It was as he clambered down the steps in the only way you can down the stairs they attach to the airplane doors for the disembarkation of passengers at airports that don't have the things that hook directly up to the doors and take you straight into the terminal that he realised something was not quite right.
And it wasn't just the way he was clambering down the steps, as it's been noted that there isn't any other way to get down the stairs, and all the rest of the passengers were clambering in just the same way as himself. Except for the girl with the stubby legs who had been pestering him at Heathrow prior to boarding the plane, she hopped down the steps.
So there was another way to get down the steps, but it was arguably more embarassing than clambering down, moreso because the vast majority of people were not hopping, and so the hopping was more noticeably embarrassing, and there was no sense in camaraderie/shared suffering if you were one of the few hopping down the steps, making a horrible clanging noise twice the volume of the noise of the people waddling down the steps like a normal, albeit awkward, person.
No, all of that strangeness was completely expected and in order, the strangeness was something else.
For one thing, it was more humid than it should have been in Munich. He also felt strangely free of the depression that Munich Airport generally inspired in himself. It was nothing to blame specifically on Munich, he just always seemed to have a sense of foreboding when he landed at Munich Airport. Last time through Munich he happened to have acquired three people wanting to kill him, which was one more than the time before that. And that isn't something that makes you look forward to visiting a city, even if you saw those people trying to kill you killed, in three separate incidents, by a helicopter full of men in red suits, a rather large black car/van thing, and a tight rope walker. So there was that. Or the lack of that, as it turned out.
In place of the standard depression was a palm tree, which he saw from midway down the stairs, taking it slowly due to the little boy in front of him doing the awkward waddle down at an incredibly slow pace, which he slowed even more by yelling to his father, "Dad, look! Robot!" and exaggerating the waddle we were all enjoying doing down the steps far too much, as every second step he banged into the metal rail, fell a step, righted himself, and carried on, generally shouting out again for his father's audience. Which didn't bother him too much, as he had the palm tree and the light breeze that smelled vaguely of the sea to wonder about, not having recalled ever smelled that in Munich before, and the kid could bounce off the railings as much as he liked.
And he was wearing one of those Panama hats, which he hadn't been before boarding the plane, nor ever in his life, as he didn't particularly think that style suited himself nor did it suit most anybody apart from maybe Jimmy Buffet, who got away with it because you generally chalked his fashion sense up to him being on his own special planet. After he realised he was wearing a Panama hat, feeling it fluttering alliteratively in the breeze, a warm breeze, he stopped trying to catalogue all the things he felt were out of order, for fear he'd run across something more horrific than the things he'd seen thus far. He did take an anxious look at his trousers to make sure they were still black, and hadn't transformed into anything like a pair of Bermuda shorts, which would not only clash culturally with the hat, but would also violate his personal promise, years ago, never ever to wear Bermuda shorts ever again. Luckily, he wasn't wearing Bermuda shorts, and his trousers appeared unchanged by the flight. As you'd expect, really.
He dropped his eyes to the tarmac where there was a bus waiting to take the passengers, even the girl with the stubby legs and the little robot-boy to the terminal. The driver behind the wheel of the bus looked reasonably normal, as did overall appearance of the bus, as did the tarmac, even, he noted. Feeling he might be pushing his luck, though, he fixed his eyes on the rear wheel of the bus for the rest of his trip down the stairs.
Definitely not quite what he expected of an otherwise routine trip to Germany to take care of some business, and he was just hoping that none of the contents of his briefcase had undergone similar transformations/additions during the course of the flight. Otherwise it might make his job difficult, indeed.
He stepped off the stairs and onto the tarmac, and the clanging went on behind him as the remaining passengers filed off the plane and into the warm night air. A mobile phone rang.
We are not responsible for you flossing your teeth. It's a good idea, and you should do it, but we're not going to nag you about it.
In other news, the founder of both Sane Magazine and Supertart has been writing a few news items at the long-quiet 'Tart. One in typical disclaimer style and one also in typical disclaimer and nostalgic style
If you're flailing about for something to read (tree-based, and probably in addition to this particular serial... yes, it's going to be a serial), and are in the mood for something on the seriouser side of things, we've got a recommendation from around the office for Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley. It's a gorgeous set of stories about an ex-convict in Los Angeles by the author of the Easy Rawlins series. It's a stilted ride though the first few stories that you realise is a rhythm halfway through, until you get to the end, which is gorgeous, really. Slightly hard, slightly sad, it's the deceptively simple stories that wind up making an impressive whole.
Unfortunately, it's left half the office thinking they're proper Los Angelenos now, but we'll soon beat that out of them.