Thanks are due as always to my editors, PapaKilo14 and Hal for the good work they do. My beta readers are Pixel the Cat, GeorgeAnderson and Olddave1951. I have an awesome team of kind and gracious gentlemen that keep me from looking stupid (any more than I do). Thanks guys, I love you. For those of you who know how regulated aircraft maintenance is, please allow me to take liberties with the facts. I know it isn't really like this.
It's easy to disappear when you have money. It's very difficult to find someone who doesn't want to be found, especially if you don't have money and they do. I know because I'm a ghost. I leave an electronic track every now and again, just to keep things interesting. I've been a ghost for five years. I'm not the spirit kind of ghost, I'm the kind that's flesh and blood, all right, you just can't find me unless I want you to. The ghost's name is Caine Brockman.
I'm an aircraft engine mechanic. Once I was the owner of a multi-million dollar business that repaired and maintained helicopter engines for the US military. When I disappeared, all the assets and cash were gone and the business was belly up.
A good mechanic can get a job at nearly any small airport in the country. I had to learn piston engines, but I had plenty of time. You show up at an airport and there's always a plane or two that's grounded. If you talk to the owner and find out how much it was going to cost to repair it, they are usually happy to talk price and pay cash for something good and cheap. Word spreads and I have all the work I want. I don't spend my money I've got stashed away, I just spend what I earn. That keeps me from making splashes that might be noticed. I don't pay taxes, don't have a bank account, Facebook or Twitter and my cell phones are pre-paid throwaways.
I can't rent a car because I don't have a credit card but I don't bother anyway. I own a motor home. It's in the name of a guy that died 20 years ago. I rent it from his wife. She'll never talk; I put her two kids through college after her husband died while he was working for me. She keeps up the license and taxes and I live in it. I also have a little scooter. It's classified as a bicycle so it doesn't require a license. When I get to where I want to be, I park the motor home in a park and ride the scooter. I stay in warm places so I don't have to worry about weather.
You may wonder why I'm a ghost. The answer is simple. I used to have a family. They might still be looking for me. I don't want them to find me.
Back when I had a family and a company, I took a chance. I was offered a contract to work overseas. My wife, Gwen, my two daughters, Allicent and Marisol who were sixteen and thirteen at the time, and I sat around the kitchen table and talked it over. It meant a lot of money. I figured that by the time I had been working the contract 18 months, we'd have enough to retire. Hell, I already had enough to retire. This was fuck you money. I'd be gone three months at a time and then home for a month. Everyone agreed that they could live without me for 18 months and then we'd be together all the time, permanently. It took eight months for the events to transpire that led to my ghosthood.
Gwen got lonely. There was no one there at night for her to snuggle up to. Her bed felt empty. She was emotionally unfulfilled. Apparently, the girls felt it, too. Not the empty bed, but all the rest of the bullshit I heard when I found out, and I found out. Fortunately for them, there was a football coach at the school where she worked as a secretary who also felt emotionally unfulfilled. He knew it was only a fling. His wife didn't know he was unfulfilled. She didn't understand him. He was a high school hero and he needed more than she could provide. They were very careful. They took all sorts of precautions because she loved and respected me. I just wasn't there and she had needs. There would be no repercussions; she respected me too much for that. Gwen didn't love him, she loved only me, but I wasn't there. They always used condoms, so there was no danger of pregnancy or STDs. Apparently, my daughters needed help with strength and conditioning. Gwen needed a cock and the two just happened to be wrapped up in one neat package.
It was also utter bullshit. I found out almost as soon as it started. One of my friends just happened to mention that he saw Gwen and the dickwad having dinner at an out of the way restaurant in a neighboring town. Of course, the first thing I did was get evidence. The PI had an easy job. He caught them at the local Holiday Inn. I authorized him to bug the house and our phones. Nothing ever happened at the house but the Holiday Inn was a different story. I had pictures and video evidence and I was ready. He did tell me that Gwen had ended the relationship, but at that point, I didn't give a damn. I made all my financial arrangements and flew home. She wept and vowed her eternal love and devotion. The girls cried and told me how much they loved me. I was their father, but their mother had explained it all to them. She had needs and it didn't mean anything. That was what hurt me more than anything. My daughters were my pride and joy. I had been the center of their universe and my little princesses were on the highest pedestals in that universe. We had been inseparable. We did everything together. If I went to the grocery store, they wanted to go. They had been so proud of me that they showed me off to their girlfriends and they were never too big to hug Daddy or embarrassed for me to put my arm around them in public. For them to justify their mother's actions in any way was inconceivable to me. I couldn't get my mind around it. I knew Gwen had twisted them up, but this pain was almost more than I could stand. Of course it was just sex, Gwen assured me. She loved only me and we would spend the rest of our lives together. I agreed that it was only sex, it didn't mean anything, that I was glad she had been so discreet and congratulated the girls on having such a mature attitude. I told them I would just take a little walk and clear my head.
I walked around the block and called a cab. It took me to the bank and I completed everything I had set up. I then caught another cab to the hangar and took the Bell Ranger. I headed southwest and my phone started ringing. I let it go to voicemail. I must have received more than a hundred calls and texts in the next eight hours. I saved them all to investigate later. By the time I landed in Texarkana I had a buyer set up for the chopper and Lilly met me with the motor home. The next time I stopped was in El Paso. I listened to all the voice mails and read all the texts.
They were curious at first, wondering where I was and what was taking so long. They wanted to go out to eat with me and celebrate my return. They grew concerned and then angry. The anger gave way to sorrow, then desperation and, finally, panic. They pleaded for me to call and just talk. They knew I must be upset. They would come and get me, wherever I was. It didn't matter what it took, they were going to make it up to me.
Then my parents and Gwen's got involved. I found out the depths of their complicity, too. They had known all along and they understood. I needed to just swallow my pride and accept that Gwen loved only me. I couldn't expect her to just sit around and wait for me. My girls needed me and I was just throwing away a wonderful life.
Well, it had been nice, but that was then. This was now and I knew just how big a castle in the sky I had built in my own mind. I cried like a baby, I cursed like a sailor. I decided to drink myself into oblivion. That lasted until the first time I woke up feeling like a dried cow turd. It wasn't the first time I'd woken up with a hangover after a drunken night, but it was definitely a new low. I decided this couldn't continue so instead of getting up to crawl to the bar for a little 'hair of the dog' I went back to sleep. I slept for 16 hours; when I woke it felt like a big, dark thing that had been weighing on my mind had vanished and left me strangely calm and more rested than I'd been in 20 years.
It felt good and I went to the diner and got breakfast. When I got back to the motor home, I went to the store and got a ream of paper. I had my laptop and I wrote letters to my former family. I laid out for them what I'd done. I told them I wished them luck with their new life. They couldn't keep the house. I'd taken out a home equity loan and on Gwen's salary; they could never make the payments. They would have no insurance unless she could get the girls on her policy at school. The leases on the cars wouldn't be paid, and unless Gwen could keep up, they'd soon be in default. They had ten days to get the utilities into Gwen's name and then they'd be turned off. I was gone and I wasn't coming back. Her lover's wife would be receiving a copy of all the evidence I had collected before the day was over, as would the school board members and parents at school. I never wanted to see them again.
My loving parents received their own set of letters. I wished them luck in their declining years and hoped they could console themselves with the fact that they still had a slut daughter-in-law and two faithless granddaughters they could commiserate with. I also included letters detailing their involvement to their pastor, Dad's brothers and Mom's sister. They were all religious folks and I knew some fancy dancing wouldn't get them out of that hot water.
.... There is more of this story ...