Chapter 52. Kaylee! Turn on the News!
In the week that followed the crazy phone call from Melanie , Kaylee’s thoughts spun like a tornado in her head and the idea to stop at the airport to check on when Tom might return seemed more like a good idea every day.
After two weeks of nag texts by her sister, Kaylee took Melanie to the airport to find when Tom would be scheduled to return.
Melanie’s eyes reflected bright surprise when her older sister drove past the commercial airline terminals and followed around Earhart Street to a gate marked ‟Restricted Access”.
‟Now where?” Melanie asked as they rolled up to the gate.
Kaylee just smiled and punched in a code on a keypad mounted on a steel post.
The gate opened slowly with no more drama than if they had pressed the remote for the garage door at home.
‟Oh my god!” Melanie laughed. “You have access!”
‟You know, you say that a lot?” Kaylee chuckled. Sister’s, were the best friends.
‟Well, when did you get Secret Squirrel access?”
‟Tom gave it to me when had the Wizard’s hull cleaned and serviced here.”
‟Cleaned and serviced?”
‟Yeah, things grow on the hull if he leaves it in the water too long and he had to have it cleaned for travel to different places.” Kaylee blinked then covered her face with a hand. ‟Oh crap, I sound like a snob plane owner.”
Melanie laughed harder as they drove around the parking area to the big hanger and parked next to other private cars.
Their car was decidedly out-of-place, even the pickup trucks that were there, were new and expensive looking. Kaylee’s beat-up, creaky import car, in comparison, appeared rather sad among the upscale cars from the ‟Big-3” American builders and one European exotic car that the girls suspected as a compensation for someone’s ego.
Kaylee led her sister to the human sized door in the moving wall and tried the knob and found it unlocked.
They opened the door and walked inside the fluorescent-lighted interior. Several planes sat around while technicians turned wrenches and climbed on ladders as the doctors-with-wrenches went about and serviced their winged patients.
‟This way to the office.” She told Melanie. ‟We’ll ask about the Pacific Wizard.”
Ten-minutes later, they walked out of the office, disappointed.
‟That was a lost cause.” Melanie ground her teeth in frustration.
‟What gets me is that they didn’t even know who he was.” Kaylee answered quietly.
‟Ask the guy with the clipboard?” Her sister pointed to a stationary man in a white coat.
‟It might get us kicked out, but yeah.”
Walking up to the man with the board he was tapping on. It was a tablet computer and he was calling it every vile name in the book.
“You useless piece of electronic equipment, your mom was a pocket calculator and rode in everyone’s pocket…”
‟Excuse me.” Kaylee said, she recognized the man as one of the techs that worked on the Wizard.
“May I help you?” The tech seemed both irritated and relieved at the interruption.
‟The Pacific Wizard, you worked on it last month?”
‟You’ll have to be more specific than that.” Without looking up from his infuriating tablet. ‟Check in the office for the status of the plane.”
‟No, I mean the flying boat that you steam-cleaned and painted the hull last month and did some checks?”
‟Oh yes. Tom’s plane.” Tablet man looked up. ‟Say, aren’t you the woman that lived on it, too?”
‟Yeah, I’m back at school now.” Kaylee blushed. ‟Do you know when Tom will be back?”
‟No sorry, I don’t expect him back. It was the first time he had ever been here for service.” He pulled off his hard-hat and rubbed his bald head. ‟I heard his plans were to go to England, but he was hurt in an accident. So I don’t know if he went but I know he picked up his plane here and left with a full load of fuel a few weeks ago. I was in the office when he paid up. First time I have ever seen a black signature card.”
Kaylee thanked him and began to walk back to the car with Melanie when he called after them.
‟Miss?” He pulled at his salt and pepper goatee. “He mentioned plans about business in Japan and Singapore then to Australia, or the other way around, I don’t remember.”
‟Thank you.” Kaylee smiled sadly.
In the car on the way out, Melanie watched her sister.
“He will never be back.” Kaylee said with a sob after they got on the highway.
‟Maybe you can find him in the email?”
‟I never emailed him, I was always with him. I don’t know how to get ahold of…” Then her eyes got big and said one name. “Lettie.”
‟Limo company owner in Northern California, Tom’s supported her in the past. They’re friends.” Kaylee sounded pleased remembering Lettie’s name.
Back at the apartment, Kaylee called Lettie’s number and she picked up on the first ring.
‟Kaylee ! I had a thought about you the other day.” Her smile could be felt through the phone. ‟I didn’t want to have you as a lost friend. How are things?”
Kaylee updated Lettie while Melanie made some tea.
‟Tom has an itinerary to go from Japan down to Australia in his new jet.”
‟The Pacific Wizard.”
‟Oh, I didn’t know it was new.”
‟Oh yeah, less than a year old, he got it to replace the Sea Dragon when his novel got picked up for a movie.” Kaylee could hear Lettie coördinate her business operations and tell her cousin ‟Limo-3 got requested for this.” A sigh and the sound of papers and the tap of keys. ‟Sorry, Kaylee .”
‟No problem.” Kaylee smiled. Lettie was an awesome person. ‟I just want to find out how to get ahold of Tom again.”
‟You did the deed and now want it back. The normal answer is ‟no”. A pause as she typed again on the keyboard of her business. “But I like you and I think Tom would like me to help. The only contact information I have is through his agent.”
‟Yeah, that is not a good email anymore. He fired her.”
‟I recall. Sorry Kay… Uh, Kaylee ? Do you have cable tv? You might want to turn on a headline channel. Tom’s in the news.” Lettie sounded alarmed. “It looks like he’s been arrested!”
“What!” Kaylee stood up from the chair she had settled in.
She pointed and waved at Melanie to get her to turn on the TV they flipped around the channels until they found a headline news station and there, in an Asian airport surrounded by armed guards, was the Pacific Wizard.
‟Lettie, I gotta go!” Kaylee gasped out. “Thank you for all that you have done for me!”
Kaylee hung up the phone and both sisters stood in front of a television transfixed by a news reporter who spoke in even tones of a news story about a reclusive man who insisted that people call him by his first name where ever he went.
They had found Tom.