Toward town, there are more white stripes, on blacked out street lamps and the occasional signpost. We tie one on at an open place, packed wall to wall with locals, RAF, and staties all jumbled together, everyone hovering around the only place in town with light like a bunch of moths. Tomorrow we fly to our new home base.
“Our new home, honey,” McDowell, our waist gunner, shouts drunkenly in the ear of some poor local girl. His arm is limp around her shoulders. “And you are my new wife!”
We are holding each other up on the dark journey back down that dusty road, stumbling, cursing, numb and afraid. There is not a car on the road.
“What the holy hell is that, Sergeant?” Christopher says to me. His fingers are digging into my shoulder. I’m not sure if he’s holding me up or the other way around.
Something white is coming through what sounds like tall grass, making a swishing noise. Another mile down the road, the horrifying whine of engines blows on the breeze like a banshee from RAF, where our beds will be tonight.
Featured image by Sven Fennema, as pictured at Oddstuffmagazine.com
The regulations were posted on all the walls. Be punctual. Work steady. Keep everything moving. Stay at your assigned station, unless there is an urgent need for you elsewhere. Do not leave your department until you clock out for the day. When traveling to or from your department, stay to your assigned entry and exit walkway. Enter and exit only with your department. Under no circumstances leave your department or venture into hallways, restrooms, or other areas outside of your department unless requested…
First she showed me where the deliveries from other departments, housed in crates or tubes or temperature-controlled containment units, entered by way of the rolling assembly line, larger crates holstered up or lowered down through square holes in the ceiling and floor, or hand-delivered by couriers. You did not want to stand within the two-foot perimeter of the hole in the floor, or you might trip and fall an unknown depth, which would take you to another department. Likewise with staring up at the hole in the ceiling. You could catch fabric, hair, and skin in a moving assembly line, so you had to be aware of that. You were not allowed to engage in horseplay, carry unnecessary objects, or secrete bodily fluids near the assembly line or delivery holes.