by Captain W. E. Johns



IX. TUG FINDS A JOB (Pages 104 - 117)


Tug Carrington took a room in the Beverley hotel in Kings Cross and inserted a suitable advert in the evening paper. Tug has three calls the next morning, the last one of which the caller invites him to a meeting at the Regency Hotel in Piccadilly. A man introduces himself as Mr. Black. During his interview, he is asked "May I take it that you wouldn't quibble about any work you might be asked to do, even though it was a trifle unusual - if there was real money hanging to it?". In terms of salary, Tug asks for 40 a month but he is offered 100.00 per month, with board all found. "The extra money would be for doing just what you're told without asking awkward questions; and when you've done it, forgetting about it". Black tells Tug they've lost two pilots recently. "One thought he could sell something to the police, and the other aimed to get rich quick by telling a story to a newspaer. They both met with accidents. One, who should've known better, walked into an airscrew when it was turning. The other was knocked down and killed by a car in Fleet Street". Tug's first job is to be in North Africa, he is told and Ivan, their chief pilot will check that Tug can handle the plane. Ivan, who appears to be a Pole questions Tug on aero-dynamics, navigation and air regulations, all questions which Tug can answer with ease. Tug is given 50 and asked to got to the International Pilots' Club at The Laurels, Upper Purley Walk, near Croydon. When Mr. Black leaves he exchanges a meaningful glance with a heavily-built man, dressed in a navy blue suit. Tug takes a taxi home and then goes to the hall of his lodgings to make a telephone call. Seeing a movement from the coat rack, Tug realises that he is under observation and so makes a different call to the one he intended. He had intended to ring Biggles at Delmar. Tug goes to his room and writes a note to Biggles saying he is likely to be going to Egypt and then throws the letter to a boy, in Air Training Corp uniform, cleaning boots outside and asks him to post it. Tug is just in time as there is a knock at the door and the heavily-built man introduces himself as Joe. He is there to take ensure Tug arrives at his destination. There conversation reveals that the man is an ex-convict. They set of in Joe's car to Croydon.