“Another goddamned Monday with Lieutenant JG Amos goddamned Kane!” the Ops O growled.
An impulse to smile rose in Amos, but laughing at the start of an operations officer ass-chewing crossed the line. He enjoyed seeing how close he could come to that line, touch it like an Indian with a coupstick, and ride away. The thing was the Ops O and all of them took all the military stuff so seriously. Flying was serious. No doubt about that. Screw up and you die. But so much of the squadron chain-of-command malarkey was a little guy like the Ops O putting on a uniform and thinking it made him big.
“Normally, the student pilots I see are having trouble with flying. Not you. Down here with your feet on the ground, that’s where you cause me so damned much grief.”
They called the Ops O Lurch, after the butler in The Addams Family. Atop the Ops O’s 130-pound, five-six frame sat a ventriloquist dummy–sized version of the TV character’s head. Gray pallor, sunken cheeks, bangs that appeared to have been trimmed with giant-toothed pinking shears, and a face that never smiled.
“The only reason I haven’t shit-canned you is because you are a natural stick-and-throttle jockey. But you just don’t give a damn about anything.”
Early in Amos’s six-month stint with the training squadron, the Ops O told him, “I’m making you my personal project. I will square away your worthless, college frat-boy ass, or the CO will jerk your wings.” But time was almost up. He’d complete his last phase of training, carrier qualification, on Friday. Weekly Ops O ass-chewings, he was going to miss those.
“Just once, Kane, I hoped I could make it through a Monday without seeing your … your …”
Amos knew Lieutenant Commander Willie Williamson wanted to say, “Your ugly face,” but he couldn’t voice the lie.
Amos was six two, blond, blue eyed. High school and college sports had sculpted his muscles. He was a good-looking guy and comfortable with the knowledge. And pleased.