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(_23) Ch Twenty Three

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The helicopter howled down from the night.. flaring lightly then seemed to float inches from the concrete. With a wave to the officer, he rolled aboard as his father had so many times before him.. grasping the offered hand and  then finding himself at the gap that led to the cockpit where he was handed a helmet and jacked into the communications of the aircraft.

“Pleasure to have you aboard .. sir..!”

“Jimmy… Jimmy Walker.. sir.. !”

He looked within  the cockpit at the unearthly vision of creatures with some sort of night vision goggles on..

“Colonel Zachary L. Melini sir!”

A strong handshake was exchanged.. The helmeted pilot swivelled and extended a gloved hand

“Marta Jeanne LaCroix sir!”

“Jimmy Walker maam.. merci beaucoup to both of you for helping me out.. what’s the gameplan..?”

“You get buckled in.. vite vite.. We got connections for you .. immediatement.. very fast connections”

There was a tremendous whining howl building up even thru his helmet as he sagged into a low seat and was helped with his belt by the crewmember who had helped him aboard.. a lightness seemed to possess the chopper and it suddenly took flight drifting forward nose down, gaining speed and lift then banking impossibly to the right into the gloom. It was exhilarating to him..  this incredible lightness of flight.. and he wondered at the sense of being part dragonfly and part hummingbird.

“Coming up on the beacon in ten Zack.. we’re lights out, transponder off”

“Roger that Marty.”

“You really had it going tonight Jimmy.. “

“Thanks guys.. I mean.. thanks gang.. it was fun out there..”

“What made you think you could steal home.. ? it just seems impossible that you could outrun a pitch from a major league pitcher Jimmy”

He thought about the question for a moment and replayed the moment in his head before answering.

“You’re not really outrunning a pitch.. you’re really just stealing little moments.. that all add up and create a new longer moment.. and you’re trying to steer that moment in your favour before anyone realizes it. Its kind of like what you guys .. I mean you two do when you land this chopper.. there’s all sorts of things happening around you.. but you’re committed to your landing.. and you’ve measured all the other stuff in advance and you just bring it on home.. n’est ce pas? I mean.. do you ever doubt that you’re going to land safely while you’re actually landing?”

There was laughter up front.. from the co-pilots seat… and Jimmy continued..

“The truth of it is.. its just a window of opportunity.. when you steal home. First of all everyone knows it can’t be done.. so the pitcher and the catcher are totally unaware.. and you need a little help from the batter and a runner on first to make it really work.  I usually start my steal as the pitcher is glancing toward first.. and when he starts to go into his motion I’m already half way to home. This afternoon there was no-one on first and he was a righty. ButI noticed how he froze his glove up in front of his face and so I just kind of eased into his blind spot and took off. There’s a moment of disbelief for the pitcher and he has to change his thinking and his throw.. the catcher can’t really see what’s happening because the batter steps back to get out of my way if he knows I’m coming.. for a split second, the pitcher wants to throw toward me but there’s no-one there to take the throw.. and then it sinks in that I’m going home.. and they tend to aim the ball a bit.. its not really a pitch anymore.. its just a throw.. and the catcher is thinking about me.

Am I coming high or sliding.. and the batter’s still blocking his view and he’s trying to catch the throw..  and I can see where the throw is going and if its high.. I’m sliding low and you have to remember the ump is leaning over the catchers shoulder still.. he doesn’t see me because of his mask and he impedes the catcher who’s trying to move upwards.. and I’m really just coming in with one hand trying to touch the plate.. that’s all there really is to tag.. five fingers and a hand.. and I’m going to decide which hand goes for the plate at the last moment.. and pull the other hand back from the catchers glove as he commits..

There’s a lot that can go wrong for the pitcher and the catcher.. a lot of connections and decisions.. a lot of pressure.. but me ?  I’m totally committed to my landing.. and if they nail me.. I dust myself off.. give them my respect.. nod at the ump.. and take the long walk to the dugout. Its just a game and I enjoy the intensity of the moment.. Its like a dream sometimes.. you can hear the ball in flight as the crowd suddenly stops breathing.. its like slow motion.. but there’s so much going on you know.. you see the strangest things..  like the catcher  stepping on the umps foot.. or the pitcher looking at you with his mouth open.. and you can hear the runner on first pounding toward second base.. and the fielders are yelling.. and the basemen are screaming because they see it happening first.. and if I look past the ump I might see a kid with popcorn falling from his mouth.. or a guy dropping his drink.. its fun!”

There was silence from up front.. as the poetry in his words and attitude settled around them comfortably.. it made them feel so good.. The helicopter drove forward into the night, four minds thinking their own thoughts.. in their own positive ways. The crew member  sitting near the hatch, looking at Jimmy with  awe.. and thinking that just maybe they were the same age.. and getting quite a buzz from that. Jimmy leaned toward him , they high-fived and sat there laughing comfortably about the whole deal.

It seemed moments later he was being strapped into a fighter plane masked in darkness. A crisp voice from the cockpit began checking him down with serious bail out signals and he got with the plan and found the safing pins and grab ring. There was a long grinding noise then a serious twitch to the jet and a halo of orange appeared as a reflection on his canopy. The voice from up front finished the checklist.

“Cleared to scramble?”

“Clear to go Birdman..”

The jet lurched forward as the halo increased its intensity.. and moments later he was kicked in the pants by a howling surge of acceleration, then being harshly twisted as the jet screamed to the left toward a low ridge..

“Breathe slow.. and steady.. we’re doing just fine, and try to keep your eyes on the horizon.. you ever flown in a bird like this?”

“Only in my dreams..”

“Well.. Mr Jimmy Walker.. you have some unusual friends with serious connections to make this ride happen. anoneemoose sends you a strange message. It just came in on my tactical printout.  And I quote.. “be righteous.. be smart.. you’ll meet a dog and also someone’s  daughter, Donny’s gone aboard.. but so have those you seek. the moose runs with bears.. and hunter’s in the water.. Thunder waits, but not for very long. “

“Make any sense to you.. sir?”

“Yes sir.. I think so..”

“friends call me Birdman.. you can too..”

He had to grunt out his reply.. he was being pushed so hard into his seat.. but he had to smile at the magic rides he was being given toward the distant whales.. all these people helping.. taking risks.. breaking rules..

 ** put the midair refuel in here.. and then Jimmy’s thoughts..

Returning from his thoughts he felt the engines ease off.. The jet had been so fast that he was arriving on the island before he had left Toronto.. at least according to the clock. Back to mother earth came the sleek jet.. falling from the sky with little luffs and darts thudding into the tarmac then surging toward the darkness at the end of the runway, where soft pulsing lights betrayed  an even stranger jet creature to Jimmy’s eyes.

“End of this leg Jimmy.. someone else is going to take you on the last leg. Good luck and good hunting to you.”

“Thank you sir.. and..”

”Yes?”

“I know there must be a lot of you helping.. more people who care.. than I can even guess at.. I see it as pretty special.. I had no idea so may fine people cared.”

“Jimmy.. from what I can see and hear.. all those people think you’re pretty special.. give my regards to Wizzywig.. she’s waiting in that bird for you.. and if you don’t mind.. give my same regards to anoneemoose, please.”

“Yes sir.. I will.. and thank you.”

“Birdman to Wizzy.. ready for the handoff.”

Aboard the strange aircraft he was getting buckled in when his previous ride thundered off the runway into the night.. and moments later a now familiar crisp voice crackled in his headset.

“Birdman is clearing the island, serious winds up here.. watch your pretty butt Wizzywig.. the other side of the island is going to be black as hell.. and not the best night for playing around down low and on the deck.”

“Gotcha Birdman.. Wizzywig has the picture.. tower, Harrier One requests clearance for immediate vertical departure and western corridor over the mountains.”

“Tower to Harrier One.. clear to lift immediately, you have local gusts to forty five knots from the northwest and winds are off the scale  as you proceed west to altitude.”

(jet lifts off etc etc)

“There’s a young kid in the water isn’t there.. rides a yellow surfboard.”

It didn’t come across as a question..

“Kyle Sehorn.. yes he’s in the water..”

 expand

 “Jimmy.. please watch out for that Kyle Sehorn kid.. he’s very very special to me”

 “Thank you maam.. you can count on it”

A quick handshake.. with feeling.. then one  step onto the wing.. a short ladder.. A thumbs up from two men in visored helmets being buffeted in the winds, then his dog wet and crazy.. and this girl.. caught in the middle.. Kissing him.. no he was kissing her..and both being called by events …. and there was his truck.. kayak aboard. Sheets of black rain driving out of the night..

The Cove awaited them..

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Written by diamondwalker

November 26, 2008 at 6:13 pm

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