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Air America


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February 01, 2003

She stood monitoring her children in the yard. Jeff and Teresa had always been outdoorsey, hating it indoors, hated shut doors.

"Mommy, mommy, can we go outside." They'd just bought a swing set so it was hard to deny them.

She, in her slippers and robe still, leaned agains the door frame, watching. They started out slowly - until she came behind and pushed them higher and faster. Now she watched them rise and fall, rise and fall, laughter escaping from their lips.

Jack came up behind her and squeezed her hips. The space shuttle's gonna land. Laura knew he was a bit of a fanatic. He had tried to follow every aspect of flight since a young teenager in 1981.

"I bet I saw it yesterday." They'd been told they'd be able to see it in orbit but it had been tough to get up to see it during the night.

"It's landing today," Jack said, looking up. He saw something out of the corner of his eye and scanned right. He saw his neighbor, eyes squinting against the low sun, hand over his brow.

"Hey Edward, is it soon?" He knew the answer. Jack was outside just on case, though he knew the television would give him a much better view.

"Jack, isn't this amazing" I never get tired of it. Yeah it's due any time. Hey Jack, you ever dream of being an astronaut?"

He looked at his children, swaying on the swings. "Yep, sure did. That's what I told my recruiting officer. You know what he said?"

Edward moved closer to the fence and now looked over. "No, what did he say?"

"Edward, he handed me my papers and stood up to shake my hand. "You and everybody else. Everyone."

A boom came from above. All eyes cast skyward they saw nothing. It was a cloudless sky, blue and clear.

"What's that?" Jeff had launched himself off the swing and now stood pointing.

"That" was the sudden appearance of a swarm of bees. Except the perspective was all wrong. And the size of the swarm was growing outward.

"Jack, they're getting bigger," Laura said. "When was the shuttle due?"

His mouth dropped open and he grabbed her fiercely, resting his head on her shoulder.