John woke with a mild hangover. The night before had been interesting, but he’d had his reservations about the woman and left the bar before things got complicated. The bedside clock read 6:17am. He groaned; 13 minutes of precious sleep he’d not be able to recover.
‘Still,’ he thought to himself, ‘there’s no worse way to wake up than to the sound of an alarm clock, so what loss is a quarter of an hour’s sleep really?’
Rolling out of bed he heard his joints clicking. A brief stretch, yawn and eye-rub and then he padded into the bathroom for his morning ritual. In the shower he contemplated the day’s itinerary. Meet the boss at the plane ready to launch at 8:45, fly to some out-of –the-way airfield in
Mississippi, wait for
the boss to conclude his meeting at a local company there and then fly home for
‘Should be home in time for dinner with the family,’ he told the shower walls.
He thought about the woman he’d been talking to in the hotel bar the night before. She had been youngish, blond and pretty. Attentive too – at first he’d thought she was a working girl: too pretty to pay attention to a forty-something graying man with no obvious wealth unless she was on the game. But no, it turned out she was attending a convention in town and was bored with the inane conversation of her contemporaries. John had gone to the bar after a light dinner and had merely wanted to read a few chapters of his book next to the fireplace with a beer in hand. She’d been sitting at the bar and introduced herself when he ordered his drink, making a complimentary comment about his reading material. The conversation had started from there and had wended its way through literature, history, classical music and travel. Her name was Gillian and during the second round of drinks her conversation and the look in her eyes changed to something more intense. Though no Adonis, John was handsome, fit, trim and cheerful, so he was not unused to the attention of women when he was away from home. Being married, he had developed a knack for politely declining these advances, whilst not offending the lady in question, but Gillian had seemed overly surprised when he made his excuses and left.
With a wistful smile at what might have been, he stepped out of the shower and toweled himself dry. Once dressed, and packed, he took the elevator to the lobby and, grabbing a banana from a nearby fruit bowl, checked out of the hotel. Twenty-five minutes later he was at the airport, putting his bags into the luggage compartment of the KingAir. The preflight was complete when his boss, David Lamaar, arrived. The old man waved John away as he tried to snag his boss’s bags, and deftly tossed then himself into the back of the plane.
‘You got the weather printout, boy?’ asked David.
‘Yessir,’ John replied
‘Can I see it?’
‘Only if you’re wearing your glasses, boss!’ finished David.
It was their usual morning banter and it was part of the reason flying for David Lamaar was so enjoyable. He was a pilot himself and, though his medical had lapsed, he was still an active participant whenever he flew on his King Air. John ran him through the weather brief and route clearance, fuel load and costs. Lamaar grumbled about the fuel price, but he was a serious player in the energy business and he understood the realities of jet fuel.
‘I’m just concerned about how those damn politicrats are going to gouge us on taxes and user fees….biting the damn hand that feeds them…’ he groused.
Once the engines were running, Lamaar called for taxi clearance and John moved off the chocks. The take-off was uneventful and they were soon climbing through 5000 feet southwestbound. Forty-five minutes later they landed at their destination. Once parked, John got out handed Lamaar’s laptop to him as he stepped off the airstair door and assisted him into the waiting limo.
‘I expect to be done in about 3 hours, John, see you then.’
‘I’ll keep an eye on the weather, boss,’ replied John, ‘but I don’t anticipate any issues for the return to
The limo pulled away. John turned to the line man and gave him the fuel order,
‘Top the main tanks, negative PRIST, and I’d like the ground power unit on line at 12 o’ clock.’
‘Sure thing, man,’ replied the line man.
Walking into the lobby of the executive terminal, John wondered where the generic name for the facility came from. To the aviation community the executive terminals at all airports were referred to as FBO’s: Fixed Base Operators, something to do with itinerant fuel providers settling down at locations and becoming fixed….amazing how these things become part of the lexicon, even abroad, he thought.
The young lady behind the counter in the lobby was pretty in a Southern kind-of-way; John exchanged the usual pleasantries and repeated the fuel and GPU request to ensure that it wouldn’t get lost in the system. Next stop the restroom and then a brief update of the weather and flight plan for the return leg. Fifteen minutes later John was flipping through the channels on the crew lounge TV. He glanced up as someone came into the room. A large Mississippi State Patrol officer and the FBO manager were looking at him expectantly.
‘Can I help you?’ asked John.
‘Are you John Vigor?’ asked the officer.
‘Yes, I am.’ John glanced at the officer’s belt. The side-arm holster was unclipped and the man looked tense. ‘Is there a problem?’
‘Sir, please stand up slowly, turn around and place your hands on your head.’
The next thing John was aware of was the rather large looking barrel of the officer’s pistol pointing at his chest.
‘Stand up very slowly, keep your hands where I can see them, turn around and place your hands on your head, I will not ask you again, sir.’
John carefully put down the remote and, keeping his hands on the arms of the easy chair, pushed himself upright and turned his back to the officer, placing his hands on his head, fingers interlaced. The handcuffs were unexpectedly warm, and the officer maneuvered him quickly back onto the edge of the seat, arms restrained behind his back.
‘Would someone please be kind enough to let me know what this is about?’ asked John.
‘John Vigor, you are under arrest for the murder of Gillian Louganis. You have the right to remain silent, anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford one, one will be provided for you…’
As often as he’d heard the words of the Miranda rights on TV shows and movies, having them read to him was a little unnerving to say the least.
‘Remain silent…seems like the best plan,’ he thought to himself. The next consideration was the boss. Lamaar would be pissed; not just that his pilot was under arrest, but that he’d need to make alternative arrangements to get back home.
‘May I make a call before we leave, I need to let my boss know what’s going on?’
‘You can make your call after we’ve processed you at the station,’ came the gruff reply.