Up And Away

by David on August 3, 2010

I ran across one of my high school English assignments the other day, written when I was a senior. I’ve held onto it for over fifteen years now, wondering what I should do with it. I have no idea why I didn’t think to post it here before now.

The assignment was to find a picture of our choosing, and then write a short story about it. We were supposed to keep the work under 300 words, but I nearly doubled that. The teacher forgave me because I wrote an interesting story.

The picture I chose was of an F-15 Eagle beginning its takeoff rotation with the blowers engaged. I thought, “Yeah, I can work with that.”

What follows is a photo of my assignment, followed by the transcribed text. It reads like something a ninth-grader could write, and I would change a lot about it if I wrote it today. That said, I am leaving it intact for you here. The story itself is not an accurate depiction of the scene it portrays, but the spirit of the work still gets my fist pumping. I chose the very unique title “Up And Away” for my short story.

I hope you enjoy.

Up And Away F-15

It’s early in the morning before the sun has winked over the horizon. A soft breeze brushes over the landscape, ruffling the grass. There s a clear sky, not a cloud in sight. The moon and the stars light up the sky. Off to the east, a vague hue of pink suggests the rising of the sun is imminent.

There she sits, a brand new F-15 Eagle. Having just rolled off the line the day before, she looks sleek and smooth, ready for battle. Capt. Wayne Douglas looks at her from a distance, visually checking her out, and gives a nod of approval. She winks at him with the reflection of the moon on her canopy.

Capt. Douglas continues to approach this beautiful machine. From up inside the left side wheel-well appears his crew chief, TSgt. Jon Perry. “Good morning, Sir,” he says with an outstretched hand.

Wayne clutches Jon’s hand and says, “Good morning, Sergeant. How are you today?”

“Very well, Sir, thank you,” comes Jon’s reply.

The captain glances up at the plane and asks, “Is she ready?”

“Yes Sir. Configured the way you asked, Sir,” Perry answers.

Capt. Douglas begins to do his own preflight checks of the new aircraft. He slides his hand over the sleek body and takes a look into the intake. Seeing nothing that could do any damage, he proceeds down the wing to the tail.

He finishes his checks and is pleased with the look of the supersonic jet fighter. He moves back to the nose of the airplane and climbs the ladder to the cockpit. Sitting himself comfortably into the seat, he begins to strap himself into the harness, saying to himself, “Like a glove.”

The crew chief climbs the ladder next to the pilot to help him get situated into the cockpit. Finally, after getting all of the hook-ups and strap-ons ready, Perry gives the okay to start the engines.

At first, it is only a whine, but the sound gets progressively louder. As the engines come alive, Wayne can feel the rumble from his seat throughout his body. He grins to himself at the thought of having 46,900 pounds of thrust to back him up. The engine readouts begin giving him data on their status. Everything appears to be in order.

By now, the sun has started to peak up over the horizon lighting up the sky and dimming the moon and stars. Capt. Douglas gets clearance from the tower to begin taxiing to the end of the runway. The pilot and crew chief exchange salutes, and the jet powers up its engines slightly to start itself into motion.

Wayne moves his gorgeous jet onto the end of the runway, lining up perfectly with the centerline. He engages the wheel brakes and inches the throttle forward. His vicious pet begs to be set free with the push of twenty-three tons of raw power, and he releases the brakes. He then pushes the throttle past the max into full afterburner as the rate of acceleration pins him to his seat. The aircraft howls gruesomely as it screams down the runway at speeds no ordinary plane could even dream of. The airspeed indicator shows 150 knots, and Capt. Douglas begins to rotate the nose off the ground. All at once, the jet lifts off the ground at a menacing speed as she takes her passenger into the sunlit, morning sky on a ball of fire.

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