Every now and then Io and I would appear to be normal passengers on the plane. She would choose her food, select her drinks and accept the little free travel pack of toiletries that the airlines thought made up for the fact you were paying three times the price for your seat compared with that of a cattle class seat.
Some of my jokes with Io did not go down well. You may need reminding that Io was a naiad or daughter of the springs; actually she was the daughter of the river god Inachus. So her life was to inhabit the rivers and streams and either to frighten the hell out of passers by or occasionally do something beneficial, perhaps, such as to sing to people as they drowned. Hera however selected her to be her handmaiden or whatever and it is then that Zeus who was a sort of president of all the gods and was both brother and husband to Hera took a fancy to Io. Zeus was quite a philanderer and Hera suspected that he had got his eye on Io with his past history of being the two timing bastard that he was. Zeus got a little wary as it is in his nature to ravish any good looking bird in his sight so he quickly transformed Io into a beautiful white heifer, hoping nobody will notice that Hera’s hand maiden was missing.
Hera was not fooled and seeing this beautiful new beast in the paddock asks Zeus if she could have it as a present. Zeus is now in a pickle, he can’t refuse such a simple request or that will confirm his subterfuge so agrees hoping that will assuage all Hera’s doubts. Hera is not daft and sets the hundred eyed Argus to keep watch on Io day and night. Zeus in his turn desperate to possess Io gets his mate Hermes the messenger to kill Argus. This clearly is not an easy task as even when Argus is sleeping half his eyes are still open and not only does he have a hundred eyes but a hundred arms as well. So Hermes goes along and has a chat with Argus and they talk all the night through, Hermes telling him lots of such boring stories and jokes that eventually every one of Argus eyes are closed. Hermes then kills Argus and Io can be released.
I thought that Io would go berserk when I asked why she chose business class rather than cattle class for this trip. She seemed puzzled at first explaining that I was the only person on the plane that she had met before so naturally she chose to sit by me. Then she suddenly twigged the cattle class joke. She was so furious. I don’t know about being a naiad she was more like a fury just then. I was scared. But all of a sudden she quietened down.
“That is what I like about you, Robin.” She said with a cute little smile,” You are not scared of me.”
“Should I be?”
“Just don’t let me down.”
“Have you ever flown before?”
She looked at me strangely. “How did you know?”
“I didn’t, I was just asking.”
She looked into my eyes and I had that feeling she was reading my mind. Satisfied I was telling the truth she went on.
“I did a test flight with Icarus with his new wings when he and his father were trying to escape from Crete. I was there on the island of Samos with Hera when she first appointed me to be her handmaiden…you know like I was in training.”
I nodded understandingly.
“He couldn’t keep his mind on just flying to safety. He just had to skim over the waves then fly high to the sun just for the exhilaration of it…”
“He wanted to impress you so you would fancy him then?” I suggested.
“Don’t be so jealous Robin.”
“I am not jealous.” I lied. “But you must have distracted him.”
She looked at me doubtfully. “It wasn’t my fault, just shut up about Icarus.”
Her lips pouted with annoyance as she demolished me with those words. She turned away from me and glanced at the in-flight magazine flicking over the pages but without reading them.
She must have had a long think about things as she eventually put the magazine away then curled up facing away from me then drifted off to sleep. She muttered a few slurred words now and then which I could hardly make out. Did she say kokkinolaimus? What in heaven was a kokk-in-o-laim-us?
The cabin crew had put the lights out now, so I made a quick dash to the toilets to tidy up and brush my teeth then put down the seat as my bed for the night. As I snuggled down under the blanket and eventually got off to sleep I made a resolution not to rile her in future.
When I woke up about two hours later she had turned over facing me, she was still asleep though, but now she was holding my hand.
Kokkinolaimis - Robin