- Yes, Martin, I see how one could took you for an ATC tower, in that hat especially, but I think I'd prefer to rely on our usual sources...
That was, of course, Douglas's way of telling Martin that he isn't interested in his attempt at talking about weather. The final chord in a long stretch of teasing about the Captain wanting to be Captain more than to be paid. The usual sarcasm on the usual topic, but what was unusual was captain's reaction.
His expression neither hurt nor amusing, but suddenly deeply in thought, as if he was doing some complicated mathematics, Martin slowly turned to the right and said - Douglas, could you repeat what you've just said?
- I said - was the slow response - that I'm calling tower for weather report.
- No, not that, your exact words please?
- I believe that being able to understand what your co-pilot says is crucial in captain, during the flight especially, but if you insist - I think that in your cap you really look like that mushroom-shaped ATC in Beijing Airport. Why?
Martin said nothing and bit his lower lip, still deep in thought.
- Martin, you are a real clot, you know that? Diverting because of anti-icing system failure, doesn't ring a bell? God, even a little warning light can outwit you! Twice! With the same trick!
Douglas observed his Captain's face during that little tirade - which was rather unfair - , and didn't understand what he saw. There was nothing. One could say that Martin was calm, but with calm, there is always some inner peace and good humour that goes with it. Bored? Blank? Distant? The quite intteligent first officer’s rich vocabulary lacked the right word for it.
Martin looked at Carolyn with some interest, but was obviously deep in his own thoughts. Maybe it was a face of a scientist who looked at his mice or green liquid boiling in a flask
- Carolyn, I think that to avoid such expences in future we should just spend a bit of money on a proper engineering check - came Martin's voice, low and very polite. – I can’t rely on warning lights that may or may not reflect reality.
Carolyn couldn’t have stared more if Martin turned green and grown extra heads in the same time.
- And Skip, here’s the surprise for you, ta-daaaam! – Arthur extended a box with three cheesecakes – All of them!
Martin observed the cakes. – Thank you, Arthur, I’m not really hungry.
- Take them, please!
With a faint smile and polite nod, Martin took one of the cakes. Douglas felt suddenly worried – Hey, “Skip”, when was the last time you had a meal? I haven’t seen you eating anything today.
Martin paused. – Good question. Maybe I actually didn’t.
- Wow, you haven’t eaten for a day and you don’t feel hungry? That’s amazing!
Yes, amazing enough to consult a therapist immediately. It’s good to be Arthur... – Douglas thought. He knew that stuff. When one is depressed, one can be separated from one’s feelings and needs. One prof from medical college called it “Neighbours own the landline”, that meant that you must consult your memory or even notes for information that you used to obtain directly from your feelings: the cold, the heat, the hunger. As if you don’t have the phone, and need to go to the neighbours to make phone calls.
- Probably I really need to eat. – continued Martin, almost as amused as Arthur – Maybe it will improve my reactions a bit, I’ve got slower in last two hours.
Douglas closed his eyes. Depressed pilots can’t fly. And any inspection would certainly notice that depression.