He had not seen this coming. The tour group members were giving their tickets to the leader. Before he could come up with a new plan, the ticket was snatched out of this hand. A man next to him said something to him in German.
Verzeihung," Trager mumbled. "Konnen Sie mir sagen, wo das Kino ist?" It was all he could remember of a German dialogue he had memorized in high school. Something about the movies, he thought. Behind him, the crowd had sealed the entrance. Trager felt buried in the mob, but at least it would be impossible to remove him easily from the terminal once the mistake was discovered.
A hand fell on his shoulder. "Hello, sir? You will please come this way."
Trager turned to face a mustached airline official. "I can't," he said. "They've already taken my ticket."
"Yes? You will please come this way."
For the second time that day Trager was marched down a hall by a man in uniform. In a small office separated from the ticket counter by a glass wall, a police guard pawed through his rucksack.
"I'm sorry," Trager said. "They took my ticket by mistake."
Beyond the glass the passengers‘ arms, each with a ticket, waved like the limbs of a dancing kali before the harried agents at the desk. The guard spindled the manila envelope in his hands, then began a body search. One of the counter agents came around to the door to hand in Trager's ticket to the airline official. He left with Trager's rucksack
"You will please come this way," the official said, handing Trager his ticket and the manila envelope. He opened a door in the wall opposite the counter, and Trager found himself standing alone on the tarmac, the plane parked before him. From the door of the aircraft, the hitchhiker waved at him to come on.