The Flight of Molly

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


I wanted a model airplane when I was young and I didn't get one. I think that inspired this story.


The Flight of Molly

Molly was a very pretty sixth grader who wasn't that concerned with her looks, or with the looks of anyone else for that matter. And this caused her some problems. Casually dressed in jeans, sneakers and t-shirts she often outshone others who put a great deal of effort into their appearance. And this spawned jealousy.

And she had another unfair advantage, a slight Scandinavian accent which adults found “cute”, and which the other grade schoolers found interesting. And to make matters even worse, she was popular with the barely pubescent boys. In fact, she preferred their company and they liked her. They found her to be a bit odd, but they were far enough along in their development to enjoy having a pretty girl accept them and interact with them. And for the most part they accepted her.

Even Jerry liked her. Jerry the class hoodlum, whose specialty was hiding his mouth behind his hands and uttering, in a very weird voice, a barely intelligible obscenity. The precise obscenity varied from performance to performance. Molly could ape the voice and often they muttered obscenities in tandem when the class was in motion and things were noisy. Jerry noticed that he rarely got into trouble when Molly worked with him and often the teachers laughed before telling them to knock it off.

Molly's jeans were becoming ragged in the back where the heels of her tennis shoes stepped on them and wore away the bottom hem.

“Look!”, Molly said, showing her father the chewed out portion of the back leg of her jeans. “All my pants are like this. We need to go to Ranch Supply and get some more.”

“You have plenty of clothing”, said her father. Molly really didn't have a mother. She was far away and Molly rarely saw her.

“I don't. Everything I have is ragged like these jeans.”

“Let's go look in your room. I bet there are some nice things there.” And with this her father walked down the hall to her bedroom.

“Look at this”, said her father. “Here are four new outfits. You would look wonderful in all of them. And you haven't even touched them.”

“I don't like dresses.”

“OK”, said her father, opening the dresser. “Here are nice slacks. How many pairs. One, two, three, four, five. And nice blouses on the other side of the closet. And look, three nice pairs of shoes that you never wear.”

“I told you, I don't like them. Can we get some jeans? I need some decent jeans.”

And that Saturday Molly and her father went clothes shopping. They went to the Pearl Street Mall, a place in Boulder where everyone shops. There were several nice boutiques there that the woman from the University frequented, and they had told Molly's father about them. And he had found their locations on the internet. The boutiques had everything from Indian Saris and sashes, to tie dyed sundresses and outdoor clothing to very conservative Burberry style outfits.

“Hello”, her father said to the sales lady. “This is Molly and she needs some new clothing.”

“Hi Molly”, said the sales lady. “What are you looking for?”

“Jeans.”

“We can get jeans at Ranch Supply”, said her father. “Let's see what else they have.”

“We do have a very good selection of denim”, said the sales lady.

“No, she needs something more feminine. We have lots of jeans. And lots of ski clothing. And lots of skateboard clothing. We need to find something nice for school. And I'm not much of a help and her mom's not around.”

The next hour was taken up with the sales lady presenting one item after another to Molly, who looked on with an expression of exquisite boredom. Finally, allowed to roam the shop freely to see if there was anything she liked, anything at all, she found a couple of pairs of cargo shorts, a pair of track pants, a pair of running shoes and pair of leather flip flops. Defeated, her father purchased the items and headed to North Boulder and Ranch Supply.

There, three pairs of jeans were purchased, and this was easy. Molly always bought the same type and same size. She then moved to the T-shirt section, the guy's T-shirt section.

“I like these Carhart shirts with that heavy cotton. They feel so good. And they have a pocket.”

So several Carhard T-shirts, in various colors, boys size small, were purchased along with the jeans. The shirts were still a bit large on Molly, but she liked them that way.

“I like baggy clothes”, she told her father.

Laying the loot in Molly's room, Molly said, “Thanks dad, I was getting embarrassed with the ragged pants and the girls at school were starting to say things.”

“Well, I'm glad you have clothes you like.” And with this, her father returned to his study where he spent a lot of time on his computer looking at pictures of molecules.

That Sunday morning it was sunny and cool in Boulder. The Flatirons were rust colored rock embedded in green grass. As Molly was leaving with her skateboard, a long board good for coming down the hills in West Boulder, she heard a strange buzzing noise down the street. It seemed to come from the mesa. Somewhere in the open space up by the Flatirons.

She pushed off and headed towards the noise. She left the street, picked up her skateboard and walked up the gravel jogging path to the open space. And at the edge of the open space was greeted by wondrous sight. A tiny airplane was circling a guy who held a black box with an antenna that seemed to be some type of controller. The airplane looped and rolled, flew close to the ground and then flew straight up. It did figure eights and finally came in and landed on a sidewalk. Just like a real airplane. Molly was struck dumb and moved closer.

There were three men involved with the operation and all three ignored her. There were six airplanes on the ground and boxes of equipment sitting nearby. Open wooden boxes with a handle on top, like the tool boxes she had seen workmen carry in old pictures.

The first man retrieved his airplane from sidewalk an put it next to the other six on the ground. A second man picked up another airplane and sat it on the sidewalk. After giving Molly a grin he looked down at the control box in his hands. The engine started and the plane moved down the sidewalk and took off. It banked and then flew in Molly's direction. It circled over her head and then moved out into the open field where it performed aerobatics. Molly couldn't suppress a startled laugh as the plane circled her.

The men flew their planes for a couple of hours and then began packing up their stuff to leave. Molly screwed up her courage and approached them.

“Where do you get those airplanes?”

“They're on the internet”, said what appeared to be the oldest guy.

“Where?”

“Try Harvest Hobbies, they have a good selection.”

“Are they expensive?”

“You can get a trainer for about a hundred dollars. That includes the controller - this thing.” He hefted the black box with the antenna. “But you'll need to buy a battery charger. And you'll probably want several batteries.”

“How do you learn to fly them?” Molly asked.

“Like I said, get a trainer. They're stable. Maybe a single channel with just rudder control.” Here the guy flexed the rudder on the plane he was holding. “You can get the hang of it with that.”

Arriving home, Molly rushed into her father's study where he was again looking at molecules and reading scientific papers on his computer.

“Dad! There were guys down in the open space flying little airplanes. They really flew!”

“I think I might have heard them.”

“They say they sell them on Harvest Hobbies. Google that and let's see them.”

Her father was ready for a break and he located the Harvest Hobby website, which gave the option of cars, boats, helicopters or airplanes.

“What do you want to see? Cars? Boats?”

“Airplanes!” Molly interrupted, thinking the question silly.

Her father opened the page and they were greeted with a large collection of thumbnails showing many different types of aircraft. Single engines, double engines, war planes, sport planes and planes that obviously never existed in real life, but were special purpose models.

“Look at them!” Molly said breathlessly.

Molly's father clicked on the thumbnail for some type of Grumman WWII fighter-bomber. The page opened showing a close up of the plane. It was a highly detailed model and close ups were provided of the rotary engine, the landing gear and the armament. Scrolling down, Molly's father discovered a video. The video began by showing the plane sitting on the asphalt in an empty playground. It's engine started and it rolled out and took off, performing loops and dives around the operator.

“That's exactly what they did”, said Molly. “It was just like that.”

Her father opened up another page for a bi-plane and again played the video. The plane basically did the same thing as the first plane and Molly's father found this boring, but Molly was thrilled.

“That's the kind I want”, she said. “That old fashioned kind with the two wings.”

“Why?” Her father asked, mildly curious.

“Just because they're cool”, said Molly. “Dad let's get one! We can fly it down at the open space. It will be so much fun. We can fly it down the street here and everyone can see it.”

Her dad was mildly amused and chuckled, “It says it costs $129.00, that's a lot”.

“Dadddd! I have some money. I can help. Dad! It will be so fun!”

“Well, I'll think about it. You go get cleaned up because we're going to to the department head's house for a BBQ this afternoon.”

“OK”, Molly moved to her bathroom to get ready, visions of the bi-plane dancing in her head. Her father had to yell at her to hurry as she had opened the Harvest Hobby website in her room and was watching more videos of the model aircraft. A particularly fascinating one was of a huge WWII twin engine bomber. The landing gear could be retracted and the bomb bay doors opened in flight. And the wings could be detached so that it fit in the car. Molly would have selected it for her and her father but for the price, $585. She recalled that her father had balked at the $129 bi-plane.

Coming down the hall in her new jeans, new T-shirt and leather flip flops her dad intercepted her and pointed back towards her room.

“This is a semi-formal affair and everyone is dressing for it. You go back and put on one of those nice outfits that I bought for you. You look like you're going camping.”

Molly was angry, but said nothing. She realized she needed her points to get the airplane. So instead of deliberately sabotaging the outfit, i.e., doing something to make it look stupid, she tried to make it work.

“That is much better. You look very nice. Now, let's go get in the car.”

The BBQ was mostly adults and children either much older or much younger than Molly. Her one peer was William, the son of the department head. Molly and William sat apart eating while the adults occupied the tables that had been set up for the event.

“The planes are only about this big.” Molly indicated about eighteen inches with her hands. “But they really fly. And guys can control them with remote controls.”

“They take off and land and everything?” Asked William.

“Yeah, and they're really fast. And they can do loops and stuff.”

“They have engines?”

“Yeah, they run on batteries. The guys change out the batteries when they run down. They charge up a whole bunch the night before.”

“Where do they get them?” Asked William.

“On the internet. Let's go up to your room and I'll show you.”

Molly accessed the Harvest Hobbies website on William's desktop. Together they spent forty-five minutes watching videos of the various model aircraft swooping and diving. Some flew from an asphalt playground and some inside a gymnasium. It was thrilling to both kids. “

There were footsteps on the stairs to the room and William's father called: “William? Molly? Are you here?”

“Dad! Come here! Look!”

As William's father entered the room William stood and pointed to the computer screen. He shouted, “Look!”.

“Oh yeah, a model airplane. I had one of those when I was your age. It flew on the end of a control line. A string.”

“A string?” Asked William.

“Yeah, a string. It wasn't as much fun, but the radio controlled jobbers were just too expensive for us.”

“A lot are only about a hundred dollars”, said Molly, accessing the main page with the thumbnails. “But some are a lot more.”

“Really!” William's dad was surprised. “Then they've really come down in price. That's what they cost when I was about your age. A hundred years ago.”

He studies the thumbnails. “Open that one up. That's the kind I had, a P-51 Mustang.”

A gray warplane appeared on the screen. Molly started the video. The Mustang sat on the asphalt playground and it's engine started. It rolled out and took off.

William's dad chuckled, “Well look at that!”

The plane began to loop, roll and circle the pilot on the ground.

“That's a lot better than mine was”, said Williams dad. “Mine just flew in circles. You could get bored with it.”

“Dad! Can we get one?”

“No, you'd just leave it out in the rain. It'd get ruined.”

“Dad! I would not!”

“You'd put it on a chair and forget about it. Then sit on it.”

“DAD!”

“Molly, get that first screen back. The one with all the different kinds.”

“I want one like yours! That Mustang.”

“Nope, not the Mustang. That's the second one you buy. When you know what you're doing. It's easy to crash. But maybe we could get a trainer.” William's dad studied the screen. “Hmm. It looks do-able. We'll have to take our time and figure out which one is best. And which one we can afford. We can do that tomorrow.”

“Yeah dad!” yelled William.

“Hey, I got to get back, people are going to wonder where I got off to.”

“Tomorrow!” Yelled William as his father left the room.

“Let's look at the trainers”, said William. Molly agreed.

The next day, Molly approached her father in his study.

“Can you put up the Harvest Hobby page again?”

In response, her father called up the website and went to the “Airplanes” section.

“William and his dad are getting that trainer. Open it up.”

A web page appeared showing a high wing plane that was pretty obviously not copied from real life.

“It's easy to fly and it has a button you can push where it settles down and flies straight if you get in trouble.”

“Uh-huh”, said Molly's father.

“Dad, can we get one too? It's only ninety dollars, and I have sixty dollars saved. We could fly it with William and his dad.”

“Is that really a good thing for a little girl? We can get you something really nice for about that much money.”

“Dad!” Molly's father could hear the anger in Molly's voice.

“OK, let me think about it. We'll see.”

With a huge sigh Molly stomped out of the room and back down the hallway.

The trainer was delivered to William and his dad on Thursday and they did the final assembly and tested it out on Friday. They planned to fly it at the open space that Saturday morning. Molly cooked a nice breakfast for her father and then drug him from his study and forced him to drive to the open space. William and his father were already there unpacking the model. Williams dad turned it on and sat it on the grass.

“OK William, test it out.”

William switched on the controller and moved the ailerons and rudder.

“Good!” Said Williams dad.

Williams dad picked up the small plane and pointed it down the open space.

“Now lets take it straight out. Show me a left turn.”

William worked the box and the ailerons and rudder again moved.

“Good!” Said William's dad. “Now a right.”

The exercise was repeated.

“Now, you're about 300 yard out and you want to turn around and come back.”

Again William worked the box while his dad carried the plane through a 180 degree turn.

“Ok, now things are reversed. Left turn! Right turn! Good!”

“OK, William, now the most important part. What do you do if you get all screwed up?”

“I turn off the engine.”

“How?”

“With this button.”

“Right. OK, I think we're ready.”

William's dad stood beside him with the model.

“OK, start the engine!” The propeller turned and the small plane began to buzz. William's dad gave it a gentle toss and it went straight out across the mesa.

“Keep the speed down. Now wiggle the wings.”

William toggled a control and the plane rocked back and forth. Both William and Molly giggled with excitement.

“OK, time for the big turn, bring it around.”

William worked the controls and the plane made a wide semi-circle and headed back.

“Wiggle the wings again. Get the feel for it.” William's dad sounded excited.

The wings wiggled. William was grinning ear to ear. As the plane approached William again put it through a turn and it headed back out across the mesa. Three such loops were made in all.

“Better bring it in now or the battery is going to die way out there on the other side of the mesa.”

The planed headed for the group and about a hundred feet out William cut the engine. The plane glided down and skidded on the grass.

“Yes!” Screamed Molly running with William to where the planed had landed.

More batteries were installed and William performed increasingly complex flight patterns as the morning wore on.

In the car on the way home Molly burst out, “Dad! We have to get one. It will be so fun!”

“We'll see”, answered her father.

“Why not?” Answered Molly. Again there was anger in her voice.

“I said we'll see. We need to think some things over.”

Molly began to sulk, unable to fathom what the problem could be. She was still visibly moody at dinner that evening. Her father called her into his study after dinner.

“Molly, sit down. That airplane was fun, but is that something you really want for a hobby?”

“Yes”, said Molly, a bit belligerently.”

“Molly, you're going to be in Junior High next year, and you'll soon be in high school. It might be better if you worked at something that you could share with the other girls. I guarantee that none of them are going to be interested in your model airplane. In fact, they will find you a bit odd.”

“I don't care”, said Molly.

“But you will”, said her father. “I've been thinking about this. What are you going to talk with the other girls about? They're not going to look up to you for your airplane or your skateboards. How would you like an electric piano? You could take lessons and learn to compose music on it.”

“No.”

“You could play music with the other kids. Play at parties and such.”

“No, I don't want it.”

“How do you know that?”

“I know what I want.”

“How about taking dance lessons? There is a wonderful academy here in town. And ...”

“Nooooo!”

“Molly, to be honest, I just don't think that becoming obsessed with model airplanes will be good for you.”

“I don't care if it's good for me!”

“Well I do. You're too much of a tomboy as it is.”

Molly choked back a sob, ran down the hallway to her room. She slammed the door as hard as she could.

Her father leaned on his desk with an unpleasant feeling inside. His stomach hurt, but that wasn't all. Something inside his soul hurt as well. He wondered if he had made another serious mistake with his daughter. He felt that he had. But he feared running on gut reactions and he feared for her entering the world of women that awaited her. Entering with her jeans, T-shirts, skateboards and model airplanes. He wished he knew what to do.

Molly cried herself to sleep that night.

 


Submitted: March 31, 2018

© Copyright 2023 MissFedelm. All rights reserved.

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hullabaloo22

Molly knows just what she wants; and let's face it, some people just don't fit in no matter how hard they try. Better just to be yourself, but tough on the father's confidence, I guess.
An excellent read, Miss Fedelm.

Sun, April 1st, 2018 7:23pm

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Thank you.

Sun, April 1st, 2018 12:32pm

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