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Chuck Henry and the Secret Cargo

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Chuck Henry and the Secret Cargo

Postby Boikat » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:53 pm

[align=center]Chuck Henry and the Secret Cargo[/align]

[align=center](The first part)[/align]

[align=center]Image[/align]

A gentle tropical breeze seemed to be the only thing moving on a small tropical island airstrip, that, at most, saw one or two transient aircraft actually land about twice a week. Except for the resident aircraft, that is. It was a surplus Curtis Commando that the owner and pilot, Chuck Henry, picked up for a "song and a dance", under somewhat questionable circumstances, after the end of World War II. That was 18 years ago. The owner was presently sitting on a lawn chair under the left wing, drinking a warm beer, as his maintenance crew serviced the number one engine.

Someone had to supervise.

The maintenance crew consisted of one person. Her name was Jimmy. Jimmy was actually short for Juanita Ines Maria Margarita Young. Her last name, "Young", came from the last name of her father, who died in the war. Before settling down as Chuck's maintenance crew, Jimmy had knocked around the Caribbean after running away from home at the age of 16. She discovered she had a knack for doing mechanical things and managed an honest living as a mechanic on small pleasure boats, a steamer or two, and finally, as Chuck's Mechanic. She also only spoke broken English, and barely understood English when Chuck would try to explain some aspect of whatever it was she was working on. At times, they would both give up on the conversation, Chuck would get a beer, and only interfere if he saw Jimmy holding a hammer and eying something that should not be within ten feet of a blunt instrument designed to beat something into submission.

But this occasion was a simple oil change, so Chuck sipped his warm beer, Jimmy unscrewed drain bolts and waited until the flow of oil was a slow drip. The two didn't notice the three trucks that had left the small dock, that saw about as much business as the airport, until the lead truck stopped near the ops hut with a "squeak" from it's brakes.

"Jimmy!"

Jimmy ducked down from her position in the landing gear bay. "Si?"

"Customers." said Chuck, pointing at the trucks. They also appeared to be Army surplus "deuce-and-a-half's". They were still wearing their Army Olive green paint and cargo canvas. Then Chuck did a double take as the people jumping out of the truck were also still wearing their Army Olive Green uniforms, and a large number of them appeared to be guards, since they were carrying carbines, and once out of the first and last truck, positioned themselves around the middle truck. There were at least twelve of them. Three other GI's had walked to the ops hut, gone inside, came back out because it was empty except for the Ghost Cat, and were standing near the hut's door, and appeared to be having an animated discussion.

"Jimmy. Stay here." said Chuck.

Jimmy nodded, and climbed back up into the wheel well to finish the oil change.

Chuck downed the last of the warm beer, got up from the lawn chair, and started walking toward the hut, three trucks, and twelve armed military guys, and he was only armed with the empty beer bottle. He noticed that the guards were alert, since they seemed to notice his approach as soon as he came out from under the wing of the Commando. They didn't draw down on him, but he knew he had their attention from their stance, and from the fact they held their weapons at the ready. Ready to drop down and fire. Chuck hoped he looked non-threatening.

About thirty feet from the trucks and the hut, he dropped the beer bottle and held his hands up to make sure the guards could see he was unarmed. "Can I help you?" he called out.

"Are you Chuck Henry? Ex-Captain, US army Air Corp?" said one of the three standing by the ops hut door. Chuck noticed he was not wearing any collar brass. A quick glance showed him that none of them were wearing any rank insignia of any kind. Army? Air Force? Marines?

"Yes. Emphasis on the 'ex' part." said Chuck, just in case they were from the government, here to help, and that help would include reactivation of his commission.

The man nodded towards the door of the Ops Hut, "Let's talk."

Chuck noticed the guards relax and turned their attention to scanning the surroundings. Walking past them, he brushed past the other three men and entered the hut. Inside, the only occupant hopped off of Chuck's desk and hopped onto the window sill. One of the three men glanced at the cat with suspicion.

"Ghost Cat. He's harmless, and won't spill the beans" said Chuck as he sat down.

"Spill what beans?" asked the man Chuck assumed was in charge.

"Oh, come on. Twelve armed guards?" said Chuck in a tone that he hoped conveyed an "I've been there before, so don't jerk me around".

"Very well. I'm Colonel Bill Jones, this is Captain Larry Jones and Lieutenant Bob Jones..."

"Any relation?" asked Chuck.

Colonel Jones looked at Chuck for a second, then pressed on, "We have a cargo that we cannot transport through normal military means and channels, so we'd like to hire your services. Ten thousand up front, all expenses, the full package...."

"And the cargo is...?"

"You have no need to know.." said Captain Jones.

Chuck leaned back, propped his feet up on the desk, "Go suck an egg."

"The cargo is non-hazardous, if that is what you are concerned about.." said Lieutenant Jones.

"But I only have your word on that, right?"

"Yes." said the Colonel. "Besides, myself, and six guards will be traveling with the cargo."

"Are their last names also 'Jones"?" asked Chuck.

"No." said Colonel Jones. "'Smith'."
Last edited by Boikat on Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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nice work boikat!

Postby samaulle_esun » Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:53 am

There are a couple of problem areas that I found. First you use a few too many commas, and second there are one or two bits that I'd omit for continuity's sake. But I know one thing for sure, I'd read this book! I like your style, it's funny :mrgreen:
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Re: Chuck Henry and the Secret Cargo

Postby Bmat » Sat Jun 20, 2009 7:01 am

I'm hooked. I want to know what is going to happen next. My first thought is human cargo. :)
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Re: nice work boikat!

Postby Boikat » Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:26 am

samaulle_esun wrote:There are a couple of problem areas that I found. First you use a few too many commas, and second there are one or two bits that I'd omit for continuity's sake. But I know one thing for sure, I'd read this book! I like your style, it's funny :mrgreen:


Thanks! Yes, excessive comma usage is a bad habit of mine. I think it's because I'm trying to emphasize a point or an "aside". Just be glad I don't use parenthesis instead! :)

Be even more glad that "Spelling Cow" works! :P

About the only things I saw on re-reading that would be interrupting the continuity is the backgrounds of Chuck and Jimmy. But I wanted to get that out of the way. We know early on that Chuck is ex-Army Air Corp, flew in WWII, probably as a cargo pilot, and we know Jimmy is sort of a "waif" with a knack for mechanics, though not necessarily a mechanical genius, like Kalie from Firefly. That's why I put in the bit about the hammer and delicate equipment.

I like to keep things funny, or keep an aspect of humor in stories since I have a somewhat cynical view of life as being a bit of a joke, most of the time.

Glad you liked it. :)
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Re: Chuck Henry and the Secret Cargo

Postby Boikat » Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:28 am

Bmat wrote:I'm hooked. I want to know what is going to happen next. My first thought is human cargo. :)


Thanks! As far as the cargo, we shall see. Mwahahahah!
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Re: Chuck Henry and the Secret Cargo

Postby samaulle_esun » Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:04 am

I think there was actually only one bit that I thought it could do without, let me check.

I think it was about the resident aircraft in the first paragraph, but now I see that it's kind of needed. The commas aren't that much of a problem, you just use them where I usually don't but where sometimes people do. Not really any problems, just trivial ones :oops: :mrgreen:
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Re: Chuck Henry and the Secret Cargo

Postby Boikat » Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:43 pm

No problem, and thanks for the input! :)
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Re: Chuck Henry and the Secret Cargo

Postby Boikat » Sun Jun 21, 2009 3:23 pm

[align=center]Chuck Henry and the Secret Cargo[/align]

[align=center](The next part..)[/align]


The negotiations, if you could call it that, was interrupted by a commotion outside. The commotion was composed of a slightly built Latino woman wearing a loosely fitting one-piece work coveralls and two of the nondescript GI's, one of whom was slowly sinking to his knees, eyes crossed, and hands covering his groin area. He appeared to be in great pain. The other guard that was directly involved was backing off a bit, while the remaining guards were watching, not quite sure what to do.

Chuck and the three officers stormed out of the Ops Hut door.

"What in thunder is going on?!" yelled Colonel Jones.

Chuck kept going and took Jimmy by the arm and then stood between her and the other guard. The other one was now curled up in a fetal position and squeaked out, "Help me!"

"She came out of nowhere, Sir." said the guard.

"She came out from under the Condor's left wing. She's my maintenance crew and co-pilot and flight engineer." said Chuck.

Captain Jones and Lieutenant Jones looked surprised, and the Lieutenant reached into a pocket and pulled out a note book. After flipping through a few pages, he said, "No mention of any women, but there is a 'Jimmy' listed..."

Chuck made an introductory hand gesture, "This is Jimmy."

"Okay, everyone stand down. You, " he said to the guard that was involved in the dust-up and still standing, "Help him to the back of one of the trucks." Turning to Chuck, he said, "This complicates things. She's not American, is she?"

"Her pappy was a GI, KIA in the Pacific during World War Two. And before you even think it, if she don't go, I don't go, and the magic phrase is, 'Go suck an egg', if you think you can change my mind on that." Chuck said with a tone of finality.

The Colonel took a deep breath, and let it out with a sigh. "Okay. I'll also make sure the guards know that they need to be on their best. They're good men, or they wouldn't be here."

"Suits me, but I still need to know a bit more about the cargo."

The Colonel nodded, and turned to go back into the ops hut. "I'll tell you as much as I can. But remember, it's highly classified."

Back inside, Chuck had to "shoo" Ghost Cat off his chair. The Charcoal Tabby jumped back onto the window sill.

"You can trust him, too." Chuck said, nodding at the cat.

"One would certainly hope so." said the Colonel. "Okay, here's a partial rundown of the straight poop. I can tell you what it's not. It's not hazardous, as far as we know. It's not a new atomic or hydrogen bomb, of bomb of any sort, as far as we know. It's not a chemical weapon, as far as we know. Also, it's not built in the U. S., which is for certain, and not built by anyone else on Earth, as far as we know. In addition, we don't..."

"Whoa." said Chuck. "Did I hear that last bit correctly? Not built by anyone on Earth, that we know of?"

"Well, that is the funnest part. There are marking, and they are in English, but they don't help much. But things about it, aspects of its function and construction, that we just have no clue about."

"Well, where did it come from, then? England?"

The Colonel shook his head, "We're fairly certain is was of U. S. origin."

"But you just said it wasn't built in the U. S., and of that you are certain."

The Colonel looked like he was thinking over a point, then finally said, "We think it's from the future."

Chuck starred at the Colonel for a couple of seconds, the chuckled, "Okay. Nice cover. I'll pretend to believe that, but assume it really is a bomb of some sort, but that the arming mechanism has been removed and that it's totally safe."

"If that makes you feel better, sure." said the Colonel.

"Not really, but okay, assuming I'm in, where are we taking this...bomb.. thing?"

"I'll have to wait until we're in the air, after our second refueling stop, to tell you the final destination. But our first two stops will be Jamaica, then Panama. And yes, you will have to fly low and fast over Cuba, at night.

Chuck had to pick his jaw up off the floor. "Cuba? I may be out in the sticks, but even I know we missed World War Three because Russia blinked a bit less than a year ago because of nukes in Cuba. And I think they are still miffed, and so is the Cuban government, and thy may not have nukes there any more, but they still got AA and SAM sites. And their crews are still honked off about a couple of Crusaders over-flying their emplacements, taking photos along the way..."

"All the more reason to fly low, fast, and at night. Besides, we have... operatives... on the ground along the route, so the nearest AA or SAM sites will be out of commission for a large enough window of time. We should have no problems. Besides, we also know you frequently fly low and fast to begin with."

"You do?" asked Chuck with a trace of amusement

"Yes. And we know 'why', too."

"You do?" repeated Chuck, again. But this time, there was no trace of amusement.

"Yes. We do." confirmed the Colonel.

"So, you had me 'had' from the beginning. Is the ten grand still on the table?"

"Yes" said the Colonel.

"Deal." Said Chuck. He turned to Jimmy and pointed out the window at the Condor, "Oiled?"

"Si!" said Jimmy with a thumbs up.

"Pack and overnight bag, we got cargo!"

"Si!" said Jimmy again with a thumbs up and a large grin. She may not have understood much about what was said, but she understood "ten grand", and knew that half was hers.

Turning back to the Colonel, he said, "So, when do we leave?"

"At Sundown."
Last edited by Boikat on Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chuck Henry and the Secret Cargo

Postby samaulle_esun » Sun Jun 21, 2009 6:59 pm

This is definetly a book that I'd read :mrgreen:

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Re: Chuck Henry and the Secret Cargo

Postby Boikat » Sun Jun 21, 2009 9:07 pm

I beieve so. Garry Wassner has, IIRC.
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Re: Chuck Henry and the Secret Cargo

Postby The Master » Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:33 am

I really like it Boikat. I especially like how dialog driven it is.
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Re: Chuck Henry and the Secret Cargo

Postby Boikat » Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:42 am

Thanks! I usually write like I'm watching an older movie, so dialog is the "prime mover". I always liked the styling of some of the movies like the "Thin Man" mysteries, good duologue, and of course, humor. As a matter of fact, I think subconsciously I was "envisioning" William Powell as "Chuck", or at least a mid 1960's version of Powell with a dash of Tom Selleck or Harrison Ford.
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