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Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Children are accused of daydreaming and they admit to vivid undertakings. Here is my daydream from two days ago while working a jackhammer through an endless layer of limestone:

{{{rata-tata-tata…}}} The vibrations of this jackhammer, combined with the blazing heat, and the smell of crude oil as the powdered limestone pours from the hole I am digging, demand an escape. I lean back a bit pull off my goggles and safety mask., chancing to take in a long breath of hot Texas air, for relief. Ha! None found. The humid air is something along the lines of attempting to breathe water. Oh well. “One more blast oughta get me there,” I say aloud. {{{rata-tata-tata…}}} I lean into the hammer to get a good bite and hit a pocket of fine powdered limestone that engulfs me in a cloud of dust. My eyes burn, my lungs refuse the assault. But I am no longer under the Texas sun, I am in the skies over France in the summer of 1940, in my Grumman F8F Bearcat, affectionately referred to as “Papa Bear,” engaged in a dogfight with enemy planes. The “rata-tata-tata” of my machine-guns was part of a memory of being home and working my construction job in Austin, Texas. I do a quick visual check of my bird. She seems fine on the inside, although getting a bit stuffy. I check and see my pic of my penpal, “Habibati,’” still tucked into my altimeter. What a miracle if I could actually meet her while in France. She and I had been corresponding since we were pre-teens. Had it really been 17 years since I received her first letter? {{{ting ting ting}}} Whoa! Back to the present. The enemy were showing no mercy. Searching the skies I realize the plume of smoke is emanating from bullet holes in my engine. Oil streaks across my cockpit canopy. My plane has been hit and is burning. I need to set her down. The heat is intense, trapped in this small flying war machine. I look below to see only trees. My only choice is to bail. I always hated jumping out of perfectly good aircraft, but now I realize why the practice was necessary. I gently tuck my lady’s photo in my flight jacket and yank the canopy release. The acrid taste of smoke, the dampness of oil droplets, and the tongue of flames from the burning engine help make this an easy decision. “Bonzai!”

~more to come~

© April 22, 2013 ~ DBC, Duke of the Arctic

NOTE: photo is random internet find


  1. You have not lost your imagination after childhood! Very vivid, indeed. And yes, I have been to Texas once, I can see how transporting yourself to France could make construction work go by a lot more smoothly. Let's hope you find that pen pal someday.

    Take care of yourself in the humidity--it can be unbearable... we get it in Chicago, too, but thankfully only during July and August.

  2. Thanks doll. Have a great evening. The rendezvous with my penpal is Switzerland...August...