Twin Cessna 75 X-Ray


"Gil," she gasped into the phone. "You'll never guess who just walked in the door. Je-sus..."

    "This is Cessna 75 X, intercom to base. 75 X, to base. 
    "Tell Gil we have Keith plus four. Alan Dunn and wife, Jane Rose, and some knockout named Patti. 
    "We're twenty miles out. Will call back over the Outer Marker. 
    "Tell Gil to get the Cadillac cooling. We've got his man." 
    That was pilot Bob Adams. I switched off the scanner, grabbed my leather briefcase, and began the procedures for turning off the lights at our company headquarters at the Worcester Airport. Convenient, having your offices at the Airport, particularly if you have a twin-engine airplane. Long View shares its office space with the large student travel company I started as a graduate student at Yale, and to which I have continued to devote myself over the years. 
    One bank of lights went out after another. Mailroom, sales cubicles, computer room, overseas offices, travel agency, financial offices, acceptance division, finally Gil's office. I scooped up my gin & tonic, locked the stainless steel double doors, and lurched out into the warm summer night, toward the car, the arrival gate, and my night's work. 
    It had been a long day — the day of the Keith Richards creeping delay. 
    No, Keith could not possibly make it at two. He had a dentist'sappointment at two. Keith was late for his dentist's appointment. No,  Keith did not leave for the airport directly from the dentist's; he had to visit a friend first, on the way out of the city. What friend, or for what purpose, unknown. It was now suppertime. Keith was still at the friend's house, expecting to leave soon for Teterboro, but hadn't left yet. Keith finally leaves for Teterboro, it's thought. No one knows for sure. Gil calls Teterboro; no Keith, although the plane's there and waiting. Gil calls Teterboro a half-hour later; still no Keith. Gil calls Teterboro a half-hour later still; now 8:30 PM, or thereabouts. 
    "Charlotte. I'm glad it's you this time. It's Gil Markle. Listen, I've got some high-level clients meeting 75 X-Ray, any minute now. I'm calling to see if anybody's showed up yet." 
    "Who this time, Gil?" 
    "Never mind, Charlotte, it doesn't matter. Should be a group of four or five, some English. Seen anybody like that, Charlotte? Charlotte? You there, Charlotte?" 
    I heard a loud noise, as though Charlotte had dropped the receiver onto the floor. Commotion. Charlotte's voice, high pitched and squeaking. 
    "Gil," she gasped into the phone. "You'll never guess who just walked in the door. Je-sus...
    "It's not Keith Richards by any chance, is it Charlotte?" 
    "Gil," she said with determination, "I hate you." 
    That's when I first knew we had our man. Also, that's when I first knew, or felt, that my meditation was projecting itself out into the world in conformity with the manifest wishes of others, and hence the Grand Design; I mean, that the Rolling Stones were coming to Long View Farm. I looked at the clock, switched on the aircraft scanner, and went down to the bar for a gin & tonic. 
    I had now only another hour or so to wait.


 All original material copyright © Gilbert Scott Markle. All rights reserved.