Monday 2 May 2016


It was the tapping on his right shoulder by his subordinate mechanic that alerted him to the new presence. Shawn McCaughey was so engrossed with getting a final torque on the loader side drive wheel, that she could have walked right in and stuck him with a knife and he never would have known what happened. As his eyes adjusted from the fine and detailed vision of close-up work, to the focus of seeing somebody from a slight distance, he made the quick and obvious mental note it was a woman.

As he pulled the oversized ratchet and socket, he handed it off to the very person who brought his attention to her, feeling confident the last of the ten nuts was within specs. He turned right on his heel and walked towards the African-American woman standing within the half open overhead door.

Shawn approached, extending his right hand, "Washington?" She accepted it, shook back firmly and picked up on the faded Scottish accent "I am," she quickly searched for the name, "McCaughey?" He nodded with a slight smile in return. Okay, they both knew who was supposed to be here and when. He spun on his right heel in a crisp move and was now standing shoulder to shoulder off her left side, both facing and taking in the view of the vehicle.

He asked, "Are you familiar with the Patton A3?" She replied with a nod, then said, "Tell me about this one." He cleared his throat, "This one was use in U.S. service until the mid 90's, sold to our friends in Egypt, where it endured many years of hard living in less than ideal and pristine conditions." He paused, watching her look the vehicle over, like she was window shopping for a nice dress, or something. He then continued, "My crew has spent the last week putting everything back into English and chasing out all the sand that was left in her."

Sabrina pulled a snap left turn and faced him, "What are your and your crew's qualifications?" He turned to his right just as smartly and said, "All of us are at least 63S level 3 minimum, Harris" he pointed to a red headed guy climbing out of the commander's hatch, "is our 45N." He gave her a second to take this in and began again, "You have a dedicated 44B, in Weber," waving his hand towards the metal fabrication noises coming from the back of the shop.

She nodded and stopped him, "Okay, I get the picture," she smiled, "Not your first rodeo." She was impressed with McCaughey, since he answered her using military occupational specialty codes that fit the vehicle's era, something she would get the immediate meaning from. He nodded back to her and with a slight southern drawl, "No ma'am." They exchanged smiles. He broke the good mood by saying, "Everything is nearly ready to go, a few final adjustments and checks and you will be good to roll," he paused, noticing an arched eyebrow, "Just top off the tank and slam the doors."

Sabrina had to ask, "Any chance of digging up technical specifications and other distributed materials for myself and my crew, " she watched his face, a smile of approval appeared. "Already on your seat, but have them back in two weeks," he added, "The library fines can be quite steep." They shared a laugh. She liked him, he was real and down to earth.

Just then, the sound of six marching feet on concrete intruded into the moment. Sabrina glanced to her left and saw her crew had arrived. Shawn picked up on the entrance and yelled out, "Wrap it up lads, move out." He took one step back, his right arm twitched from the programmed salute that wouldn't come, snapped a left turn and marched towards the vehicle that occupied the garage. 

Dominika walked up to Sabrina's left shoulder, Isabella covered off her right and Min-ji stood beside Izzy. Sabrina looked to her left and then to her right, saying something she heard from an old movie, "My friends, we've come home."

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