„For Go- for someone's sake, what does a demon have to do to get something to drink around here?“
„Uh, Skip?,“ Arthur's voice and the head associated with it poked hesitantly through the door. “One of the passengers asked for something to drink again.”
Martin took a moment to let go of the controls with one hand to quickly pinch his nose. “Yes, Arthur, thank god we have a steward on board whose entire job description is to deal with sudden and unforseen situations like this.”
“Yeah, but uuuh... he also called himself a demon. Again.”
“Ah,” Douglas made sagely from his reclined seat beside Martin, without even so much as acknowledging Arthur's presence by turning his head or moving in any way from where he was making up for some sleep lost in favour for a poker game he had with three customs officers last night in Tel Aviv. He shifted his hat-turned-sleep-mask slightly and decided that he deserved some rest. Literally. He had won it in a bet with Martin, twenty minutes ago. “And of course now you are concerned that we have an actual spawn of hell demanding some liquid worldly pleasures in lieu of your immortal soul on this petrol fuelled, flying bus from London to Paris.”
“You mean, demons wouldn't do that...?”, Arthur ventured to interpret Douglas' apathy in the subject.
“Oh no, they would definitely do that,” the first officer corrected him without so much as batting an eye. “Public transport down there is getting so terribly expensive and the trains' air conditioning is god-awful at keeping the hell-fire at bay.”
Martin sounded a little sour when he amended: “Yeah, well, Arthur's not so far off; I suspect pretty frequently that we might have a demon on this plane.”
“True.” Barely suppressing a yawn, Douglas finally shifted in his seat and decided that catching some shut-eye was now definitely out of the question – what, with Arthur being in the general vicinity. “But she's on a date with Herc today.”
“I wasn't talking-” Martin started to defend himself, probably by mentioning Mr. Birling or the-smoker-in-the-loo-who-shall-not-be-named, but Douglas interrupted him by addressing the original problem:
“Why don't you just serve Mr. Lucifer something and save your innocent soul for ottery heaven, Arthur?”
“Ah well. Mum hasn't restocked the galley yet and my access to the drinks cupboard was revoked after the strawberry-liquor-incident.”
That was Douglas' cue to start grinning like a shark (or rather, like Carolyn) at their poor steward: “What lucky coincidence that I happen to have some-”
“Don't say 'Talisker', Douglas, I beg of you,” Martin groaned and felt the urge to permanently attach his fingers to the bridge of his nose. Taking them away was a waste of effort, the way things were progressing.
“-bottles of Mr. Birling's favourite choice in poison, which, by special request, shall remain unnamed,” Douglas continued without missing a beat and produced a bottle of what looked suspiciously like nail varnish (again?) from thin air; all while his 'supreme commander' debated locking them all in the flight deck, just so he could prevent the horrible destiny that always seemed to befall him whenever this particular brand of thirty year old whisky crossed his path.
“Oh, Douglas! That's brilliant! Now I can-” Arthur was already reaching out to take the bottle of booze from the ex-alcoholic. Unfortunately, it was whisked out of reach.
“Ah, but wait, you forget the ever-present law of supply and demand,” Douglas reminded him (not too) gently. “We have, currently, a demand of greater than or equal to one and a supply of exactly one. Which means the supplier gets to dictate the recommended retail price.”
“I don't recommend a retail at all,” Arthur advised. “Because then we wouldn't have anything to give to our passengers right now.”
“He's saying he wants them to pay for it, Arthur,” Martin was gracious enough to translate for him. “After they've already practically been robbed by Carolyn, I assume.”
“Oh, okay.” He might be unhappy about it, but the steward knew better than to argue with their second-in-command. “How much?”
“Oh, let's see.” It's the first time in their conversation that Douglas really seemed to take a moment to think about anything coming out of his mouth. “One of them is wearing clothes from last century – a bit worn down, but collector's items for sure; and high enough in quality to make him seem quirky but wealthy. And the other one is pressed head-to-toe in hand-tailored designer stuff in a desperate attempt to look suave and as careless about it as possible.”
“Yeah, the sunglasses are a bit much,” Martin can't help but agree.
“Says the man wearing aviator shades as soon has the first sun comes out in spring,” Douglas reminded him and turned his attention back to Arthur: “I'd say 150 quid is a fair offer.”
The poor (30-something-old) boy seemed unsure, before he ducked out of the flight deck again: “Alright, Douglas. If you say so...”
It took approximately ten seconds until the ruckus in the cabin started: “You want WHOT?” - “Crowley, dear, please sit down, you need to keep your seatbelt fastened...” - “Actually, yeah, he's right, we just can't turn that one on because it makes the cabin smell of fish.”
…a ruckus that sounded like it now left the cabin, was stalking through the galley and coming to...: “I wanna talk to who ever is in charge of this flying piece of scrapmetal!” - “Hey! Don't talk like that about Gerti! We just bought her back from the scrapmetal dealer!” - “If I have to listen to this idiot one more second...” - “Crowley, WAIT!” - “Mister, you can't go-”
As soon as the door that Arthur had left unlocked creaked open, Martin all but screamed: “Sir, as the CAPTAIN of this vessel, I must ask you to leave the flight deck IMMEDIATELY.”
“Oi, you there, Captain,” Mr. cool-sunglasses, completely unfazed, turned to Douglas.
“I LITERALLY just said that I'm the captain,” Martin screeched, if possible, even more hysterically than he had about the intrusion just a moment ago.
“Indeed, I'm afraid you have me mistaken,” Douglas by contrast managed to smile his best sky-god smile. “Because I am not the captain as much as I like to see myself as a... supplier of scarce goods. I heard you would like to make a purchase...”