Theodore Jerome Cohen is the Readers’ Choice in this week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. The winning entry is decided by the popular vote and rewarded with a special feature here today. (In the case of a tie, the writer who submitted an entry first is the winner per our rules.) Without further ado, here’s the winning story:
by Theodore Jerome Cohen
“Are you sure it’s out here?” I yelled to my guide, Major Gilbert Lambertson (ret.), a former fighter pilot with the Royal Australian Air Force.
“Sure ’n’ my name is Gil,” the elderly man replied, plowing on through the rock pools that remained at low tide off-shore of Darwin.
“Come on, mate,” he yelled. “You’re lookin’ a mite stuffed at the moment!”
He laughed at my inability to keep up, all the while moving ahead at a pace that put me, some 30 years younger, to shame. Working a desk job with coffee and a Danish for breakfast obviously was not the best training for this excursion. Regardless, this early morning trek was a “must do” effort on my part.
Lambertson took a glance at his cell phone’s GPS, made a small correction in the direction of our heading, and together, we trudged off down the coast until there it was, just around the bend: the exposed remnants of a B-25 Mitchell Bomber that again had been exposed in Darwin Harbour during a recent, violent storm.
I stood transfixed by what I saw. Before me were the remains of what surely was one of many of these twin-engine bombers to be found around here, the standard equipment for the Allied air forces in World War II.
“This one,” said Lambertson, “carried two Australian and three Dutch airmen. Sadly, they never made it out alive.
“C’mon, let’s go back; I’ll take you to where they’re buried.”