Gregson stepped onto the runway, scanning the snowcapped mountains, those tear-drops that had fallen back into the ocean from a samurai sword, becoming the islands of Japan. The strip was not what he expected; it was far away from distant cities, and skyscrapers that had left tradition behind. Cherrie blossoms were blowing across the two-lane tarmac like pink snow. It might’ve been 50 years ago, until Gregson heard a roar, not of a lion, but of a Silver Porsche Carrera GT. The 500,000-dollar supercar hit the brakes at 100 miles per hour.

“This is your pilot, the pilot said. He bowed to Gregson and Gregson bowed back. The American gentleman wore silver aviators and a cotton shirt; he didn’t look anything like the black hair, blue uniform, and Gucci sunglasses of the Japanese.

“You had a safe flight?” The American asked.

“Yes,” Gregson said. “My instructions are to rendezvous at a health spa in the mountains.”

“I can understand why you might want to go there. Are you training to be Sumo?”

“Samurai; why do you ask?”

“Just that there is a weight limit on my airplane.”

“Get my bags,” Gregson said.

“You have luggage?”

“I don’t travel light.”

“We may experience turbulence, and you might have to lose your stuff.”

“That’s fine.”

Gregson admired him already. “What’s your name?”

“Tommy.”

“What do you do for work, Tommy?”

“I fly lost tourists here and there. When my business went under, I decided to live-out my adolescent fantasies.”

His twin-prop plane was canary yellow, like a beautiful bird.

“If you two gentlemen not waste anymore my time, I have a flight plan,” the Japanese said.

Tommy waved him on, nonchalant, with a wrench in his left hand and a beer in his right.

“You drink alcohol before you fly?”

“Usually when I’m flying,” Tommy said. “Here; have a beer.” Gregson felt like he might need something stronger.

“The duct tape should hold the wings together, and there was a fuel leak, but I put a cork in it. You ready?”

Gregson held his breath, but he wasn’t getting onto a submarine.

“Sorry, it’s the girl’s night off,” Tommy said. He tossed her emerald bra into the luggage compartment. Twin engines turned on, screaming. Gregson protested, but it was too loud.

“Hold your ass,” Tommy shouted.

Gregson had a sinking feeling— they were airborne.

“I’ll need to make a few drops,” Tommy said.

“You said I could keep my luggage.”

“This is business; hold my stick steady, will you?” Gregson held the throbbing shaft; it was enormous.

“Bombs away.”

Was that snow? Gregson saw one of the packages open. “Cocaine? You’re a drug dealer?”

“More like, drug smuggler,” Tommy corrected. “Don’t tell anybody, okay?” Gregson would’ve handcuffed him right there, but they were in the air.

“Is that another plane?” Gregson asked.

“That’s a Japanese Zero!”

Chut Chut Chut Chut Chut

Ssss

“We’re hit! We’re taking fire!”

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