« The CarpUltima Thule »

A Short Play About Baggage


Scene I The departure lounge of the Buenos Aires airport international airport. An EASEL stands next to a SMALL

DRAGGY BAG and SUITCASE on a baggage scale. It is night. A tall, intimidating CONTINENTAL GATE AGENT stands glowering behind the bags.

EASEL: Somebody please unfold me.

GATE AGENT: Sir, there is a $100 excess baggage fee if you want to check a third bag.

ME: What? I flew down with these same bags three months ago!

GATE AGENT: No you didn't, sir.

ME: Well, I did.

BAGS (together): He did!

GATE AGENT: If you flew down here with those bags, you got charged $100.

ME: You are saying I am lying to you?

GATE AGENT: The limit is two bags. If you have an additional bag, you have to pay $100. That has been our policy for a long time.

ME: But that's just not true. And these bags are small, they could all fit in a single big bag!

GATE AGENT: Sir, either you pay or you are not getting on this plane. Shaking with rage, ME hands him a credit card

GATE AGENT: Cash only.

Scene II

ME: What about now?

GATE AGENT confers with the CROWD OF CONTINENTAL EMPLOYEES that has gathered to watch the big fight.

GATE AGENT: We will allow it.

ME: Will you concede that this makes no sense whatsoever?

GATE AGENT: I'm sorry, our policy is quite clear, is there something you still don't understand?

ME: Yes! I don't understand how my spending my last $20 to get this easel shrink-wrapped to my suitcase somehow saves your airline money.

GATE AGENT: Sir, do you want me to stop you from boarding this flight? Because I would be more than happy to do that.

EASEL: Help me.

SUITCASE: Ow ow ow.

ME (under my breath): ¡Cabrón!


The departure lounge of Newark Airport. It is a beautiful Indian summer day, with light pouring in the big terminal windows. A GIANT SUITCASE stands impassively in the terminal. inside it hides a black DRAGGY BAG. Its contents are soaked from a bottle of vodka that shattered several days before. A CONTINENTAL GATE AGENT is standing next to the suitcase, pointing at it with the antenna from her walkie-talkie.

DRAGGY BAG: I am trapped and its dark and everything inside me reeks of vodka.

GIANT SUITCASE: You better not be letting that leak out!

CONTINENTAL GATE AGENT: Sir, this bag is eleven pounds overweight. The limit per suitcase is fifty pounds.

ME: But I thought I was allowed two bags on an international flight?

GATE AGENT: That's right.

ME: And so the total weight limit is 100 pounds?

GATE AGENT: That's right, but a single bags cannot weigh more than fifty pounds. Either you take out eleven pounds or you have to pay the overweight fee. Me: Well, I have a second bag in there...

GATE AGENT: That's perfect then!

Me: But will you concede that this makes absolutely no sense?

DRAGGY BAG: Let me out.

GATE AGENT: Sir, our policy is clear, no bags allowed over fifty pounds.

ME: But you will acknowledge that the only difference is that now the bags will take up more room in the plane?

GATE AGENT: Sir, this is our policy. I don't set the policy.

ME: But on grounds of pure logic and everything that is holy, will you agree that this makes no sense whatsoever?

GATE AGENT: Oh sure, if you use logic it makes no sense at all.

DRAGGY BAG emerges in a haze of vodka

DRAGGY BAG: Sweet freedom!

ME: Thank you. Thank you so much.

PLANE leaves for China

« The CarpUltima Thule »

Greatest Hits

The Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel
The story of America's most awesome infrastructure project.

Argentina on Two Steaks A Day
Eating the happiest cows in the world

Scott and Scurvy
Why did 19th century explorers forget the simple cure for scurvy?

No Evidence of Disease
A cancer story with an unfortunate complication.

Controlled Tango Into Terrain
Trying to learn how to dance in Argentina

Dabblers and Blowhards
Calling out Paul Graham for a silly essay about painting

Attacked By Thugs
Warsaw police hijinks

Dating Without Kundera
Practical alternatives to the Slavic Dave Matthews

A Rocket To Nowhere
A Space Shuttle rant

Best Practices For Time Travelers
The story of John Titor, visitor from the future

100 Years Of Turbulence
The Wright Brothers and the harmful effects of patent law

Every Damn Thing

2020 Mar Apr Jun Aug Sep Oct
2019 May Jun Jul Aug Dec
2018 Oct Nov Dec
2017 Feb Sep
2016 May Oct
2015 May Jul Nov
2014 Jul Aug
2013 Feb Dec
2012 Feb Sep Nov Dec
2011 Aug
2010 Mar May Jun Jul
2009 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep
2008 Jan Apr May Aug Nov
2007 Jan Mar Apr May Jul Dec
2006 Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov
2005 Jan Feb Mar Apr Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2004 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Oct Nov Dec
2003 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2002 May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Your Host

Maciej Cegłowski


Please ask permission before reprinting full-text posts or I will crush you.