The camera pans down a dusty runway somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere. A lonely figure is seen down on his hands and knees at one end of the tarmac scrubbing at tire marks with a three-bristle brush.
Various aircraft are parked in a haphazard way around a small-dilapidated building with a balcony hanging Ö. Hold on a minute. I described the building in the first story. If you werenít paying attention its your tough luck.
Inside the building on various items of furniture pilots lay in that semi conscious position that denotes a night of serious drinking is in the very recent history. Further proof of recent drinking is the copious amounts of various types of beer cans.
Somewhere in a back room a phone starts to ring. And ring. And ring. And ring. Eventually it stops. And then it starts again. One pilots pryís open eyelids that feel like they are stuck together with dried vegemite, only to find that they are stuck together with dried vegemite.
"How the hell did that happen?" Subz thought to himself.
"Stop thinking so loud. My head hurts." complained Carrot, "I keep getting this ringing in my ears."
"Itís not your head, itís the phone mate," replied Subz.
"Well answer it for gods sake."
Subz staggers over to the window, leans out, vomits, then looks up and yells "SAVVEY GET THE BLOODY PHONE!!!" He then collapses on the floor holding his head and the other pilots wince as reverberations echo around the room.
Out on the runway the figure with the brush looks up. He drops the brush and stands and starts trudging towards the Ready Room. As the most junior member of the squadron Savvey, for it is he who is scrubbing the tarmac, gets all the worst jobs. Scrubbing the tarmac, fixing Hotdogs doohickey, wiping the spittle off Glars windscreen, but the one he hates the most is cleaning out Kilroyís B25 after a long mission. Why couldnít he just pay the extra $100.00 and get that toilet fitted. And a house trained Otto would be another nice bonus.
"Oh well," he muses, "I won't be the most junior for ever."
The phone continues to ring for the next ten minutes as Savvey trudges towards the Ready Room. Finally he picks it up.
"Hullo, RNZAF Ready Room. Proud defenders of the purple Nation"
"Yes.. Hold on a minute."
He turns to Hotdog who is sitting next to the phone; "It's for you."
Hotdog picks up the receiver.
"Hullo? Hullo? Ö. Is there anyone there? There's no one on it Savvey."
With a resigned look Savvey takes the receiver out of Hotdogs hands, turns it round, and hands it back.
"Oh. Hullo," says Hotdog with a sheepish glance at Savvey. "Who?"
"When did I say that?"
"Errr. Umm, Ok we will see you then. Um, how many? What!!! Ok. Bye."
Hotdog hands the phone to Savvey who places it on the cradle. He then turns to Kilroy.
"How much food is in the fridge Kilroy?"
"Hang on, let me check."
Kilroy lumbers out of his chair and into the kitchen. There is a rusty creak as the door is opened. Another rusty creak signifies the door closing. A couple of seconds later Kilroy plonks himself back down in his chair.
"Well?" queries Hotdog.
"A empty jar of olives, half a carton of 2 week old milk, the company cat and a green thing that I can't identify but it may have been cheese once upon a time."
"How many olives?"
"Are you sure."
"I counted them twice to make sure."
By now other pilots are listening in, in a bemused and puzzled sort of way.
"What's the problem Hotdog?" asks Dartls.
"About two months ago I invited the RAAF over for dinner."
"Well they are coming."
"In about an hour, give or take."
"Hmm, thatís a slight problem. How many of them?"
Pilots all round the room sit up in consternation. Twenty guests and half a carton of milk and an unidentified green thing with which to feed them. This was gonna be tricky.
"What about pizza?" asks Tui
"No go there Tui. Ever since Flav dropped that Pizza boy on the last mission they won't deliver to us anymore," replied Glars.
"It was an honest mistake. I didnít know he was in the bomb bay," said Flav.
"Sure, sure. We believe you."
"Hang on guys," exclaimed Carrot, "These are Aussies right?"
"Yeah.." chorused the rest.
"Well then, no problem. Load up your planes boys, we's a goin huntin."
"Who cares, as long as it's moving, shoot the damn thing."
Shortly the skies are full of various planes diving on surrounding bush and paddocks. Frightened livestock of various types run frantically round in circles trying to escape. One cow manages to hurdle a fence just as Dartls lets loose with a burst from the 37mm on his P39. Bits of beef land over a ten yard radius. An over enthusiastic Subz dive bombs a flock of sheep and drops two 500lb bombs in the herd. Shortly, large and small chunks of lamb come pattering out of the sky. Most of the bits are now pre cooked. Carrot meanwhile has been circling a bush clad hillside picking off opossums with the mg on his zeke. Kilroy taxis round the field letting loose randomly with the 75mm. He manages to bag three chickens (concussion), one vegetable truck on route to the local town, and something that could have been a cow but there is not enough left to identify it.
When everyone runs out of ammo, they land and pile the resulting mess into a large cooking pot. The green thing and the milk are added from the fridge, but the cat manages to escape before a similar fate befalls it. The concoction is left to simmer on top of a gently idling Merlin engine while the pilots retire back for a well deserved beer.
Peace descends on the field. An hour later a roaring noise is heard in the skies. Following a Boomerang a varied bunch of aircraft circles the field and line up to land.
Out of the Boomerang strides a short fellow in a strange hat. The other pilots line up behind him.
"HI, I'm Peril. AND THIS IS MY SQUAD! Look I have a model airplane. WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE IN A MARCHING BAND? Do you like flying the P40? THESE ARE THE BOYS."
Wincing slightly, the other Australian pilots give a half-hearted wave.
"WE HAVE JUST FLOWN FROM AUSTRALIA, and now we are HUNGRY!"
"Welcome to New Zealand on behalf of the RNZAF," replied Hotdog, wiggling one finger in his ear to stop the ringing sound, "If you would just like to follow me to the mess room, we have dinner on the table."
"RIGHT O. Come on boys."
The two sets of pilots sit at the table and eye each other cautiously like a pair of paranoid cats that meet in the street, neither side willing to trust the other.
The stew is served to all and sundry, but it must be noted that the RNZAF pilots only seem to pick at theirs while the RAAF hoe in with gusto. Well that is they hoe in until one pilot comes upon an unexpected snag.
"What's this?" Nicho enquires, fishing around in his plate. He then pulls out what appears to be a distributor cap but it is so covered in 'chili' that it's hard to be sure.
"Err, itís the bone from one of our local wildlife species," replies a quick thinking Raxx.
"Oh. Right then."
Other RAAF pilots are also finding objects of an inedible nature on their plates. Asassn pulls out the end of a gear knob, Iddon takes a bite of something that turns out to be a spark plug and the list goes on.
Glars turns to Kilroy and whispers "Didn't you run the metal detector over that lot before you chucked it in?"
"Well, no actually. I didn't think it was important."
"Aaaah, ok. Guess it doesnít matter."
RAAF pilots look at each other briefly, but not wanting to offend the locals they make a game attempt to eat the inedible. Some of them manage to get a surprising amount down before they have to push the rest to the side of the plate.
Hotdog leans over to Carrot, "Ok. What do we do now? I never learnt to entertain guests."
"I think coffee comes next."
"Coffee! Hell the last time we could afford that was about 4 years ago. What are we going to do?"
"Go grab some used machine oil out of the hangar. Chuck that in some hot water and voila! Instant espresso. They won't know the difference. After all, what do you think I've been giving to Otto for the last 4 years."
Coffee is duly served and consumed, or in the case of most pilots, poured surreptitiously in the nearest pot plant or down the back of the seat. Further silent eyeballing ensues until even Peril realizes that nothing more will be forthcoming.
"OK WE HAVE TO GO NOW. Thanks for dinner. YOU MUST COME AND VISIT SOMETIME."
And like a hyperactive Sergeant Major he leads the pilots out to their planes. With the usual jostling they taxi out and away leaving the way they came behind the Boomerang of Peril.
Peace descends as the RNZAF relax again.
"Damn," exclaims Hotdog, "Peril left his model plane behind. Now he will have to come back."
"No, I donít think so," drawled Carrot.
"How can you be so sure?"
Carrot grinned and turned to Savvey, "How did ya do?"
"Couple of hundred litres of fuel, lots of spare cabling, heaps of ammo and various other sundry bits for joining things."
"You mean?" said Hotdog
"Yep," replied Carrot, "About now they should be just running out of fuel or finding that various controls are only held together by dental floss."
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