Login   Sign Up 




Posted: 03 September 2014
Word Count: 466

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

Botany. He walked the dog there most mornings. It was the best place ever for dog walking. There was no traffic, no farm stock, just an unlimited expanse of beach with the two concrete covered pipes running out to sea. You could catch bass there in season, and there was deep water for the Labrador to practice retrieving the small orange dummy, getting her up to speed for the coming game season.
Back at the house, he hung the covered uniform with the four gold stripes over the back seat of a battered green estate, and checked that his flightbag and small suitcase were all there.
“Where is it this time?”
He thought for a moment, before replying.
“Nairobi’s alright”.
“Yeah. Nairobi’s all right. And I’ll be back for Sunday.”
“Oh good. It’s Remembrance Service. Mum’s playing the organ and John’s standard bearer with the Scouts.”
He nodded.
“We’ll be there”. He was not a great church goer, nor was his wife, but this Sunday would be a family day, and special.
“Say hello to Nairobi for me.”
“I will.” He kissed her and left, his mind on the next day’s flight. Not to Nairobi, as he’d told her, told everyone who ever asked.

That small airhead in the hostile territory south of Baghdad. He’d switch off all the lights and start the descent a hundred miles out, slowing to two hundred knots to allow the US attack helicopters to formate on him. A Blackhawk under each wing, with the Apache above providing top cover. Just in case there was some Jingly down there toting a shoulder-fired heat seeking missile with his name on it. Turn on the final approach two miles out at fifteen hundred feet and one hundred and ninety knots, drop the gear and then full left aileron, full right rudder, and sideslip the crate in. It was unapproved, a fighter manoeuvre, but it worked just as well on a four engined jet freighter, and was the fastest way to lose both height and speed simultaneously, and stay alive.

He cut out the thought pattern, in case it should turn morbid. They’d be fine. Two hours on the ground, where he’d trade two crates of beer for eight hundred cigarettes from the NAAFI. Then back home, to that short runway built on the top of a Wiltshire hillside, where they’d hopefully slide in under the morning fog, and arrive at the Hotel in time for a massive five star cooked breakfast. It was 2008, with Britain fighting yet another war, and he was part of it. But he’d be back, as promised, to walk the dog at Botany Bay, and be with the family at church on Remembrance Sunday.
First published in 2008 in 'The Broadie'.
All rights reserved.

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

Khyang at 19:12 on 06 September 2014  Report this post
I like the style and the subject.  You are writing about a world that few people have experience of. There is a danger that  you are seen as writing in jargon; but, on the other hand, you need to tell the story in your personal way.  (I make this comment, because it is a problem I have to work on.)

Khyang at 19:51 on 06 September 2014  Report this post
A question for discussion - Is it necessary to mention the make and model of a car? (the "Peugeot Estate"). I, personally, feel it adds nothing to the description and, for some reason, it annoys me.  There should be a more universal way of protraying a character (e.g. portraying him as a family man, as well as a pilot). 
But I do like the efficient way that you describe throughout

BILLINGTON at 21:07 on 06 September 2014  Report this post
Thanks  Khyang, have taken out the 'Peugeot'.

I didn't think there was an abundance of jargon there.

Kind regards,


To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .