheeky toy dog, grinning to himself that he was
getting away with a level of mischief that could be measured on the Richter Scale.
And then there was an hour waiting until Fiona's flight was ready for boarding. The smell
of the food in the airport lounge nearly drove him mad as it mixed with the margarine that
was dripping onto Wizki's back, but it will be worth it, he thought, there will be plenty of
food to eat in foreign climes. And then there was the long hiatus on the tarmac before the
flight was ready to leave. Wait, Wizki, wait, he thought to himself, don't reveal yourself too
soon. They could still throw you off the flight, he ruminated both wisely and correctly. And
then he heard the engines turn over. And the plane taxi-ing forward. And the flight was
ready to take-off.
Wizki was giddy when the plane shot forward and the front-end lifted and the craft began
to climb into the Monday morning sky. Oh, how long had he dreamed of flying! All those
years ago, being dangled out of the 4th floor window by Fiona's Wizki-bullying boyfriend,
Craig, he would have killed to be able to defeat gravity. Had he been able to fly back then,
the threat to drop him to his doom would have gone, and instead of potentially plummeting
to his end, he could have zoomed back up to throw acorns at the thug from mid-air, where
he couldn't be reached and where Wizki would have had access to an infinite supply of
ammunition from the oak trees in which Migg and Mogg the squirrels lived. He could have
stopped fearing Craig's arrival, and got on with the job of verbally abusing him, which in
his heart he really wished to do, (and which he still did, regardless, for which he was
dangled out of the bedroom window in retribution). And now here he was, sky-high and
sallying forth into the jet-set. There was no stopping the rise of the puppy.
Wizki heard the bing of the chime that told the travelers that it was safe to unfasten their
seat-belts. They were cruising at altitude and Wizki supposed they were soaring
gracefully over his Scottish homeland. Now, thought Wizki, now is the time, with Glasgow
beneath us and the main meal about to be served. Food and a triumphant emergence in
the tricycle of the skies, what could be better! (Wizki was always gratified to see that in
photos of airplanes landing and taking off that they had just three wheels, like his bike.
Maybe the pilot was just learning, he thought, and needed stabilisers).
So, as Fiona leaned down to replace her OK magazine in her bag before the meal was
served, Wizki prepared to spring out, ready to witness Fiona's at-first exasperated yet
ultimately happy face when she saw him. He snorted with giddiness knowing his jape
could not go wrong.
However, Wizki is not as hirsute as he used to be. Twenty years of love have robbed the
pup of what was once a luxurious fur. (Love accounted for only some of Wizki's hair loss -
he also brought baldness on himself when regularly selling his coat to the local wigmakers
when he was short of a few bob). Nevertheless, in sporadic patches around his body
there remain traces of his once-glorious pelt. His tail is one of those places and it was
because of this abundance of tail fur that his wagging appendage got caught in the zip.
Wizki found he couldn't open the pouch and leap out - like a fish on a hook, he was stuck.
Every effort to move caused him pain. He tried turning around to undo the zip with his
front paw but, like all dogs chasing their tail, it was a forlorn enterprise. Either he couldn't
reach the zip or the zip dug deeper or the pain was too great for the puppy to bear. As the
plane eased passed Scotland, Wizki considered the very real possibility that he would
never get out of the pouch alive. He was doomed to be a pouch pooch for all eternity.
Wizki had imagined Fi's face had his plan gone to plan, but he hadn't reckoned on the
strange expression that was sweeping across her features as she saw her bag shuffling
and bulging like Harry Houdini in a sack, or as she heard the tragic yelping that emanated
from its innards. With her history of rescuing Wizki from disasters of his own making, it
didn't take long for her to realise that maybe the small furry one was at the heart of this
latest phenomena, but till it became clear to her that that this was a Wizki-instigated
problem, the sight of her treasured handbag come alive was almost too much for her. She
had already pressed the button to call the flight attendant, so alarmed was she that she
was appearing in an aeroplane-based horror movie 'The Bag That Ate the Fi.' The flight
attendant turned up just in time to see Fiona defusing the zip from Wizki's tail like a bomb
disposal expert making safe an unexploded World War II mine, and the tiny creature
emerging shamefully from the bag, blinking as his eyes got used to the light, with a yellow
line of moldy margarine dotted along the length of his spine.
Of course, the plane's staff fell for Wizki's ever-so-large puppy eyes, for which Wizki had
upped the puppy quotient for maximum effect. The blame was shifted from Wizki and
piled onto Fiona, even though it was abundantly clear that this matter was none of her
doing. Fiona, whose eyes can also be extremely puppy-like on occasion, said sorry a
million times, entreating people to believe that she really hadn't known anything about it,
and if she had, she would have called security and had the creature thrown off the plane
before it ever took off. Somewhere between her woe-be-gone pleading and Wizki's
evocation of an impish but lovable schoolboy, the staff calmed down and resigned
themselves to having one extra puppy to attend to on the flight. Wizki presented his
home-made passport, very skillfully assembled using Photoshop, a collection of stolen
Home Office inks and a Corn Flake packet, which was so completely endearing they took
him off for a tour of the plane while Fi searched through her bag in case any further
stowaways had taken it upon themselves to hide there-in.
Wizki was given his own seat between the pilot and the co-pilot, and when the plane came
into land they gave him a pretend joystick so he could pretend to do all the work, a fact
that he wouldn't shut up about when he finally got home.
The staff suggested Wizki return to the bag to get through Customs and Immigration, and
he perfected his most stuffed-toy like demeanour to fool the sniffer dogs who were on the
look-out for just such a reprobate as him.
And once Wizki reached his destination, he regretted ever coming along. Fiona had to
attend meeting after meeting, and she forced Wizki to sit through each and every one, just
to re-enforce in his head that these weren't holidays he was missing out but actually very
hard work. And the one time when someone asked his opinion on business matters, he
was so engrossed in a piece of cake that he could hardly make himself understood.
He's a very silly puppy. But he’s well-traveled, now, that’s for certain.