Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center
Ninety Days Inside The Empire: A Novel by William Appleman Williams

Squalls Along the Flight Line

Page 15

The Air Safety and Deputy Operations Officer was naked. Also his wife Caroline. They were happily, mindlessly entwined.

They had maneuvered their nine-year-old daughter off to a friend's house for the weekend, and after a well-intentioned if bumbling breakfast cooked by Mitch they had banged over the champagne on their way to the floor. Bare-asses in the sunshine, and enjoying how beautiful it had been.

The phone rang.

Again. And still again.

His hand strayed insistently on its finger tips from her bottom to her upper inner thigh.

"You have to get it, Mitch."

"I am."

"I adored you as a lustful Naval aviator, but you have to do the phone so we can do other things."


"You have to answer. Damn you, stop that...."

"Stop what? You got some fetish you been keepin' a secret?"

"Mitch, you got to answer!"

"All my birds are in the nest, and I'm on my way back into mine."

"I can't come if you don't answer."

"You answer."

"MITCH. You have to answer!"

"I told you they're all home."

"I'll be here for you."

So somewhere along the fifteenth ring he levered himself up over her hip and lifted the phone: "Air Safety and Operations."

"Mitch." No question, just "Mitch."

He knew the voice. He was on his feet, his penis shrinking.


"You sound a bit away. How often do you get happy 'fore noon?'

"Never mind, you horny Baptist. Just give me the sermon."

Caroline giggled, arose and naked began to sop up the champagne and drip it into the flower pots. She was fidgety, even kind of scared. Her innards wiggled. She sensed they were getting marching orders. But passion takes many disguises. She knew she would fly with Mitch on a barn door if it came to that. She would also have her say along the way.

"The sermon is it's time. We got to start doin' it."

"So doin' what when and where?"

"Listen to The Preacher." Griff gave a pithy report culminating in his order of the day. "You get everyone you can into the church tomorrow at 11."

"You goin' to talk that good?"

"I'll try. Had lots of help already today."

"We'll be there."

"And Mitch...."


"I special want those two who came down here on their own."

-- Better lie a bit.

"Heard something 'bout that."

"Get 'em."

"Shit, Griff, they're in New Orleans on a cross country."

"Don't care, get 'em."

"Got to ask why."