Frankie H was on the warpath. One of my flight crew had gone squealing to the base Commanding Officer and now our little racket was well and truly up the spout. I knew I was done for; I’d landed Frankie H right in it. I’d known him to take people’s eyes for less. Even if he didn’t get me, the red cap police would; they didn’t like people stealing from the sick bay and any more than Frankie liked losing the merchandise I pilfered on his behalf. My shredded nerves told me to fear the worst, but the 5 mgs of surgical morphia doing their somnambulant dance in my veins said bugger it all.
I turned to the co-pilot and told him I was going to check the bomb bay. I made my way through the Sunderland seaplane’s dank oily innards, catching glimpses of the foamy grey Atlantic from the side windows. I picked my way past the bomb bay, into the plane’s tail, where the rear gunner sat, cocooned in his perspex bubble, affectionately stroking his the two 50 calibre Brownings, like they were pets, or familiars. Noiselessly I put the cigar tube muzzle of a silenced 38 automatic to the back of the gunner’s head and fired. Blood flowed from between his temples with ritual grace.
I made my way down the Sunderland’s fuselage, picking off my crew one by one, none of them aware of any of the others’ demise. The side gunners, the wireless op, the navigator, the bombardier; I rendered to them all my personal dispatch service, served quiet and cold. Finally, I reached the co-pilot. I gave him a friendly wink, before shooting him through the heart, from all of an inch away. I brushed a stray fleck of blood from my trousers.
There were no regrets to be felt. There hadn’t been time for an inquest, or opportunity to establish any particular guilt. If I was going to burn on my crew’s behalf, or one of their behalves, to put it more pertinently, then they were going to burn too. I nestled in my pilot’s seat and opened my hollowed out Holy Bible, 40 vials of angel-pure morphine inside, once destined to be the property of one Francis ‘Hatchet’ Harris. Oh well. Frankie H would just have to miss out this time. I shot up another couple of vials and pitched the Sunderland forward until the fast approaching white cliffs filled the windscreen and there was no time for second thoughts.
“Bugger it all” I thought.