“Jesus. Are we going to Mars?”
Ben had seen plenty of planes, and in fact, he might’ve jumped out of one once, but this sleek thing of beauty was in a class by itself. Not like a big lumbering dinosaur flying fortress or the propeller driven suicide machines he saw during the war. Bud just laughed.
“Not this trip, Sarge!”
Bud parked the car cavalierly and the two men popped out. They had driven all day to this spot, a strange, deserted, flat piece of ground somewhere down the coast. Ben wasn’t sure where they were. In fact, he had no idea. In fact, he had a hard time focusing all day, since just after breakfast.
“Bud, lissen, what’s this all about?” Ben noticed his words slurred a bit as he slid them out.
“You know that gum you were chewing?” Bud asked, as he knocked on the side of the plane.
“Well, I’ll level with you, Sarge. Right after you agreed to come with me on this, I slipped you a mickey. Shit’s gonna get really weird on you quick, and I know sometimes you do your best work if you can get a little altered, and I want this to go down easy for you. ”
With a low hum, the staircase doorway to the plane unfurled with a mechanical swivel.
“But you agreed. Remember that. I didn’t trick you. All you cared about was bringing your records and seeing some heat again, and that’s fine by me, because I know you’ve got a motherfucker of a record collection and can swing OK against some heat.” Bud said, poking Ben in the chest. He then quickly changed the subject.
“Louise! You ready to go, or you want to stretch your legs first?”
“I’m ready now. Let’s get gone.” a tough, almost feline female voice responded. Ben looked up to the top of the steps and was struck by the sight of the chick from the hotel bar the night before, now looking like she was ready to go toe to toe with Marlene Dietrich in black slacks, black shirt, high boots, and aviators,
“Ah.” she said, “You hooked him.”
Ben inhaled deep, then smirked hard. “Sorry now that I blew you off before. I suppose you and Bud are in cahoots.”
“Something like that, I suppose. Mr.Allen speaks very highly of you. You can drink, I’ll say that for you. Easy coming up the steps.” And with that, she disappeared into the cockpit.
“Whoa.” Ben said.
“Yeah.” Bud replied, “C’mon, man. Let’s get going.”
Bud carefully followed Ben up into the plane, where he let out an exclamation at the lushness of the tricked out interior. Attached couches lined the wall, and in the center run of the tubular flying room was a console loaded with screens and buttons. Everything was luxurious white, metal and glass.
“You’re sure we’re not going to Mars?” Ben asked, just before he flopped into the plush amenity.
“Ah, there ain’t shit on Mars, Sarge. Lay back, buckle up, and saw some logs. I’ll cue up Round Midnight.”
Bud pressed a couple of buttons, a circuit connected, some reels turned, and the warm sound of Miles Davis filled the air, just as the plane began it’s run for takeoff. Ben wasn’t awake and he wasn’t asleep, but he he was looking forward to killing someone again. Someone who really had it coming.
Am I moving too slow for you? Spend a buck and get it all.