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Jamie F Dodson

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Flying Boats & Spies, A Nick Grant Adventure
by Jamie F Dodson   

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Category: 

Action/Thriller

Publisher:  OnStage Publishing ISBN-10:  0979085721 Type: 
Pages: 

240

Copyright:  2008 ISBN-13:  9780979085727
Fiction

Amazon
Nick Grant Adventures
Nick Grant Adventures

While war rages in Asia, sixteen-year-old pilot Nick Grant joins the crew of the S.S. North Haven to build island stepping stones across the Pacific for the great flying boats of Pan American Airways. However, he has something a Japanese ninja will kill to possess. Join the adventure- Flying Boats & Spies!

1840 hours, Thursday, April 4th, 1935, aboard the S.S. North Haven, Honolulu Harbor, Hawaii

Nick took a fast shower, changed clothes and headed to the galley in search of a cup of coffee and a piece of pie.
 
Thankfully, almost everyone was still on shore leave and he had no trouble finding a table.  He needed time alone to process the day’s events. The Honolulu – Star newspaper was spread across the table, covered with coffee rings and food crumbs. A headline caught his attention. Nick picked it up and started to read in disbelief.
 
Mystery Surrounds Murder of San Francisco Aviation Pioneer.
SAN FRANCISCO, MARCH 29th.Joseph “Mac” McMillan was buried today at All Saints Cemetery after a funeral at Holy Name Cathedral.   Many famous aviation personalities, including Charles and Anne Lindbergh, attended the mass and funeral. Mr. Lindbergh also served as a pall bearer.
 
Nick’s coffee cup slipped through his fingers and shattered on the deck. What! This can’t be true!  
The circumstances surrounding the murder are still unclear. Mrs. Helen Grant found McMillan’s body when she went looking for her son, Nicholas D. Grant, aged 16. Nicholas Grant was McMillan’s employee and has not been seen since early on the morning of March 24th when he left for Jefferson High School. The police have issued an All Points Bulletin requesting information about the whereabouts of Nicholas.

“Sweet Jesus, no!” Nick pushed the paper away.

 I can’t believe Mac’s dead! Devastated, Nick walked to the forecastle wondering what on earth had happened to Mac.  His family must be mad with worry. He’d have to find a way to contact them without giving away his situation.

Nick reported for duty. There was nothing he could do for Mac now and his family still needed the money. He promised himself that he’d find those responsible and make them pay!

Pedersen was furious when Nick showed up. “Where the hell you been, you sorry landlubber? You’re ten minutes late!”

Nick lied. “I wasn’t feeling well and I went to see the Doc. He wasn’t in and I waited.”

“Course not, you idiot.” Pedersen shoved the clipboard under Nick’s nose. “Because, fool, he’s off the ship and on the town.”
Nick bit back his emotions and let Pedersen’s insults roll over him. After the news about Mac, he couldn’t care less what Pedersen did. Nick remained numb for hours, seeming to sleep-walk through his duties.  By 2300 hours, he had emptied the trashcan several times and actually welcomed the backbreaking task.  It distracted him from his ragged emotions.  The garbage dump was located on the far side of the dock and it was dark and rat-infested.  The heavy trashcan was unwieldy and the bottles rolled around precariously.  At least the mindless activity helped keep his emotions at bay.

Pedersen looked at the time and said, “That's about it for our watch. Our relief will be here soon. Take the trash can down again and dump it.  When you return, you can be relieved."

Nick shouldered the heavy trash can and started the long, arduous walk to the dump.  Except for the occasional scurrying rat, the dock was deserted. At the end of the pier, out of view of the North Haven, he dumped the bottles onto the growing pile of garbage.

Nick straightened up and the most unpleasant feeling settled in his stomach.  Like someone walking on his grave, his neck hairs stood on end.  Nick turned his head.  Shadows moved and Nick fell back onto the pile of bottles as something whooshed past his ear.

Nick grabbed for something – anything!  His hand closed on a full sake bottle. He rolled to his feet with the bottle cocked behind his ear ready for throwing.  A dark shadow of a man, clad in black from head to toe, faced him. He was small in stature and a mask covered his face.

The man took a step closer and pointed a two-handed short sword at Nick’s face.  “We have some unfinished business, Grant-san.”  His English was heavily accented.

This guy was Japanese but… “Buddy, you got the wrong guy. My name’s Grandmore.”

“You can’t fool me, Nicholas Grant.  I want the map case.”

Nick screamed at the top of his lungs. “I don’t know what you are talking about!  Who are you?” He hoped to alert someone on the ship, or maybe a returning crew member.

The Japanese man slashed at Nick.  “No one is coming to help you.  I don’t want to hurt you, boy, but you will bring me the case.  Do you think I work alone – or that I don’t know where you mother, Helen and sister, Judith live?”

“No!” Enraged, Nick threw the bottle with all his might. The man easily dodged the bottle and it shattered harmlessly on the dock.  Nick bent down and picked up another, grabbing it by the neck.  The man lunged, Nick used the bottle to parry the blow, and the bottle shattered.  Sake and shards of glass covered both of them. The man slashed again, aiming for Nick’s head.

Nick jumped backwards and swung wildly with the broken sake bottle. Unfazed, the attacker immediately closed the distance, slashing the air with lightening sword strokes.  “I could kill you at any time, Nick.  Go retrieve the case and I’ll be gone with the night.”

Nick’s mind raced.  If he still had the map case he could give it up.  But this guy was probably Mac’s killer.  A foot landed on Nick’s chest slamming him backwards. As he fell, Nick lashed out with the bottle. He felt it bite deeply into his opponent’s thigh.

The attacker reeled back and glanced down at his leg.  Blood started to flow freely.  “I’m through toying with you  Grant! I want Lindbergh’s package!”

“I don’t have it anymore!” Nick screamed.  Surely, somebody must have heard the ruckus by now!

His attacker flipped the sword up and caught it by the blade. “Tell me quick who has it and I will spare your life.” He drew it back to throw. 
Nick had to figure a way out.  If he told this guy that Grooch had it, would his life be spared?  It seemed an unlikely prospect.

Out of nowhere, a white streak smashed into the black clad man.
Nick recognized him.  My God, it’s the ship’s cook!

The two men toppled over into the garbage pile scattering trash and bottles everywhere.  They spun on the ground as each vied for advantage. The short sword skidded down the dock.

Suddenly the men rolled away from each other and jumped to their feet. The opponents circled, each moving in a distinct fighting style.  Nick had seen martial arts demonstrations in Chinatown and Little Tokyo back in San Francisco.

Nick wanted to help, but how?  He picked up several bottles and yelled, “Hey you, black pajama man!  Catch!” Nick hurled bottle after bottle at the figure. The man blocked the bottles easily. His eyes never left the cook’s face.

 “Throw at feet, boy! Ninja dance on broken glass in cotton slippers!” The cook instructed Nick.

Nick gathered more bottles and pitched as fast as he could. Ninja! Why on earth was a Japanese assassin attacking him?  The ninja lifted and shifted his feet in something resembling a sailor’s jig, but Nick scored again and again. Soon the ninja was crunching on broken glass.

 The ninja backed away from the cook. He reached into his waist band, drew a small metal fighting star and hurled it at the cook. The cook twisted trying to avoid the star, but failed - it embedded deep into his right thigh.  Distracted, the cook didn’t see the ninja close the distance and deliver a snap kick to his throat.  The startled cook crumpled to the concrete. The ninja drew a small knife from a hidden ankle sheath.

Nick yelled, “No!” and whipped a well-aimed bottle with all his strength. It smashed into the side of the ninja’s head. Uh-oh! Nick dove over the trash and rolled to his feet wielding a trash can lid.  The ninja clawed at his wounded face.  He tore the most of the mask away as be plucked shards of glass from out of his cheek.  Even in the dim light, Nick got a good look at his face.

The ninja laughed. “You’re more stupid than I thought, Nick.  Now tell me what I want to know!” Blood streamed from both the deep facial cut and his thigh as he reached for another fighting star.

Using the trash can lid as a shield, Nick prepared to repel the impending attack. A roar grew from the opposite side of the pier. Both Nick and the ninja turned to see a mob of shipmates charging around the corner. Armed with axes, shovels and metal bars they arrived in a mad, screaming frenzy. The ninja threw his star, but his aim was off. It embedded harmlessly in Nick’s trashcan shield.

Third mate Johnson led the mob and brandished an ax handle. “You there, in black, stand back from my shipmates!”

The ninja seemed to consider his options. He turned back to Nick. “This is not over Grant-san!” and fled into the night, leaving only bloody footprints.

The third mate knelt over the cook’s body. “Mother of God, he did you poorly.  Who was that guy and what did he want?”

The cook sat up and studied the fighting star deeply embedded in his thigh.  His face was calm, almost serene. “Good question,” he gasped, fighting to control the pain, “He friend of yours, Nick?”

Nick didn’t answer. He watched in horror as blood spurted with each beat of the cook’s heart. “Damn, you’re about to bleed to death!” Nick removed his belt and quickly wrapped it around the cook’s thigh.  “Give me that axe handle, Mr. Johnson.” Nick used the handle to cinch the belt tighter, staunching the blood flow.The cook was ashen and looked like he was about to pass out. 

“Stay with me, Cookie!” Nick shouted. “Help me, somebody! We’ve get him to the Doc. I’m afraid he’s going to bleed out.”

Nick swung one of the cook’s arms over his shoulder and hoisted him to his feet.  Some one took the opposite side. Nick looked over at his helper and saw a familiar face.  It was Commander Boltz, one of the naval officers.  What was he doing here?  Then they moved swiftly towards the North Haven in silence.
 

Excerpt
1840 hours, Thursday, April 4th, 1935, aboard the S.S. North Haven, Honolulu Harbor, Hawaii

Nick took a fast shower, changed clothes and headed to the galley in search of a cup of coffee and a piece of pie.

Thankfully, almost everyone was still on shore leave and he had no trouble finding a table. He needed time alone to process the day’s events. The Honolulu – Star newspaper was spread across the table, covered with coffee rings and food crumbs. A headline caught his attention. Nick picked it up and started to read in disbelief.

Mystery Surrounds Murder of San Francisco Aviation Pioneer.
SAN FRANCISCO, MARCH 29th.Joseph “Mac” McMillan was buried today at All Saints Cemetery after a funeral at Holy Name Cathedral. Many famous aviation personalities, including Charles and Anne Lindbergh, attended the mass and funeral. Mr. Lindbergh also served as a pall bearer.

Nick’s coffee cup slipped through his fingers and shattered on the deck. What! This can’t be true!
The circumstances surrounding the murder are still unclear. Mrs. Helen Grant found McMillan’s body when she went looking for her son, Nicholas D. Grant, aged 16. Nicholas Grant was McMillan’s employee and has not been seen since early on the morning of March 24th when he left for Jefferson High School. The police have issued an All Points Bulletin requesting information about the whereabouts of Nicholas.
“Sweet Jesus, no!” Nick pushed the paper away.

I can’t believe Mac’s dead! Devastated, Nick walked to the forecastle wondering what on earth had happened to Mac. His family must be mad with worry. He’d have to find a way to contact them without giving away his situation.

Nick reported for duty. There was nothing he could do for Mac now and his family still needed the money. He promised himself that he’d find those responsible and make them pay!

Pedersen was furious when Nick showed up. “Where the hell you been, you sorry landlubber? You’re ten minutes late!”

Nick lied. “I wasn’t feeling well and I went to see the Doc. He wasn’t in and I waited.”

“Course not, you idiot.” Pedersen shoved the clipboard under Nick’s nose. “Because, fool, he’s off the ship and on the town.”
Nick bit back his emotions and let Pedersen’s insults roll over him. After the news about Mac, he couldn’t care less what Pedersen did. Nick remained numb for hours, seeming to sleep-walk through his duties. By 2300 hours, he had emptied the trashcan several times and actually welcomed the backbreaking task. It distracted him from his ragged emotions. The garbage dump was located on the far side of the dock and it was dark and rat-infested. The heavy trashcan was unwieldy and the bottles rolled around precariously. At least the mindless activity helped keep his emotions at bay.

Pedersen looked at the time and said, “That's about it for our watch. Our relief will be here soon. Take the trash can down again and dump it. When you return, you can be relieved."

Nick shouldered the heavy trash can and started the long, arduous walk to the dump. Except for the occasional scurrying rat, the dock was deserted. At the end of the pier, out of view of the North Haven, he dumped the bottles onto the growing pile of garbage.

Nick straightened up and the most unpleasant feeling settled in his stomach. Like someone walking on his grave, his neck hairs stood on end. Nick turned his head. Shadows moved and Nick fell back onto the pile of bottles as something whooshed past his ear.

Nick grabbed for something – anything! His hand closed on a full sake bottle. He rolled to his feet with the bottle cocked behind his ear ready for throwing. A dark shadow of a man, clad in black from head to toe, faced him. He was small in stature and a mask covered his face.

The man took a step closer and pointed a two-handed short sword at Nick’s face. “We have some unfinished business, Grant-san.” His English was heavily accented.

This guy was Japanese but… “Buddy, you got the wrong guy. My name’s Grandmore.”

“You can’t fool me, Nicholas Grant. I want the map case.”

Nick screamed at the top of his lungs. “I don’t know what you are talking about! Who are you?” He hoped to alert someone on the ship, or maybe a returning crew member.

The Japanese man slashed at Nick. “No one is coming to help you. I don’t want to hurt you, boy, but you will bring me the case. Do you think I work alone – or that I don’t know where you mother, Helen and sister, Judith live?”

“No!” Enraged, Nick threw the bottle with all his might. The man easily dodged the bottle and it shattered harmlessly on the dock. Nick bent down and picked up another, grabbing it by the neck. The man lunged, Nick used the bottle to parry the blow, and the bottle shattered. Sake and shards of glass covered both of them. The man slashed again, aiming for Nick’s head.

Nick jumped backwards and swung wildly with the broken sake bottle. Unfazed, the attacker immediately closed the distance, slashing the air with lightening sword strokes. “I could kill you at any time, Nick. Go retrieve the case and I’ll be gone with the night.”

Nick’s mind raced. If he still had the map case he could give it up. But this guy was probably Mac’s killer. A foot landed on Nick’s chest slamming him backwards. As he fell, Nick lashed out with the bottle. He felt it bite deeply into his opponent’s thigh.

The attacker reeled back and glanced down at his leg. Blood started to flow freely. “I’m through toying with you Grant! I want Lindbergh’s package!”

“I don’t have it anymore!” Nick screamed. Surely, somebody must have heard the ruckus by now!

His attacker flipped the sword up and caught it by the blade. “Tell me quick who has it and I will spare your life.” He drew it back to throw.
Nick had to figure a way out. If he told this guy that Grooch had it, would his life be spared? It seemed an unlikely prospect.

Out of nowhere, a white streak smashed into the black clad man.
Nick recognized him. My God, it’s the ship’s cook!

The two men toppled over into the garbage pile scattering trash and bottles everywhere. They spun on the ground as each vied for advantage. The short sword skidded down the dock.

Suddenly the men rolled away from each other and jumped to their feet. The opponents circled, each moving in a distinct fighting style. Nick had seen martial arts demonstrations in Chinatown and Little Tokyo back in San Francisco.

Nick wanted to help, but how? He picked up several bottles and yelled, “Hey you, black pajama man! Catch!” Nick hurled bottle after bottle at the figure. The man blocked the bottles easily. His eyes never left the cook’s face.

“Throw at feet, boy! Ninja dance on broken glass in cotton slippers!” The cook instructed Nick.

Nick gathered more bottles and pitched as fast as he could. Ninja! Why on earth was a Japanese assassin attacking him? The ninja lifted and shifted his feet in something resembling a sailor’s jig, but Nick scored again and again. Soon the ninja was crunching on broken glass.

The ninja backed away from the cook. He reached into his waist band, drew a small metal fighting star and hurled it at the cook. The cook twisted trying to avoid the star, but failed - it embedded deep into his right thigh. Distracted, the cook didn’t see the ninja close the distance and deliver a snap kick to his throat. The startled cook crumpled to the concrete. The ninja drew a small knife from a hidden ankle sheath.

Nick yelled, “No!” and whipped a well-aimed bottle with all his strength. It smashed into the side of the ninja’s head. Uh-oh! Nick dove over the trash and rolled to his feet wielding a trash can lid. The ninja clawed at his wounded face. He tore the most of the mask away as be plucked shards of glass from out of his cheek. Even in the dim light, Nick got a good look at his face.

The ninja laughed. “You’re more stupid than I thought, Nick. Now tell me what I want to know!” Blood streamed from both the deep facial cut and his thigh as he reached for another fighting star.

Using the trash can lid as a shield, Nick prepared to repel the impending attack. A roar grew from the opposite side of the pier. Both Nick and the ninja turned to see a mob of shipmates charging around the corner. Armed with axes, shovels and metal bars they arrived in a mad, screaming frenzy. The ninja threw his star, but his aim was off. It embedded harmlessly in Nick’s trashcan shield.

Third mate Johnson led the mob and brandished an ax handle. “You there, in black, stand back from my shipmates!”

The ninja seemed to consider his options. He turned back to Nick. “This is not over Grant-san!” and fled into the night, leaving only bloody footprints.

The third mate knelt over the cook’s body. “Mother of God, he did you poorly. Who was that guy and what did he want?”

The cook sat up and studied the fighting star deeply embedded in his thigh. His face was calm, almost serene. “Good question,” he gasped, fighting to control the pain, “He friend of yours, Nick?”

Nick didn’t answer. He watched in horror as blood spurted with each beat of the cook’s heart. “Damn, you’re about to bleed to death!” Nick removed his belt and quickly wrapped it around the cook’s thigh. “Give me that axe handle, Mr. Johnson.” Nick used the handle to cinch the belt tighter, staunching the blood flow.The cook was ashen and looked like he was about to pass out.

“Stay with me, Cookie!” Nick shouted. “Help me, somebody! We’ve get him to the Doc. I’m afraid he’s going to bleed out.”

Nick swung one of the cook’s arms over his shoulder and hoisted him to his feet. Some one took the opposite side. Nick looked over at his helper and saw a familiar face. It was Commander Boltz, one of the naval officers. What was he doing here? Then they moved swiftly towards the North Haven in silence.


Professional Reviews

Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys/October Sky and The Ambassador's Son
“Flying Boats and Spies is a marvelous tale of the men and women who pioneered the sky during an adventurous era. Dodson takes his readers back to those great, old days when aviation was young and nothing seemed impossible. Reading Flying Boats and Spies made me feel like a boy all over again.”

Ralph Peters, author of Wars Of Blood And Faith
"Delightful! Flying Boats & Spies is a welcome return to a glamorous age of high-adventure and heroes--and a tribute to the grand-adventure series of yesteryear. Rollicking and great fun, this well-told tale of international intrigue should appeal to every generation in a family. I look forward to future volumes in this series."


Austin Boyd, Navy pilot and submarine hunter, award-winning novelist, and author of the Mars Hill Classified trilogy
“Flying Boats and Spies nails it! I have sailed those waters, lived some of Nick Grant’s adventures, and shared the very skies he flew. Jamie Dodson got it all right with a page-turning story that took me back to my youth and Pacific adventures that others only dream about. Grab this book before someone else does. And bring shark repellent… you’ll forget it’s not you in the book.”


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