THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 128

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 128

…“You take care Missy and if you don’t mind me saying, you would be wise to hitch your wagon to that astronaut guy.”

“He is something special isn’t he?”…

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Who’s in that other chopper,” Gus points.

With everything secure, the unarmed aircraft settles down nearby.

“That is Uncle Roy’s Sikorsky, wow!” Deke McKinney is beside himself, both off and running into the arms of their joint Godfather.

“This is not the way home from school, boys,” Roy states the obvious.

“We’re the last ones on the bus and they nabbed us at the end of the driveway, nearly scared old Frank the bus driver half to death.”

“I’m sorry boys. We should have had some security for you two rascals.”

“Why would they grab two kids like us? The only thing we could understand, besides “shut up” was Allah this and Allah that”, what does god have to do with kidnapping?” Deke wonders

Roy parses his words, “Some people use their gods as a cause for mischief, especially those who are jealous of a unified planet.”

“That is dumb,!” Gus proclaims.

“Dumb.” echoes Deke

“Dumb,” and Roy makes three.

Not at all dumb and equally as patient, Francine sits on a crowded Air Jamaica jet, currently under an unexplained ground stop. She knows that Roy has his hands full, so she does not fret over her failing to receive desired updates. But it doesn’t help that she has drawn the short straw: middle seat between two overweight natives.

She is also fortunate that she still had a KHST Press credential when it came to poor Roger’s attempts to get all her stuff {luggage-purchases-Roy’s luggage} into the cargo bay in the belly of the MD-110. Once she was all set and ready to go, she shares her genuine feelings for Roger the Dodger. It has been a whirlwind term of service for the affable driver and his valuable flexibility has made her stay worth the price of admission. “You take care Missy and if you don’t mind me saying, you would be wise to hitch your wagon to that astronaut guy.”

“He is something special isn’t he?” She reflects on what is important in life. It is not Old Francine in control here, who would be sure to view Roy Crippen as a dull knife and dismissing him for anything but a great story source. “I believe we have an understanding, Rog. And we will be in touch, I promise.”


 THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 128


page 122

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 90

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 90

…And then there is the inconvenient reality of her VP fiancée, who is probably worried sick, period, without knowing about what is going on between the TV Newswoman and the NASA Colony Mission Director…

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Right now (Braden King) he feels like 80. —

— As would Roy Crippen had he not found himself half-passed out on his office couch, next to Francine, who is showing no signs of wanting to leave. She is obviously preoccupied by the concept of how she ever ended up so “close” to the space program. Conversely, for the first time since breaking 200 MPH whilst speeding away from her native Houston, the 10 o’clock newscast she bolted from crosses her mind. Her newly acquired sense of four-letter loyalty has shifted from KHST to NASA, in addition to that deviant stance, she doesn’t feel at all guilty about not having a camera crew along for the station’s {and her career} enrichment.

In fact, her television chores have also occurred to Roy, “Aren’t you going to file a
report to KHST Channel 13 Houston’s News Source?”

“Thank you for that proper station ID,” she forms her real response carefully, if not unenthusiastically. “I suppose I should.” And then there is the inconvenient reality of her VP fiancée, who is probably worried sick, period, without knowing about what is going on between the TV Newswoman and the NASA Colony Mission Director.

For Roy, whose mind never rests anyway, has been doing some thinking, you know, about mortality and bachelorhood. He has noticed the Francine’s transformation from selfish career person to Mamma’s every prayer for a daughter-in-law.

“Francine…….I’ve been kicking something around.” That is an understatement considering the drastic implications for her.the-right-words-001

“What???” She had been in a trance of her own.

“Well……,” he stutters, stumbles, and skirts the issue, “…throughout my years at NASA, both in the air and here with the Space Colony project, I feel there is a void, when it comes to a public presence, that one authoritative voice; someone with your media flair and experience that can deal with situations like we had today.”

Francine thinks she knows what he means, but does not lead him forward, fearing how she would respond.

“Heck,” his Southern drawl breaking in, “for as long as I can remember, it has always been ‘good ol’ Roy’ plunked in front of cameras and microphones and not to nasa (1)thrilled about it.

“No offense, but I’m not a big fan of you press people, although at first the attention was nice enough. But now it is a hassle and it is taking me off-course from my real job.”

“Sure, sure, you want someone else to be the face of failure.”

“Failure, I’m not so sure. We have only scratched the surface of what caused the Colony to go down.”

“I have not seen a single member of the press, not that pompous ass from Channel 5 or anyone from FOX or REUTERS and if they were here they would be asking a millions ignorant questions and some poor sucker here at CMC would have spilled their guts and piss you off.”

Roy is taken aback by Francine’s callous bluntness, and he hasn’t even asked the question.


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 90


page 85

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 49

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 49

…Francine my little filly, I surely think you are going to make it big in this business…

Image result for filly artwork

First Filly by Barbara Busch

meanwhile-caption-001“That is why I think that Houston, indeed the whole state of Texas can make a successful transition from fossil fuel production to that of high-tech robotics. We have the space industry in place, we have the brightest minds East and West of the Mississippi, and we have the biggest hearts that God gave humans; we are Texas dammit….”

oil-rig-001“I am sorry Senator Broyles, but we are fresh out of time for this week. I would like to thank you for your forward glance into Texas’ future:After the Oil is Gone’.” The pleasantly attractive, every-girl type interviewer turns to face camera two, “I am Francine Bouchette and this has been another informative edition of Inside Texas, a production of KHST 13 News.”

The studio relaxes from its keyed-up-on-air mode, the harsh beaming lights going dark one by one. Ties are loosed, blouses unbuttoned, one or two, and pleasantries are exchanged between the crew and guest.

“Thank you Senator Boyles,” the director earnestly shakes the experienced legislator’s hand, “you always give us a good show.”

“Any time Larry; you folks know how to treat a country boy right.” And the extra exposure doesn’t hurt around election time. He continues with his exaggerated Southern drawl, “I live and breathe Texas!”

Senator Broyles

Senator Broyles

Francine Bouchette

Francine Bouchette

Francine waltzes through the set, past the two men. The Senator had been casually eyeing her after the program was a wrap and when she got within a rattler’s’ tail away, he reaches out and puts a lecherous hand on her lower back. She pretends not to notice.

“Francine my little filly, I surely think you are going to make it big in this business. You make those stiffs covering Capitol Hill look like hacks.”

Deep inside, she agrees and if she gets her way, her rise to the top of network television will be swift, cold, and calculated. There are footprints on the backs of any pretty-pretty that has stood in her way; the guys she merely steamrolled.


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 49


page 47