The cinema of my dreams – I never wanted to go to Africa – Episode 46

Our hero knows he’s in serious trouble.

The problem is, there are familiar faces and a question of who is a friend and who is foe made all the more difficult because of the enemy, if it was the enemy, simply because it didn’t look or sound or act like the enemy.

Now, it appears, his problems stem from another operation he participated in, and because of it, he has now been roped into what might be called a suicide mission.

It took longer, as everything does when you’re in a hurry.
 
The plane was loaded, the fuel truck had just disconnected the final hose, and was leaving the field, and Davies was firing up the engines.
 
Everyone was on board and strapped in.  I gave my thanks to the Colonel and shut the door before joining Davies in the cockpit.
 
Looking at her cool, calm demeanor gave me confidence.  If anyone could get us out of here in one piece, she could.
 
I put the headphones on and put on the seat belt, just as she revved the engines, saw the wave from the ground crewman who removed the wheel chocks, and we started moving.
 
15 minutes to spare.  Would it be enough?
 
The Colonel had said that it was possible the helicopter might be one of those belonging to the air force and might have missiles that could shoot us down.  Not a good thought.  At the very least it would have a cannon, and if the bullets hit us, it could make an awful mess of the fuselage.
 
He didn’t have any good news though.
 
I was hoping it would just be a commercial helicopter with a couple of thugs with handguns shooting at us.
 
At the top of the runway, she didn’t waste time going to full throttle, and we started rumbling down the runway.  Unfortunately, the wind had changed and to take off we had to initially fly towards Congo airspace before turning towards our destination.
 
Then we lifted off and started gaining altitude.
 
Then I heard Davies mutter, “Fuck.”
 
Trouble.  I saw what elicited the curse.  The helicopter, heading towards us.
 
“Military,” she added.
 
Not that I had any idea what I was looking for, but it didn’t seem to have rockets, but it did have a cannon barrel under the fuselage.
 
“Brace yourself,” she said.  “We’re about to get on the roller coaster.”
 
Still climbing we were getting closer, and I could just see the cannon move.  If it was shooting rounds, they didn’t hit us, not from such a distance, but they were getting closer because we were still flying towards them.
 
Then, suddenly, she turned the planes to the right and down, a plunge so quick that my stomach was in my mouth.  I hate to think what it would be like for those in the back.
 
Aside from the fact my hearing was blocked by the headphones, I could still hear several mini-explosions coming from behind me.
 
Another curse, rather longer this time, from Davies and she twisted the plane back in the opposite direction, and heading around towards the airfield again, much lower down this time, with the helicopter in hot pursuit.
 
Now we couldn’t see it, but it would have a good view of our engines and tail.
 
If any of the bullets hit, we’d be in big trouble.
 
I was bracing myself for disaster.
 
Davies was coaxing the plane upwards, but it seemed sluggish.
 
Nothing happened.
 
“Gun’s jammed.” She said.  “If you don’t maintain your equipment…”
 
That statement was cut off by a huge explosion and turning as far as I could in my seat I just saw the remnants of a firewall, what was once a helicopter.
 
“Ground to air rocket.  The Colonel must have some interesting toys at his disposal.”  Davies sounded very relieved.
 
I started breathing again.
 
“Are we damaged?”  It was a valid question.  The plane seemed like it was flying awkwardly.
 
“I’d say so., Those explosions.  Cannon fire hitting the fuselage.  Probably took out some controls, or failing that, since there’s still maneuverability, probably just a few holes creating drag.”
 
She was a matter of fact like, but that was more because she was fighting the controls to keep us moving in the right direction.
 
Away from trouble.
 
“Go check it out,” she said.
 
At the head of the cabin, I saw the problem, a row of neat holes carved from one window through to halfway along the fuselage, going down.  We’d be lucky if one of the bullets hadn’t struck one of the wires that drove the flaps/
 
There was a hell of a noise from the air coming in through the holes.  
 
By the second window, slumped forward, was Shurl.  There was blood and blood spatter on the floor.  Monroe came up to me and yelled in my ear.
 
“Damned good flying, and only one casualty.  We were incredibly lucky.  Shurl wasn’t quick enough to get on the floor.  Other than that, we’re still in the air, and I’m guessing someone shot the helo down?”
 
“Ground to air missile.  Any sooner, that would have been us.  Try and sit back, rest, and enjoy the in-flight service.  Oh, and a prayer or two might help.”

© Charles Heath 2020-2021

The cinema of my dreams – I never wanted to go to Africa – Episode 46

Our hero knows he’s in serious trouble.

The problem is, there are familiar faces and a question of who is a friend and who is foe made all the more difficult because of the enemy, if it was the enemy, simply because it didn’t look or sound or act like the enemy.

Now, it appears, his problems stem from another operation he participated in, and because of it, he has now been roped into what might be called a suicide mission.

It took longer, as everything does when you’re in a hurry.
 
The plane was loaded, the fuel truck had just disconnected the final hose, and was leaving the field, and Davies was firing up the engines.
 
Everyone was on board and strapped in.  I gave my thanks to the Colonel and shut the door before joining Davies in the cockpit.
 
Looking at her cool, calm demeanor gave me confidence.  If anyone could get us out of here in one piece, she could.
 
I put the headphones on and put on the seat belt, just as she revved the engines, saw the wave from the ground crewman who removed the wheel chocks, and we started moving.
 
15 minutes to spare.  Would it be enough?
 
The Colonel had said that it was possible the helicopter might be one of those belonging to the air force and might have missiles that could shoot us down.  Not a good thought.  At the very least it would have a cannon, and if the bullets hit us, it could make an awful mess of the fuselage.
 
He didn’t have any good news though.
 
I was hoping it would just be a commercial helicopter with a couple of thugs with handguns shooting at us.
 
At the top of the runway, she didn’t waste time going to full throttle, and we started rumbling down the runway.  Unfortunately, the wind had changed and to take off we had to initially fly towards Congo airspace before turning towards our destination.
 
Then we lifted off and started gaining altitude.
 
Then I heard Davies mutter, “Fuck.”
 
Trouble.  I saw what elicited the curse.  The helicopter, heading towards us.
 
“Military,” she added.
 
Not that I had any idea what I was looking for, but it didn’t seem to have rockets, but it did have a cannon barrel under the fuselage.
 
“Brace yourself,” she said.  “We’re about to get on the roller coaster.”
 
Still climbing we were getting closer, and I could just see the cannon move.  If it was shooting rounds, they didn’t hit us, not from such a distance, but they were getting closer because we were still flying towards them.
 
Then, suddenly, she turned the planes to the right and down, a plunge so quick that my stomach was in my mouth.  I hate to think what it would be like for those in the back.
 
Aside from the fact my hearing was blocked by the headphones, I could still hear several mini-explosions coming from behind me.
 
Another curse, rather longer this time, from Davies and she twisted the plane back in the opposite direction, and heading around towards the airfield again, much lower down this time, with the helicopter in hot pursuit.
 
Now we couldn’t see it, but it would have a good view of our engines and tail.
 
If any of the bullets hit, we’d be in big trouble.
 
I was bracing myself for disaster.
 
Davies was coaxing the plane upwards, but it seemed sluggish.
 
Nothing happened.
 
“Gun’s jammed.” She said.  “If you don’t maintain your equipment…”
 
That statement was cut off by a huge explosion and turning as far as I could in my seat I just saw the remnants of a firewall, what was once a helicopter.
 
“Ground to air rocket.  The Colonel must have some interesting toys at his disposal.”  Davies sounded very relieved.
 
I started breathing again.
 
“Are we damaged?”  It was a valid question.  The plane seemed like it was flying awkwardly.
 
“I’d say so., Those explosions.  Cannon fire hitting the fuselage.  Probably took out some controls, or failing that, since there’s still maneuverability, probably just a few holes creating drag.”
 
She was a matter of fact like, but that was more because she was fighting the controls to keep us moving in the right direction.
 
Away from trouble.
 
“Go check it out,” she said.
 
At the head of the cabin, I saw the problem, a row of neat holes carved from one window through to halfway along the fuselage, going down.  We’d be lucky if one of the bullets hadn’t struck one of the wires that drove the flaps/
 
There was a hell of a noise from the air coming in through the holes.  
 
By the second window, slumped forward, was Shurl.  There was blood and blood spatter on the floor.  Monroe came up to me and yelled in my ear.
 
“Damned good flying, and only one casualty.  We were incredibly lucky.  Shurl wasn’t quick enough to get on the floor.  Other than that, we’re still in the air, and I’m guessing someone shot the helo down?”
 
“Ground to air missile.  Any sooner, that would have been us.  Try and sit back, rest, and enjoy the in-flight service.  Oh, and a prayer or two might help.”

© Charles Heath 2020-2021

No more conversations with my cat – 100

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

Even now, I still believe he is here with us, in spirit, though sometimes I swear I hear him coming down the passage, or is sitting on the floor, behind me in the office, waiting to hear the next piece of writing and offer his often sage comments.

But, no. When I turn around he’s not there, and I stop, for a moment or two, and remember.

This was Chester.

20160903_163902

For a few days, we have been monitoring Chester.

He hasn’t been talkative, in fact, I have been mistaking his usual taciturn nature in the mornings for what it really was.

A total lack of interest in anything.

He did not come down in the morning. OK, so, sometimes he cracks a hissy fit and totally ignores me.

But, this is different.

After a few days he returns and gives me the benefit of his wisdom.

Today, he hasn’t shown at all, so I went looking for him.

He was in his usual hiding spot, lying down.   I give him a pat, he opes his eyes and looks at me.  This is a cat who is not well.

I pick him up, and there’s no immediate fight back. He doesn’t normally like to be carried anywhere. Today, he’s putty in my hands.

I call the vet. She can fit him in now if I run.  I’m running.

He goes into his carry basket without a fight.  OK, now I know something is definitely wrong.

There’s not a sound between home and the clinic. Usually, he screams the place down, trying to get him into the carrier, and then makes as much noise as possible when driving.

Today there is nothing, not even a whimper.

The vet comes out. She has been seeing him for the last ten years and they are well acquainted.

We see her every six months. Without fail, for shots and stuff.

I take him out of the carrier and he lies down on the metal bench.

She looks at him, then picks him up.

She weighs him.

He’s lost two kilos, and that’s a lot for a cat.

I can see it’s bad news.

It is.

He’s 19 years old, long past the average life expectancy.

To keep him alive now would be inhumane. He has, apparently, reached the end of his life, and has lost the desire to eat or to do anything. There was nothing I could have done to prevent it.

She says, it just happens.

It will be quick and it will be painless.

I can see in his eyes that it’s what he wants.

I said goodbye, went outside and sat in the car, and cried.

There’s going to be a lot more tears before this day is out.

No more conversations with my cat – 100

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

Even now, I still believe he is here with us, in spirit, though sometimes I swear I hear him coming down the passage, or is sitting on the floor, behind me in the office, waiting to hear the next piece of writing and offer his often sage comments.

But, no. When I turn around he’s not there, and I stop, for a moment or two, and remember.

This was Chester.

20160903_163902

For a few days, we have been monitoring Chester.

He hasn’t been talkative, in fact, I have been mistaking his usual taciturn nature in the mornings for what it really was.

A total lack of interest in anything.

He did not come down in the morning. OK, so, sometimes he cracks a hissy fit and totally ignores me.

But, this is different.

After a few days he returns and gives me the benefit of his wisdom.

Today, he hasn’t shown at all, so I went looking for him.

He was in his usual hiding spot, lying down.   I give him a pat, he opes his eyes and looks at me.  This is a cat who is not well.

I pick him up, and there’s no immediate fight back. He doesn’t normally like to be carried anywhere. Today, he’s putty in my hands.

I call the vet. She can fit him in now if I run.  I’m running.

He goes into his carry basket without a fight.  OK, now I know something is definitely wrong.

There’s not a sound between home and the clinic. Usually, he screams the place down, trying to get him into the carrier, and then makes as much noise as possible when driving.

Today there is nothing, not even a whimper.

The vet comes out. She has been seeing him for the last ten years and they are well acquainted.

We see her every six months. Without fail, for shots and stuff.

I take him out of the carrier and he lies down on the metal bench.

She looks at him, then picks him up.

She weighs him.

He’s lost two kilos, and that’s a lot for a cat.

I can see it’s bad news.

It is.

He’s 19 years old, long past the average life expectancy.

To keep him alive now would be inhumane. He has, apparently, reached the end of his life, and has lost the desire to eat or to do anything. There was nothing I could have done to prevent it.

She says, it just happens.

It will be quick and it will be painless.

I can see in his eyes that it’s what he wants.

I said goodbye, went outside and sat in the car, and cried.

There’s going to be a lot more tears before this day is out.

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 99

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20151219_163915

This is Chester.

Not everything is fine in la-la-land, as he now calls it.

Not happy that I didn’t tell him about the second week of child invasion.

He should consider himself lucky that the school week started on Tuesday, and only one was staying home to do schoolwork.

The other has been able to return to the classroom.

One less tormentor, I heard him mutter as he slinked past the room where the homeschooler was working.

But a more sinister problem had arisen.

He’s stopped eating his food.  I first thought this was part of a two-week standoff, where he cuts his nose off to spite his face.

This is not the first time we’ve been through this.

So, just to see if it is a fit of pique, I get him his absolute favorite food.  Fresh Atlantic Salmon cut into small pieces just the way he likes it.

Yes, the aroma reaches him in his hiding spot, along with the call-out that I’d bought him salmon, but when he goes to the bowl, he takes a sniff, or two, then wanders away.

He doesn’t even look at me.

Very, very unusual.

I will be keeping an eye on this.

 

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 99

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20151219_163915

This is Chester.

Not everything is fine in la-la-land, as he now calls it.

Not happy that I didn’t tell him about the second week of child invasion.

He should consider himself lucky that the school week started on Tuesday, and only one was staying home to do schoolwork.

The other has been able to return to the classroom.

One less tormentor, I heard him mutter as he slinked past the room where the homeschooler was working.

But a more sinister problem had arisen.

He’s stopped eating his food.  I first thought this was part of a two-week standoff, where he cuts his nose off to spite his face.

This is not the first time we’ve been through this.

So, just to see if it is a fit of pique, I get him his absolute favorite food.  Fresh Atlantic Salmon cut into small pieces just the way he likes it.

Yes, the aroma reaches him in his hiding spot, along with the call-out that I’d bought him salmon, but when he goes to the bowl, he takes a sniff, or two, then wanders away.

He doesn’t even look at me.

Very, very unusual.

I will be keeping an eye on this.

 

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 97

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20161008_135142

This is Chester

Still hiding away.

Like any wise, old, skeptical cat, he’s not believing the good news.

We do not have a COVID 19 case in our house. Of course, we had to wait an agonizing 24 hours before we got the good news by phone.

It shows that our testing labs are getting through the tests, of which I heard in the news there were about 4,000, with only 10 or so new cases countrywide.

Queensland had none overnight, so if our case had been positive, we would have been in the news for al; the wrong reasons.

So, after broadcasting the news, that is, walking up and down the passage saying it was safe to come out, there’s still no sign of him.

But…

I have a cunning plan.

I bought a can of his absolute favorite food.

Come dinner time I’m putting it out.

 

Of course, food trumps fear every time.

He walks past me on his way to the tasty treats, the tail movements indicating he is not a happy cat.

The things I have to suffer at the hands of you humans, he mutters.

So, I say casually, we have guests for dinner.

He stops, turns his head in that dismissive manner of his.
What else can you do to me?

COVID 19, Grandchildren, I suppose you’re going to let me outside.

Do you want to go outside?

With COVID 19 lurking on every corner?

It’s under control.

Right. I’ve been watching TV. You do realize there’s good news and fake news, and there’s more of the latter than the former.

So, he’s going with the confuse the poor human with blather.

It’s working. I say, Go back into hiding. I was quite enjoying the silence.

After dinner, he says, ending the conversation with the angry tail swish. Yes, we are not amused.

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 96

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20160902_093753

This is Chester

Once again, it’s Sunday night, and he’s looking for a philosophical discussion.   COVID 19 is off the topic list.

He’s suitably disappointed that the Trump Show is over, as far as we are aware, though he’s not surprised.

But he is worried that two cats have tested positive.

I try to tell him that it is in New York, about 18,000 miles away, where there are over 200,000 cases. We have just over 1,000 and they are all isolated so we cannot be harmed.

I guess it’s hard to convince a cat when his mind is made up.

We’ve also taken the grandchildren off the list of topics too,

They arrive a few hours ago, and studiously ignored him when they arrived. I tried to point out that he was in hiding when they arrived, but again, the stubbornness of opinion is amazing, or normal.

I should be used to this sort of contrariness.

So, what is on the discussion list?

Outlander, Season 5 Episode 10. Well, I say, we haven’t seen it yet, so don’t tell me what the plots is.

He looks at me as if I’m mad. I only get to see it when you do, he says. How should I know what the plot is?  In fact, what is the plot?

Time travel, I say.

Pity we can’t do some of that, he says.

Why I asked, and really, I should know better.

Because I could go back to the day you came to the pet shop and hide. I have given you 18 years to improve, and you’re still the same as you were then.

Discussion over.

Not his favorite food for dinner tonight.

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 95

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20160909_062838-2

This is Chester.

He realizes we are now part of a different world driven by the events surrounding the COVID 19 virus.

The grandchildren are here while their parents are working, and they are going to school remotely, that is one is in the kitchen and one is in the dining room, remotely linked to their school, teachers, and classmates.

Chester finds this interesting because they are not trying to find him, so, he’s come out to see what they’re doing.

First, he jumps up on the dining table and sits next to the 13-year-old. She is hard at work. I hear him ask if there is anything he can help with given his vast knowledge of everything.

There’s a universal greeting from 30 others, and he tries to find where all the other people are. No, it’s not hide and seek, they’re all online she tries to tell him.

No, doesn’t get it. They must be in the room somewhere. And he’s suddenly miffed that he can’t find them, and then that his assistance is not required.

All too much to cope with, he comes out to join the 10-year-old sitting at the kitchen table. She had headphones on and doesn’t hear him.

This time he sits on the floor and looks up thinking, if they can’t see him, he’s not there. She ignores him. I don’t think mathematics is his strong point.

So, he wanders into the office, planning to annoy me.

I find some headphones and put them on. He gets the message, no interruptions today, everyone is hard at work.

A sigh, then he goes to his corner and lies down on his bed, yawns and closes his eyes.

I know he’s not asleep. He’s waiting for something to happen, ready to spring into action.

Unless, of course, it’s a mouse.

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 94

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20160921_071506

This is Chester.

We are in the middle of a philosophical debate.

No, it’s not about whether the world is flat, though sometimes I think he has that notion, as well as all humans are basically stupid.

I’ve been thinking about the pandemic and how it might meld into a plotline for a story.

Chester is not happy that I should use China as the country with global ambitions, after using the term ‘global domination’ and got a very silky retort.

He doesn’t seem to think that by causing a pandemic, making each of the G20 nations basically launch themselves into insolvency in order to maintain some semblance of economic stability, that China, who miraculously recovers, becomes the nation who saves the world?

It sounded quite good in my head.

Particularly when you see nations like the USA, the only other country that could tackle China as a ‘savior’ state, is going slowly down the gurgler.   Or so it seems, and it’s only a matter of time before something gives.

Chester and I now have mandatory viewing every morning, the Donald Trump show, where we lay bets as to whom he’s going to fire or lambast.

Chester thought the Doctor was gone for all money on Monday.

My money was on the reporter, who wouldn’t stop asking questions.

But today, it might be about Joe Biden and the Democrats, and the ramping up of the Republican’s political campaign.  Who said the COVID briefings had to be about that mundane virus?

Still, it’s back to the drawing board.  The overall plot is good, creating a virus that brings almost every nation to its knees, and one that rises out of the ashes to ‘save the world’.  It’s like you don’t need bullets and arms to fight a war, just a hell of a sneaky virus; you know, infecting people when you don’t know you’ve got it and infecting others.

Hang on, Chester’s calling.  It’s time for the Donald Trump show.