Chapter 218

After the detectives left we told Crash he was going to spend a few days in a house filled with women. Then we had a discussion about a replacement house, we had agreed to fix it up and now it was gone. We would replace without question.

Marcy with her ‘it has to be done right’ ethic had taken out insurance on the complete package as soon as we signed the papers. The house, the antique biplane and the turboprop were insured with full replacement value on the house. If Crash had insurance of his own the companies could argue it out.

The girls, Crash and I walked out in the yard behind where the jet tankers were parked. The towing company had unloaded the wrecked security car there. We were going to take a look at it in the daylight for the first time. It opened another learning and reinforcement discussion for us.

Three of the cars had been stopped straight in on the lane with a few feet between them. The other two angled blocking off the exit completely with the county and state cars behind them, all of them with their emergency lights on. The girls had paired up in between the cars as I had trained them to do; never do anything alone. There is safety in numbers.

Bruce was the driver when he accelerated instead of slowing down as he got close to the cars. They opened up at the engine as I told them to do. All five girls emptied the ten round clips into the front end of the pickup then moved behind the cars for safety and to reload.

The engine was dying and the pickup slowing when the two officers opened fire into the passenger compartment; 2 rounds out of 20 hit Bruce and Sam, luckily not life threatening. The pickup slid head-on into the car Vicky had been driving, parked in the center of the lane.

With the state police in charge of the scene they raced up to the burning house. Ching Lee was the first one there and had figured out that I was inside the house. With the fire extinguisher she had helped knock down the flames at the door with Tony so I could get out. We turned emotional – I should have known it would – after all we were women. Sometimes a few tears cleanse the soul. I was told in not so polite terms that I was never to run into a burning house again.

While we were in our discussion the fuel truck came to refill with Jet A from the tanker. Crash was over chatting with the driver and watching the operation. After the girls and I finished our emotional chat, we joined them.

I told Crash I wanted the duster flown to the Island Airport for safe keeping until we could get a temporary modular home set up for him to stay there. We could use the cover story that it needed maintenance. I asked when the biplane was flown last.

“Four or five years,” he said.

“I will have one of the mechanics look at it,” I replied.

We decided to get a gate company to install a heavy duty gate to seal the lane. In the meantime I would ask Tony to leave one of the trucks blocking the road each night.

We then went out to the farm to look at what was left of the house and see if there were any items that were salvageable. Jack – our best pilot and one of the mechanics – met us there.

There was nothing left of the house but ashes and the twisted things that were made of iron. I felt very bad for Crash. With my arm around him I told him how sorry I was. The only thing that had survived was the clothes he had on his back and the antique double barreled shotgun that for some reason I had carried out with him. It was still in the back seat of the car.

Robbie, Jack and Crash went to the shed to check out the planes. The girls and I went to the SUV Tony was using as the mobile office. Tony was plotting the information with the laptop as the crews were sending it to him. There was a runner with a 4 wheeler picking up and delivering it to him.

While we were talking the Thrush duster fired up. They had pushed it outside. Jack taxied it towards the small blacktop runway and did the run-up. With the run-up finished, down the runway it went and was in the air in just a few hundred feet – with no load in it.

Jack did a couple of dusting passes with a tight loop at the ends and just a few feet off the ground, across the field in front of us before heading to the Island Airport.

Robbie and Crash came walking towards us with an ear to ear grin.

“Jack said he could train anyone to dust if they had any balls,” Crash laughed.

“I think if we washed the dust off the Stearman and put fresh AV gas and a battery in it we could fly it to Island Airport. All the cables are tight and the control surfaces good and smooth. The engine turned over nicely with the prop,” Robbie said.

“That’s not my call. You two can make that decision,” I replied.

We needed to get back; tonight’s class would be there before long. I was not teaching tonight. I had too much skin that was just too tender to be grabbed or slid against.

I was sitting this one out. Vicky, Lorrie, Ching Lee and Marcy were going to administer the punishment tonight. I had not answered any of the e-mails unless they were urgent. I had hundreds to catch up on.

I had been working on those emails for three hours when there was a knock on my open door. I was surprised to see Hanna Page from the channel 34 news, without escort. She was wearing one of our gym issued shorts and tee shirts.

She noticed the expression on my face.

“I joined the gym – I have been losing the ratings race with Marley. My producer says I have been putting on weight and it shows up badly on the TV. I am friends with Marley off-camera; she suggested that I join and explained the rules. I wanted to promise you myself; what happens in the gym stays in the gym,” she said. Then she added, “I am glad to see you are OK from last night. That was one brave thing to do.”

“I need to go. Jenny is waiting on me to design a work-out routine. That was some entrance physical, better than my doctor’s,” she said.

I welcomed her to the gym and decided I needed a break, so I walked down with her. I went to the refreshment center and she went with Jenny to the treadmill.

Edit by Alfmeister

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