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Ninety Days Inside The Empire: A Novel by William Appleman Williams

Flying Home to Church

Page 21

The duty orderly notched a knuckle on the moulding of the door as he banged away to awaken the transient pilots in the Bachelor Officers' Quarters. He was a Marine just west from Paris Island and a bit overeager to perform properly. He spit-licked the blood.

From Inside: "Christ, you sound like it's World War III!"

"No, Sir!"

"If you don't stop that noise you're goin' to arouse my wife and he will be extremely unhappy."

"Yes, Sir!" The young Marine smiled. He heard about the strange talk at Annapolis.

"Take a deep breath, private."

"Yes, Sir!"

Lt. Kerry Trevor Wye was in the head taking his G. I. Issue early morning shit and trying to find something worth his attention in what was touted as the best Sunday newspaper in New Orleans. Nothing of consequence was happening at the top or the bottom, so he hitched his shorts and walked to the door.


-- I'm bein' silly, but then so is this whoever the hell he is outside.

"Yes, Sir!"

He opened the door and looked up into the jaw of a giant teenage Marine.

-- If he's got a .45, then I need a quad-forty millimeter.

He laughed. So did the Marine.

"That's better, Private. Now just what in the hell is all this important?"

"Sir, are you Lieutenant Wye?"

"Private, you got it on the first fly-by. What do you want?"

"Sir, your Operations Officer is on the horn in the flight room."

-- Shit! I flew it perfect. What hair's up whose ass?

"I'll beat you there."

He popped out around the Marine and hit the rail along the ladder, worrying that Susan was sick, and then phone to ear.

"Lieutenant Wye, Sir."


-- The Man! I figured just the duty officer.

"...we got a problem and I need you back today."

"Another fuckin' war..."

-- Christ, there I go.

"...Scrub that, Sir."

Mitch smothered his laugh with the phone up his armpit. He did like Cat.

"Just calm down, Lieutenant."

-- I smell trouble.

"You remember the squall about tellin' the white rate that you wouldn't fly wings unless he worked with the Negro?"

-- Shit, here we go for a board of inquiry.

"Yes, Sir."

"Well, that ain't it but the wind's from the same direction."

"Commander, am I sloppin' around in cow pies?"

Mitch laughed. Leave it to Cat.

"No, but it's the same kind of stuff and we need you in The Reverend's Church tomorrow at eleven."

Cat was fumbling. "You want Run-Run... sorry, Lieutenant Reis? What's the weather and you getting us gassed?"