The squadron followed the swirling current of air riding the wind in a loose formation. Commander Jimbo “Skeeter” Jackson led the way; visibility was good; the target visible directly below.
“Okay boys, we make our run the next time around,” Jimbo called out. “Stick to your assigned targets. No playing around.”
“Buzz, you’re with me,” Drac Singleton chimed in. “Stay on my tail. We’ll draw his fire away from the others.”
“I’ve got your back—Drac,” Buzz said with a chuckle.
“Cut the chatter,” Jimbo broke in. “Here we go!”
The squadron banked hard left leaving Buzz and Drac in the holding pattern overhead. Drac dove into a strafing run left to right with Buzz tight on his wing.
“Afterburners!” Drac shouted.
The enemy saw them coming and fired a rapid barrage that went low. Drac put into a steep climb to safety. Buzz, caught in the turbulent backwash of enemy fire, went spinning out of control.
“Pull up,” Drac ordered. “Hard right! Hard right!”
Buzz regained control inches from the high wall. As he banked right, he lit up the afterburner and turned head-on into the flak. The enemy fired again. Buzz rolled beneath the incoming blow; running straight up the face of the enemy.
“Fool kid,” Drac muttered.
Buzz’s gamble paid off. His diversion gave the others extra time on target.
“I got him; I got him!” Toby “Big Nose” McClanahan pumped a victorious arm skyward.
“Get out of there, kid,” Jimbo warned Big Nose.
As Big Nose blew by Jimbo, the two exchanged a salute. Big Nose turned for home giving Jimbo a clear run at the target. The commander turned into a dive that hit home.
“Take that you lousy…” he wasn’t able to finish.
Movement at nine o’clock. Jimbo banked left under the incoming hand. He yanked into a climb, barely avoiding a stall, but evading the surprise flanking movement.
You’re old and slow,” Jimbo shouted back at his receding adversary.
“Boom,” Buzz called out. “Lancelot just nailed him!”
“I’m going in,” Drac said.
“Right behind you,” Buzz told him. “This is for you, Ray.”
The pair launched a perfect run; splitting up at the last second. They landed direct hits on the enemy’s hands.
“Break it off,” Jimbo ordered. “Let’s go home. Well done, team.”
The enemy was a smoking hulk; burning with anger and scratching insanely.
“Damn mosquitoes,” he cursed still scratching furiously at the hits he’d taken. “I wrote that story; now they won’t leave me alone.”
“I’m fine. They haven’t touched me,” his wife said. “Maybe you ought to write about something else next time.”
“This ain’t over—not by a long shot,” the man promised. “It’s on mosquitoes. You got that, it’s on.”