“Parrish! Homer Parrish!” yells the ATC Sergeant.
“Here!” yells Homer, the sailor who didn’t get up to move the landing gear crate. Fred and Homer bolt toward the desk.
“You Derry?” asks the sergeant.
“Yeah,” says Fred.
“Parrish?” asks the sergeant.
“Yeah,” says Homer.
“Just got a call from Base OPs,” says the sergeant. “There’s a B-17 taking off for Boone City. Probably have a long ride ’cause she’s making a lot of stops, but you get there tomorrow afternoon. Suit ya?”
“Sure, that’s swell,” says Fred.
“Okay, sign here,” says the sergeant, handing Fred a travel manifest. Fred signs the paper.
“Boy, it sure is great to be going home!” says Fred. He turns to Homer. “Here ya go, sailor!” says Fred, passing his pencil.
“Sign on the dotted…” begins the sergeant, but trails off. Both Fred and the Sergeant notice Homer has a metal hook for right hand. “I’ll do it for ya,” says the sergeant, reaching for the pencil.
“Whatsa matter?” says Homer. “Think I can’t spell my own name?” Homer begins to sign the paper.
“No, I –” stammers the sergeant. He doesn’t know what to say. “I just thought – -”
“I know, Sarge,” says Homer, pulling his other hand out to steady the paper form. It’s also a metal hook. Fred and the sargeant look at each other, but say nothing.
“Hey, Joe!” says the sergeant to another airman, “You’d better hurry up out there, ’cause she’s taking off soon.”
“Right, thanks,” says Derry, turning to Homer. “Come on, sailor.”
“Where’s your stuff?” asks Fred.
“Right here,” says Homer, pointing at his sea bag.
“Excuse us, corporal,” says Derry to a sleeping soldier. Homer grabs his sea bag. “Boone City your home, sailor?” asks Fred.
“Yes, sir, Captain,” says Homer.
“Forget the rank, chum,” says Fred, “I’m out.”