Illustrated excerpts from S. N. A. F. U.


All this long-distance shooting was taking place inside Moffett Naval Air Station's Hangar One and the place is huge.  It had to be because it was designed to accommodate the dirigible Macon.  The hangar measures more than eleven-hundred feet in length, roughly 300 feet in width, and nearly 200 feet in height,  The building is so big it even has its own weather system with patches of fog occasionally forming up near the curved roof.


Now the battleship boys are all excited about blimps, which are lighter-than-air ships of much smaller proportions.  In fact, they can park nine blimps in less space than one dirigible.  The Navy's current interest in blimps is part of a scheme for patrolling the California coast in case some enemy tried to attack us from that direction.


My reason for being in a vacant downtown Hollywood office was a mild case of what my mother would've described as nostalgia-itis.  For an uninhabited space, though, suite number 213 in the First National Bank Building still had a lot of stuff in it.



I was told the Dodge would be an unmarked undercover car instead of another olive drab Army vehicle with white stars and numbers stenciled all over it.  Well, the motor pool guys got it partly right.  The spritely and rugged little Dodge had no stars or numbers on it, but can you guess what color they told Dodge to paint the car?  Yup, it is a factory color so close to Army olive drab you'd have to park 'em next to each other to see the difference.  Now, that's military intelligence.


For those who can't be satisfied with just a good, honest sandwich, however, Eli offers one other Reuben, the Fancy-Schmancy Hollywood Reuben, so named by Danny's mother.  Two modifications turn Eli's standard Reuben into a Hollywood Reuben.  First, a thin slather of yellow mustard is added to the stack for a little extra tang, and second, it is made on marbled rye bread . . .


Danny frowned.  "Things just keep getting worse over there.  We just found out that fellow, Hitler, made a new law that says all Jewish people have to wear a large six-pointed star made of yellow cloth to show they are Jewish."


It was almost three when I pulled into the Biltmore's circular drive and parked the Dodge in front of their entrance.  Inside the hotel's richly appointed and comfortable lobby, a fellow I recognized as the hotel manager welcomed me like long-lost family.


When I saw Susan's '38 Pontiac Eight convertible, a graduation gift from her folks, turn into the hotel drive, I pulled the bill of my cap down so she wouldn't recognize me right away and, as she stepped down from the driver's seat, I gave her an appreciative wolf whistle.


With that I opened the little box so she could see my mother's engagement ring—a one carat round diamond in a simple, elegant gold setting.  There were tears in Susan's eyes.

"Yes, Johnny, yes!  Nothing in the world would make me happier."

Mom's ring fit perfectly.  I took Susan's hand and held it up so the light made the diamond sparkle.  "This was my mother's engagement ring.  If the style is too old fashioned, we could have the stone mounted in a more modern setting."

"Oh, no, Johnny.  The ring is beautiful, and I love that it was your mom's.  I wouldn't change the setting for the world.  I can't wait to show it off."


The Presidio Army base occupies about two-and-a-half square miles of mostly undeveloped wilderness at the extreme northwestern tip of San Francisco near the southern anchorage of the Golden Gate Bridge.  The area was first established as a military post in 1776 by Spaniards settling in Alta California.  It later became a Mexican fortification and eventually the Presidio was commandeered by the United States in 1848.


Most of the buildings in the Presidio date back to the Civil War and are constructed of red brick in what the Army describes as the "Georgian" style.  My new home away from home was in one of these Civil War era structures.  The combined Bachelor Officer and Visiting Officer Quarters were located in a three-story building at one end of "Officers' Row" near the parade ground.


"As Colonel Peterson explained, our assignment concerns blimps, specifically the Goodyear type K blimp.  The K-Class is slightly less than 250 feet in length, is flown by a crew of ten, has a cruising speed of 58 miles per hour, and a maximum speed of 78 miles per hour.  Typically a K can stay aloft for about 38 hours and has a range of roughly 2,200 miles.  The current versions of the K-class blimps are powered by two Pratt-Whitney aircraft engines developing about 425 horsepower each."


Like a kid doing show and tell at school, Lieutenant Commander Know-It-All held up a black and white photo.  The photo was of something that looked like two camera lenses attached perpendicularly to opposite points of a vertical cylinder.  "For scale, the ocuscope in this photo is about thirty inches in height and 20 inches wide at the lenses.  The best way to describe what it does is to compare the device to a submarine periscope."


Vowing not to let the man's personal problems keep me awake, I pulled into a new motor inn called Patmar's Motel just south of the Los Angeles Airport.  We rented a couple of rooms and agreed to meet in the joint's coffee shop at 0700 hours the next morning.


A moment later we came to another hallway that met ours at a right angle from the left.  We took it and about ten feet later stopped in front of a large bank vault door with an electronic combination lock.  She said, "Here's the vault entrance.  I take it you would like to go inside?"

"Yes.  I'll turn my back while you dial the combination."

"Oh, you don't have to do that.  The vault isn't locked until the end of the day."  She took one look at my expression and said, "Not good again?"

"Not good.  Unless it's necessary for employees to be entering and leaving the vault frequently, there's no reason not to lock it.  Leaving it unlocked is just inviting trouble."


He sighed with exasperation at my ignorance or my persistence or both.  "Put simply so even you can understand it, a black box is the result of a process I designed by which a group of electrical components, when wired together, are dipped into mold filled with a mixture of hot Lucite and black dye.  When the plastic cools, it hardens, resulting in a polyhedron with a plug-in base something like a vacuum tube.  The black dye makes it impossible to see what electrical components—resisters, capacitators, triodes, etcetera—are inside the box or to read their values."


The Hilltop Apartments were not on top of any hill I could see.  Instead, they were in a long narrow two story building squeezed between a similar building on the right and an alley on the left.

The ground floor front apartment, displaying a faded sign reading, "Manager," faced the street.  All of the other units had to be approached from a walkway down the right side of the building beside a driveway belonging to the apartment complex next door.  The Hilltop Apartments had a total of eight rental units, four on the ground floor and four more on the second floor.


I suggested Joe's Café, a pretty fair restaurant downtown on State Street.  Susan said Joe's was fine, but we could go to a hamburger joint for all she cared, just as long as we were together.

Joe had a nice quiet booth for us at the back of the dining room where we took our time over an eclectic meal of crab cakes and thick slices of Norm's Meatloaf.  I have no idea who Norm is, but his meatloaf can't be beat.


Swenson nodded.  "I wondered because of that nice leather flying jacket you're wearing.  You don't see those on many guys who aren't pilots."

His tone suggested he didn't approve of non-pilots masquerading as fliers.  I set him straight on the subject.  "But you do see them on guys who have to travel light and may end up God knows where.  Lots of pockets come in handy.  The shoulder patch should explain things to anyone who questions the jacket."

Swenson stopped and stepped around to my opposite side to see what the patch was.  When he saw the yellow, blue and gray Military Intelligence Division emblem, he let out a low whistle.  "You're the first spook I ever . . . ah, forgive me.  You're the first intelligence officer I ever met, and you're right, you can wear any damned jacket you want and more power to you."


Swenson's B-17 was a C model, USAAF aircraft number 40-2074.  It was painted olive drab with no markings except for her number and USA roundels on her wings and fuselage.  The ship was a low wing monoplane with four engines, each swinging a giant four-bladed prop.  Her top speed was estimated to be in excess of 300 mph, but the exact number was classified.


Lucas was right.  What he was getting on Hickam's frequency was a strange racket that sounded more like a shootout on Gangbusters than an airport control tower.  Just then, a different voice came through my earphones.  It was another pilot in the group reporting he saw a group of escort fighters coming our way from Hawaii.  I scanned the sky ahead and spotted the fighters, but they weren't coming to escort us anywhere but into the drink.  Bright orange-yellow sparkles—gun muzzle flashes—twinkled continuously around their noses and wings.

I keyed my throat mike and said, "Swenson, that fighter escort is shooting at us."

"Holy shit!  They are!"


A few minutes later we cleared a ridge and looked down on Pearl Harbor and Hickam Field.  Even from our distant vantage point the scene below was one of complete chaos.  Then we were in the thick of it and I had a front row seat.  Dozens of silver and pale green dive bombers with red roundels on their wings were swooping in to drop their bombs on Hickam's runways and hangars.  Just on our side of Hickam, dark green torpedo bombers were buzzing around low over Pearl Harbor like a hive of angry bees.  Explosions erupted from one after another of the warships lined up in neat rows in the harbor like targets in a shooting gallery.


I felt and heard the main landing gear come down somewhere behind me.  Swenson was taking the most direct route out of the melee.

The radio said, "B-17 on final approach to Hickam, this is Hickam Field tower.  We are under attack.  Use an alternative field."

Swenson said, "Too late for that, Hickam.  We're committed now."

"B-17 on final, watch out for debris and bomb craters on the runway."  Then, after a short pause, he added, "Good luck."


The ship needed a lot of room to slow down because of Swenson's hot landing, but when our speed permitted, he swung the big B-17 off the runway onto a taxiway. and we all started to breathe a little easier.  Then the ship broke in two.

I mean the B-17 literally broke into two pieces.  The flare fire amidships was so hot it damaged the B-17's structure, and everything aft of the waist gunners' position separated from the front part of the ship and dropped to the ground.  Fortunately, our skeleton crew members were all forward of the break, so no one was seriously injured.


Men, most with grease or blood smeared on their uniforms, ran back and forth to no apparent purpose.  Trucks zig-zagged between burning aircraft, trying to move those that could be saved away from the ships already lost to fire.

Firefighters tried to put out gasoline fires with water hoses that barely trickled.  I watched one fellow with a large fire extinguisher run toward a burning Curtiss P-40.  The fighter exploded before he got there and, when the smoke cleared, all that remained was the red fire extinguisher rolling slowly across the flight line.


Captain Swenson looked out at Hickam Field's version of Dante's Inferno and said, "What a mess!  Why the hell didn't they warn us there was a war on out here?"

I said, "Because there wasn't a war on then.  I'm betting the Japs pulled their usual trick, declaring war only after they've struck the first blow.  They've done that before."

Reid mumbled, "Yellow cowards is what they are."

Lucas said, "You sound like the intelligence people knew this was coming.  Why the hell didn't you tell someone?"

"We did.  We told everyone in Washington from FDR on down that the Japs were likely to pull something like this, but nobody wanted to rock the boat."


If anything the traffic was worse than when we left Hickam, but Sergeant Carson pushed hard and we pulled into the Moana's Hotel's circular drive about one-thirty.  I jammed the ocuscope box into my travel bag and told Carson to wait with it while I went in to see what I could find out.  A doorman stopped me as I walked toward the hotel entrance and said we couldn't park where we were parked.

I flashed my MID ID.  "Mister, in case you haven't noticed, there's a war on.  That means I park wherever the hell I need to."


We headed out of Honolulu to the east on a road called Kalanianaole—go ahead, say it, I dare you—that skirted the southeastern tip of Oʻahu and took us north through a community known as Waimanalo.  We drove for about forty-five minutes before coming to a gate in a concrete wall.  A white metal sign on the wall with large black letters said:

US Military Reservation
No Trespassing


Bellows Army Air Force Field wasn't overlooked by the Jap attackers, but it faired a lot better than Hickam.  There were a few bomb craters here and there and some gutted P-40 fighters were bulldozed up against a B-17—probably one of our group—that bellied in for a wheels-up landing.


Otherwise, Bellows appeared to be fully operational.  Carson obviously knew who to talk to at Bellows and what to say, because we soon found ourselves aboard an hour-long flight on a DC-3 in military garb.

Author's Note: The Navy R4D and AAF C-47 military versions of the DC-3 were not available until 23 September, 1941. Before that date, the Army and Navy used civilian DC-3s for personnel and cargo transport.


The China Clipper's four big engines were already spinning their propellers when dock hands cast off the mooring lines and the huge flying boat glided smoothly away from the dock at Hilo.  It was precisely noon by my watch.

I found myself nervously watching the skies around us for the first half hour of the flight, expecting Jap fighters with blazing guns to pop out of the clouds any minute.  After a while, though, I relaxed and began enjoying my luxurious surroundings.


The compartments alternated color schemes between turquoise carpets with pale green walls and rust carpets with beige walls.  The comfortable seats were upholstered in soothing colors, the carpets were thick, the soft lighting was relaxing, and the soundproofing was excellent.  On top of all that, delicious meals were served on fine china, food and drinks were always available, and the cabin stewards remained close at hand to accommodate our every wish.  Flying in the Clipper is like floating along on your own private cloud.


After nearly 20 hours, even the lap of luxury gets tiresome, so I was delighted to see the endless ocean outside my window become beaches, and then the coastal hills west of San Francisco Bay.  Our course took us directly over the Golden Gate and east almost to Treasure Island before the captain made a turn to the southeast that lined us up for a landing behind a breakwater on the south side of Alameda Naval Air Station.


While she opened the box, I opened the cheddar cheese sandwich and took a bite.  I was hungry.

Under a layer of tissue paper she found a kukui nut necklace with a little stylized wooden sea turtle dangling from it.  "Oh, Johnny, how pretty!  Tell me about it . . . there has to be a story."

"Well, about all I know is that those brown round things are polished kukui nuts from kukui trees.  In the Islands they're used for just about everything from candles to making dyes.  The myth is the nuts are symbolic of enlightenment and peace. and kukui nut leis are worn at weddings by the bride and groom for luck.  The sea turtle is symbolic of long life and good fortune."


I arrived at Optitronics a few minutes before six and turned into the alleyway alongside the loading dock.  There I saw three canvas covered stake-bed trucks and a member of Pierce's team holding a .45 caliber M3 submachine gun at the ready.  Pierce had definitely stepped up Optitronics' security.

I showed the guard my MID identification, which he examined very closely, and asked him where I could find Corporal Pierce.  The fellow finally lowered his grease gun and told me Corporal Pierce was in the building, but I would have to go in through the front entrance; the loading dock entrances were sealed.



The sergeant was taking notes now.  "An explosion started this?"

"Absolutely, and if I had to guess, I'd say it was some well-placed Composition B."

"What on earth is Composition B?"

"It's a military grade explosive—a composition of TNT, another explosive called RDX, and plasticizing wax to make the finished product flexible.  The flexibility allows the charge to be molded into the shape that will do the most damage.  The TNT and RDX make a hell of a bang on their own, and an expert can wreck a lot of havoc with the stuff by shaping the charge just right . . ."


Malibu, with sparkling white beaches against a background of sheer cliffs and oak studded mountains, is a great place to live if you have a lot of money and nothing else to do with it.  Living there is not, however, worth spending the better part of two hours a day getting to and from work.


There was a shiny new gunmetal blue Cadillac two-door convertible coupe in the carport.  It made me think there was more to Frank Demas than met the eye, because he didn't strike me as the Cadillac convertible type.


I stepped back and took another look at the refrigerator.  It was a yellow Crosley Shelvador, whatever the heck that meant.  It was squeezed into a narrow space between the end of a kitchen counter and a sort of matching O'Keefe & Merritt four-burner stove.  I opened the refrigerator door, got a firm grip, and pulled.  The Crosley was a lightweight and moved so easily it rolled out too far and unplugged itself.  Since the appliance was out that far anyway, I kept pulling until I could turn the and see behind it.  The fridge tipped slightly when I rotated it because the casters didn't swivel.  Looking down, I saw that's exactly what someone else had done because the fridge was sitting squarely on top of the scratches in the floor.


Feeling a whole lot safer surrounded by Army and Navy personnel at the Los Angeles Airport military hanger, I talked the Army Air Force Operations Chief into loaning me two armed Military Policemen to help protect the ocuscope schematics, which I now carried in a dispatch case.  I was taking no chances.  With the MPs in tow, I found a telephone and made Major Downey's day.


I stood just outside the Military Hanger side door and waited for the little twin-engine Beechcraft to taxi up.  It was an AT-7, a military version of the Beechcraft Model 18 Expeditor.  The ship was in its bare aluminum skin, had twin tailfins, and seats for eight passengers.  The Army used this model for short passenger flights and other versions for training bombardiers, gunners and radio operators.  For a little tyke, it had a very business-like look about it.


As Stu and his copilot taxied off, I cut the MPs loose, and hunted down my crime scene team.  They were out behind the hangar stowing gear in an olive drab Plymouth sedan with white stars on the back doors.  I asked, "All set and ready to go?"

Captain Rogers said, "All set."


On the particular Friday night in question, which was three weeks ago, Paolo and his girlfriend were leaving the Castro Theater where they saw a new Disney feature-length animated film about a flying elephant.  They were walking half a block north to a bus stop on Market Street when he spotted Colonel Peterson leaving the Twin Peaks Tavern at the corner of Market and Castro with a pretty blonde woman.


Over a late lunch at the Presidio O-Club, Major Downey briefed me on what his man learned at the San Francisco Airport.  It wasn't much.


It turns out 500 S. Illinois is a duplex at the corner of Santa Ana and Illinois Streets in the middle of a housing tract dating back to the 1920s.  The building is a hacienda style place surrounded on all sides by heavy foliage and a separate garage out back.


The dispatch office was also where they parked out of service taxis and the big garage was full to overflowing with Dodge sedans.  Apparently the demand for cabs on Sunday mornings isn't high in Anaheim.  In the middle of the red and yellow sheet metal sea sat a swarthy fellow at an elevated desk with a buzzing shortwave radio.  At the moment of my arrival he was intently studying the Sunday paper's funny pages.  Since he was the only guy in the building, I deduced he might be the dispatcher.


A few minutes later we were all seated around the kitchen table chowing down on some pretty decent tuna-noodle casserole.  Mister Whiskers was there, too.  He went from chair to chair looking up hopefully.  So far as I could tell, the only success he had was at Jack's chair.  A glare from Susan ended any chance of any further such success.


"Oh, but there is.  Remember, Spicer, telephones also receive calls, and she got a very interesting call on Friday, 12 December.  It was long-distance from a number in Seattle belonging to DDG Kosmos, which happens to be a German steamship line.

"Well, I'll be damned."


With Si Peterson's encrypted message locked securely in another dispatch case borrowed from the Army Air Force Operations Chief at Los Angeles Airport, I caught up with the First Looie who flew the DC-3 parked out front.  I handed over the dispatch case, got a receipt for it, and arranged to have the case delivered to Major Downey at Crissy Field.


Fifteen minutes later I was a board a 36-foot Coast Guard motor lifeboat cruising up what Lieutenant Hutchins told me was the harbor's main channel.  Another ten minutes had us angling to starboard into a short channel bordered on our port side by several large round fuel storage tanks.  A large steamship was moored about fifty yards ahead on the starboard side of the channel.

As we entered the channel, Lieutenant Hutchins told the chief petty officer at the helm to cut the engine and let the boat drift.  Pointing toward the moored ship, Hutchins said, "This is the harbor's quarantine dock and there is your German ship, Major Spicer."


The steamship looked to be at least 400 feet in length.  The hull was black and the upper parts were white.  The ship had a single stack painted black with one red stripe and one white stripe.  Across the ship's broad stern in large white letters were the words "AMMON" and "Hamburg."


The Cabrillo is a brick building, half a block long and three stories tall.  It was built in three sections with partial light wells between them and a sturdy fire escape zigzagging right down the front.  Guest parking was provided on Eighth Street behind the hotel.  A two-story vertical sign at the corner of Centre and Eighth spelled out "Cabrillo Hotel," and below that "San Pedro's Finest."  Who could resist a recommendation like that?


If there is a worse part of town, I can't imagine where it would be.  Beacon street is right on the waterfront and the businesses—the ones that weren't boarded up—are either pawn shops, bars, or unidentified, and there in the midst of all that iniquity sits the famous Shanghai Red Café.  I parked on the street hoping the Army's Dodge would still be there when I came out and walked into what turned out to be a great little joint.


NAS San Pedro is located between some railroad tracks and a part of the harbor called San Pedro Bay along the southern shore of Terminal Island.  As Navy airfields go, it's kind of puny with just two narrow paved runways and a protected lagoon for landing seaplanes.  In keeping with the military tradition of making everything as confusing as possible, the base has one name and the airfield another, so I was standing on the Reeves Field flight line at Naval Air Station San Pedro, if that makes any sense.


I was still explaining our assignment to Jack when a flatbed truck with a portable airship mooring mast mounted on the back rumbled past us heading for the northern perimeter of the field.  That, in turn, got everybody looking up toward the eastern sky.  There, gradually materializing out of the overcast like some enormous mythical creature, was the unmistakable shape of a blimp heading in our direction.


It was quite a spectacle for those who never saw a blimp dock before.  The airship looked huge from our perspective, even though it was tiny compared to the giant dirigibles of a few years back.  Each step of the mooring process was carried out with deliberate care and by-the-book precision.  The Navy clearly had landing a blimp down to a science.


Holding the phone aside, I turned to Lieutenant Hutchins and said, "My boss, Major General Chester Davis, wants to know if authorization for this operation from Secretary of State Cordell Hull will satisfy you, or if you need it directly from the President."

Hutchins suddenly looked like he just stepped knee-deep in cow manure.  He quickly said, "No, no.  A directive from Secretary Hull would be more than satisfactory."


A convoy of vehicles parked along the road next to the dock was headed up by a gray staff sedan . . .


. . . followed by three deuce-and-a-half trucks designed for carrying personnel and equipment.


In the water, three gray eighty-foot patrol boats bobbed up and down, nudging their bows gently against the dock like giant dolphins.  Each boat mounted a fifty-caliber water-cooled machine gun on its foredeck—more than enough firepower against an unarmed passenger ship.  Besides, the patrol boats were there as much for effect as any other purpose.


Twenty minutes later we were riding in the sunshine above the fog on a southerly course and the blimp's radio operator was calling Charlie-George-Four while Gordon, Jack, and I studied a chart of the California coast at a small built-in navigation table on the blimp's bridge.


[1642 HRS]

Keller: "Sub is surfacing and continuing toward the Ammon."

Gordon: "Sparks, tell the Coast Guard to leave the area."

I saw Gordon look at Jack and make fingers crossed gestures with both hands.  We heard two more short bursts from the patrol boat's 50 cal.

Sparks: "Message sent and acknowledged, sir."


Two Coast Guard enlisted men described as "frogmen" because of their strange looking outfits with flippers and under water breathing apparatus were approximately a hundred feet below us surveying the wreckage of the German submarine.  Specifically, they were looking for any signs of the ocuscope prototype, Si Peterson, or Hilda Albrecht.


The apparent prosperity of the marinas on Anchorage Road increased the farther east we went.  The Harbor Light Anchorage operated out of a modern, freshly painted white office building with blue trim.  Based on what we could see from the parking lot, the boats in this marina's slips looked newer and larger than those at our first two stops.  The Harbor Light Anchorage even had a receptionist in a nicely furnished lobby with lots of nautical doodads and charts decorating the walls.


"She has sleek lines, a black hull, and white topsides.  She also has a flying bridge, a single mast aft, and a white stripe at the waterline.  The Sea Wolf stands out."


Cerritos Marine consisted of a fifteen-by-twenty-foot wooden dock stuck out over the water on rotting pilings.  On the dock were a small weathered shed, a fuel pump labeled "Diesel" and another pump labeled "Gasoline."


Coast Guard Station Fort Point is located on a tiny strip of beach alongside Crissy Field just east of the Golden Gate Bridge's southern anchorage.  In a rainstorm at two-thirty in the morning, however, there wasn't much to see besides a scattering of light colored wood-sided buildings and a pier jutting out into the bay.


During the trip north Jack gave us the lowdown on CG-439.  She has a wooden hull and is powered by a pair of 800 horsepower gasoline marine engines.  Her primary armament is a 37-millimeter rapid-fire pom-pom gun, sometimes called a "one pounder."  CG-439 also carries a 30-caliber light machine gun.  Her crew, counting the captain, includes fourteen men.

Jack explained that CG-439 is something of an oddball—one of three speedy 72-footers built specifically to chase down rumrunners during prohibition.  Now she is used to pursue other types of seagoing lawbreakers—in this instance, a pair of Nazi spies.


Ahead, ghostly glimpses of the towers and span of the Golden Gate Bridge appeared out of the murk.  From our perspective, the bridge looked huge, towering more than seven hundred feet above our heads in the darkness.


When the Russian-American timber company finally got curious enough to take a closer look, they found a bay about fifteen miles long and four-and-a-half miles across at its widest point.  The only entrance to Humboldt Bay is about five miles north of the bay's southern end.  The largest town on the bay, Eureka, is on the east shore about four miles north of the entrance.  A smaller town called Arcata sits at the northern tip of the bay.  US Highway 101 skirts Humboldt Bay's eastern shoreline.


"One pounder, FIRE!"

The pom-pom gun made a hell of racket—a rapid, mechanical "CHUGGA . . . CHUGGA . . .  CHUGGA" as rounds left the muzzle.  During a period that couldn't have more than three seconds, the gun spit at least a dozen rounds at its target.


"I sure as hell would.  In fact, I think my bag is still in the trunk.  Are you leaving now?"

"I am."

"Then we've got a seven-hour trip ahead of us."  Grinning, Jack added, "We better stop and make a telephone call so Mister Whiskers will wait up to let you in."