It was still dark when the phone rang, and it woke me from a deep sleep. The red digits on my alarm clock glared five thirty-two. I reached from under the covers and reluctantly closed the distance between the warm bed and the cold phone.
There was the sound of a clearing throat, and then, “Yeah, Beth, Rod here.” He cleared his throat again. “I need ya to do something. You awake?”
“Adam Kraft did a number last night. Got himself drunk with some friends and took four of ‘em flyin’ in one of the Warriors. They went into the office and stole the keys to the new leaseback I’ve got on the line and went for a joy ride.” His voice was remarkably calm, like only a seasoned pilot could manage. “Ended up in Portland. Maine. Didn’t know where the hell they were, and the tower up there had Adam arrested on the taxiway.”
“Five grown men in a four-person plane?” Now I was fully awake.
“Yup. It’s a damn shame is what it is. He’ll lose all his licenses and ratings for this. What you need to do, hon, is get right over to the airport and take Five-Two-Five up to Portland and bail him out of jail. His father’s gonna meet ya at the airport with the money and the information y’ll need to find him.”
“Shouldn’t someone go with me to fly the other
Warrior home?” I wondered why he called me for this flight and not Steve.
“Not today. FAA and local police got the plane grounded until the owner decides if he’s pressin’ charges. He probably won’t, but for now we gotta play by the rules. Besides, Steve’s got students today. Alright, hon, get yourself over to the airport and call me when you get up to Portland.”
“Alright. See ya later.” I hung up the phone, shocked at what Adam had done. Rod’s attention felt good. He had chosen me for the task. Meanwhile, I would be in Portland before Steve even found out the details of where I had gone and why. Rod was treating me as a legitimate, independent pilot, not just Steve’s student or the lineperson.