Story Go Round 1/25/2003, round 2, #5

'Military Man' - the Pilot

Lt. Dan winked at his fan club and lifted the chopper off the ground. The tropical sun winked off his shades. It was his first solo chopper flight, actually, but he'd never tell them that. He wanted them to think the world of him for a change.

His superior glared at him as he left, then the kids. Relations had never been easy. The chopper sliced through the humid air on its way to the base. Lt. Dan began to relax, sloughing off the aggressive iciness his superior always treated him with. He angled his bird with unpracticed ease into the sun - letting his lids half-close as tropic warmth burnished his youthful face. The fans, Captain Torr, and even the "military exercise" began to fade from his mind.

Captain Torr went back to his desk and tried to forget it all. The native kids, still jabbering excitedly outside his window, made that hard. Sometimes he'd like to do something nasty, he thought, looking at a souvenir gun on the wall. That Dan really brought out the worst in him. It was the ready grin and the forced wink that grated the most. He hated that sort of pretense.

His assistant entered the tiny office a minute later, bringing a small stack of papers to go over. Among them were Lt. Dan's transfer orders. Grim satisfaction overtook him before he even noticed, and he waved Judy out.

As he approached the base, Lt. Dan began to reflect on how different his life had become. First, there was his relationship with the cadet Lisa, and snorkelling at the reefs. There was even deep wisdom from that old relic Howard at the cantina. Love and mentoring were two creatures that didn't live in the bayou. Not for long anyway - 'fore the gators got 'em. That was one of old Howard's favorite. Another was, the best way to get by in the bayou, is to make sure nothing gets by you. Howard and Dan were from different parts of Florida, but "Tennessee Torr" was a common enemy. Lt. Dan eyed the landing pad.

A private was manning the landing pad, and Dan was afraid of squashing him. How did you motion a landlubber to move? He got on the radio to the tower and explained the situation.

Captain Torr spent twice as long on these papers as he usually did - he was not going to let any technicalities foil his plot.

Judy was Lisa's spy in all things not relating to National Security, so she took a coffee break every hour to keep Lisa up-to-date on Torr's plans. The captain didn't realize it, but he talked in his office. And Judy was a good listener. Lt. Lisa paid her handsomely - or was it prettily? for any scrap of information that might aid her in her plans.

Lisa looked nervous when she met Dan at the cantina that night. "I heard you took a shopper up this afternoon under false pretenses," she said.

"Untrue!" he lied. His left eyelid twitched.
He barely kept himself from winking, which would have given it all away.
That's when the bomb finally went off.

Stay tuned for scenes from next week's all new 'Military Man'.

Amber is purple; John is pink; Alan is blue; Terry is orange