Tag Archives: Entertainment

Flight 404 Chapter 71

Chapter 71

After reading the New York Times’ story on Saul Abramovitz, I had called the FBI and told them that they might as well have waived a red flag in the face of a bull.  Rebecca Schuster was sure to take the story as a challenge.  They assured me that they had the situation well in hand and that Mr. Abramovitz was in no danger.

Having gotten nowhere with them, I decided to drive up to Ashburn, Virginia an enlist Frank’s help.

As the elevator climbed towards Frank’s floor, I couldn’t help but recall our last time being together.  That had been back in December and I hadn’t been ready for love again, so soon after Sam’s death.  But now my pulse was racing in anticipation.  Hopefully, he still felt the same way.  The elevator bell rang, announcing my floor.  The doors opened and my resolve faded.  Should I get out?  Would he see right through my excuse for being here?  Was this the right thing to do?  As I stood there weighing each course of actions, I realized that a young man was standing there politely holding the elevator doors open waiting for me to exit.  I didn’t want to look stupid, so I stepped out. 

Frank was sitting in his office with his back to the door his head was tracing the path of a plane across the sky.

“Is this your punishment?” I asked.

At the sound of my voice, his head stopped following the plane and he swiveled his office chair around in my direction.  The broad smile that broke out across his face, at the sight of me, sent my emotions soaring.

“It was, until you walked in”, he said rising to his feet.  His arms were around me in an instant.  He smelled of tweed, soap, and Gray Flannel cologne.  He released his hold on me after about a minute and happily began dusting off a spar chair so I could sit down.

“God, I’m glad you’re here”, he said.

“I don’t know whether you’ll continue feeling that way once you know the other reason I’m here.”

“There are two?  What’s the first one?”

I could feel the blood rising to my checks thinking about the second reason.  I handed him a folded copy of the New York Times with the article about Saul Abramovitz highlighted.

“I saw it”, he said.  “Agent Sanchez and the FBI insist that Rebecca is no longer a threat.  And that’s the official line.”

“Is that your official line, too?”

“No.” He leaned forward and looked directly into my eyes and said.  “I think all those people on board that plane with Saul are in danger.  That’s my unofficial line.”

“Are we going to just sit around and let Rebecca kill another two hundred or more people?”

“Well, I do have some vacation time coming.  No reason I can’t take it starting now.”

At that point, he stood up, grabbed his coat from the back of the chair, extended me his arm, and we were out the door.  As we stepped on the elevator, he leaned down and whispered in my ear, “this time I won’t take no for an answer.”

 

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Flight 404 Chapter 70

Chapter 70

March, Spring, Resurrection.  All things dead during the long winter were being resurrected, namely Saul Abramovitz. 

He thought surely he’d gotten that bastard.  But two weeks ago, he’d gone to the Gary, Indiana newsstand where they sold out of state newspapers and had purchased a copy of the New York Times. 

The Times was doing an article on a local man who had survived the crash of Nations Air Flight 625.  In the article Mr. Abramovitz had talked about how a lot of the passengers had blamed him for opening the plane’s door which had led to the drowning of several passengers.  But the NTSB had absolved him of any wrong doing, stating that he did what any person in his position would have done. 

The article went on to say that Mr. Abramovitz at the time, thought that the crash was quite possibly an act of revenge against him. And that a certain Rebecca Schuster, aka Mary Ellen Schuster, was wanted in connection with the crash. 

However, Mr. Abramovitz was not going to let what happened aboard Nations Air Flight 625 keep him from taking a once in a life time trip to Israel to attend this year’s Passover Seder with his family. Mr. Abramovitz’s flight would depart from JFK International Airport on March twentieth.

Lester sat in his old beat up truck across from JFK airport and watched the grounds crew through binoculars.  He was paying particular attention to their work habits, rotation schedule, uniforms, and IDs.  He figured he could easily slip in during the evening work rotation, but not as part of the maintenance crew.

This time, his best course of action was to become part of the cleaning crew.  That way, he would have access to the on-board computer.  Once aboard the plane, he would program the computer to shutdown when three criteria were met:  after the plane had traveled one hundred and eighty miles, reached an altitude of thirty-two thousand feet, and the autopilot was engaged.  By that time, the plane would be well off the coast and high over the Atlantic.  The location would make rescue difficult and detection of his handy work all but impossible.  This time he wasn’t going to leave any room for that bastard Saul to escape. 

From his observations, he knew International flights sat on the concourse for about an hour before departing.  After he’d finished his ‘modifications’ on the plane, he’d have time to leave the airport and drive the forty miles to where he would set up his long-range cameras along the coast.  If he couldn’t be there in person to see her go down, at least he could get a picture of her before she headed out to sea.

He had his tools, uniforms, and cameras stored in the same garage where he’d kept his truck.  His movies were stored there also.  During the past three months, he’d consoled himself by watching those ‘movies’.  But now he’d have something new to watch, Trans Air Flight 200 departing JFK at eight o’clock p.m. on March twentieth.

It was time Lester Schuster thought to resurrect his goal of becoming master of death.

 

Flight 404 Chapter 69

Chapter 69

Three and a half months later Frank sat at his new desk in the Ashburn, Virginia regional office of the NTSB, more or less wishing that his vision of being fired had come true. 

Being an office drown was not his forte.  He missed field work.  Truth be told, he even missed the stench of jet fuel and burnt flesh.  But he would never have admitted that to anyone.  That in itself would have been grounds for a psych review and he had another two months of probation, reviewing the reports of other on-site investigators before he could get back into the field, provided his name was not linked to any more crashes in a negative way.

To his surprise Agent Sanchez had backed him up during the FBI’s investigation of his involvement in the crashes of Flight 404 and 625.

The investigation had hit a snag when the FBI was unable to find any trace of Rebecca Schuster.  Somehow, she had managed to slip through their nets.

As for her strange behavior on the tape, a well-known physiatrist after viewing the tape said it was most likely due to DID, Disassociate Identity Disorder.  And that the DID had probably been brought on by the sexual abuse she suffered from her father and/or the  continued harassment inflicted upon her after Donald Schuster refused to move out of the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, no one would ever know for sure because a search of Rebecca’s apartment had uncovered what had really become of her parents.  Their bodies were found hacked to pieces, wrapped in plastic, and covered with lime in a freezer located in the kitchen pantry.  They’d never left for Florida.

 

Flight 404 Chapter 68

Chapter 68

Mary Ellen Schuster was sitting in for Rebecca Schuster as usual when the file access warning came up on her screen.  She had programmed her personnel file to send her a warning whenever anyone retrieved it for review.  The ID tag on the reviewer was National Transportation Safety Bureau.  “Frank!”

Hurriedly she took her purse from her bottom desk drawer and forced herself to walk slowly down the hall on the pretense of having to use the lady’s room.   She ran up the back stairs and made her way past the Sergeant on duty.  Her heart was pounding wildly in her chest.  She could hear Lester in the back of her head screaming, “They know, they know!  Don’t go home!  Use the escape plan.”

At six o’clock p.m. Rebecca Schuster’s supervisor reported her missing.  Several squad cars were dispatched to her home address.

Ray Jones was at home when there was a faint tap at his front door.  Opening the door, he was quickly and quietly ushered outside to a safe waiting area.  Sylvia was the next to be escorted down.  Afterward, several heavily armed men dressed in black with helmets on their heads rushed up the three flights to Rebecca Schuster’s apartment. 

“Rebecca Shuster — NYPD open the door.”  There was no response.    Ray watched as two more men in black ran up the stairs carrying what looked like a big black log.  It occurred to him that they were going to knock Rebecca’s door down. 

Across the city in downtown Manhattan, Mary Ellen Schuster still posing as Rebecca withdrew a substantial amount of money – eight thousand dollars — from her account, before the Feds were able to shut it down.

She then took the number three train out to the Bronx to where Lester garaged his truck.  Inside the locked truck, underneath the front seat was a change of clothing, a gun with ammunition, and another five thousand in cash.  She drove out of the city before roadblocks were set up.

 

Flight 404 Chapter 67

Chapter 67

How did you know?

Like I said, I had a feeling I’d met her before. And it was weird because I knew without a doubt, that I’d never met Rebecca Schuster.  She was and yet wasn’t the woman I’d met before.  So, I put the Discreet Detective Agency to work following Rebecca.  And after realizing that a woman similar to Rebecca had attended Kate and my wedding reception – oh, hell I mean party, I had my mother retrieve some of Kate’s things from the attic. 

The letters were in a storage chest — a storage chest that for most of our marriage sat at the foot of our bed.  I never thought to look in it.  I guess that’s why she hid them there.  She knew they’d be safe from prying eyes.

“Can I see some of the letters?”

“I gotta warn you, they’re not for the faint of heart.” 

 

Dear Kate,

From the moment I laid eyes on you at the airport, I knew we belonged

Together.

 Lester.

 

 Dear Kate,

Are you trying to test my love?   I know you can’t possibly go thru

with marry that black ape.  Stop seeing him, immediately.

 Lester

 

 Dear Kate

I was in town the other day and I came by to see you.  But you were with that nigger.  One day, I’m going to kill that nigger for you.

 Lester

 The letters went on and on like that.  I had to ask, “David, when did Kate meet Lester Schuster?”

My guess is right before we were married.  I remember, she went home to meet with her parents.  She wanted to talk with them about us, that is, about my being Black and all.  She wanted to tell them in person – face to face.  She flew home.”

“Once I realized that this guy has been hanging around airports for that long, I decided to go back and check film footage from Sam’s crash. Sure enough, he was at the Indiana crash site. Hanging around in the background the way he or she did at my wedding. 

We debated on what to do with the tape.  The tape of Rebecca’s apartment, constituted an illegal wiretap.  That we knew.  At best, we could take it to the FBI, and have them reconstruct David’s investigation, or we could give it to the NTSB, clear Frank’s name and have them reconstruct David’s investigation.  We decided to clear Frank’s name.

 

Flight 404 Chapter 66

Chapter 66

We were just finishing up our lunch when the restaurant’s matra d brought the phone over to our table and sat it down in front of me.

“Who knows you’re here, at the hotel?”  Frank asked rather surprised.

I lifted the receiver to my ear.  As far as I knew no one knew I was in New York except LaTanya our receptionist.

“Hello?”

“Margaret. It’s David.”

“David!  Where are you?”

“I’m in Park Slope at the home of Ray Jones.  He lives downstairs from Sylvia Abramovitz and Rebecca Schuster.”

“What on earth are you doing there?”

“Following up on a lead.”

“I thought we all agreed that Rebecca was not the person we were looking for.”

“I know, but there was something about her. So, I followed up on a hunch and you won’t believe what I found.  I’m on my way now.  I’ll meet you at the hotel.”

“That was David.  He says he has something he wants me to see.  He’s coming right over.” 

 

Twenty minutes later, we were back in our hotel room, joined by David, watching a video of Rebecca Schuster’s apartment.

“What is she doing?” I asked.

“Changing”, David said.

“I know she’s changing clothes, but …”

“No.  I mean she’s changing into different people.  One of her is a man and the other, is a woman, possibly two women.  One called Mary and the other Rebecca.  It’s what she says later that I want you to hear.”

I watched and listened as Rebecca Schuster, or rather, Lester Schuster and Mary Ellen Schuster argued amongst themselves and confessed to the murder of Kate Walker.

“Oh my God, David,” I said, wrapping my arms around the gentle six-foot giant who sat weeping in a chair as he watched the last few minutes of the tape.  “They have a film of her burning, he said.”

 

Flight 404 Chapter 65

Chapter 65

While Ray ran to get a cold wet towel to revive David, Mary Ellen Schuster left the apartment.

When he came to, his first words were, “where’s the tape?”

“It’s still in the machine.”  answered a visibly shaken Ray. 

David struggled to sit up.  Ray could tell, the man he’d allowed access to his home was visibly shaken by the words coming out of that thing’s mouth.  He crossed him again remembering what he had seen.  Was it a man or was it a woman, or both.  In all his years, he’d never seen anything like that before. 

Ray helped David to his feet and back over to the table containing the spy equipment.  He glanced at the television screen and saw that the apartment was empty.  “Where did he – no she – damn it!  Where did they go?”

“Out.”

“How long ago?”

“Maybe ten – fifteen minutes.”

David turned and headed for the door.  He was reaching for his coat when Ray grabbed his arm and stopped him.

“I’m guessing from your reaction that this Kate, that they were talking about, she’s someone important to you?”

“Yes.  She was my wife.”

“Then you need to do this right way.”

In those seconds, he realized that he’d been after revenge and not justice.

“Can I use your phone?”