C a p t a i n  P u t n a m
g u e s s e s   w r o n g

 

The F-22 scratched the sky like a Mach 1.3 fingernail across a hundred mile chalkboard. Sealed away from the trembling desert below, cracking sonic booms as he went, Captain Melvin Putnam wore a big, goofy grin. The fighter jet crossed a twenty-mile mountain range in a minute. His heart hammered to match his glee. Penetrating the sky gave him the same supreme satisfaction as penetrating a woman, and he had a hell of an erection to prove it. Who wouldn’t, flying $190 million dollars of the most powerful machine a man could handle, and doing it for God and country?

Putnam’s career was approaching Mach 2. He was at the top of his class, a sure bet to wrangle an invitation to the Astronaut Corps next month. He was doing well with the ladies, too, often at the Lamp Post Motel.

He headed for home, a strip of concrete at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, just settling back with the machine when he glanced at the fuel gauge. His smile crumpled. So did his erection. Too much full-throttle hot dogging out over the gunnery range had ravaged his fuel supply. But the challenge was there: he led his class in lightly touching down with next to nothing in the fuel tank. He stuck out his jaw and guessed he would taxi to the hangar and sputter out the moment he was ready to power down.

Captain Putnam guessed wrong. In ten minutes, his supersonic career crashed and burned two miles short of the runway.


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Slightly irregular science fiction by
Joe Gold

 

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© Copyright 2006, Joe Gold
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