Prequel to The Layover #4

The whole clubbing-in-Zürich-and-breaking-his-modus-operandi idea had been stupid from the very beginning. Jamie knew that now. Any experiment is doomed to fail when subject and researcher are the same person.

Jamie longed to be home again. There was a House of Cards season he hadn’t seen yet and two episodes of Sense8. Thursday meant music quiz in the MacCole’s pub. Friday night, he was babysitting Ginny’s kids. The comfort of the well-known is underappreciated.

The airport in Basel was small enough that Jamie didn’t feel particularly stressed beforehand. However, when he arrived, he wished he’d been neurotic enough to check his email in the morning.

“I could put you on a plane to Gatwick. You’d arrive at half past ten tonight. But the connection to Edinburgh doesn’t leave until tomorrow morning,” the uniformed lady behind the service desk informed him. A strike. Of course, there’d be a strike. In December. Why not?

“What are my options?” Jamie asked not trying to hide the desperation in his tone. “Train, bus? Whatever.”

“I’m sorry, sir. I can’t do that. I strongly recommend that you accept the direct flight tomorrow.”

Jamie hung his head and took a deep breath. “Where’s the hotel?”

The girl smiled tiredly. “It’s in the city center, close to Old Town Basel. Breakfast is included.”

Jamie took five seconds to contemplate another protest. Was it worth it, though? Whatever option, he’d arrive at Edinburg airport tomorrow around lunch at the earliest. Better to take the most comfortable route. God, he was exhausted, his body achy even though the train from Zürich to Basel took barely one hour. Maybe he was going to be sick again? Or was it a faint hangover from yesterday? But he hadn’t drunk enough to feel properly intoxicated. How could he be this hungover when he’d been barely tipsy the night before? Whatever the cause, he felt dizzy, almost fragile.

“Okay,” he nodded on an exhale, resigned. In his head, he’d already started composing an email to Jill, the head of his department, about the delay and the risk of additional costs.

The girl resumed typing at an admirable speed—especially considering the length of her nails—and soon the printer buzzed with vouchers and tickets.

“Thanks,” Jamie mumbled, too annoyed to exercise his usual politeness.

He grabbed his bags and dragged them a few meters away from the counter. He craved a cigarette. And maybe music. Or an audiobook. Anything to kill time in this void.

He rummaged through his bag getting his fingers tangled in his two chargers and earphones. He carefully extricated the earphones and slung them around his neck.

That was when a strange awareness came over him. A lull in the humming sounds of the terminal. Jamie lifted his head and stilled. A pair of green eyes was watching him.


First published by Alpha Book Reviews.

The Swiss Experiment #4 coming July 21.


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