From the book
New Jersey was 40,000 feet below me, obscured by cloud cover. Heaven was above me, beyond the thin skin of the plane. And hell was sitting four rows back. Okay, maybe hell was too strong. Maybe it was just purgatory.
My name is Stephanie Plum, and I work as a bail bonds enforcer for Vincent Plum Bail Bonds in Trenton, New Jersey. I'd recently inherited airline vouchers from a dead guy and used them to take a once in a lifetime Hawaiian vacation. Unfortunately the vacation didn't go as planned, and I'd been forced to leave Hawaii ahead of schedule, like a thief sneaking off in the dead of night. I'd abandoned two angry men in Honolulu, called my friend Lula, and asked her to pick me up at Newark Airport.
As if my life wasn't enough in the toilet, I was now on the plane home, seated four rows ahead of a guy who looked like Sasquatch and was snoring like a bear in a cave. Good thing I wasn't sitting next to him because I surely would have strangled him in his sleep by now. I was wearing airline-distributed earphones pumped up to maximum volume, but they weren't helping. The snoring had started somewhere over Denver and got really ugly over Kansas City. After several loud passenger comments suggesting someone take the initiative and smother the guy, flight attendants confiscated all the pillows and began passing out free alcoholic beverages. Three-quarters of the plane was now desperately drunk, and the remaining quarter was either under age or alternatively medicated. Two of the underage were screaming crying, and I was pretty sure the kid behind me had pooped in his pants.
I was among the drunk. I was wondering how I was going to walk off the plane and navigate the terminal with any sort of dignity, and I was hoping my ride was waiting for me.
Sasquatch gave an extra loud "snork" and I ground my teeth together. Just land this friggin' plane, I thought. Land it in a cornfield, on a highway, in the ocean. Just get me out of here!
Lula pulled into my apartment building parking lot, and I thanked her for picking me up at the airport and taking me home.
"No problemo," she said, dropping me at the back door to the lobby. "There wasn't nothing on television, and I'm between honeys, so it wasn't like I was leaving anything good behind."
I waved her off, and trudged into my apartment building. I took the elevator to the second floor, dragged my luggage down the hall and into my apartment, and shuffled into my bedroom.
It was after midnight, and I was exhausted. My vacation in Hawaii had been unique, and the flight home had been hellish. Turbulance over the Pacific, a layover in L.A., and the snoring. I closed my eyes and tried to calm myself. I was back to work tomorrow, but for now I had to make a choice. I was completely out of clean clothes. That meant I could be a slut and sleep naked, or I could be a slob and sleep in what I was wearing.
Truth is, I'm not entirely comfortable sleeping naked. I do it from time to time, but I worry that God might be watching or that my mother might find out, and I'm pretty sure they both think nice girls should wear pajamas to bed.
In this case, being a slob required less effort and that's where I chose to go.
Unfortunately I was in the same wardrobe predicament when I dragged myself out of bed the next morning, so I emptied my suitcase into my laundry basket, grabbed the messenger bag that serves as a purse, and headed for my parents' house. I could use my mom's washer and dryer, and I thought I had some emergency clothes left in their spare bedroom. Plus they'd been babysitting my hamster Rex while I was away, and I wanted...