Chapter 9 – Part 3

The fork lift truck rattled up and into the open door The driver picked up the pallet and swung around headed out the door. I looked after it and saw it rattle off to the flight apron and out of sight among the trees. The women had now completed cleaning the waveguide and waited patiently for my inspection. They had worked hard for days and had much invested in my approval if a job well done. I patiently explained to the head-woman that it would take me considerable time to inspect them all and that they could take the rest of the day off. When she relayed this to the others they seemed disappointed. I said they should come beck tomorrow and we would begin reassembling the radar.

I took the first batch of waveguides out to a sunny spot and sat on a stool looking into them. My girls had done a fine job; there was not a trace of green growth in any of the first batch. Now if the rest of them were as good we could begin reassembly.

As I finished the first batch, Halftrack and the forklift returned with a pallet of boxes like I had seen on my flight in. They parked the pallet where the sugar had been and rattled off in the direction of the flight apron. I went back inside for another batch of waveguides. As I was inspecting the second batch, Halftrack returned with another pallet of boxes. He didn’t offer an explanation and went off for another load. My warehouse space was being invaded. The big issue really wasn’t space, it was dust raised by traffic in and out. The forklift invariably brought a dose of read dust in on the tires and what was already on the floor was whipped up by the engine fan. Maybe if we kept it swept up things would be OK. I went to see Capt. Fiori about sweepers and brooms.

“How about mops. That’ll douse the dust instead of just sweeping it around. he suggested. Not all the girls can fir inside the transmitter. The others can mop dust.”

“How much more of this air freight activity involves the warehouse,” I asked.

“Ideally, none of it. AA is just borrowing space in it on a space-available basis.”

“Couldn’t you tell Halftrack that space isn’t available for a few days?”

“Technically, I could but he actually has a fair amount of power and I’d pay for it later in some way. See, he talks like he runs the whole organization but as of last week he’s the AA freight scheduler at Tan San Nuit. I’m wondering how he got that job.

So, I don’t want to cross him. For instance say I need gasoline for the generators; he could say there’s not room on any flight out of Saigon for the next week. Then I have to call all over to find someone to ship it to me and then find space on a plane to get it here. So, it’s just way easier to keep him happy. And he knows it.”

“So it sounds like mops and buckets.”

“That’s the path of least resistance.”

“Right now it looks like they’re unloading a shipment of rifles from somewhere.”

Yeah, and if you stand by you’ll see them load a pallet of sugar onto the same plane.”

“Do you know where it’s going?”

“Back to Bangkok, I think. That’s where the plane came from.”

“So rifles come from Bangkok and they get sugar back?”

“So it appears. If you want to know any more than that you’ll have to talk to Halftrack. I already know more than I want to about all this AA freight business.”

“My guess is that trade involves some Australian bankers in Thailand,” I said recalling that Halftrack mentioned needing bankers to fund the rifle purchases.

“If I were you I’d ask fewer questions. You seem to know more already than is good for you.”

Hmm, It seemed the Capt. really did know more that he wanted to and was looking out for me.

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