I was climbing the stairs to the flight school when two men with olive complexions wearing dark suits pushed ahead of me. They were speaking urgently to each other in a foreign language.

I was surprised at their rudeness but continued climbing the stairs. I checked the address again on the paper where I’d written down the phone number and address of the Huffman Aviation school.

I glimpsed the school at the top of the stairs. The two men who had pushed in front of me stepped inside. I followed. The office was large with a big reception area. A woman in a red checked dress and wearing long, dangling earrings handed the two men clipboards with applications. She turned to me.

“I’m here to see Mr. Boren about the job.”

“Oh, yes. Here’s your application.” She handed me a clipboard.

The men were seated near me. They were speaking rapidly to each other in their language. One of them glanced towards me. He had a mustache and beady dark eyes. There was something about the coldness in his eyes that frightened me. He strode over to the desk. He spoke in perfect English. “We don’t have our passports here. There was a mix-up with the post. They are back in Venice.”

“Where are you originally from?” she asked.

There was a beat. “United Arab Emirates,” he said in perfect English.

“Oh. Well, just fill out the rest. We’ll see what to do.”

“We want to start the lessons tomorrow,” the man said gruffly.

The lady remained nonplussed. “Yes, well, we will need payment.”

He pulled out a wad of cash.

I continued filling out the form. The man with the cash passed by me on his way to his seat. “Jew?” he pointed at my Jewish star necklace.

How rude and inappropriate.

I felt the two of them were staring at me and saying something. I wished I could just do the interview and leave. This was so uncomfortable.

“Mrs. Perlman,” the receptionist said. “The director will see you now.” What a relief to get away from these rude men. I had almost finished filling out the application. I quickly rose and followed the lady with the red-checked dress. I realized after I’d followed her to the back office that I’d left the clipboard with my partially filled out application on my chair. I was going to say something, but she quickly pointed to the office. “He’s waiting for you in there.”

I stepped into the office There were photos of planes on all the walls, and pictures of pilots standing next to their planes, smiling.

Mr. Boren was bald and middle-aged. He stood and signaled me to take a seat in front of his large, cluttered desk. “What is your name?”

“Libby Perlman, sir.”

“You are looking for a part-time position?”


“Good.” He steepled his hands and cleared his throat. Well, working here is pleasant. We get a lot of people who are passionate about flying. Yes, soaring up into that great blue sky.”

I nodded, thinking I was not really fitting into this place so well. Flying was one of my biggest fears. That was one of the reasons I was here, but I wasn’t going to tell him that. We needed this job.

“You must love planes.”

“Well, actually––”

He stared towards the window. “Yes, I love that feeling of lifting off when the ground is disappearing from beneath you.”

He cleared his throat. “Now, where is your application.”

“Oh, I’m sorry I left it in the reception area.”

“Yes, well, it’s all right. We will start you in February – that’s when Meg goes on leave. She’s getting married. The salary is what we posted in the ad. I hope that is agreeable to you. And you get to be in a place where flying is everyone’s dream.”

I swallowed. “Thank you, sir.”

He extended his hand for me to shake it.

I felt my cheeks flame. “Nice meeting you. I apologize I don’t shake.”

“Oh, yes, I understand. Religious.”

“Just leave the application with Meg, please.”

I strode back to the chair. I noticed the clipboard had been moved to a table near the two men who were still seated. I finished the application. It already had my address and phone number, so I just added the rest of the information it required, and I handed it to the receptionist.

“Good luck,” she said.

The two men looked up when I passed by. They exchanged a knowing look that for some reason sent a thrill of fear through me. Reading too many mysteries, I admonished myself.


To be continued

Susie Garber is the author of Please Be Polite (Menucha Publishers 2022), A Bridge in Time (Menucha Publishing 2021), Secrets in Disguise (Menucha Publishers 2020), Denver Dreams, a novel (Jerusalem Publications, 2009), Memorable Characters…Magnificent Stories (Scholastic, 2002), Befriend (Menucha Publishers, 2013), The Road Less Traveled (Feldheim, 2015), fiction serials and features in Binah Magazine and Binyan Magazine, and “Moon Song” in Binyan (2021-2022).