Untitled No. 5 in Black-ish-Grey

You might think him unobservant, getting from the plane and finally down those steps through to the baggage arrival, picking his way through people waiting for their luggage at the carousels in the particularly aggressive manner in which they do that suggested that others passing through appear might want to appear just as disgruntled, even if the people passing through had done the sensible thing and either packed extremely light and brought it all on as hand luggage or rationalised that buying an entire new wardrobe in the city was more convenient than having to wait any length of time with the disgruntled masses around the carousels, through customs, out to a taxi which took him to the St. James Hotel where he checked in and flopped on to his bed in a reasonable hotel room with a comfortable bed for flopping and still not knowing the country he was in.
Unfortunately, seeing as how everything was in English, he didn't put too much thought into which country he was in, he only marvelled and wondered at how much this wasn't like Germany at all. The fact that both the customs agent and the taxi driver were grinning only served to unnerve him more, and take his mind from wondering just where it was he was. It just contributed to his still growing sense that he wasn't where he'd expected to be (not in Life in the larger, personal happiness sort of scale, but the slightly easier to plot physical scale, though he did have to admit it he was having some difficulty with that scale, as well).
He thought the less cynical might have described them as smiling, rather than grinning, though he wasn't entirely sure why he thought he was being cynical by saying they were grinning.
As a matter of fact, the hotel clerk was grinning, as well. Which was one reason why he'd grabbed his bag, still unsure of the condition of it's contents, and ran up the stairs before a bellhop could come round to collect his bag, grinning all the while, and he couldn't face having that face as the last thing he saw before he shut his door on this strange country that was most decidedly not Germany.

So he was crumpled back on the bed, without the forethought to get a drink from the minibar before collapsing on the bed, so he just reached his arms over his head and in the general direction of the toilet, which was about as close to the minibar as he could reach without twisting his back in an untenable position.

Though they had let up on the ban of mobile telephone devices on aircraft a few years ago, he still turned his off and put it away in his carry-on luggage to resist the tempation to use it. The temptation was also tempered by the warning and disclaimer, to a degree, he always thought, they gave when they'd formerly simply told people to turn their 'phones off. It ran along the lines of "though we allow you to use mobile devices, we strongly urge you to keep usage to a minimum, and would really rather you didn't use them at all, if it could be helped. However, as it happens, you're now allowed to use mobile telephone devices, so if you do feel the need to use them, it's your own grave." It wasn't the most cheery announcement, usually.
Apparently they also interrupted any communication on a mobile device every ninety seconds with a message that either printed on the screen or was played back on the channel that went along the lines of "We hope you're enjoying our expanded mobile communication policy, for a truly well-connected world. While we encourage you to take advantage of your almost boundless freedom to communicate, we strongly suggest you terminate this communication now. Thank you, and, if you like, hang up now." He didn't know firsthand, though, he turned his off.
All of this tended to keep people off the 'phone and from checking their email via their PDAs, and once they got the message the first time they tended to adopt his own policy of not even bothering.
With all this in place, he was slightly worried by the guy who remained on the 'phone for the duration of the flight but the last five minutes two rows ahead, the guy named Mr. Smith, as it happens, which he knew because the only words the man spoke the entire flight were "It's Mr. Smith. Yes." In fact, he was assuming Mr. Smith was actively on the 'phone the entire flight but five minutes because he'd kept the device to his ear, because past those opening words he hadn't said a thing.
The stewardesses looked slightly alarmed when they passed by the man a few times during the course of the flight, but none of them said anything too explicit, though one made a valiant attempt to separate the man and his 'phone by gesturing that she needed to clean his headrest, during the course of which she knocked her hand against the man's ear and 'phone, and attempted to wrest it from his hand as if she were going to dust it, though the other passengers were denied seeing what she would have done with it, had she gotten it away from Mr. Smith, as he didn't relinquish his grip on the 'phone, and, indeed, it never left his ear.

All of which was worrying enough for the other passengers who were not Mr. Smith. And when the pilot announced five minutes to landing it got disturbing for Mr. Smith, as well, when he spontaneously combusted, leaving a slightly singed old woman next to him who had been trying to listen in to the conversation and a black patch on the headrest.

This is, of course, a part of the serial started last week and probably to be continued next week, as otherwise this issue as an ending makes no sense, not that that's ever stopped us from cutting off abruptly, returning to the story in two or three months or years, when we've nothing else too clever lying around for a story.

Yer Weekly Horoscopes. Blooey!