Ulan

The other day, I was dozing off in the pre-dawn glow coming through the French windows in our living room when I suddenly remembered something that happened on the flight back: Having survived the thirteen hour leg from Bangkok to Incheon with two cranky babies and zero sleep (and also having taken a capital D with hyperized Max present in the aircraft lavatory – one of my proudest achievements and a story in itself), we stiff-legged it off the plane like penguins and waited around the nearest room for our stroller to be produced.
An unkempt old lady with crazy eyes came up to me and started asking for help in what I first thought was Korean. I tried to tell her that I couldn’t speak Korean, but she would not be dissuaded and continued to plead with me in guttural tones. While I was wondering what she wanted, I noticed she had a little nappy haired girl in tow, who had rosy cheeks and was crying inconsolably. After a while, the old lady put two boarding passes in my hand and said, “Ulaanbaatar.”
“Oh, Mongolia?” I asked.
“Mongolia,” she confirmed. Now having identified the language I totally couldn’t understand, I flagged down one of the Korean Air staff members hanging around and asked him to help the old lady, as she was noticeably limping. The man wouldn’t help out and just told us to move down the hall to the transfer area. Fucker.
Nam and I looked at each other, and decided to help them out. Both of us were taking care of a baby and carry ons, so we weren’t moving quickly anyway. The old lady’s limp looked really bad and the little girl would start wailing every time she was put down. I offered to carry a brown shopping bag the old lady was carrying in addition to a big black backpack.
We only walked a minute or so until we hit a line of people waiting to get through security checks to the transfer area. I was so zonked and busy trying to keep the kids happy that it didn’t register until the very last minute that I was carrying somebody else’s bag through a security check. A brief flash of paranoia and bad Hollywood-induced visions nearly froze me in place, but I ran up to the old lady and put the bag on the scanner conveyor next to her backpack.
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When the man working the x-ray scanner saw the bundle of det cord wrapped around a take out box full of spicy Mongolian Barbecue, he hit the panic button and drew his sidearm in one smooth motion, but it was too late. The “old lady” and “little girl” had already stepped out of their human hosts and begun weaving death and mayhem.
First they triggered the bomb, which atomized the meat slathered in special chili sauce, blinding everyone in a ten foot radius, including several guards. Then they pulled scythes from the black backpack and went for the throats of anyone moving.
They came for me, too, but I made the sign of an ancient Mongolian god in the air and whispered, Ulaanbaatar, Ulaanbaatar, Ulaanbaatar, and they left us unharmed. Nobody else made it out alive, though. The spirits needed blood, and they took it from fat tourist and tough Korean grandma alike that day.

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