G.I.Dough Steven Collier
Aircraftman Drake Masters was pensive. A cool Atlantic breeze wafted across the evening air, as he thoughtfully stroked his Brilloâ-rough beard. The Bermudian sunset dyed the horizon a striking shade of crimson, but stood in dichotomous opposition to the ebon sea that churned all around him. Masters’ attention however was fixated squarely upon the chromatically apathetic shade of golden-brown that was finally beginning to appear around the rims of his Snickerdoodles. He knew it would not be long now.
With a resigned sigh, he turned his steely eyes away from the fragile confections, and began to assess the other matters at hand. After a moment of disinterested calculation, he decided he had at least another half an hour before the aircraft carrier completely sank. It had not been a good day. With grim determination, Masters tossed a few more oily rags onto the grease fire that now heated the flimsy, scrap-metal construct he called an “oven” in which his cookies were baking. Masters imagined that they must smell wonderful. Unfortunately, the choking clouds of diesel that hastened their creation denied him any such pleasure.
It was supposed to have been a routine run. He had been sent out with the rest of his elite jet squadron to the mainland. Their mission: collect the ingredients for the base’s annual Christmas dinner. Some of his compatriots in Ravenscar squadron had balked at wasting taxpayer dollars on a trivial grocery run, but the thought of using the local generic brand of Cream of Tartar quickly silenced them. There was one thing that they stood for: culinary excellence. That, and flying with half a tank. You had to cut costs somewhere if you wanted to eat well, and usually Drake Masters found the fresh pomegranates served with his breakfast to be worth the risk factors involved.
They were only 200 miles from main base, and running on fumes. Suddenly Corey broke formation, announcing that he wouldn’t make it. He was going to attempt to refuel on the U.S.S. Hubris, the only carrier in range. That didn’t sit well with the rest of the squad, who decided to head him off. Corey was making
his landing run at the Hubris’ deck when, in an act of unusual precision, the rest of the squad simultaneously attempted to administer the risky gambit of initiating an in-flight refueling with his craft. Naturally it was a fiasco. Fuel lines tangled and snared, as the entirety of Ravenscar squadron careened downward in a macabre pirouette. The resulting impact mortally damaged the Hubris, which summarily ordered all hands to abandon ship.
Or at least that’s what Masters assumed. All he knew for sure is that when he came to, the waves were lapping at his feet and the landing strip was at an unnaturally vertical angle. He recalled how he had groggily disentangled himself from his parachute, while still clinging to his Whole Foods canvas bag with a white-knuckled death grip. In retrospect, he wondered why he had been the only one with enough sense to eject.
He knew it wouldn’t be long before a salvage crew was sent out and he’d be waiting for them. But first, Ravenscar squadron had one more mission to complete.
He owed it to Corey. He owed it to himself.
Creating the dough had not been easy. He’d had to use an exhaust pipe as a rolling pin and there was only enough hand sanitizer in his pocket dispenser to cover half of his preferred work area, but now they were complete. As he gazed out across the waves, he saw the first dark ribbons of night creasing out the sun. He took a bite of Snickerdoodle. It tasted like tarmac and WD40. As the crumbs cascaded onto his rippling chest, a single tear fell from Drake Master’s eye. It tasted like freedom.