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10.November.2002 OBSERVATIONS AT AN airport, oddly enough. Believe it or not, this story is based on a real event.
24.October.2002 YOU ARE NEVER too old to appreciate each other. A couple enjoys a moment alone within the bounty of nature.
17.October.2002 BRIAN WAITED -- THE worst of things -- for the action to come as his consciousness drifted to other pleasant thoughts.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: As with many authors, Cap has written a series of erotic short stories. However, since this is an open site accessible to all, it is prudent not to publish these stories for the general public. An index and selected stories can be provided upon request; contact Cap via the site Contact form for instructions.
This page was last modified: 1.December.2002
"Take at look at that," Mary told her friend nodding her head across the concourse to the modest size bar.
"I think he is a very confused guy."
"Or, he can't make up his mind."
"Or, his mother was ill and didn't supervise his dressing this morning."
The two business colleagues laughed as they walked toward their departure gate. The Covington, Kentucky, Greater Cincinnati International Airport had more space than passengers this particular Monday morning -- mostly the usual business vagabonds with a smattering of touriste beginning or trying to end their journeys. The two women checked at the gate desk to confirm their pre-selected seat assignments and easily found two adjacent seats to occupy for the intervening time.
"What do you think his story is?" continued Mary.
"That guy at the bar."
"Don't know . . . but I've never seen an outfit quite like that." Susan retrieved her paperback book from the well-used, folded leather case that contained the legal papers she would have to submit for her congressional testimony.
"That was a nice hat."
"I guess." The words of her book kept her attention.
"No really. Black, felt Stetsons like his are not cheap . . . and that hatband."
"What do you think he is doing?"
"Looked like he was standing there having a beer with his friends, waiting for his next flight and watching the news on the tellie."
"Why waiting for his next flight . . . and not his first?"
Her friend looked askance at Mary. "Come now . . . the way he was dressed."
They both laughed. "Yeah. I suppose you're right."
"Of course I am."
Susan returned to her book.
Mary stared across the concourse and out the far window at the concrete, steel, glass and aluminum that defined this place as a busy airport. The green grass and turning trees in the distance covered by the low gray overcast looked like the chilly November day it was. People traffic passed before her eyes but she did not see them. A shiny silver-skinned airplane taxied to the gate across from them, partially blocking the view breaking her thoughtful trance. Mary's eyes shifted from person to person walking slowly or smartly in the bi-directional flow of the hall. Their attire twisted the kaleidoscope of her thoughts into clarity. Oddly, the image occupying her mind was the man in the bar.
"I'm going to go ask him," Mary said as she stood.
"The guy at the bar."
Susan slapped her book closed. "Mary, are you crazy?"
She chuckled. "No. Really. Aren't you curious?"
"No. I'm not. It was just some eccentric guy who doesn't know how to dress."
"Because he's weird sweetie. He has a tropical shirt, jean shorts and loafers."
Susan laughed hard, looked her friend in the eye and raised her right index finger. "Yes, and brown penny loafers without sox. How weird is that?"
Mary could not resist the humor. "But, he had a really nice hat."
"Yes it was nice." "And, did you see that hat band?"
"Burned leather, silver and turquoise."
"Yeah, and those aren't cheap, either. And, it was a really nice shirt."
"Palm trees, come on," Susan protested.
"That shirt looked like black silk with gold palm trees."
"OK, so it was an expensive . . . funky shirt."
"I think he is making a statement."
"And you are dying to know."
"Well then go ask him."
"Sure. Why not? It's a public place."
"Right," Mary turned, walked back down the concourse and glanced over her shoulder to Susan's encouraging but mischievous eyes and smile.
The natural flow of bodies was easily navigable as Mary made her way to the small concourse bar. He was still there as she noticed some ten meters away. Even at the start of the business day, the bar was more than half full with patrons enjoying some form of libation or perhaps non-alcoholic mixers. As she approached, she saw the peculiarly attired man talking to two other men in business suits, drinking beer and generally watching an ESPN sports summary program. He was older than the other two men . . . in his mid-40's . . . attractive with short, blond hair in an aging-well style. His appearance became even starker as she reached him -- an expensive Western hat, tropical shirt and conventional shoes and yet worn, mid-thigh, denim shorts. A nice golden tan complemented his otherwise odd image. His two friends noticed her purposeful approach. Their eyes caused him to turn.
"By all means, young lady. What can I do for you?"
"What are you doing with this outfit?" Mary asked as she waved her hand up and down.
His penetrating light blue eyes sparkled against his tan cheeks as they pulled up to reveal a broad, brilliantly white smile with perfect teeth. "To meet young ladies like you," he answered softly without taking his eyes off hers.
Mary felt her chest tighten. She struggled to stifle a gasp. A grin bloomed as she canted her head. "Come on. This is not a pick up outfit."
"Isn't it." He held her eyes. "It got your attention didn't it?"
"What do you do? Where are you coming from?"
He leaned toward her to whisper. "I'm a sky marshal."
"No, you're not . . . not dressed like this or drinking beer."
"Oh you caught me." He chuckled and glanced at his colleagues who reflected his levity as if admiring their hero. His return gaze captured her eyes. He waited for the next step.
"So, what do you do?"
"That would be nice."
He winced. "My apologies. I do not intend to be obtuse. I own a small software company."
"Small," barked one of his colleagues, "only a forty million dollar per year company and growing every year of its existence."
The boss raised his hand. "Now, now. That's not important."
"So, you're just an eccentric millionaire, is that it?"
Mary stood squarely and neutralized her expression as she waited for an answer.
"I can afford to be comfortable. I like these clothes."
"While your employees have to wear suits?" she said nodding to the younger men.
"Look, I am just a simple guy. I wear what I want to wear, and I do not have to justify my clothing to anyone. Now, if you would like to join us, we can have a more cordial intercourse."
Mary held up her hand. "No thanks. Sorry to bother you. Have a good day." She did not wait for a reply. She heard him offer a salutation, but she ignored it.
Susan noticed Mary's return. "Well?"
"You were right . . . just eccentric."
"Yeah. He owns a software company, so he can dress how he likes."
"You mean he actually dresses that way because he likes it."
"So he said."
"He must be rich."
The public address system announced the boarding of their flight. They gathered their bags and moved to the gate.
"Now I'm interested."
They laughed together.
"You're just jerking my chain."
"Yes I am, and it is so much fun."
"I've never seen anyone dress like that."
The two women were next to have their tickets taken. "Now, let's get focused on the task ahead of us.
"Ah, yes, the inquisitive minds of our vaunted politicians."
They snickered, nodded to the gate agent, and moved down the Jetway to the waiting transport.
The fresh, bright green leaves of the massive oak tree danced above their heads like rustling skirts. The breeze remained warm and yet cooled them in the shade. Joan and Carl lay side by side on the thick blanket cushioned by a bed of accumulated leaves. Her bare arm rested on his. Their fingers interlaced. Carl inhaled deeply.
"Isn't that smell fantastic?"
"You mean the o'de manure?"
Carl nudged her with his elbow. "Not that." He felt her chest take in a large breath. "What do you smell?'
"Yeah, wet grass and earth."
"Perhaps honeysuckle or something like that . . . roses."
"I can't figure that one out either."
"The smells match the peacefulness I feel whenever we come up here."
Their senses absorbed the dimensions of life around them as several sets of finches and sparrows chirped merrily as they courted among the branches above them. A large, red-tailed squirrel bounded from limb to limb until he was on the lowest branch. His head peered over the edge, and then his whole body hung on the side of the limb, as he stared at them with a seductive curiosity. Carl squeezed her hand gently as if to reassure himself that she was not missing any of this early summer celebration. Joan returned his confirmation. They smiled together and yet separately. The two enjoyed many levels of communication so unique among lovers and many moments that reinforced their love. Neither of them moved as they wondered whether the squirrel would come closer to investigate. The critter decided they were not worth his attention.
"Thought he was going to come down n check us out."
Carl raised himself on his left elbow, rolling toward Joan. "As many times as we've been here, this place never ceases to amaze me."
He looked down from the horizon, leaned toward Joan and gently kissed her full, soft lips. Carl suspended himself above her. "Those killer blue eyes."
"Stop. Aren't you getting tired of them by now?"
"Nope. I'll never get tired of them."
"Well, look at something else. You're making me uneasy."
Without argument, Carl did as he was asked. He could see but not hear the surf along the coastline below them. The golden hills undulated around them like some fluffy throw pillows. Their oak tree was the largest among many scattered about them. Cottonwood and juniper trees filled the cracks between the mounds. And, no other humans or artifacts of humanity detracted from the idyllic scene.
"Maybe we should build a house up here."
"Don't be silly, Carl."
"I'm not. I'm serious."
Joan opened her eyes and turned her head toward Carl. "Don't you think that would spoil this place."
Carl stared into her disarming eyes and turned his gaze to the distant ocean horizon. "In some ways, yes, but if we lived here, we could enjoy this country all the time."
"Carl, these are special moments for me . . . and for you . . . for us. Let's keep it that way."
Returning to his recumbent position seemed like the thing to do. He picked up her hand and held it to his lips. Carl lowered their joined fingers, hands and arms to the narrow space between them. They closed their eyes to focus their other senses. Each wandered among their imaginations and sensations.
Without moving or opening his eyes, Carl mumbled, "Are you really sure about the house idea?"
"What has gotten into you?"
"Nothing really . . . well . . . just my love for you. We have always liked it up here."
"Yes, we have."
"Living full-time in a place we love seems like the right idea to me."
Joan could feel him raising to this elbow again and turn her head to look in his eyes. "A house has so many other things, not just a view."
"That's true but . . ."
"A road and construction equipment would contaminate this place."
"True, but . . ."
"And then, there would be electrical lines and such." She shook her head to signal her conclusion.
"It doesn't have to be that way."
"Carl, please," she said as she raised torso on both elbows. "Look at this place. Can you imagine power lines, a cut in the hillside for a road, and a worn path in the grass going down to the beach?"
Carl scanned the scene around them, again. "Put like that, I suppose you're right."
Joan lowered herself, adjusted her head position, closed her eyes and said, "Of course I am."
Playful incredulity stretched a grin across his face. The rhythmic tidal flow of her breathing captured his attention. He placed his hand on her thin, cotton print, button down the front, summer dress just above her pelvis to feel her movement and warmth. Carl inserted his index finger between the buttons to feel the soft texture of her skin and stroked it like petting the soft fur of their cat. Not content with just this simple, intimate touch and sensing no resistance, Carl reached for the nearest button releasing its hold.
Joan grasped his hand before he could take the next step. "What are you doing?"
"Just feeling your scrumptious skin."
"You don't need to undress me for that."
"Well then, what do you say to a little afternoon delight."
"Carl . . . really."
"Because we are out here in the open."
"We've done it before."
"Sure, when we were young and foolish."
Joan released his hand. He waited a few moments and slipped his hand inside her dress to enjoy her silky smooth tummy. Soon, he began to broaden his appreciation.
"Carl . . . please."
He leaned over her, kissed her forehead, her nose, and then her lips. He lingered over and kissed her again. Joan responded, allowing their joining to become a kiss of lovers. He released another button and another. She stopped him again.
"We're too old for this."
"We are never too old."
"We've been married for 31 years."
"And, in love for all those years . . . well most of those years, anyway." He chuckled.
"And, four children and eight grandchildren."
"And, I'm still in love with their mother and grandmother . . . respectively." He paused. "So, does that mean we can't have a little fun under Mother Nature's umbrella?"
"Of course not." Joan looked at her watch, extricated herself, stood, re-fastened her buttons and straightened her dress. "We've got a dinner to go to in a few hours, and we both need to get ready."
Carl hesitated but stood as well, folded the blanket but let it fall to the ground. He reached for her shoulder, brought her close, wrapped his arms around her and kissed her again as they had kissed earlier. Joan embraced him as she returned the passion. He drew back from her just enough to look in her eyes.
"I love you."
"I love you," she repeated.
Carl retrieved the blanket. He took her hand in his as they ambled slowly back down the hill toward their car still hidden from view by the angle and vegetation.
For Brian Drummond, the waiting was the worst. And, this waiting was the worst of the worst. He rested his head against the small pad behind him and stared at the round gauges arrayed before him. All their indicator needles sat static and idle against their limit stops. This was the environment he had grown to love almost more than Charlotte. He just did not like the waiting part.
Fortunately for him, the small, makeshift shade and the gentle breeze kept the bright sun's rays from overheating him too much as he sat, but it was still not enough. He could feel the wetness beneath his tunic and shirt. Brian hung his long arms over the close canopy rails to allow the breeze maximum access.
Pilot Officer Drummond was the tallest, or biggest depending upon your perspective, among his brother colleagues, now sitting just as he was. Brian was not the youngest, but he was below the average in years and well above average in skill. His short, light brown hair moved rhythmically across his forehead. Small beads slowly formed and descended his tanned, clean-shaven, face passed his half closed, steel blue eyes. The ladies called him handsome -- some even gorgeous -- but it was Charlotte's opinion that meant the most to him.
"Y're plugged in and ready to fire, sir."
"Thanks, Bernie," Brian responded using the familiar informal as his modest protest against the rigidity of military protocol.
Leading Aircraftman Bernard Gordon nodded his head and touched his right hand to his right temple, palm out. The small, stocky Scotsman owned the machine Brian occupied, or so he proclaimed. The young pilot had no desire to argue the point with Bernie -- the sense of ownership brought reassurance. Bernie joined the remainder of the three-man ground crew undoubtedly resting in the shade of the elegant but worn elliptical wing.
The eighth straight day since his last time with Charlotte during a 24-hour leave period had started like so many these last few months. Up before dawn. Breakfast in the mess. A somber walk to the small clapboard shack they called home these days. They all began the same. This particular picture book summer day was perfect flying weather, which meant considerable business for them as their relentless adversaries pressed on with their mission.
The heavy, seductive blanket of fatigue began to take more of his consciousness. The accumulation of heart-stopping intensity and mind-numbing fatigue took each of the young aviators into a deficit world of sleep deprivation. Add in their penchant to abide liquid libation in the few moments that they managed to find after dusk, the wear and tear on these young men remained incomprehensible to those they served and protected. And yet, there they were every day.
Brian slumped forward slightly. The snug harness across in lap and over each shoulder did not allow much movement. He liked it that way. The nearly perpetual bruises on his shoulders reflected the consequence of the tight fitting cockpit and the aggressiveness of his maneuvering. Underneath his tunic and shirt, the angry red flesh and dull ache marked the spot of his shrapnel wound. Shrapnel seem like such a trivial word when it was nearly the whole bullet he took two months earlier. These events and this moment in history left no time for adequate healing.
His mind began to narrow its focus as he drifted toward sleep. Brian did not need much cerebral effort to recover the image of Charlotte. Nearly as tall as his six feet, she was elegantly built with mesmerizing powder blue eyes and silky shoulder length hair that is some light conditions looked prematurely gray. She had saved his life when his unconscious, parachute-lowered body landed in the pond behind her farmhouse. He learned days later that she had nearly lost her life trying to save his. The King himself had awarded her the George Cross, the highest award for bravery given to non-military citizens. It was not her selfless heroism or some obtuse sense of gratitude that attracted him.
Brian felt the weak smile as he lowered his chin to his chest. Oh sure, he told himself, she had an exquisite face . . . and those eyes . . . an attractive body. He had seen and played with his share of dollybirds since joining the Royal Air Force. They all said it was his American accent that attracted them . . . except Charlotte. Despite losing her Royal Navy lieutenant husband in the spring at the end of the Phony War, Brian could feel that unexplainable magnetism. She had not resisted long as she felt it too. The force that brought them together and bonded them, overcame the ten years separating them. Her angel touch excised his demons.
Brian smiled again as her words rang through his barely conscious thoughts. Why you? Why must you do this? You are an American, for God's sake. This is not your fight.
The explanations quieted her admonitions but never quite assuaged her misgivings. He flew for the love of flight, and he was flying the most incredible machine ever built. He felt the burdens of liberty engrained in him more by his aviation mentor than his father did, but by all to one degree or another. He did what he loved to do for his belief that he was defending freedom and liberty. In the end, Charlotte understood the sense of duty Brian felt. She had given her husband in this war, and her father and uncle in the Great War. She did not like this but she understood it.
The warmth of that last visit . . . Her skin, so soft and sweet . . . She always . . . made him . . . feel . . .
Ding, ding, ding, ding!!! The clatter of the alert bell shot him awake instantly. Brian banged the back of his skull against the headrest. His neck was a little sore but that would pass soon. He quickly checked left and right as he reached for his leather helmet and gloves. Other heads bobbed to life.
"Here we go lads," shouted Bernie as the three crew scrambled from their resting place. "You bring her back in one piece and alive, now, you hear me, you bloody Yank," he added as he saluted Brian. It was same charge every time.
Brian smiled and nodded as he adjusted his earphones, snapped the chinstrap and gloved both hands. This was the scramble for flight. Lives would soon depend upon his skill.
He cracked the throttle open a notch, punched the primer three short times, and shouted, "Clear."
"Prop clear," answered Bernie.
Brian checked his mixture full rich, gripped the throttle and mashed the starter button. The big, 1,100 horsepower, Merlin engine turned over through 4 blades on the 3-bladed propeller when the first cylinder fired off followed in short order by the other eleven. The acrid sting of raw and partially burnt, high-octane fuel accompanied by a billow of blue-gray smoke stung his nose and eyes. The sensation passed as fast as it came as Brian nudged the throttle open just a little more to a smooth fast idle. The steady, rhythmic, robust, deep-throated throb of the engine focused his mind. The quick scan of the cockpit showed everything within limits and ready for takeoff. He signaled Bernie his readiness with a thumbs up and moved his hand quickly across his face. He applied the wheel brakes to hold his position as the crew pulled the blocks securing his wheels. Bernie returned his signal indicating the aircraft was ready, and then crisply saluted his pilot.
Brian kept his eyes on his section leader. All remnants of his fatigue had vanished. He was ready for what was soon to come. In turn, each aircraft of the diminished squadron taxied to their takeoff positions. Brian's position was left wing of Green section. They would be the second section to take flight.
Brian listened to the radio chatter as their squadron began the launch. The head nod from his leader signaled their turn. He waited for a moment, released the brakes, and slowly advanced the throttle as the aircraft accelerated. Brian centered the control stick they called the spade. The tail rose slightly to a level attitude. The aircraft accelerated more as Brian pushed the throttle to full power. The landing gear lightened, bounced a few times, and pushed him airborne. He raised the landing gear immediate and allowed Bernie's bird to stretch her legs before sliding into his position and adjusting his throttle to hold his place.
Brian closed his canopy, locked it, armed his guns, fastened his oxygen mask and began the constant head swivel that would last until he landed. Brian Drummond was in his element and he smiled. The hunt would soon be joined.