Face of the Enemy Excerpt: Chapter 29

On the corner of the tarmac sat a beautiful, freshly painted Jet Falcon. It was purple, orange, and white. The name on the plane read “Federal Express.” I couldn’t help gazing at the name and odd colors painted on the fuselage. 

As I climbed out of my fuel truck, I noticed someone’s legs moving around the bottom of the plane. It looked like the guy had lost control of a wooden box that had just hit the ground. I could still only see the guy from the waist down, but it looked like he was struggling to lift the wooden box. 

I walked over to help. “Need a hand?” I asked. 

He wore an old, tattered field jacket and I thought he could possibly be a veteran like me. “Thanks,” he said. “Maybe you can help me move this box into a static position so I could run weights and balances?”

Of course I could help with that. After a few minutes working through the task at hand, he turned to me. “Where did you learn to do weights and balances?” He asked. 

“I learned it in Vietnam,” I answered, cringing a little waiting for his response. 

 He looked at me strangely. “You speak pretty good English for being Vietnamese. Where are you really from?”

“Chicago,” I replied. Here we go again, I thought. Then I enunciated my next sentence carefully. “I was in transportation for the United States Air Force.”

He hesitated momentarily before he smiled. Then he laughed out loud. 

I figured that was a harmless response, so I asked him the question that had been nagging at me since I first spied the plane. “What is Federal Express?” I asked gesturing toward the logo on the plane.

He continued smiling and replied, “It’s a brand-new company out of Memphis, Tennessee. We’re starting operations across the country.” Then he cocked his head to one side as if studying me. “Are you looking for an opportunity?”

I didn’t have to think about my reply. “If it pays more than what I’m making now, sure I am.”

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