"And here's the budget for the trip - 8000 pounds precisely," Martin said proudly, proffering a printout with neatly arranged columns.
"Excellent," Carolyn said. "Well under ten thousand. I hope you didn't sell any bits of the aeroplane to accomplish that, did you?"
"Not you, Martin - Douglas."
"You know our gallant captain would never allow such sacrilege to take place, even if I had it in me to deprive Gertie of more parts than are already falling off of their own accord..."
"I thought you'd be more pleased," Martin said with a confused little frown.
"I am pleased, Martin. This is my happy face."
"Not that anyone could tell the difference..." Douglas muttered.
"Now, Martin, why don't you go and do your logbook? I want a word with this one," she indicated Douglas with an arch of her eyebrows.
"Very well, I'll... go and do my logbook then," Martin said, with all the dignity of a man who knows he's being dismissed and chooses to make it look like he meant to do that anyway.
"There's a good captain!" Carolyn said cheerfully.
Martin, looking from CEO to FO, must have assumed Douglas was going to be submitted to an interrogation, because he made a little sympathetic grimace at Douglas and then fled.
"Hmm, that was quite a feat. Are you sure you didn't steal his landing or physically restrain him from requesting a diversion?"
"Absolutely. Feel free to ask the captain, if you'd like - though, of course, that might seem suspicious and raise a few questions... I assure you, however, that I did no such thing. The flight went smoothly and cheaply because I just am that lucky."
"Are you now?" Carolyn asked shrewdly.
"Yes, more lucky than he is unlucky, certainly."
At that, Carolyn got a funny sort of look in her eyes. Douglas hadn't been there, of course, but he imagined that was the look she got when Martin made his bid to work for "half of whatever she paid the previous guy". It was a look that said "trap".
"How certain are you of your legendary good luck? And how would you like the Camembert for the rest of the year?"
"Hmm, quite certain. And what bit of my soul would I have to gamble for that kind of stake?"
"No-no, nothing like that. You'd be doing a good deed; in fact, some might even call it charitable, though not in the most... traditional of senses."
Douglas raised his eyebrows, inviting her to go on.
"You can have the Camembert for the rest of the year - as of the moment of actually winning the bet, which adds the nice incentive of a deadline to it - if you can get Martin laid."
Few things still surprised Douglas Richardson, and even fewer people, but it seemed like Carolyn had just joined the select club.
"Goodness gracious, Carolyn!"
"Or you can settle for the next two trips' worth of Camembert, which will both be next week, if the challenge is too much for you."
"I was actually wondering at your choice for a bet. Didn't know you harboured any interest in the state of Sir's lovelife, or deplorable absence of one."
"Well, if I win, I get the Camembert back, and you pay for your own hotel for two trips, as part of our previous bet. If you win, I have two happy pilots, which is highly beneficial for my airline."
"I thought we were an air-dot. And you don't really think I can win."
"Not for a moment, but it is interesting, isn't it? Your invincible luck against Martin's invincible lack of it. Oh, and no cheating, promising Martin to split up the Camembert with him if he commits perjury. You know he can't lie worth a damn and I will confront him about it if I suspect even a whiff of foul play."
"Carolyn! As if I ever would..."