IN THE NEW YORK CITY HARBOR – ON GROUND
Mr. Higgins is pushing his way through the crowd slowly exiting the blimp. His leather satchel is slung over one shoulder, bumping against the crowd and knocking about his recorder. He doesn’t notice the recorder has been turned on. In the distance Miss Wellington is moving in pace with the crowd, the large, dyed green ostrich feather in her hat bobbing above the crowd. Beside her strides a tall slender man with a tall slender top hat. It is Mr. Buffurt. He carefully escorts Miss Wellington further and further away from the now panting Mr. Higgins.
“Miss Wellington! Miss Wellington!”
The ostrich feather pauses. Mr. Buffurt leans over and whispers in her ear, but it is too late. She has spotted Mr. Higgins flagging her from the middle of the crowd. She waits, smiling. Mr. Buffurt has a bored expression and tugs at his slender mustache. Huffing and puffing, Mr. Higgins manages to get through the crowd and reaches the pair at last. He is breathing heavily and his face is red with sweat pouring down his forehead. He lifts his dandy bowler hat and mops his receding hairline. Mr. Buffurt sneers, but Miss Wellington watches anxiously.
“Why Mr. Higgins! Is everything alright? You appear to have some important news to rush after us like that!”
“Yes dear chap, very important news to wear yourself out in such a way. Why you are sweating up a storm!”
Mr. Higgins’s face turns redder. He looks down at the ground.
“I just, uh, wanted to make sure I uh, said, well, I wanted to know if, well, you see I needed to tell you…”
He looks up. Miss Wellington is giving him her full attention. She smiles, reassuring. Mr. Buffurt is watching them both with an uneasy expression. Miss Wellington takes a step toward Mr. Higgins.
“Yes, Mr. Higgins? You wanted to tell me something?”
Mr. Higgins just stares at her. He blushes again and fiddles with the strap of his satchel. The crowd has thinned and now it is much quieter. Mr. Higgins continues to not speak. Miss Wellington watches him and her expression turns sad and thoughtful. Mr. Buffurt looks delighted as the last person leaves and Mr. Higgins still has not said anything. Mr. Higgins catches his expression and straightens, attempting to look dignified.
“Yes, Miss Wellington. I just wanted to say goodbye. It seems I will not be staying at the same hotel as you are after all. My expedition cannot wait. I leave New York City as quickly as I arrived.”
Miss Wellington lowers her gaze, disappointed. She steps back toward Mr. Buffurt, who is now grinning.
“Then I shall say goodbye and good luck Mr. Higgins. I hope you find what you are looking for.”
Mr. Higgins inclines his head in a small bow. Mr. Buffurt ushers Miss Wellington away. Mr. Higgins remains there, his head bowed, and his shoulders start to slump. He does not see when Miss Wellington looks back at him after a few minutes. He does not look up. She sighs and continues to walk with Mr. Buffurt out of sight. When Mr. Higgins finally does raise his head the dock is empty.
“I believe I may have already found it, just to lose it again.”