January 31st, 1991
Night flight from ANC – LHR
I was in bed when the hotel fire alarm went off and at first, I thought I was dreaming, ‘til I heard Emilio yelling my name as he banged on my door.
I jumped out of bed, wrapped the blanket around my nightshirt, slid my shoe on and opened the door.
“Hurry up,” Emilio rattled. “You never know if these things are real or not.”
“Wait,” I said, wiping my eyes. “I need to put my other shoe on.”
“No time for that,” he said, grabbing my arm. “C’mon.”
We took the stairs two at a time and in the lobby, I was so surprised to see so many guests but even more surprised when the hotel staff started directing everyone outside.
“But it’s freezing,” I said, to nobody in particular.
“Get on my back,” Emilio shouted, as the doors opened, the frigid air smacking us.
“No way, I’m too heavy. I’ll flatten you!”
“Ye cannae hop through the snow! C’mon!”
I jumped on his back and we made our way through the parking lot to the “Meeting Point.”
“I think they’ve done this before,” he laughed.
“How did you get dressed so fast?” I asked, sliding off his back, resting my bare foot on his boot.
“I was still up,” he said, wrapping his blanket tightly around us as we watched the guests pile out of the hotel. Emilio joked that he barely recognized, “Some of the old birds without the war paint.”
Mean little Harold was one of the last guests to come out. He was wearing tartan flannel pajamas and velvet slippers, monogrammed with HWC which Emilio whispered stood for, “Hairy Wee Creep!” Perched on top of Harold’s head was a pair of First Class eyeshades and he was wrapped in a white crocheted blanket, the type of which you’d find a newborn swaddled in, prompting Emilio to whisper, “Harold loves his Mummy!”
Ten almost frozen to death minutes later, the fire alarm was declared “False,” and we were led back inside the hotel (another piggyback!) Emilio said there was no way he’d be able to sleep after seeing Harold in his “wee willie winkie outfit,” so he came to my room.
We were more than ready for a stiff drink but with call time only three hours away, we had to settle for tea.