Plum 40

by dossier

Notes & Warnings

The sunlight behind John is so bright that the deep interior of the musty old hangar is dark, and blurry. He steps inside the old half open rolling door, and pulls his aviators off, and automatically snaps them into his battered leather flight jacket. He glances down, and is surprised to find he's wearing gray, pleated trousers that look forty years out of date.

It's cool, and dusty too, and he can barely make out the shapes. He turns back to the hangar door, and the light is too intense, and he can't make out a thing on the other side.

John reorients himself to the hangar's interior, closes his eyes, and counts to fifteen.

He opens his eyes.

There, a Grumman Duck, short and stubby biplane, and there, Piper J-4 Cub in bright yellow, and he has to touch the glossy surface and lean in to peer longingly at the side by side seats. He suddenly hears the clank of a dropped tool and muttered cussing. He follows the sound in the dim light to a P-51 Mustang, her aluminum skin gleaming like a beacon in the dark.

The engine cowls are open, and all John can see is the backside of a man, his head and arms hidden. He watches for a few minutes, until a voice calls out across the hangar. "Can I help you, son?"

The door to the office is open, and the dark shape of a man is limned in the light flooding into the hangar. He has no idea how he got here, or why, so he reluctantly leaves the aircraft for the office.

John closes the door behind him, and the man who called him isn't there. He peruses the room. A wooden desk, with piles of newspapers, an ashtray nearly overflowing with the stub ends of filterless cigarettes squashed into tiny vees; a greasy brown paper sack, next to a half eaten ham sandwich on rye, and French fries. There's a window behind the desk, covered with tightly closed venetian blinds, but the light outside is escaping though the edges and slats, leaving a striped pattern on the desk. The walls are covered in photos, newspaper clippings, and invoices, but the dates are all obscured. A bookshelf under the observation window that looks out over the dim hangar is crammed to overflowing with handbooks, manuals and some old leather bound books; Robinson Crusoe, Peter Pan, Swiss Family Robinson, The Three Musketeers. A layer of dust covers everything but the sandwich and fries.

The hands of an old twenty-four hour clock over the observation window point to 0400, but there's no sound of ticking. The greasy fries on the desk are odorless.

Another door leads to another office, and it's nearly identical, except for the old man behind the desk. His steel gray hair is brushed into a flattop buzz cut that was popular when John was a child. "Knew you'd get here eventually." He motions at the chair in front of the desk. "Have a seat."

There's something about the figure behind the desk that says military to John, even though his clothing is nondescript, and the buttons on the shirt are straining against his girth.

John takes the chair. "Yeah?" He studies the man's familiar eyes, but John can't pinpoint exactly why they feel so.

"Timing was a bit of a surprise, but yes. You ready to get to work?"

He applied for a job? "I guess so. What do you want me to do?" John's hands almost ache with the anticipation of digging into the Merlin 61 engine, getting grease under his nails.

"Pretty much what you've been doing along." The man pulls out a box of Lucky Strikes from his front pocket, and the match head flares. He takes a deep drag, and leans back. The smoke curls and wreathes around itself, and his face. The bright stripes of light from the venetian blinds shine through the smoke.

John frowns. "I'm sorry. Would you mind refreshing my memory? I don't exactly remember."

"Don't worry; It'll all come back to you, when the time is right. But see, there's a twist. I need to add a few details to your job description, but it might put a crimp in your style, if you know what I mean."

He doesn't. John can't remember anything that came before he stepped into the hangar from the bright lights outside. He shakes his head.

"It's alright son, you're among friends." The man with familiar eyes takes another deep drag from his Lucky Strike. "But you've got a choice to make here. I can put you back to work, or you can go on outside. No hard feelings, either way."

John finds himself nodding. "No, sir, if you don't mind, I think I'd like to go to work, instead."

"I was pretty sure that would be your answer." The man glances at the identical clock on the wall, hands stuck at 0400. "We're in no rush. You'll be back at work in no time at all."


right click to download audio version (that's a 2008 trifecta)

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Fandom: Stargate Atlantis

Category/Rated: Gen, G

Year/Length: 2008/~840 words

Disclaimer: All hail the Martins. and maybe Joe and Brad. Possibly Rob.

Summary: He has no idea how he got here, or why

Series: Possibly a gnostic text for East/West. Apocrypha of a sort

Author's Notes: Fraught with clich├ęs; don't worry about it and enjoy the weirdness.

Beta: [F7]

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