John’s first assessment of Tiom reminded him of the setting in most bush pilot stories he had ever read. The rich greenery surrounding a well-used runway was almost cliché. “Adventures would be launched from this small cradle he would call home, most likely stemming from encounters with such flying hazards as tall snow-covered mountains, smoke from clear-cutting, and clouds.
Daryl led him to the two waiting men. One was very tall, about a head taller than the other. He looked purely business with his hands clasped behind his back; nothing to hide. The other wore the warmest smile John had ever seen.
During introductions, a small crowd of greeters circled the four. John felt himself being whisked away to a more private meeting.
“We’ve been looking toward your arrival,” Jason said in a rehearsed voice. “Our responsibilities cover a lot of ground, as you’ll soon learn.”
“Thank you both for the welcome. Daryl has been briefing me on your little operation here and I’m anxious to get started.”
“I can assure you there is nothing ‘little’ about what we do here,” Jason defended. “There are many people who rely on us for logistical support.”
“Sorry, did I say something wrong?” John asked.
“Never mind him, as the backbone of the setup, Jason’s a little overworked. In fact, he has staff just to monitor his blood pressure,” Steve said chuckling.
“All right, excuse me if I take a little pride. I’m sure you meant no harm, nor did I. I just wanted you to know how important our work is. New pilots don’t understand this until reality hits them head on, sometimes in the form of disease or a plane wreck. Working here is no way to collect flight hours. Our business is people’s lifeline, an intravenous line straight to their hearts. Realize this early on and your work here will be rewarding for you and those whose lives you touch,” Jason said.
“I couldn’t say it better myself,” admitted Daryl. “I guess that’s why you’re in charge.”
Jeffrey W. Bennett, is the author of Commitment-A Novel and other non-fiction books, novels and periodicals.