Doesn’t seem a long time ago to me. But time’s a relative thing, as Einstein said. Back then, all of us mechanics could remember when ALL airliners had propellers.
Prop-planes suddenly became old fashioned and the corporate image makers had to be seen to be at the cutting edge.
(Thirty years later the long-suffering public would be getting packed into whining little bug smashers. But then the new generations don’t know any different do they?)
Perhaps the disappearance of the propeller was the nudge Lefty had needed.
Lefty was retiring. Impossible, he was part of the hangar. He’d made the magic eighty-one points of age plus service and was hanging up his wrenches. “Movin’ west to live with that lad of mine,” he’d told me happily.
Somebody suggested a going away bash for Lefty and the lunchroom discussed it. He’d said ‘no’ to a big party and seemed firm on that. So we decided on beer and pizzas at the hangar. Lefty loved both. Plans went ahead.
Lefty was a great eater. He loved his food. When the ‘overseas’ DC-8 got in from London, the chocolate cake in the first class galley was always a target, that and the cheese plate. Aircraft mechanics are awful vultures really. Whoever scooped the cake would smuggle it back to the hangar and the troops would do it justice. Unless, that was, Lefty got to it. Lefty could, and did, eat a whole chocolate cake from time to time.
His age was a bit in doubt. He’d flown Hurricanes and Thunderbolts against the Japs in Burma. He was a bit of a legend was Lefty. Eyesight not so good, so we tried to keep him away from doing walk-arounds. It was good that he never found anything, but you never know, he might miss something that was missing that was important.
He’d attained a sort of mascot status with us.
In due course, we settled on the date. The next week would be the last day-shifts for Lefty. That Thursday afternoon, we’d stock the lunchroom fridge with beer and order in the pizzas.
Then the conversation turned to Lefty and stews, as we called flight attendants. He seemed to have a way with them. They liked Lefty. They flirted with him and he flirted with them. One of those guys who love women, whom women love. He must have been a tiger in his day, must Lefty.
And of course in time somebody said it, “Why don’t we get a girl from Ada’s for Lefty on the day?”
Ada’s? Ada ran a brothel it was said. Everybody seemed to know somebody who knew somebody who’d enjoyed Ada’s place’s services. We got a good laugh out of that idea.
The Wednesday came and Lefty was hauled to the lunchroom. The pizzas had arrived. Beers were opened. The on-duty guys drank pop and kept an ear on the radio, hoping the incoming aircraft would respect Lefty’s retirement.
We sat and listened to Lefty’s tales of during and since WW2. A few were bored perhaps but most realised we’d not hear the stories again.
The door buzzer sounded, someone wanting to get in. Dick got up to answer it and returned grinning from ear to ear. He had Ada’s girl in tow. What a girl!
“Hi!” she said softly to a silent and gaping bunch of mechanics, “I’m Toffee, where’s Lefty?”
Lefty was dragged forward and Toffee took his hand. They were led to the old Flight-crew Rest Room and the remainder of us sat down to drink beer and advance theories as to Lefty’s fate.
We’d all seen Toffee! Tall and what was once called buxom. Speculation spiralled as to what would happen to Lefty between those big, big tits and those long, long legs. Would he survive the hour? How would we explain his demise? Guesses grew wilder and wickeder as the hour peeled slowly away.
On the dot Toffee appeared in the doorway. She wore black stockings and garter belt …. and a smile.
“Lefty says to say ‘Hi,’ and could you guys praps have a whip round for another fifty bucks for him?”
We managed it, just, and the most beautiful ass atop the longest legs wiggled away round the corner. We heard a feminine giggle and a door slammed.
As the soberest guy, I was chosen to drive Toffee into town. I wasn’t the safest driver that evening. My eyes spent much time peeking at those jutting breasts and endless thighs. I didn’t care about the dark roots or the crows feet. We talked, about many things. I’d have driven forever.
Lefty? He survived, took his last paycheck and joined his son and daughter-in-law in Calgary.
The years slipped by and the rest of us began retiring too.
When my turn came I got no party. Toffee made them give me a clock … she didn’t trust aircraft mechanics. Not one little bit.
Author’s Note: Fact? There was a Lefty, a Cape Bretoner who did fly in Burma. I did work with him. The incident? True also, although it happened to a different mechanic, at the same place. Toffee would have loved Lefty I know.
© 2004 Julius. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.