Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ship Ahoy

I wrote this short as an excerpt to the life of a sister, not mine, who died soon after birth. Them being a military family it seemed appropriate to make his sister's life follow the same course. Enjoy.

I apologize if my designation of rank is incorrect. Read in the right ones and imagine!

This is a FICTIONAL story and is not intended in any way to portray any person or persons or to reflect negatively on any branch of the military of the United States to which I have the utmost respect for every woman and man who wears a uniform.

As always this material is the property of the author and is not to be published or reproduced in part or complete for any purpose other than PERSONAL use. Send your friends here to read it and view my other writings.

"The Wright's Rights"

Our family had become something unique. Sitting around talking, once again, we loudly proclaimed stories of daring do's of the past. Brothers and sister alike found ourselves joining military service in one branch or another. Each of us had more than a fair share of stories about near death experiences and near court martial offenses. We weren't rowdies but we lived life to its fullest, as close to the edge as military life would allow.

When we could get together, which was rare, we talked and ate and struggled to push away thoughts of "shove off dates".

No matter what part of the world we found ourselves stationed in we tried to make contact on holidays, birthdays and special occasions. What we wouldn't have given for the cell phone just twenty years ago!

Despite the distances, we were close. We watched each others backs growing up. No one messed with the Wrights! Sis, that's what we called Jackie, never really needed that kind of help, except one time.

Sis had joined the Navy. I was so proud of her. I could just bust when I would tell my friends! Over two years older than me, she had moved along pretty well and her rank had gone up nicely. Stationed on an aircraft carrier for her sea duty Sis found her calling and never left carriers. The first picture she sent me of the line of "her birds" on the deck, set me to day dreaming. I was just a kid then.

I graduated high school and finally had to contend with one of the hardest decisions I would ever make. What was I going to do with the rest of my life?

One afternoon I walked into the house and there on the wall the sun shone through the window in blazing rays. A splash of golden light seemed to dance on the picture, proudly displayed, of Sis in her Whites. Prickly bumps rose on my arms making me shiver.

The recruiter smiled as I told him why I wanted to join. He said it was good I was eighteen and didn't need my parents signature.

I kept my little secret as long as I could. The four weeks flew by and finally, I had no choice. Mom cried as the last of her babies was leaving the nest. Dad shook my hand then pulled me in for a big bear hug.

I'd never thought about what Sis had to go through for her training but after mine, I admired her all the more. Sometimes weeks seemed to pass in seconds and at other times minutes crawled by for days.

Several women had come into training when I did and it was hard to watch them endure what we had to go through to make grade. Not to talk the service down, but they were treated hard. No special provision was made just because they were female! Sometimes it seemed wrong and on occasion it made me sick. By the time I graduated I was ready to get away from the appearance of prejudice. Some of them made it, most didn't. Of course a lot of men dropped out too. Either you had the right stuff or you didn't.

Like Sis, I had often taken time across town at the little airport there. Planes were in my blood. If I couldn't fly, I'd help those who could. Aircraft maintenance was where I ended up. Fixing planes was as much fun to me as flying in them.

Sis didn't know about my posting. I kept that a secret. I had some choices and what could be better? Sea duty on a carrier fit my intentions just fine. I'd do my sea duty and get to spend it with Sis.

Carriers are huge! A person could be on one and not see most of the rest of the crew on board for days, as if you had time to go strolling about! You couldn't just wander around and so you spent the bulk of your time at or near your duty area. Your social life pretty much revolved around those you worked with as well.

My first day aboard, was what we don't talk about. I had been assigned to the same wing Sis was in and she didn't even know it! Like all the newbees, I rushed through the tight corridors to my assignment.

I was walking fast down the line of aircraft with just one set of numbers on my lips. I knew Sis was in charge of certain aircraft and so I memorized their numbers from her pictures. It was in my rush that I nearly missed seeing it. Not the jet I was assigned to, but the incident.

I'd walked past several jets and to my left on the wing of a twenty one a set of coveralls were bent over the cockpit. Another head popped up from the side on the same wing. The guy swung his hand and slapped the other person on the butt. The dark haired face that snapped up was red with rage.

The poor guy had made the biggest mistake of his life. Sis never hesitated as she spun. Her hand came up and in perfect military training precision, drove her fist into his face. His spine straightened with a snap and his feet left the wing. He fell backward to the deck, not ten feet from me! He hit hard and lay still on the deck. I thought she killed him!

Suddenly, there was shouting and a big Chief Petty started screaming at Sis. Someone called the sickbay and one of the Medics came running. He was kneeling over the guy shaking his head. I knew it wasn't good. They rushed the guy out and officers were thicker on the deck than a warm sea fog. Every one had just one question they were shouting back and forth. "What happened?" They didn't really want to know because if they had, they would have asked Sis.

One Officer was screaming at Sis about how she was going to pay. I felt sick. Nothing had changed! I started to tremble because for the first time I wanted out. Then deep inside, my guts boiled and I stepped beside my sister. She was shocked to see me, but she didn't flinch at one word the Chief was screaming.

" Sir!"

The Chief was mad and just short of foaming at the mouth. I thought he was going to pull my arms out of their sockets when he looked at me. I stood my ground just like Sis did. I'd heard what he had planned for her, well I'd give him two for one.

"What do you think you're doing Mister?" Man, could he yell!

"I may have something to explain all of this, Chief Petty Officer Waldon!"

He sneered at me. He could smell a fresh cut a mile away, and I was sure he would ask for a gun just so he could shoot me himself.

"What do have that might interest me mister?" I don't think Chief Petty's have a volume control for their voice, y'know? The launcher cycled and no one missed a word he said.

I pulled the strap on my video camera from around my neck. Turning the screen so he could see it, I hit the replay button. You know, I didn't know a face could go whiter than dress whites, his did.

I just wanted to catch her surprise on video when she saw me. You see I had the camera because I was supposed to be part of a crew taping training videos on aircraft maintenance. I figured I could edit Sis's shock out later.

He backed away for a minute. His hand reached for my camera. I pulled it away. His eyes came up, they locked on mine and I was sure he would kill me.

"What would you have done?" His gravely voice was raspy. He wanted to know, if I was her, would I have done the same thing.

"Sir, if she hadn't done it, I would have knocked his head off anyhow. You see, she, is my sister!" He stepped back from me. Looking up he groaned as he saw the names on our uniforms for the first time.

Wright, W. A., Wright, J. G., I thought he would puke right there.

We're family we watch each others backs. Sis will make Captain someday. The guy she hit, oh, he just slipped on the wing when she stood up too quickly. He got out on a medical. No one saw a thing. He can walk fine. His nose is a little crooked but hey, it could be worse.

Sea duty had a whole new meaning and my time flew by. When it was over, Sis ordered me off her ship. She said she could take care of herself and I have never had a doubt about that. I went land bound and ended up editing all those films I made. Followed them through until they ended up in classrooms. I was all over after that. I even earned my nickname through it.

I switched to journalism. Found I had a flair for the camera and pen. I gave it ten years. I get a little pension now.

What about tomorrow? Who knows? Right now, I need a cold Coke and a hot burger. Sis is yelling for the Ink Jockey to hurry up, idling on the deck is just wasting fuel.

Stans Visitors


Links to sites I promote

These are friends and associates who do art and music, and authors who have books available. If you are interested in such, email them and check out their site. They will contact you back with specifics.

If you want me to post a link to your site, email me. I will check out your content and let you know.

I am an author and lover of art and music and promote the same of those whom I know do the same. This site has some incredible dolls, all handmade, for sale. These artists are very talented and if you are looking for dolls and artwork I think this is one of the best places I've seen. This link is to an author friend who has his books available. "Time Angels" and the sequal "Time Angels II the Omega Key" by Jack Keene.

About Me

My childhood was spent growing up on a farm in the mountains of northern Pennsylvania. In those years I learned the lessons that would mold my character and moral center. In my teens I moved to a small city in southeastern PA. Like many teens I had my rebellion and found the futility of it. During my late teens I moved to central PA and in high school lost my heart to the girl who is now my wife. Presently I'm well into midlife and slowing rapidly. The things I used to do, I can't even remember. Married as 2021 for 46 years, we have a son, a daughter and five grandchildren. My son has two boys, my daughter three girls, I love irony! I am adding 2 great grandsons! I'm self-employed for most of 35 years in construction. Doing a project for a customer and getting their approval is wonderful and inspiring. I started writing when my children were younger. I did some stories for them and over time it became more of an interest. I now have four completed novels and several shorts and am working towards getting one or more published. One short has been published.