Friday, August 25, 2017

The Prisoner's Tale Conclusion

Episode 1 can be found here
Episode 2 can be found here
Episode 3 can be found here

This all started on a flight from Duluth MN to Cairo IL. Fitting it should end after a flight in the opposite direction. KCIR to KDLH at the start of the longest day of my life.

I had lost my way. I had certainly lost who I was.

I picked them up in Cairo for a flight up to Duluth where the captain would pick up an ore carrier for Cleveland delivery. I’d planned to pick up his wife later the same day. Our destination was to be somewhat different.

We’d been at it for a year by now. Getting together for...whatever. We’d started target shooting. She seemed interested in shooting and guns, so that’s what we did. If she had been interested in collecting stamps or coloring books, I’d have done that too. Somewhere along the way she had started wearing light cotton gloves when shooting. Said the blowback made her hands itchy and blotchy.

I was waiting for her to call my motel and let me know when the captain had left on his trip to Cleveland and late in the afternoon she called and said she had seen him off on his voyage but that the vessel wouldn’t sail until five a.m. or so but that he would be tied up aboard ship all night. Then she gave me directions to a location outside of Duluth. She said it was a remote wooded location and she wanted me in the woods--like an animal. She said to wait there for her.

I found the location with the help of a detailed road map (remember Rand-McNally?) and a stop or two at a local gas station/country store. Then I waited...and waited.

I’d brought along a bottle, we always had a few drinks along “just for relaxation”. I guess I relaxed too much, I guess. I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until nearly 2:00a.m. She hadn’t shown up, of course, and I couldn’t call her. Remember, this was in 1979, no GPS and cell phones then. Find a payphone somewhere or you were without communications until you found your way back to civilization. All those country stores had closed at like five p.m. of course. Anyway back to my motel I went, I had planned to call from there. I never got to make that call.

I’ll make the rest of this as brief as possible:

The police were waiting when I got there. I was arrested and charged with the murder of Captain C….. and the brutal beating of his wife. Evidently she had lured the Captain back to her room. Or had been surprised when he showed up unexpectedly. I suspect she had gotten some new dupe to do the beating and perhaps the shooting too, though I have no way of knowing.

Remember those gloves she always wore shooting? Turns out they kept her fingerprints from the gun. The somewhat smeared and blotted prints were mine of course. The prosecutor said the blotting was from my clumsy attempts to wipe the gun clean. No one was given a gunshot residue test other than me. I failed. I’d been target shooting that afternoon to kill time waiting for her.

My attorney managed to get me a deal, the best he could do I guess--30 to life with a chance for parole after 25 years. The D.A. had wanted life without the chance of parole, so that was the best I could hope for.

I was up for parole again last year. She came to the hearing to plead that I not be released from prison, citing the brutal beating she had received and a continuing fear for her life. She still had those guileless blue eyes...and that black, black soul.

I found this tune on my radio the other day. It says a lot to me. Maybe you might think about it if you ever meet a woman with guileless blue eyes:

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Prisoner's Tale continued This post contains adult rated materal.

Part I can be seen here.
Part II can be seen here.
This flight is from Cairo Il to Shreveport LA.

We started sleeping together whenever the Captain was gone, which seemed to be a lot. And I don't guess we actually slept all that much. What we did was...well it was what we did. Occasionally one or the other (or both of us) was left bruised and sometimes bloody by what we did to each other. Neither one of us complained.

Once I had a girl friend (she was married and I was too) and I asked her what I had permission to do to her. She replied "anything you want as long as it doesn't leave marks for my husband to see". I asked Sydney (yeah, her) and the answer I got was "anything you want that doesn't kill me or leave me crippled".

I don't how she managed to have such clear and innocent turquoise eyes. She'd been through a lot. She had these cut scars on the inside of her thighs and upper arms like four long series of slash marks ///////. I found out much later they are usually signs of self cutting. Teenage girls seem to do it a lot when they feel they have no control over their lives.

She also had scars on her back that looked an awful lot like cigarette burns.

Sometimes she cried when she slept.

She would call me whenever the captain was away on some ocean or Great Lakes voyage. Usually he was gone for long periods--weeks even. We would arrange to meet and off we would go, into whatever world we were living in. Yeah, my performance for my employer wasn't the best and I lost a job or two, but it was just so easy to find another flying job back in the late seventies.

We did do other things. She'd come up with some idea and it wasn't long before I was thoroughly sold that nothing else would do me but to do whatever she thought of. Or maybe I thought of. I was no longer sure.

It started innocently enough...go see some sight or museum. She bought us motorcycles and we learned to ride them.

Learned to shoot guns--I had enough guns in the Marines but it was what she wanted to do and so it was OK with me.

Then she wanted to do other things. Or was it me?

We stole a car and took a joy ride. Then another one, and burnt it to the ground.

Then we robbed a 7-11 for a thrill. Then another. And somehow the clerk got shot.

Listen, I have to tell you our time together was like compressed somehow. These things happened over a horribly short period of time.

The whole sorry mess probably took less than six months. Just six months and my life was over.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Prisoner's Tale

This flight is from Burlington IA KBRL to Sault Ste Marie MI.

I guess I always was in trouble of one sort or another.
Being a teenager in the early '60's in Eastern Kentucky meant having to go to work early. I didn't ever want to go into the coal mines. There was an airport outside of Hazard, not much of one but a place to hang out, wash planes, do some grunt work pushing airplanes and listen to the mine owners laugh about the dumb A..ed miners, like my dad. I wanted to fly so I swallowed my anger and smiled. And finally got taught to fly by the airport owner. I also got into trouble here and there. When the trouble got too bad the judge (an airplane owner himself) offered me a choice of jail or the Marines. I chose the Marines and got assigned to flight training.

I got assigned to a carrier and was stationed off Vietnam, flying cover for grunts and doing ground attack flying an A4D Skyraider.

We'd fly over, drop a little (actually a lot) of napalm, launching rockets as directed, and blowing up a few hooches here and there. I think a lot of those hooches never had more than mamma-san and papa-san inside. Occasionally, some light small arms fire would be returned but generally not a thing.

I found a drug habit too. Hell, everybody in the Nam used drugs of some sort even the high brass, looking at how they ran their war.

I finally managed to get shot down and taken prisoner. Not something I recommend to anyone.

My broken leg sort of healed itself while I was in the Hanoi Hilton. I also lost 65 lbs but did kick the drugs. Not a rehabilitation program I'd recommend but it worked. No more drugs, well except for maryjane. Like everybody else in the world I suppose.

Long story short, after I was "repatriated" the Navy fixed up my leg as well as possible and I got a medical discharge.

I bummed around a while, drove a big truck, drove a little truck, found my way back into aviation flying for a major corporation, and then found my way into piloting for first one charter service and then another.

And finally here I was flying for Mid-Central Air and things seemed to be settling down for me.

Then I was assigned the flight from Duluth to Cairo and life started a slide I couldn't have guessed at in even my wildest nightmares..

She was just so dang pretty and...well available I guess. I was looking for a thrill.

And she was looking for a thrill too.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Prisoner's Tale

I picked up my charter in Duluth MN bound for Cairo Il--a lakes freighter captain and wife bound for a late spring vacation. She had on a pair of Levis that were so tight I could see that she had a dime in her right rear pocket--it was heads--and the clearest, most innocent blue eyes. At the time I didn't know she also came equipped with a soul that would give the devil himself pause. And thereby begins my story...

I didn't think much at the time, in fact I was busy with getting the airplane off the ground and so dismissed the attractiveness sitting a few feet behind me.

But by the time I was getting turned onto course and had put the airplane on auto-pilot for climb and cruise I found I was getting a request from the ship captain asking whether his wife could ride the right seat. She was working on her private pilots license and wanted to study how to... And, well you get the idea.

So, sure. Nice scenery for me and maybe some study time for her.

She came up front after we had leveled out and scrambled into the right seat and rewarded me with a perfect smile and a flash of those turquoise eyes. Yeah, she also bumped me a couple of times while climbing into the seat. And maybe those bumps lingered a little and maybe the body parts that bumped were not hands or knees.

I had no idea where this was intended to go so kept my eyes front and center and attended to flying the airplane. But I sure did find those eyes irresistible. Honest to God I tried to keep myself to myself.

Before we started descent I asked her to go back to the passenger cabin and again there were those bumps and the hand overlong on my shoulder as she left the flight deck.

After landing and unloading the captain and the lady both shook my hand. When she did I felt a piece of paper pass from her hand to mine. I put the paper in my pocket and read it later and in private. Yeah, name, rank and serial number, so to speak, were all included. And times when it would be appropriate (her word) for me to call.

I didn't know it at the time, but in a few months she would be rich and I would be in prison for life. Oh yeah, and the captain would be dead.