Bill Randall – American Pin Up artist, who became known for his illustrations for the Date Book calendars of the 1950s and 1960s
Read “The Belle of the Base”
a Short Story Inspired by Bill Randall
Click to Read Belle of the Base
I suppose it was no wonder the guys at the base had a hard time swallowing her when she did get hired. It was the strangest thing, but I guess having a female mechanic strutting around the base in a tight-fitting yellow jumpsuit must have been pretty maddening to them. “They’re letting girls work on our planes now?” said one guy. “We’ll be dropping out of the sky!” I defended her at first, without revealing that she was my fiancée. But after a while the comments just got kind of relentless and I had to let it go for the sake of my own sanity. I reckon a lot of it was fuelled by desire – there weren’t many eligible young women on the base, and the few that did live there were the objects of a hell of a lot of feverish desire.
I told Ella this, and she just laughed. She found the whole thing pretty amusing in the end. She’d always been pretty open minded, and I reckoned the idea of every guy on the base lusting after her was actually kind of a turn on.
“Just be careful,” I warned her, playing with a strand of her soft auburn hair. “I don’t want those pigs going after you.” She simply laughed. “Relax,” she said. “I’m a big girl. I know how to look after myself.” And so, after a while, things reached a kind of equilibrium. Things weren’t perfect on the base, but we were pretty happy with our lot. Ella had good work, and I got to fly some amazing machines. And there were perks to nobody else knowing that we were engaged.
I remember one time when the talk in the mess room turned to who might be able to melt Ella’s heart first out of everyone. They were convinced that she was up for grabs, and each and every one of those pilots was determined to make her theirs. I figured I’d give them a bit of a show. “Twenty bucks from all of you says I can’t get a kiss from her, right now,” I said. They laughed, of course. They jeered. But they put their money down. I swiped it up, sauntered over to the other side of the mess room and – after a few quick whispered words to Ella to explain the situation – enjoyed one of the most intense makeout sessions I’d ever had in front of a dozen gawping airmen. Even after that I didn’t reveal that Ella and I were engaged, but somehow the story of the kiss spread and it became common knowledge that she was mine. I kind of liked it. A lot of the guys looked at me with a new kind of respect, once they thought I’d managed to melt the icy heart of the woman mechanic.
There were other advantages to living on an airbase as well. Given that both of us were working there, we pretty much had the run of the place. Ella and I had always like exploring, and so we spent many a fine night sneaking around where we shouldn’t have been.
One of my favorite occasions was during a thunderstorm that swept in across the desert on a wave of hot air. The sky darkened quicker than an eclipse, and before we knew it bolts of fork lightning were lighting up the sky. The whole place ground to a halt while everyone scrambled for cover.
Ella and I, however, had no plans to ride out the storm in the safety or comfort of our own home. We joined hands and made our way out onto the runway. There weren’t any planes moving about, for once, and with the multiple lightning rods spaced around the perimeter we were in no danger of a strike. I figured there wouldn’t be a better chance to have some fun in the fury of a storm.
And what a storm it was! Thunder boomed and lightning flashed, illuminating the whole world for a split second. Ella and I ran hand in hand out into the middle of one of the runways, and there I lowered her to the ground. Rain was hammering all around us, and the wind was howling fiercely. You could almost feel the raw elemental power of it all coming up through the ground.
Quickly, we pulled aside our clothes, and I slipped inside her. The rain was cold, but Ella was warm and soft. We fucked more fiercely than we ever had before, spurred on by the sound of thunder and the feel of rain beating against our skin. For once we could be as loud and as crazy as we wanted – and there was nobody there to hear.
At least that’s what we thought. After twenty minutes of wet and wild fun, we gathered ourselves together, pulled back on our sopping clothes and made for our little military-style house on the edge of the base. I should have known it was too much to hope that we’d get away with it unobserved.
The next day in the cafeteria, one pilot after another came up to me to offer a congratulatory handshake or a slap on the back. I don’t know who’d spotted us, but the story spread like wildfire, and everyone thought it was a rather brilliant coup on my part. One of the old hands even congratulated me “on my performance”.
So yeah, there were perks to living on an air base. And there are plenty more stories like that one… but I’m afraid most of them are strictly confidential.