LONG LAKE FOG
“But first you need to know the area up by Long Lake is fogged in.”
Luke hated it when Wendy told him the weather in that, ‘you can’t go, tone.’ “When will it lift?”
Luke banged his hand on the desk. “How come it’s sunny here?”
“Look, Luke, I don’t make the weather. I just report it, okay?”
Turning, the lanky young pilot walked across the hall to Barney’s office. Barney Lamb was the owner of Central Provincial Air, a fleet of seven Norseman aircraft. Normally on floats, they had all been changed to skis for the winter Luke’s plane, CF-OBE, was the only one sitting on the ice outside CPA’s office.
Luke walked into Barney’s office without knocking. The older man with pewter grey hair, raised his eye brows at the unannounced entry.
“Barney,” Luke said, “you have to let me fly to Long Lake.”
“Not before the fog lifts, my boy.”
“Wendy doesn’t know how thick the fog is. It might only be ground level. Two Crows’ kid has pneumonia, for God’s sake. Let me fly over and check it out.”
“It’s my airplane your putting at risk.”
“Damn, it’s Two Crows’ child that may die.”
Barney leaned back in his big chair, shaking his head. “Luke, how long have you flown for me?”
“Have we ever lost an airplane in that time?”
“No, but we’ve bent up a few.”
Raising from his chair, Barney walked over to the window. Brilliant sunshine reflected off the frozen lake. Only CF-OBE, painted yellow and red, broke the harsh light making Barney squint. “We’ll wait.”
“Bloody hell. If it was a white kid you’d have a plane up in the blinding blizzard.”
Wheeling around, Barney pointed a finger straight at Luke. “Don’t you pull that on me. You know damn well it makes no difference. Now get out of here.” Barney threw his pencil after him. “And don’t bend up my airplane.”
Luke grinned and winked at Wendy. He’d long ago learned how to pull the old man’s chain.
“There’s still fog over the lake,” Wendy said.
“I’ll get in.”
“Not before noon.”
Luke ignored her, put on his parka and went outside. White light reflecting off the ice hurt his eyes. Walking over to the Norseman, he pulled the Pitot cover off and put it in his pocket before climbing inside and taking off. An hour later he was circling the north end of Long Lake. Nestled between two mountains, the narrow body of water ran on for twenty miles. Today, all twenty miles was shrouded in fog. Luke looked at his watch. It read eleven thirty. He circled the valley until noon., then pick up the microphone. “CF-OBE to base.”
“Wendy, I though you said the fog would lift by noon.”
“I don’t schedule the weather, Luke.”
Banking left, the aircraft swung around in brilliant sunshine. “I’ve got fule to last until two-thirty. Tell Barney I’ll fly around until then.”
Two-thirty came and went. Luke knew if he didn’t leave soon, he’d run out of fuel on the way home.
He started to pull the heavy Norseman around and return to base when Wendy came on the radio. “Luke.” Even through the static, her voice was tense. “Two Crows phoned to say his daughter can hardly breathe.”
The radio remained silent as Luke reviewed his options. “Wendy.”
“Will the fog lift?”
A long pause. “It’s getting late, but I’d say yes.”
“Okay. I’ll stay. They have fuel here for my return flight.”
An hour later, Luke had no choice, he let Barney Lamb’s oldest airplane descend into the fog.