Francis Meyrick


Of Helicopters and Humans (25) “Benjy, the Groundsman “

Posted on March 21, 2014

Of Helicopters and Humans

Part 25: Benjy the Groundsman Noooo

(a true story)

Many moons ago, and many complete elliptical orbits around our medium class Sun, I was instructing hairplanes and heli-whoppers in a faraway country. It tended to be wet there, and the grass grew often and tall. We had a good old boy there, working as a groundsman. He was a retired fellow, very respectable, in his late sixties. He was happy to have a job that got him out of the house, and that kept him active. He was a regular, steady, slightly plodding, rotund figure around the airfield. He drove the tractor, mowed the grass, painted the signs, serviced the fire truck, and fixed the plumbing. He was as reliable and steady as the arrival of unexpected bills in your mail box. He even made the coffee. Everybody liked him a lot. He did a terrific job, and he was soft spoken and old fashioned. Never a cross word, and never an adjective escaped the mouth of this honorable gentleman and grandfather.

It was therefore with some amazement, not to mention dumbfounded disbelief, that we all witnessed Benjy one day breaking Light Speed. None of us would have thought him possible of such a Warp Speed sprint. But here he came, like an express locomotive, thundering across the tarmac, heading straight for the club house. Sensing an aircraft emergency, I leaped off my chair, swinging my gaze along the runway. Looking for a crash, or a fire.
Nothing…

Had somebody crashed into a field?

“Fire crew standby!”, I announced. Several trained volunteers jumped to their feet. People shot over to windows, looking. Where? There was no sign of anything amiss. Apart from Benjy.

And still he came on. I guessed he was going to hit the crash alarm button beside the entrance. Perhaps that was why he was running. But then why didn’t he just shout and wave? Point? He would have already had us all out there.
He had reached the main entrance. I braced myself for the crash alarm he was about to activate. Surely? But no, Benjy ignored it completely. Instead he piled frantically right through the door, and, still at Benjy VNE, he now headed for the restrooms. Wow. He must have been in a helluva way… Needed a pee urgent-lee?

But no. It wasn’t a frantic call of nature.
He didn’t even shut the door. Instead he was running water, and splashing it all over his face and hair. He appeared to be highly agitated. Water was going everywhere. And still he was splashing himself. Everybody was dumbfounded. Heat stroke? No, the weather was warm-ish, but only just above cool. That didn’t make sense either.
“Are you all right, Benjy?”, we asked, concerned.

Had Benjy maybe lost it? Some kind of mental breakdown? Should we call an ambulance?

Faces were crowding around the doorway.
In answer, Benjy, dripping wet, just shivered, and shook himself, and kind of emitted strange sounds.

“I was doing alright…”, he mumbled eventually, speaking slowly and thoughtfully.
“I was doing just fine…”

Yes?

“I was carefully strimming that grassy slope down by the fuel pumps…”
Yes? We all knew the slope in question… Benjy maintained it beautifully.
“And I guess I was holding the strimmer up at about chest height or so…”

Yes? And then what?

He straightened up, obviously carefully trying to regain his usual composure. His grandfatherly dignity.
“And then…”, he shivered again, involuntarily, as if the memory was still too fresh. His eyes still showed, hollowly, the sheer awfulness of the event.

WHAT!?

“And then… well, I strimmed…”

????

(He gave us this frustrated look. A mixture of ‘sheepish’ and ‘indignant’)

(quietly)

“…right through…

(very quietly)

… this fucking big dog turd.”

Francis Meyrick

Last edited by Francis Meyrick on March 21, 2014, 10:47 am


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