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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Inspector X

The flow of parts never stopped
Just like the finished aircraft out the front doors
Just like the creeping progress of the war
There just didn't seem to be an end to any of it

Hank's workbench was full of assorted parts when he arrived in the morning
Taking over from the swing shift inspector
Who had faced the same sort of semi-organized pile when he had arrived
And on and on

Cup of coffee nearby
Hank made sure his magnifying light's lens was clean
Then got to work
Picking up a random bracket
Noting the part number upon it on his list
And giving it the old once over

Looking for cracks in the metal bend areas
Sharp edges anywhere, especially around the mating surface faces
Fingers caressing the surface of the part almost absentmindedly
Unconsciously feeling the primed surface
Fingertips ready to register any irregularity for further looking at

This part was seemingly just another in the long blur of parts that passed through his hands
To be weighed against the known normal for such things
Quickly
As there was a war on
And wars do nothing less than eat planes and pilots like a fat man at a dollar buffet

As he often did
Hank wished he had more to do with the effort directly
But a childhood accident that had left him with half a left foot
Insured that he was a supporting character in this grand play

Always on his mind were the GI's who got to work directly with the planes in combat
The constant activity with regular maintenance and repair
Along with the morale boosting art on the aircraft fuselages
Messages scribbled to the enemy on bombs and drop tanks
The general feeling of giving the finger to the Nazi's almost directly

As Hank was musing on these things
His hands, eyes, and fingers were doing their inspection thing
Touching, peering, making notes
And almost without consciously realizing it
Hank didn't put down his grease pencil when he was done noting the part number and condition

Instead he moved it to the long flat side of the chunk of wing spar he had in front of him
And scrawled in neat draft block letters
"BE ALWAYS STRONG"
Along with his small ink inspection mark next to it

After writing it
He glanced at it for a long moment
A smile tugging at the corners of his mouth
And a rabble rousing version of himself giving a massive finger to the Fuhrer in his head
Before he put it on the transfer cart next to the table
To be taken out to the assembly area
With that bold black blessing upon it
Carrying a strength with it that Hank would never have guessed at