Australian Flying

A Tramp called Neville

I was in the middle of some important duty in the hangar when my domain was intruded upon by a figure who, at first glance, appeared to be a scarecrow. He was an extremely skinny and washed-out looking human being of about 30. He had a beakish nose, tatty khaki shorts and a paint-splattered shirt that was now well past its toss-by date.

He wore no shoes and his hair mostly stood on end. On closer examination, his hands were ingrained with filth and his finger nails looked as if he had used them for tunneling.

“May I help you, sir?” I asked.

“I’m thinking of buying an aerie, so I thought I would just have a look round.”

“Certainly, sir. Will you be using it for…?” I heard the dreaded clatter of the window between Zingi’s office and the hangar opening.

“Davis!” he bellowed.

“Excuse me, sir,” I said to my potential customer, and bolted across the hangar, ducking between aeroplanes.

Zingi beckoned me closer so that he didn’t need to raise his voice. He had the look of a diner who has found a gecko in his soup. “Get that f@cking tramp out of my hangar.”

“No, Skipper, it’s fine. He wants to buy an aeroplane.”

“Come closer, Davis,” said Zingi, adjusting his bow-tie, and speaking very slowly and quietly. “I don’t like repeating myself. Now get that f@cking tramp out of my hangar. Im-med-iate-ly.”

I gave Zingi what I hoped was a look of disdainful reproach.

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