Wings by Karl Friedrich, free excerpt
   From McBooks Press. ISBN-13: 9781590135709

page 2

ahead was sure to be a town that was near a field of adequate width and flatness and emptiness to set the Jenny down safely.

Once the wings and tail were staked and the big cloth sign hung beside the nearest road to announce their intentions, they’d make a fire to heat their beans and water for coffee, and break out what was left of the makings for sandwiches. Then they’d crawl beneath the Jenny’s wide old cloth wings and into each other’s arms and drift off to sleep beneath a blanket of a billion stars. Come sunrise, word would have spread like wildfire that an airplane had landed in so-and-so’s field, its two occupants intending to sell rides to whomever was adequately rich in spirit and free with dollars for a once-in-a-lifetime, bird’s-eye view of the world.

She leaned back. The hurricane force of the propeller and the blast of gases from the engine’s exhaust instantly lessened, thanks to the little cocoon of relative protection provided by the wooden cockpit and the small windscreen that jutted from the fuselage a few inches forward of her head. Further forward, just behind the howl of the engine and even more directly in the path of the sheen of engine oil that accompanied the howl, was an identical cockpit and within it Tex. She could plainly see the top of his shoulders and neck, and the canvas flying helmet and goggles on his head that were like her own. She couldn’t see his face, but she knew from experience that it would be even grittier than hers. Despite a hard and not-so-profitable day of giving rides in Texas, he had insisted that she take the more comfortable rear cockpit, the one from which the Jenny typically was flown. She’d had a twinge of guilt but still had jumped at the chance. Next to Tex, flying had become the most important thing in her life.

It had been six months since Tex introduced her to the good things that lay beyond the huge East Texas piney woods that circled her daddy’s poor dirt farm. The farm and her daddy’s drinking and ranting had been her suffocating hell for eighteen years. Then Tex had dropped out of the sky one morning on his way to nowhere in particular, and after they’d talked for a while like two people who’d

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WWI Curtiss JN-4D Jenny airplane - U.S. Air Force photo by Harry Tonemah

wwii female pilots historic novel
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