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Strait Flush Ch 8 Friday 0920
Strait Flush Ch 8 Friday 0920
Marty was sitting on the personnel door, smoking a cigar when the limo pulled to a stop near the hanger door. An ancient Ford flatbed truck was parked in front as well.
As the Mercedes doors closed, several Filipino men emerged from the shadow of the hanger. The loaders.
Marty stubbed his cigar and ambled toward the car. He appeared agitated.
"Tom, I don't know these guys.." He gestured towards the workers. "But it looks like they've been poking around in the crates. I don't trust them, considering the risk that's involved here."
"Well, they did unload the crates from the truck into the warehouse, let's take a look at what's inside." Tom noticed the loaders looking sheepish as they walked toward the open doors with Galib.
One of the workers pushed the door open wider to reveal a series of wooden crates in good condition, stenciled with markings of a major oil company. The crates were about six feet long, two by two feet on ends and banded with steel three-quarter inch straps. Tom counted twenty-eight crates in haphazard array on the floor, some stacked. Attached to the strap of one was a large plastic ziplock bag with several pages of documents.
Marty pulled the ziplock bag open and examined the papers, nodded approval to Tom and reinserted them into the bag, then stuffed the bag into a pocket on his Nomex pantleg.
"Do we have materials to reband the boxes after we inspect them?" He shouted into the cavernous storage space.
"There is a roll of banding strap and bander on the truck, Mr. Rossi." Galib answered softly. I will stay here with the loaders until you are finished. The others will be leaving now, with your permission."
"When will they be back for the completion of this exchange?"
"I have a cellular telephone in my pocket. When you are finished I will call them."
Tom turned to Galib. "It may be several hours."
"That is OK. I am here to assist." Galib turned to Rahman and Kamiab and spoke for a moment in Arabic. Several questions, Tom thought, according to their inflections. The two turned to Tom.
"Salaam alaykum, Mista Rossi."
"Salaam alaykum, gentlemen." The Arabs turned and slid into the Mercedes which disappeared a moment later in a cloud of dust. Marty walked over to Tom.
"Well, compadre, you know how Custer felt?" Tom grinned. Marty got serious again. "I want to supervise the reloading of the crates. I don't want half-full boxes shifting around. I'll make sure the plane is loaded correctly. I wonder if these yahoos have ever seen the inside of an airplane before."
"I appreciate it, Marty. I'm going to set up inside and unload the lightest box first just to empty it, then unload one, inspect, reload two until one is empty."
"Gotcha. I'd love to help, but I'm not sure what to look for. You know us Air Force types aren't good at that Gyrene stuff." Marty grinned and punched Tom lightly on the shoulder.
"Yeah, I appreciate it anyway. Let's get started.." The two Americans walked inside the hanger and separated the loaders into two teams, one removing the bands, the other repackaging. All lids came off until the SA7 Grail anti-aircraft missiles were located and unloaded. Then Tom would systematically check the operation of each weapon.
Rossi felt the automation of the assault rifles' inspection come back like a good memory. It was years since he checked the bolt on an AK47, which seemed crude compared to the AK74 and RPK. The Chinese and Soviets did have one good idea here; all of their personal weapons were similar in action and parts, so that an infantryman who learned to fieldstrip one should have no trouble adapting to a similar model, or even a medium machine gun. The pace increased until three hours had passed.
There were twenty-one crates on ground near the truck. The remaining crates were field supplies, to which Tom gave a quick look over to satisfy himself. The entire load packed into twenty-five crates. Rossi had scribbled approximate weights onto each box, allowing three kilos per rifle, five for each medium-duty machine gun, and guessed the remaining. Galib, who had been quietly sitting near the door, stood and approached Tom.
"Mr. Rossi, should I call my companions, it may be a half hour before they arrive, by then the plane should be loaded. Tom agreed.
Marty was busy filling out the labels and attaching them to the crates. The Filipinos loaded them onto the truck, four at a time and dropped them off at the plane's rear ramp. The ramp was still in the up position, noted Tom. Maybe Marty has had bad experiences before as well.
Shortly after dropping the ramp, securing the load to the cargo bay and checking out the plane one last time, the Mercedes was heard approaching the warehouse. It appeared around the side and stopped near the C130, Rahman and Kamiab stepped out.
Tom and Marty both were sweating from the physical activity, coupled with the warm breeze from across the valley.
"Salaam alaykum” Tom greeted the two approaching Arabs.
"Salaam alaykum” A flurry of Arabic toward Galib, to which the interpreter answered. Smiles. Tom only found four weapons damaged and decided to keep them for parts stock after tagging them as unserviceable.
Marty came up alongside Tom "Payday, boss?"
"It looks like it." Tom retrieved his briefcase from where he stood it while inspecting the weapons and unlocked it. Inside, he counted out sixty-five stacks of hundred-bill wads, each bill in the stack was a thousand-pound note. Handling this amount of money made him especially nervous, given the proximity of weapons, ammunition and unknown dockworkers. Marty gulped loudly after seeing the cash for the first time. Galib took the money from Tom and briefly inspected the stacks. The two Arabs acted as though they were selling a used car.
""Galib, it has been a pleasure doing business with you." Tom shook the Arab's hand, then the two from Dubai as well. "Please tell the same to these two gentlemen."
Galib spoke in Arabic and Tom saw the expressions change to warmth. They spoke back as the Filipinos in the truck departed. Galib interpreted "And to you, brave Americans. May Allah look with favor upon you and your houses for this generation and many to come. May these weapons never find their way into criminal hands or do injustice to the ways of Islam. May this exchange help to defend those who will fight tyranny and oppression." Tom once again envisioned a tiger, circling its prey ""...and bring peace to those who rely on their goodness to conquer their enemies. In's Allah." A prayer for good fortune and guidance.
The three Arabs departed, leaving the two Americans facing each other.
"Well, that was fun. Are your Friday afternoons normally this exciting, Tom?"
"Usually it's stolen cars or damsels in distress. This is my arms smuggling week."
"Shall we depart, Sir?" The two stepped into the personnel hatch and raised it behind them. Strapping in, Marty checked the gauges and cranked the engines to life, then slowly taxied the Hercules to the end of the runway. Within minutes, the landing gear was up as the plane arced its way southward.
11/1/2005 4:15 am
Great writing Jim ... I can't imagine the life you've experience to write so easily about these experiences|
I had a few flights in a C130 and I've never been in a plane I was more happy to jump out of
S'io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s'i'odo il vero,
Senza tema d'infamia ti rispondo.
11/1/2005 2:33 pm
Jim, I'm still trying to read all that has already been posted. As soon as I get caught up, I'll post something more direct and useful. I am liking it so far!|
11/1/2005 6:54 pm
same with you on yours....I'm going to sit and go thru all the chapters when I get some time and give you some feedback...thanxx|
11/1/2005 10:02 pm
Well, I read all of chapter 8. Unfortunately, I have not read any other chapters. Yet. |
I have absolutely no idea what is going on, but your writing has promise. Therefore, I will be going back and give this story a shot...
11/2/2005 12:00 pm
Hey Keith...take your time...read thru from chapter 1 on up..story gets better..next chapter takes the real twist..|
Hi katey....and I'll always notice you...
11/9/2005 12:32 am
Hey AsianLady...I think chapter one starts a page or two back. I would be honored if you read it and gave me some feedback whenever you can... |
11/18/2005 3:08 pm
just send me the autograped copy|
11/19/2005 12:00 pm
...you'll be at the top of the 'autographed copy' pile, Papy...|