Of all the getups and shapes C.W. has taken over the years, this was one of his strangest. Now get this. Imagine a young Don Knotts in the getup of a fearsome fighter pilot, complete with flight suit, helmet, sun visor, and a survival knife strapped to his leg. It was a ludicrous example of extreme opposites, as far as appearance goes.
“You know I told you I couldn’t go walking with you?” he began.
“Uh, yeah.” I was still pretty much speechless.
“I can now,” he said. “When do you want to go?”
Struggling to find words, I stared at him and his garb. “What the …?”
“I’m free to go now,” he said, flinging his helmet toward the couch.
“I got fired.”
Now this was news. “Fired from what?”
“My job,” he said, crestfallen.
“Flying drones for your military. I was, like, really having fun and they, like, fired me.”
Impressions were assaulting my brain like an artillery bombardment at Verdun. “Give me a second,” I said as I tried to compose myself. After a moment, I managed to get something out. “You were flying drones for the Air Force?”
“It was easy,” he said, “with my computer skills. They recruited me from some high scores on that ‘Call of Duty’ video game. Then they, like, furnished the computers and everything. It was, like, extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.”
“That’s, like, what I said.”
“So how did it work?”
“They, like, gave me this neat uniform and I, like, sat in a great large chair and entered coordinates. I fed information into the computer, sat back, steered, and enjoyed the ride. Then when I had the target in view, I like …”
“I get the picture,” I said. “So what happened?”
“I, uh, entered the wrong coordinates and thought I, like, had the right target.”
“A hostage situation …the terrorists were, like, torturing one of our female operatives.”
“I was sure I had, like, the secret location in Afghanistan. It was, like, going to be … uh …”
“I was off a little.”
He screwed his face into a questioning expression. “Wrong country?”
“I can’t tell you.”
“But you thought you had the right target?”
“Like, yeah,” he said as if I should have understood.
“A torture scene?”
“How could you confuse that?”
He looked at the floor. Then he looked around. Finally he looked at me. “It was a movie set.”
“A what?” I must have yelled.
“Chill,” he said, “a movie set. But it sure looked like a torture scene.”
“I, like, can’t tell you that.”
“What kind of movie?”
|A neat job and I never got air sick. - C.W.|
“It was one with lots of action.” Then he did the strangest thing. He took on a wistful look as if reliving a pleasant memory. “I really did them good,” he said.
“But it was a movie set with innocent people.”
“Yeah,” he said, “but it was still, like, awesome.” He shrugged.
“Did you learn the name of the movie?”
“Yeah,” it was some sort of travel adventure.”
“A travel show?”
“Yeah, something called ‘Bhaarati does Bombay.’”
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