“Commercial, eh?” said the counter man at the flight center, looking at my pilot’s license. “Is your medical current?”
Actually, it wasn’t. For some reason doctors just laughed at the thought of signing me off. If it wasn’t the cancer bothering them, the 120mg of morphine I take daily is a real put off. “Uh,” I said, deferring from answering the question, “I was just looking for a little dual instruction. Been a little while since I last flew.”
“Laid off for a while, huh? Well, we can fix you right up. Get a few hours of dual and do a iennial flight review and get you current. No problem. How long since you last flew?”
“About 30 years, I think.”
“Holy crap. You did lay off for a while.”
“Yep, I only meant to stop for a while to get some money together. I moved, got married, had a few kids.”
“Time can slip away on you,, that’s for sure. How many hours you got?”
“Something like 2400. My logbooks were lost sometime back.”
“Wow, thats tough. Lotta memories in those books.”
“You got that right.” I wavered a little and gripped the counter to steady myself.
“Hey, are you okay?” he asked.
“Oh yeah, the narcotics make me a little loopy sometimes, but I’m fine. Do you have any aerobatic airplanes for rent?” I swear, the guy stuttered like ten times.
“God yes, sometimes I think I eat more pills than food.”
“Can you wait here a sec?” he asked. “I’ll be right back.”
He stepped through a door into a glassed in office and spoke to a heavyset man sitting at a desk strewn with paperwork. He spoke somewhat animatedly and pointed in my direction a couple of times. The big man at the desk looked at me through the glass and then back to the counterman who was still talking away. He held his palm up toward the guy and stood, dqueezing his bulk past his desk and came out of the office. “What’s this about narcotics and wanting an aerobatic airplane?” he asked. He sounded a little impatient.
“Yeah, I’m a high time pilot looking to get current. But I take a lot of narcotics because I have cancer pain, and I figure I’d better use a plane that’s made for flying in unusual attitudes and making abrupt maneuvers.”