Force of Nature:
Grover was Angry
Grover was angry that Carl had taken the plane without telling him. He knew he shouldn’t be since it was really Carl’s airplane, but all the same he was pissed off. He’d driven the Packard out there to the field to discover the plane gone. The lineman Zack told him Carl had taken off sometime after lunch.
Carl’s Harley was in the woodshed hangar they had built. Grover felt like kicking it. He got a Coke out of the red machine conscious of the bottle he pulled past the rollers, noting the grinds on the glass. He turned and ran his hand over his bald head feeling the sweat and heat of the sun on the back of his hand.
Grover drank the Coke and watched Zack fueling a Staggerwing. He forgot about how mad he was because the Staggerwing was so beautiful it was a distraction. He wanted it. He walked down the steps from the Line Shack to the pad and asked Zack where the pilot was.
Zack was a tall skinny guy who had simply hung around at the field so much making himself useful one way or another that they had gotten together and hired him to operate the surplus Fuel Truck they had bought. Zack had a long face and was wearing herringbone coveralls. They thought him a bit odd for though he was 28, and had survived combat in the Pacific, he somehow seemed to be still a teenager, or 05be he had decided to go back to being the self he had been before he was wrenched from school to fight.
Looking down from the ladder holding the hose into the wing while pumping the gas from the whinning truck Zack said, "Pilot went to the Hotel, and passengers went to Graduation."
Grover remembered then it was Graduation Day at Duke.
He looked at the plane and wondered what it would be like to fly in anything that and fast at the same time thinking the cabin had about the same interior as the Packard.
Then he heard the sound of the Taylorcraft and looked at the treeline and watched as Carl landed. He finished the Coke and put the bottle in the round tall galvanized trash can for empty oil cans and rags strapped to the back of the still army green fuel truck.
Carl nodded to Grover as he taxied past headed up the line past the tie downs towards their little hangar. Roger Adams was in the plane with him and he could see the huge camera Roger used held up to Rogers chest in the cramp of the cockpit.
Gover walked down the line following the plane and arrived while Karl was chocking it. Roger was looking around through the Speed Graphic. Grover thought of the photograph he had taken of them in the plane they had put up in the gas station.
Roger pointed the camera at him and Grover made the snarling face he put on whenever a camera was pointed at him. From youth he had snarled whenever told to smile for the camera and as somepeople smiled automatically whenever noticing a camera pointed at them, Grover was in the habit of snarling.
He heard the sound of the shutter, a light sound like a swoosh and a click different from the mere click of the Brownie he himself used to take pictures on holidays.
"Fuck you Roger." Grover said.
"Nice to see you too." Roger said smiling as he took down the camera and stuck in a slide and pulled the film holder out of the back and turned it around and stuck it back in its place and then pulled the other slide out.
Carl was sitting on the Harley by then and kicking it. It started on the third kick and Grover and Roger looked at Carl who gunned the engine and grinned at them. He let the engine die down and sat there as it ticked over.
"I’ve got to go, anything important to know?"
"Paul’s at the station. Buddy’s gone with the new driver to Brooklyn, and Dad says Mother wants a television for her birthday."
Carl put the Harley in gear and creeped it up to where Grover and Roger were standing. Grover noticed that Carl had looked at the Staggerwing as he moved the bike next to him.
"I looked at an RCA up at Tobys the other day. He wants 4 hunderd and 25 dollars for it. He says if you put up an antenna it’ll get the station from Raliegh. I told him he ought to throw in the antenna for that price."
Roger walked off toward the Staggerwing looking at it through the viewfinder while he walked and Carl and Grover watched him while they looked at the plane as well.
Carl nodded at the plane and asked, "Think we could make any money with one of those?"
"’Bout the same as a taxi or a limo I imagine." Grover said.
"Be more sensible to buy a plane like a truck, since we know about trucking."
"Taxi’s make money too."
They watched Roger take his picture and start to walk back towards them and Carl said, "I’ll pick up the TV from Toby tomorrow. Are we spliting it 4 ways or just between us two and Matt and Paul can get Mom something else?"
"Four ways, but less from Matt works far as I know." Grover said as Roger walked up and got his equipment bag out of the plane and closed back the door.
Roger then turned to Carl wearing the bag and holding the camera and said, "Thanks for taking me up. I’ll call you when I get the money from Arnold." Arnold was an attorney involved in a land dispute and had hired Roger to get some aerial pictures which was something Carl had come to think was about the only moneymaking thing the Taylorcraft was good for. He thought he had about talked Roger into buying it from him.
"Okay and tell that shyster we want to talk to him about 05be buying that airport you say he’s got a line on in Florida."
"What are you talking about?" Grover said.
"Roger told me Arnold knows some people who are leasing land on the airport in Fort Lauderdale."
Before Grover could say anything else Carl revved the Harley and dropped it into gear, nodded to Roger, and letting out the clutch yelled, "See you guys later." as he rode off leaving them watching him run up past the line past the shack hangars and tie downs and turn on the road toward town.