Great Expectations

Guest contributor, Charlie J. Dickens

My father’s family name being Piperiouscubaneck, and he having designed the Piper Cub, when I learned to talk, I thought my name was Piper. So, I came to be called Piper.

Ours was the marsh country, down by the George Ruby bend of the Trinity River, within, not as the river wound, but by air, twenty miles of Trinity Bay, which receives waves that sneak past the Bolivar Peninsula to swap drops with the Gulf of Mexico.

I was given the opportunity to take an apprenticeship with Archibald, an airplane mechanic at the Liberty Municipal Airport. As I grew, I came to love the airplanes that landed and took off from that little airstrip every day.

But life wasn’t all tailwinds and blue skies. My parents had died when, one foggy day at the edge of the bay, I could faintly make out the only thing that seemed to be standing upright; the beacon by which the pilots navigated to the runway. I knew I needed to find my way, too.

So, I learned to fly and often took my girlfriend, Astralla up for flights around the area. We would land at all the farmers’ grass strips and visit with the residents, farmhands, and dogs. The dogs were always my favorite, and so it should be no surprise that when the big city lawyer came bumbling boisterously down from Dallas to reveal to me a great expectation from a mysterious benefactor, I had no need to think twice that when I pass, I should leave it all to my favorite dogs.

Astralla was a cute girl I had known since childhood. When I came over to play, I would help her guardian, Miss Havashot. Poor Miss Havashot. She had more of a problem with the juice of potatoes, corn, and barley than she actually had with men. Alas, men were here for her to blame, and she projected her sad life of mistrust onto sweet Astralla with such fortitude that I would never be able to call her my wife.

The expectation I was to receive sent me on a life journey of more twists and turns than the Trinity River, highlighted in a most sad way by my own snobbery, I admit.

Having moved to Dallas, I hung out with useless rich guys and pretended with them and other highbrows. I bought shiny new jets and whisked my new false friends around the country to ski resorts and other parties. That life, however, was nothing but a vapor trail which I obliterated like a 5G cell signal breaking a critical instrument approach when I learnt that my fortune had come not from a grateful Miss Havashot, but from an FAA inspector whom I had once helped as a boy. I wanted nothing from that scoundrel, so I quit my circumstances and returned to Liberty County to live the rest of my time an honest pilot, flying life-saving blood and organ donations to the sick and injured, now understanding that fortune does not equal happiness.

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