One - The Decision
"I'm very sorry. Goodbye."
Sherry put the 'phone down and sighed. That was the second charter
this week she had refused. Business was booming, too booming. Chance
and the new pilot, Hilton Smith, were working flat out up to the
maximum hours allowed and they were still not keeping up with demand.
The helicopters were well maintained and ran smoothly but the Ranger
was due for a rebuild in 100 hours of flying time, which would take
it out of action for about 2 months. The only option was to rent
whilst it was being worked on and that was horribly expensive.
She rubbed her temples. When Chance had suggested that she do some
administrative work two months ago she had jumped at the idea. She
loved the twins dearly but her conversations day after day consisted
of baby talk and her saying no about three million times. She had
set up a mini nursery in the back office where the twins, Katie
and Andrew, could sleep, play and scream to their hearts content
without disturbing anyone but Sherry, which she was used to anyway.
The helicopters fascinated them and Andrew particularly watched
them take off and land in quiet amazement. Probably the only time
they were quiet other than when they were asleep. Chance spoiled
them rotten when he wasn't flying or carrying out maintenance. Hilton
was a little more reserved but Sherry had found him building brick
walls with Katie yesterday. He had been embarrassed but Katie had
sat there smiling. She was going to be a heartbreaker one day Sherry
decided. Just not too soon she hoped.
"That's a big sigh for a lovely lady."
The voice of her husband made her jump.
"CJ don't do that. You could give a girl a heart attack creeping
up on her like that."
"The dynamic duo were asleep, so I thought I'd sneak in and
we could have a little time to ourselves," he explained.
He took her in his arms and held her tight.
"You smell so good."
He breathed in deeply and kissed her. She returned his kiss with
passion and pulling him close allowed one hand to stray to his bottom,
which she squeezed playfully.
"Ummm," he sounded satisfied, "I shall have to be
sneaky more often. Come here Mrs. Yates," he smiled as he guided
her onto the sofa in the waiting area.
He sat down and pulled her onto his lap.
"Now where were we?" he murmured.
She put one hand round his neck and the other slipped in between
the buttons of his shirt. They kissed again and didn't hear the
patter of tiny feet on the wooden floor. Sherry had undone all the
buttons on CJ's shirt before the tap of a small hand on her leg
made her realise they had company.
"Mummy, bockle." Andrew repeated. He had trouble making
the hard 't' sound. Sherry disentangled herself from CJ and picked
"You don't want that nasty old bottle," said CJ and took
it away from the small boy.
Andrew's face dropped but a beaming smile lit his face when CJ
gave him a drinking cup with a spout and a handle shaped like a
helicopter. Andrew squirmed his way off Sherry's lap and started
running around the waiting area 'flying' his helicopter cup.
Sherry laughed, "You spoil them."
CJ nodded, "but I couldn't resist it. There's one for Katie
"In a different colour, I hope."
CJ laughed, "Yeah, in a different colour."
Sherry stood and straightened her clothing.
"Will you take them home? I still have some paperwork to do."
CJ gathered Andrew in his arms, put him on his shoulders and started
walking round the waiting area while Andrew made "vroom, vroom"
noises as the helicopter flew higher.
"What time is Chance coming round for dinner?" he asked.
"8 O'clock. So if you could start the vegetables..."
"For you anything," and he kissed Sherry on the nose.
Andrew tried to land the cup on his mother's head but CJ whisked
him away just in time and together they went to wake Katie to take
After they had gone Sherry got back down to the serious business
of trying once again to juggle times sheets so they could squeeze
every ounce of time out of the pilots and their machines.
Sherry wondered again how CJ could manage to juggle cooking with
keeping the twins amused. When she arrived home they were running
trains around his feet as he danced around the kitchen pretending
to be the Fat Controller and peeling carrots. She rescued him, fed
and bathed the twins and then put them to bed. A quick shower and
a change of clothes for herself and CJ was waiting for her on the
verandah with a glass of chilled Chablis.
"You are an angel," she whispered.
"I know and so good-looking and talented," he smiled
"Don't forget modest as well then," she laughed.
They stood arms around each other enjoying the quiet of the evening.
They heard Chance walk around from his house. The two men grinned
as they shook hands and Sherry received a kiss on the cheek.
"Careful with the wife mate, she's used goods."
Sherry flounced off and CJ caught her a slap on the backside.
"Dinner in 5 guys," she shouted back.
CJ had cooked lemon pepper chicken with his speciality sherry trifle,
for afters. Dinner was companionable and fun. Both Chance and CJ
were on good form and the laughter echoed through the house. As
Sherry stacked the dishes in the dishwasher the two men sat on the
verandah, Chance drinking beer and CJ soda. For once the twins had
behaved. They had gone to bed on time and had not yet woken. CJ
was a silent partner in the Charter business and normally let Chance
make all the decisions, but Chance had approached him with this
dilemma and they had talked around it for three days.
"There are only two ways to go mate, you know that."
"I know CJ, but it's a hell of a lot of money. And I know
the Bank will lend it but it means taking on one maybe two more
"Expand or die Chance"
"Expand and bust more like it," Chance retorted.
"Talking about CJ's trifle again Chance?" Sherry interrupted.
The tall handsome black man laughed.
"No. I think I... we just made a decision," he smiled.
CJ nodded, " I think this calls for a celebration."
Both Chance and Sherry looked up at CJ. He smiled knowing he had
provoked the reaction.
"Sherry get out the best china, this calls for a cup of tea."
Chance groaned, " I'll stick with the beer."
"Chance this is a wonderful opportunity and as luck would
have it I know just the bloke to talk to. He will get us the best
"CJ this is genuine, right?" Chance queried.
"Would I sell you a pup? Remember I have a lot invested in
this as well. It'll be my moniker on the bank loan papers too,"
Chance always got lost when CJ started using English slang, "is
that Latin for something?"
"Yeah it means we are on our way to an early retirement."
CJ smiled and held out his hand to shake Chance's. Chance shook
his head as though he could hardly believe what he was doing.
"Are you sure we won't regret this CJ?"
"Never in a month of Sundays."
Chapter 2 - The Telephone Call
"Patrick?" The connection wasn't that good and CJ wasn't
sure he had made contact with the right man, "Is that you?"
"This is Patrick McGuire. Can I help you?"
All Patrick heard was a laugh and then a voice he recognised.
"CJ Yates, is that you?" How the devil are you?"
"I'm fine Paddy and how are you and Alison and the kids?"
The next few minutes were spent swapping news and reminiscences.
Eventually CJ got down to business.
"Paddy, your import/export business, does it ever deal in
CJ and Patrick had last met in the Islands just over eighteen months
previously. Patrick had stopped to help Sherry when she had a puncture
not knowing who she was and then had been on the scene again when
their car had broken down with CJ and Sherry in it. Later he had
contacted CJ and asked him to do a big firework display for a client.
The client, a large international corporation out of New York City
had been very pleased with his work and CJ had been handsomely paid.
After the job when Patrick and CJ were chatting on the 'phone congratulating
themselves, Patrick had let slip that he and another ex SAS colleague,
Mike Reilly, had started to trade in small arms through the import/export
business. All legitimate and above board, they had even supplied
the British Army.
At the time CJ thought it made sense. Mike had been a Sergeant
in charge of the armoury at Hereford and had made lots of contacts
with manufacturers in his time, whilst Patrick had the wherewithal
to move stuff around easily and quickly. A perfect partnership.
And they had prospered. CJ knew if anyone could get him a good deal
it would be Patrick, besides he owed him. After the job in Honolulu
Patrick had said, "anytime I can return the favour CJ, just
call me." Well, now CJ was calling.
"What were you thinking CJ, stingers or something bigger?"
"Er well actually Paddy, a lot bigger," he paused, "I
need a chopper."
There was silence on the other end of the phone and then Patrick
started to laugh. The laugh got out of control and CJ tried to interrupt
in an attempt to bring the conversation back to an even keel. Patrick
gasped for breath and fought to contain himself.
"A chopper, CJ. You want a chopper? Oh my, that takes me back.
Do you remember that time in Belfast when you fell out of the chopper,
right into that rubbish tip?"
Patrick lost control again and thousands of miles away CJ grimaced
at the memory and held the 'phone away from his ear.
"As I recall," he stated with all the dignity he could
muster, "it was Mike who pushed me out. I didn't fall."
"Still the look on your face was priceless and you were picking
old bits of spaghetti out of your hair for days."
"That was when I had hair," CJ retorted and both men
"What do you want?" Patrick asked a few minutes later
when the conversation returned to the present day.
CJ didn't need to explain about the Charter business, Patrick already
knew, but he rattled off a couple of models that Chance had thought
would be worth looking at.
"OK CJ leave it with me. I'll ask around. I'll get you something,
"Thanks Paddy I appreciate it. So when are you coming to the
Islands for a holiday? You know the offer still stands."
CJ was genuine in his invite. He, Patrick and Mike had been good
mates when they were all in the Regiment and they were times that
CJ missed. Not often and not for long admittedly, but occasionally.
"Soon CJ, I promise, soon," Patrick chuckled as he replied.
The conversation petered out with Patrick once again promising
to get back to CJ as soon as he could. As CJ put down the receiver
he smiled, Patrick was a good man, he would come through.
Chapter 3 - The Flight
The flight to LAX had been good. The twins had behaved themselves
and had actually been quite charming with the lady in the seat on
the other side of the aisle. Sherry was worried. It was all going
to well. Something had to go wrong. They had a three hour layover
in Los Angeles and had decided to let the twins run around as much
as possible so they would tire themselves out. That was the first
mistake. Andrew started the trouble when he ran into an obvious
"suit". The man removed his glasses and in an obnoxious
voice asked that 'the child be kept under control'. Sherry felt
CJ bristle beside her and she put a restraining hand on his arm.
She smiled sweetly through gritted teeth and recovered Andrew from
the briefcase he was sitting on. They moved to another part of the
departure lounge. Katie, not to be outdone, decided to throw a temper
tantrum. She objected to being moved and on being transposed to
a different part of the departure lounge and put on the floor, stood
and made her way determinedly back to where they had come from.
"No munchkin," soothed CJ, "over here."
It was at this point that Katie started to screech, objecting to
CJ picking her up and walking back to Sherry and Andrew. With her
little legs kicking and her fists punching she fought CJ all the
"Katie, no don't love," he pleaded.
Meanwhile Andrew had remained on the floor after Sherry had sat
him down. By now people were looking at CJ and Katie. A few sympathetic
mothers recognized the signs and smiled in memory of a shared embarrassment
and exasperation. Others tutted under their breath in unfair condemnation
of a father who, as they saw it, couldn't control his own child.
Andrew was going red in the face. A telltale sign if only Sherry
had been watching but her attention was also on the noisy Katie.
It was the smell she first noticed. That sweet sickly smell. She
sighed and turned to Andrew almost puce but smiling now that he
was sitting in a warm sticky mess.
CJ wrinkled his nose as he stood in front of Sherry, "the
rest rooms are this way," he indicated with his head.
Sherry scooped up Andrew and the four of them walked to the baby
changing room. Katie was still screeching. Sherry and CJ ignored
her. In the changing room, Andrew was soon clean and changed. Katie
had decided to empty the baby bag and Sherry couldn't be bothered
to stop her. CJ finished doing Andrew's buttons up and turned to
"What's the matter love?"
She had been uncommonly quiet for a while now.
"I'm still not convinced CJ. It's such a long way and I'm
dreading this next flight."
She was tired. Andrew, almost in anticipation of the long flight,
had not slept well the previous night and it was Sherry who had
spent most of the night attempting to soothe the twin and reading
him stories. Katie had slept through it all, an angelic look on
her face. CJ kissed her gently on the cheek.
"Don't worry it'll be okay. A piece of cake."
Sherry smiled faintly. She didn't believe it for a minute
"But why did we have to come?" she asked for the umpteenth
CJ sighed and repeated what he had said before so many times.
"We are too busy for Chance to leave until he has sorted out
a replacement pilot. You can't blame him for wanting to take his
time. After all it is his, our, livelihood. He needs the right man
for the job."
"It gives my family a chance to see the twins. Mum is the
only one who has been out and the Yates' clan want to make a fuss.
They are great fussers. Besides it's winter back home, snow, rain,
cold, you'll love it."
Sherry looked at his serious face and laughed.
"Ok you sold me. Did anyone ever tell you, you are a sweet
talker Christopher James Yates?"
"One of my many talents."
He grinned as he picked up Andrew and kissed the boy on the cheek,
"I make beautiful babies too."
The flight was called without any more major catastrophes and they
were able to get on board in the first call and get the twins settled
before the plane filled up. Eleven hours on a plane with 18-month-old
twins is no idea of fun for anyone. Katie spilled her orange juice
into CJ's lap and was sick whilst Andrew kicked the back of the
seat in front until the poor man asked the stewardess if there was
a spare seat he could move to. Fortunately for him there was.
Everybody in the seats around Sherry, CJ and the twins must have
offered up a prayer of thanks when the plane touched down at Heathrow.
CJ was certainly looking forward to handing the twins over to his
family and catching up on his sleep and some time alone with his
CJ and the twins walked through Immigration and Customs without
any bother. With CJ being British the twins had dual nationality,
which came in handy at times like these. Sherry was not so lucky
and had to queue for 30 minutes before she got through Immigration
control. Having reclaimed the baggage, put up the baby stroller
and stopped Katie from climbing on the carousel, three happy faces
greeted Sherry as she finally got into the arrivals lounge. CJ thought
she looked exhausted and needed sleep more than he did. She didn't
have his ability to sleep anywhere anytime at the drop of a hat.
He took her hand and squeezed it.
"I need to sleep CJ," she told him.
"I know love. Not long now," he replied.
The Yates family was waiting at the gate. One of the bright sparks
had made a sign with the surname on, as if CJ wouldn't recognise
his own family. Well it had been a long time. He took a deep breath.
Even the air tasted different. He felt revitalised. It was good
to be home.
Chapter 4 - The Idea
The family lived in North London. Many of the Irish who had come
over in the 1950's when England were welcoming workers of every
race creed and colour had settled in North London. Before you knew
it the Guinness was as good as that being made at the Brewery in
Dublin and every wedding ended in a fight. Siobhan Yates was the
matriarch of the family. White haired, tall, well built and with
a ruddy complexion. CJ had taken his father's looks. Frederick Yates
was shorter than his wife, thin of face and stature and of hair.
He looked the archetypal hen pecked husband, but theirs was a strong
vibrant marriage, a partnership that had withstood the test of time
and whatever hardship had been placed on it. And there had been
plenty of those not the least of which was the death of their oldest
boy Danny and CJ's plunge into depression and drinking after his
return from Libya with his older brother's body.
They had survived that as they had survived everything, with a
smile and any excuse for a family gathering. CJ's return from Hawaii
with his wife and the twins was more than enough excuse for the
clan to get together. Not that they had far to go. With the exception
of Danny and CJ and one or two other black sheep, most of the family
still lived in and around North London, Willesden to be specific.
The area had changed a lot since the 1950's and a lot since the
last time CJ had been home. Now he looked in despair at the boarded
up shops and houses and the dirty streets. The place was a mess
and he feared for his family's safety.
The family home was an oasis in the desert. The small 3 bed roomed
terraced house had been maintained immaculately by Frederick Yates
and his wife. When he had not been working on the 'railroad' as
he called it, he was always in the garden weeding pruning or mowing
the grass. He even had an allotment two miles away, and twice a
week he would cycle on his old black bike to the allotment and tend
the vegetables he grew there. In the past what he grew had kept
the family going through especially hard times. Now it was a hobby
but no less cherished for that. The fabric of the house was similarly
well cared for, Mr. Yates senior being a handy man of all sorts,
able to turn his hand to most things that were needed to keep the
little house spick and span.
Siobhan kept the home. She was a willing helper in and around the
home and frequently seen visitor to the allotment, normally pushing
the wheelbarrow while Fred leaned on the spade, rolled himself a
cigarette and watched. Her love though was the home. Everything
was home cooked and hand me down clothes were repaired with a deft
touch and a small neat stitch. CJ had often told Sherry that his
earliest memory of his mum was her darning socks of an evening.
Her cooking was legendary and she baked the most amazing bread,
which filled the house with mouth-watering smells for hours. CJ
had inherited his love of cooking from his mum and she had photographs
of a fair-haired eight-year-old standing on an old up turned milk
crate so he could stir the mixture for Christmas puddings. The smile
on the face of the child said it all, and so did the chaos on the
table and flour all over his face. It had been a happy childhood
for CJ and Danny and CJ was glad he could bring his own children
to experience a little of that happiness.
It was Siobhan who made the suggestion. CJ could see Sherry was
not keen on the idea, and he knew that she had wanted the children
to make their own choices when they were old enough. He was taken
with the notion and knew that dissuading his Mum would be an uphill
struggle. Well it had been done to him when he was about the same
age and he had survived so he guessed the twins would too, at least
that is what he told Sherry. There would be terrible logistical
problems for her family but he knew that overcoming those was only
a matter of organisation. Sherry acquiesced gracefully. CJ beamed
and Siobhan had a look that said this was going to be her finest
hour. CJ squeezed Sherry's hand and mouthed thanks. He looked at
the twins in their highchairs and wondered if getting them christened
was something they would appreciate. Probably not he thought to
Chapter 5 - The Godparents
Matt put the 'phone down, a smile crossing his face. He turned
to Margo and Benny Ray who sat on the sofa in his office. Having
relayed the gist of CJ's excited 'phone call he watched the reactions
of the two members of his team that he was closest to.
"His Highness wants me to be Katie's Godfather, well I'll
be..." Benny Ray was pleased as well as surprised.
" I shall need a new hat," beamed Margo.
Both men looked at her and echoed the same thought, "a hat?"
" For the christening," Margo was already planning what
outfit to wear.
"When do we leave Major?" asked Benny Ray ever the practical
"Today is Tuesday and the christening is a week Sunday. CJ
wants us there on the Friday before hand at the latest."
"Just enough time," said Margo almost to herself.
"What for?" Matt asked.
"To go shopping," she said surprised that he needed to
"I'll book the flights," replied Matt, shaking his head
and smiling as he lifted the 'phone.
CJ's call to Chance was largely academic, as Chance was due to
fly to England in the next couple of days anyway. Still CJ wanted
him to know what was happening.
"Hey, that's great man. I'd be honoured to be Andrew's Godfather."
The next question CJ asked with some hesitation, "Ummm, Chance,
there's no problem about you being a Godfather is there?"
"Problem?" Chance was confused.
"Yeah well with this Muslim thing."
There was a short pause and CJ thought he had offended his partner,
then he heard him chuckle, "No CJ the 'Muslim thing' is no
CJ was relieved, "That's great. I really want you there."
They went on to discuss Chance's travel plans and CJ confirmed
he would be at the airport to collect him. Putting down the 'phone
CJ rifled through his address book. Finding the number he wanted
he pressed the appropriate buttons on his mobile and waited. As
he expected he got a voice telling him to leave a message.
"Nicole, it's CJ. Everything is okay but I need to speak to
you soon. Get me on my mobile or at home and I mean Mum and Dad's."
He ended the call and pondered. Nicole could be anywhere in the
world and he had no idea when or if she would get the message. Danny's
widow was an operative. Not quite the same as him in his heyday
with the team, she was much more into intelligence than strong-arm
stuff. But she could look after herself. Both he and Sherry wanted
Nicole to be Katie's Godmother.
"Penny for your thoughts?" Sherry asked quietly as she
sat next to him.
CJ shook himself, "Nothing important love. What did your brother
"He can't wait. I had to work hard to persuade him not to
fly out tonight."
"The rest of the family coming?" he knew she had been
worried about that.
She relaxed into his cuddle, "Yep all of them."
They stayed together holding each other close, talking quietly.
There were very few details left to work out. CJ's Mum had taken
care of that. It seemed like all they had to do was turn up. Simple
as that. Although of course Sherry and CJ both knew nothing was
ever as simple as it looked at first.
Chapter 6 - The Meeting
CJ and Chance had arranged to meet Patrick and Mike in a pub in
Central London just off Horseguards. A small place with sawdust
on the floor it almost guaranteed privacy if you sat in one of the
deep booths that lined the walls. Patrick was already sitting in
one when the pair arrived. CJ headed for the bar as soon as introductions
had been effected. Chance and Patrick talked about Hawaii and the
charter business til CJ came back and set a pint of luke warm brown
liquid in front of Chance and told him cheerfully to "get it
down his neck". Chance looked sceptically at the contents of
the glass while CJ urged him on.
"It'll put hairs on your chest that will. A pint of best bitter."
"That's what I'm afraid of," muttered Chance.
CJ was smiling at him as he drank his coke. Chance sipped the drink,
fully expecting to be spitting it out on the floor at the first
taste. The drink was aptly named and strange to Chance's palate
but it was not as bad as he thought it would be. In fact he thought,
after a few more swallows, it wasn't all that bad. CJ chuckled as
he watched the look on Chance's face change.
"Where's Mike?" CJ asked Patrick.
"He'll be here in a minute. Don't worry CJ."
Within five minutes Mike Reilly walked in. He was a bear of a man
with a shock of dark red hair. He dwarfed CJ and even made Chance
look short. When he shook hands you wanted to make sure all your
fingers were still there after. He was a typical Irishman, a sparkle
in his eye and a ready joke. After CJ had bought him a pint of Guinness
and he had imparted his latest jokes at which he laughed loudest,
talk turned to business.
The first option Mike offered the two men Chance rejected immediately.
He had flown the military version of what was on offer before and
had been singularly unimpressed. Mike listened to the objections
"You know what you're talking about then," he commented,
as if he had doubted it previously, " In that case you'll be
wanting this little baby."
He slipped a series of photographs and technical specifications
across the table between the glasses. Chance sighed, "She is
a beauty, but way out of our league."
"Well now, there I might have a deal for your darlin'."
Chance looked up at Mike, surprised at the way he had been addressed
and interested in what the man had to offer.
"The toe rag who owned her was a self made millionaire. He
got his money quick and he spent it just as quick. Fast cars, fast
women and a fast death. The poor Ferrari got squashed with our boy
inside. His wee ma'am wants the damn thing sold. It is costing her
a fortune in storage charges and it seemed her boy liked slow horses
too. There are gambling debts and the people he owed money to are
none to patient, if you get my drift."
"How much does she want?" Chance asked.
He was not happy at the thought of taking advantage of a grieving
mother, but if the price was fair he was definitely interested.
Mike mentioned a figure. Chance whistled. CJ looked from Chance
to Mike and back.
"Is that good?" he wanted to know.
"Very good," Chance's eyes were bright.
"Want to see it?" Mike asked.
"Of course," Chance replied.
Within a few minutes a time and place were set.
"This calls for a drink," Mike announced smiling, "Same
again Chance? Your usual, CJ?"
"No," CJ smiled, raising his glass and shaking it so
the ice cubes clinked against the side, "Coke."
Mike roared out loud, " Coke! You on the wagon man?"
CJ nodded expecting a ribbing. The laughter continued and as he
leant on the bar having ordered the drinks, Mike turned to Chance,
"Did I ever tell about this guy when we were in the Beacons?"
As Chance had only just met Mike this was highly unlikely and from
the resigned look on CJ's face this could be a moment to treasure,
thought Chance. Ammunition against CJ was rare and this was an opportunity
not to be missed. By the end of the story Chance was red in the
face gasping for air with tears running down his face. Even CJ was
chuckling at the memory. Patrick, who had been present in the Brecon
Beacons when the story Mike had just related took place, was laughing
"I tell you Chance, there are a lot of beautiful parts of
this country that you should visit while you are here, but the Beacons
is not one of them. It's the arsehole of the planet, forgotten,
forsaken and the worst place in the world on a cold dark and wet
night. Not fit for man nor beast," Mike was adamant.
"I'll remember," Chance managed to splutter out.
By the time the meeting broke up, Chance was just a little bit
tiddley. He stood, slightly unsteady on his feet. The blast of cold
air that hit as he and CJ stepped outside did nothing to sober him
up and CJ kept one hand on Chance's shoulder whilst he hailed a
taxi. CJ thought, one of us is going to have bad head in the morning
and it won't be me and started laughing. Chance joined in not really
knowing what he was laughing at.
Chapter 7 - The Inspection
Luton Airport sent millions of British tourists on package holidays
to the continent every year, but what most of those tourists didn't
see was a thriving private airport for numerous light aircraft and
the occasional helicopter. Hangar 3 was closed when the four men
arrived, but Patrick had the keys and the double doors were soon
thrown wide to reveal the most disgustingly coloured helicopter
you could imagine. Underneath the orange and pink paint was a Eurocopter
Dauphin AS365NZ. Chance stood in awe; CJ made one comment, "I
like the colour."
CJ's words penetrated Chance's stunned brain and he turned to look
in horror at the shorter man beside him. Moving away he took a walk
around the hangar. His eyes never left the helicopter. He looked
like a man in love; his eyes drank in every detail. Chance knew
the technical specifications by heart and relayed them to himself
in a quiet voice as he walked around for a second time. Mike and
Patrick stood to one side while Chance did his inspection. Both
knew they were close to a sale and that nothing they could say would
sway the tall black man either way. The goods would have to speak
for themselves. Both were confident that the sale was in the bag.
Patrick shuffled his feet slightly and constantly looked behind
"Will you stop fidgeting man," Mike complained.
Patrick grunted a sorry and tried to concentrate on the matter
in hand. Chance was opening the engine housing. CJ had his head
stuck in front of Chance.
"Looks good Chance."
Chance turned to look at the smaller man and gently pushed him
out of the way.
"CJ if you can't make a sensible contribution then just stay
out of the way."
CJ shrugged his shoulders and climbed inside, putting on the headphones
and grabbing the stick. Chance rolled his eyes and concentrated
on the machinery in front of him, a smile playing across his lips.
It took over an hour before Chance walked away wiping his hands
on a rag he had found on the floor of the hangar and approached
the two salesmen his arm outstretched.
"Gentlemen you have yourself a deal."
All four men smiled.
"This calls for a drink," said Mike.
"Oh no," groaned Chance.