Chapter 17

“I have never met that crazy woman in my life,” Buddy started, “so you can ignore whatever it was she was just babbling on about.”

“Keep it up, cowboy,” Sofia hollered over her shoulder as she moved on down the aisle. “The sky marshals need something to do. And put that middle tray up. The boarding door is closed and you're not fooling anybody!”

Buddy put the tray up, smiled at Jon, and said, “I think we have the row to ourselves.” Jon was slightly embarrassed by his ploy, but before he could say anything, Buddy continued, “And I am sure glad to make your acquaintance, Jon.”

Jon still wasn't sure that he wanted to get into a conversation at the moment but realizing that Buddy had purposely eased his embarrassment by quickly moving past it, he found himself responding, “Likewise.” Plus, the distraction was more than welcomed.

Typically, the first thing Jon did after taking his seat was put on his headphones so he didn't have to speak with anyone, or even listen to anyone, for that matter.

Circumstances of the last few minutes had prevented that this time. And maybe, Jon thought, that was going to be a good thing. Maybe.

“So, what is your formal name?” Jon queried, surprising himself that he was actually taking the lead in this conversation.

“Royce Jefferson Smith,” Buddy replied, in as serious a tone as he could muster. “But if you tell anyone, I may have to hog‐tie you and stuff you in the cargo hold.” Jon still wasn't sure how to take Buddy, but trusting Sofia's ...

Get The Backpack now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.