Life at the mansion was pretty laid back. There were some interesting people living there besides Jack and Frank. A young woman that threw herself down the stairs now and then for attention. Everyone made fun of her and called her Crazy Linda. Gator, being new on the scene watched her do her version of Duchamp’s ‘Nude descending a staircase’. Of course, Linda was fully clothed which protected her somewhat in her descent. She was a pro doing this act and had a sort of performance air about it. Jack knew none of this and immediately ran to her aid and comforted her as she cried.
The rest of the jaded household gave Jack the lowdown on her ‘act’ but she stopped falling now and then when Jack held her for a bit. She just wanted what she couldn’t have was Jack’s thought. A simple thing, a child cries for the same reasons. Basic humanity 101. (Frank seduced her afterwards.) Jerk.
So Jack slept on a padded sitting bench overlooking the San Francisco bay and Frank drove off on his German motorcycle to stay at Eddie Oysters place down near the University. The boys had just missed the riots and free speech marches from Mario Savio. Nothing new. Still happening today in many ways.
Jack was offered one of the downstairs rooms by a departing couple. He traded his precious motorcycle for a months rent and two rugs that they didn’t own. Expensive place to live it seemed. It was a sly trade by Samuel Sontag, the departing man and Jack thought he got a good deal. After all, the bike needed a valve job and an overhaul. It was running kind of rough after two thousand miles.
There was another couple just down the hall and they were friendly to Jack and introduced Jack to low level flying for fun. The guy, Bosch, that lived in the room was an ex-Luftwaffe pilot from WWII and he could really fly. The whole household went with Bosch on a flight out to the desert east of the bay and they had a tricky landing. A wind lifted the twin Beach up and over a bit and the tower guy came running over. Bosch handled the wind shear easily as the astonished tower guy finally understood. “No big deal” We put some bread out on the wing for sandwiches and walked over to a huge pile of rocks. We started making music by banging them around and decided we were a new version of a rock band. When we got back, the bread was as hard as two day old toast.
It sure was fun flying with Bosch, especially when we flew through Yellowstone. The plane healed over at about forty-five degrees and the climbers on half dome could see us through the starboard windows. A bit illegal but planes are fast and tail numbers soon forgotten. Bosch flew Stuka’s in the War and he was always calm at the stick. We flew into Monterrey in a thick fog off the pacific and it was all IFR. We did not see the runway until the landing gear hit the pavement. I think the copilot was from the RAF.
It wasn’t long until Jack began to run out of money and Bosch offered Jack a job. Learning that Jack was an experienced radio operator, Bosch recruited Jack to come on board with a project he had in the works with the aircraft. Sounded pretty good and the pay was also excellent. Jack built up a dual band radio that did aircraft frequencies and citizens band and it all ran on a car battery. Seemed an odd radio to build.
Bosch needed Jack to take the rig up on a hill overlooking an abandoned air strip in the desert and communicate with the plane and the ‘ground crew’ that would be unloading the cargo. It was a challenge and Jack wondered what the cargo would be. Naive Gator. It was pretty good. Jack Gator