(Note: There is obviously more to this than what follows. If you're in "the know" then there you are. If you're not, you'll probably figure it out...or you can ask me later.)
Part I - Monday
IT was a fairly routine mission, but then that's the way they all usually start. I was flying without a wingman, as it was early in the day and I was not expecting trouble. I made sure I had sufficient eye protection and wore my leather jacket.
As I flew into the patrol area, I checked my payload. I'd stopped into the office early that morning to pick it up, go over my plans and make any last minute adjustments. There were but a few and quickly taken care of.
Air traffic was light and although that was good news, I knew that could change at any second. However, I could easily abort if I had to and no one would be the wiser.
I approached the target's airspace. She was busy with a customer...giving him some sort of detailed information and very distracted. At the same time a couple of other customers fell into line behind me. I felt my resolve waiver, but it returned somewhat when her attention turned to me. There'd be no haverin' today!
"Hey Stacey," she said brightly. "Grande Mocha?"
"Yup." I replied.
She turned and yelled my order to the barista on duty and rang me up.
I handed her my debit card and as she gave me the card and my receipt back, I slid the payload out its bay and placed it on the counter.
"My band has a gig next week. That's a copy of our album."
I'd caught her off guard.
She took the disc and looked at it, then clasped it to her chest.
"Is this for me?!"
"Yeah...Listen to and tell me what you think. Maybe you'll come to the show?" I was already moving away from the counter, I didn't want to delay the customers behind me, nor did want to make too big a deal out of it. As Bugs Bunny once said, I had to use fin-esse and act non-chal-ant.
She told me that she wouldn't be in the next day and that she'd listen to it and we'd chat on Wednesday.
I told her, "Cool." and briefly chatted with the barista, grabbed my coffee and resisted hitting afterburners on the way out. It was going to be a long 48 hours.
Part II - Tuesday
I didn't go to the target area today. I wound up taking a different route into work. But it was fruitful nonetheless. Not only did the hottest girl from my junior high school (Sandy W. and yes, she's STILL drop-dead gorgeous) pass me on the street, but also the hot latina woman on my bus (alas, she's boyfriended) talked to me as we got coffee at a different place. She's pretty cool and her voice and demeanor was totally different from what I expected. (I guess one shouldn't make assumptions about pretty and demure-looking woman reading Madame Bovary on the bus, heh.)
I put the mission in the back of my mind and concentrated on the ugly job I was met with at work.
Still Wednesday looms. I imagine a few scenarios.
ONE - She likes the album but can't or won't make it to the show. It's slightly awkward, but I can recover...painted by radar, I call this.
TWO - She likes the album but doesn't like me. It's really awkward and I get my coffee elsewhere for a few weeks...missile lock.
THREE - She doesn't like the album or me...shot down in flames.
FOUR - I choke in some way (probably the most likely outcome)...hydraulic failure, return to base.
I left my email and website info with the payload. For all I know, she could've checked me out.
I didn't get any messages however, but I'm not concerned.
I'll just have to be cool. Giving her a disc and making an offer to be at the same place away from work is fraught with uncertainty for both of us. I didn't exactly make my intentions clear. But all I ever wanted was a woman to meet me halfway.
This is why I'm single!
Part III - Wednesday
Radar bloomed all over the valley floor as I entered the target area. I didn't get any missile lock warnings, but I sensed something might (might) be wrong. The airspace was totally clear.
After a minute someone came out to help me. I thought I saw someone in the very back...could it be her? Was she in stealth mode?
Wow...she must've hated our album...
There wasn't much I could do...I left. And bummed about it. For an hour.
I didn't go in the next day. I was running late and the competitor's is nearer. I'll be back tomorrow. I didn't crash and burn and I didn't suffer equipment failure. I will show no fear.
I cannot go through life afraid I will get shot down....even if I did, it's usually a crash you can walk away from.
And you know what they say about landings you can walk away from!