The Interpeter

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*Note to readers: This is the second story I’ve written which has nothing to do with my own life. The first was Live Free or Die. All of my other stories are based on personal experiences.

I work as an aeronautical engineer on a Navy base in Virginia supporting the F-18 Super Hornet. As such, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many fighter pilots. Most are Navy officers. A few have been Marines. I got the idea for this story after talking to a Marine Corps officer who is an F-18 pilot and also a Russian Foreign Area Officer or FAO for short. I took a year of Russian in college, so I found his FAO experiences fascinating. I spent several hours over the course of two weeks picking his brain about his career, his experience with language acquisition, and several other areas which made writing this possible. I won’t share his name for obvious reasons, but I am indebted to him for providing me with the detail needed to write this story.

This is the tale of a retired Marine Corps officer who was an F-18 pilot and a Russian Foreign Area Officer or FAO and a beautiful young Ukrainian girl who fall in love while she is serving as an interpreter for someone else. The themes are May-December romance and a combination of threesomes and a mild form of cuckolding.

I enjoy providing background for the stories whether real or like this one, imagined, even more than the sex scenes (and I have a lot of fun writing those.) So if my writing seems ‘wordy’ to you, sorry, but that’s not something that’s going to change. I don’t care for stories where the central characters are living out their fantasies in two or three pages without providing some plausible reason how it all came to pass. If you do, you probably won’t care for my writing style.

I hope you enjoy reading this one as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Chapter 1

“So what’s next for you, Ivan? You got a civil service job lined up?”

“I don’t know, general,” Keith told him. “The only reason I’m retiring at all is because the Marine Corps won’t let a colonel stay past thirty.” Keith Langston was a 54-year old F-18 pilot who’d joined the Marine Corps right out of college. Well, it was actually out of graduate school as he’d enjoyed engineering so much he decided to stay and finish a master’s program after getting his BS. He wanted to work for Northrup-Grumman or one of the big aviation contractors and he felt like the more education he had, the better his chances would be.

He was less than six months from graduating and from turning 24 when he’d started sending out resumes and doing some serious networking with the contacts he’d made in the engineering department while at Ohio State University. Keith was as smart as they came and he was not only above average in intelligence but in pretty much every other area of his life. He was 6’2″ tall and an even 200 pounds of what his best friend, Charlie Sikes, liked to call “twisted steel and sex appeal.” When Keith wasn’t studying, he was in the gym lifting. It was a passion he developed in high school where he wrestled and played football. He was easily in as good shape and as ripped as any of the guys on WVU’s football team and hands-down smarter than all of them.

This Saturday morning, he was in the middle of a killer leg workout—his favorite routine—when he saw one of the regulars he knew come in with someone he hadn’t seen before. The new guy looked to be about Keith’s age or maybe a few years older and while he wasn’t as tall he was definitely just as cut. He watched the two of them work their way through a grueling back workout as he finished his own.

On the way out, his acquaintance called, “Hey Keith! You got a minute?”

Langston stopped and turned toward the familiar voice. “For you, Swanson, I can give you two minutes. How’s it goin’?”

“Great, man. How about you?”

“Same old, you know. Who’s your friend?”

Keith noticed this guy’s hair was cut in a very tight fade and his shave was even closer. Keith Swanson said, “Keith, this is Marine Corps Captain Dave Wilson. He’s the Marine Officer Selection Officer or OSO for OSU and a couple of other schools.” Keith saw the puzzled look on Langston’s face and explained that an OSO is the equivalent of a an enlisted recruiter for officers.

“Oh, okay. Nice to meet you, Dave. I’m Keith,” Langston said sticking out his hand.

The Marine stood up and shook hands with Langston. “Likewise, Keith. I saw you doing squats. Holy shit, I thought I could move some iron but that was outstanding.”

“Thanks. I had a pretty good day today. So you’re essentially a recruiter, huh?” Keith inquired.

“Basically, yes. The big difference is recruiters are looking for guys to enlist to fix airplanes and I’m looking for guys to become commissioned officers and fly them. You have any interest in flying our new jet, the FA-18 Hornet?”

Keith was really caught off guard. The Hornet was his favorite plane having taken over first place from the F-14 Tomcat he’d fallen in love watching Top Gun. “Seriously? You recruit pilots?”

“I do indeed. The Marine Corps will Betturkey even guarantee you flight school in writing after you finish Officer Candidates School and a follow-on course we call The Basic School or TBS for short.”

Keith was more or less used to acronyms from the defense contractors he’d met, but the military was obsessed with them. Acronyms aside, he had to admit he was definitely interested. He’d never really seriously thought about flying planes himself because he loved the engineering aspects of flight so much, but this intrigued him and he agreed to have a beer with Dave after their workout. That conversation led to Keith taking some aptitude tests, a flight physical, and then agreeing to go to OCS after graduation.

Langston breezed through the physically demanding 10-week course and was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant in August of that year. He packed up his gear and headed a few miles out in the woods from the OCS compound to The Basic School which was located near the FBI academy. He completed TBS as an honor graduate from the course then found himself in Pensacola, Florida going through flight school. He was very near the top of his class and felt like he had an excellent shot at getting jets. One thing the OSO hadn’t told him was that while he was guaranteed flight school, he was NOT guaranteed jets. He knew there was a chance he could end up flying C-130 transports or even worse—helos. He could imagine himself flying the AH-1J Cobra but trash cans? No thanks. He worked his ass off to make sure he’d have the best chance possible to get into the fixed-wing pipeline then keep his fingers crossed he’d get the specific platform he wanted—Hornets. In the end, his hard work paid off as that’s the exactly what he got.

About three months before the end of flight school, he and a couple of friends were out in a local bar called Gilligan’s Island having a few beers. A few minutes later a couple of guys and four attractive women showed up and sat at a nearby table. Keith was able to listen in on the conversation and soon understood the guys were airline pilots and the women who were with them were flight attendants. Langston had enjoyed an endless string of girls, hookups, and short periods of dating starting with his senior year in high school and on through college and grad school. He’d never given any thought to settling down and now with a new career in front of him, getting married was the last thing on his mind. Until Kim Miller smiled at him.

Kim was by far the cutest of the four girls sitting with the pilots. One of them was in her 50s and not unattractive for her age, but he wasn’t into dating older women. The other two were also very cute, but the brunette with the great smile and sensationally hot body was just freakin’ gorgeous! She had long, dark hair, bright blue eyes, and a perfect smile to match an amazingly fit body. Keith smiled back and told the guys, “Shades of Top Gun, guys. She’s lost that lovin’ feelin’. I can just sense it. Maverick’s goin’ in.”

His fellow lieutenants noticed the young woman who’d caught his eye and one of them said, “Dude, you better put on an asbestos suit because that chick is smokin’ hot!” They wished him luck then started trying to make eye contact with the two other younger girls. Unfortunately for them, their attention was focused intently on the pilot and his co-pilot or as they called him, his “dash two.”

Keith stood up and walked over to where Kim was sitting. She looked up at him, smiled, and said, “Yes, I would.”

Langston was caught off guard and took the bait. “You would—what?”

“Yes, I would like a drink. Yes, you may have my number. Yes, I would like to go out with you some time.”

Both of the civilian pilots were listening in and observing the scene and one of them said to Keith, “My friend. I don’t know what you’ve got that no one else has, but that is a first. Many of you Marine wanna-be-pilots and a few who already have their wings have gone hunting this beautiful young creature seated before you and all have gone down in flames. This is the first time I’ve ever seen Kim doing the hunting. Okay, let’s call this trapping, shall we?” He sized Langston up then said, “You might just be strong enough to survive. Even so, do you have a will?” Everyone laughed politely as Langston asked Kim if she’d like to join him at the bar. He offered her his hand which she took while mouthing the words, “He is SO hot!” to the other women at the table. They all giggled and reminded her when they had to be ready to leave as Langston dragged her away.

That drink turned into two which led to a very lengthy conversation and a lot of laughter and finally into an all-night fuck fest. That, in turn, led to a brief but intense long-distance relationship and on graduation day from flight school, a proposal. Kim said yes, Langston was flying F-18s, and three months later, they were married in the base chapel at the Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort, South Carolina where Langston was flying with VMFA-224(AW) which was a squadron within Marine Aircraft Group 31.

Keith Betturkey Giriş and Kim were not only passionate lovers but best of friends. She gave up her career and followed him around the world when she could and waited for him to come home when she couldn’t. For the next twenty-five years they enjoyed a marriage and a friendship most only dreamed of.

During that time, Langston found himself intrigued by another opportunity he hadn’t known ever existed. That was the chance to learn a foreign language at the military’s experience in what was called The Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Program. Langston applied for and was selected to learn Russian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, followed by a second year at the U.S. Army Russian Institute in Garmisch, Germany, the vacation capitol for US military families in Europe. Gee, what a hardship! But this language training wasn’t like the kind he’d taken at OSU where Russian 101 met a graduation requirement. He found himself in class seven hours a day, five days a week then studying 6-8 hours on Saturday and reviewing for Monday’s exams and 50 new vocab words plus grammar on Sunday. It was relentless and it was brutal.

Following those two years of intense immersion in the Russian language, Langston served an additional two years as a deputy team chief at the On-Site Inspection Agency where he conducted weapons inspections of the nuclear weapons arsenal in countries of the former Soviet Union. All of this was done under the auspices of the INF and START treaties which restricted the kinds and numbers of nuclear weapons the countries involved could have. Even after he finished this assignment and returned to flying, he kept up his language skills and was known as the best Russian-speaking officer on active duty.

Having spent some 20 years flying jets and nearly five doing FAO things, Langston found himself promoted to the rank of colonel and in command of the aircraft group in Beaufort, SC, where he started out. It was here, on this third tour in Beaufort, that Kim first noticed a lump in her breast. She didn’t even say anything to Keith because she was sure it was nothing. She made an appointment with their doctor who insisted it be biopsied. A week later, she got a call from the doctor himself. Her blood ran cold when he said, “Kim? I need you to come back in. We have the biopsy report and I’m afraid it isn’t good news.”

Kim hung up the phone and found her head was spinning. She couldn’t think straight. She didn’t know what to do. She sat down in an oversized chair, pulled a blanket over herself and cried.

“Kim? Honey? You okay?” Kim looked up and saw her husband in his flight suit. She was once again struck by how handsome he still was.

“Yeah. I’m fine. I must have dozed off.” It was after 7pm and she’d taken the call around noon. That night, she told Keith the news. Initially, he was dumbstruck. Then, in his typical “can-do” way he said, “I don’t care what they say, honey. We’re gonna beat this. We’ll pull out all the stops. Diet, exercise, nutrition, the best doctors. Whatever it takes.”

Kim smiled bravely as he took her hand. In her heart she knew things weren’t going to be okay and the visit with the doctor the next day confirmed her worst fears. Dr. Hanson was their family practice physician and although he’d already referred Kim to oncology, he was grim as he shared the news. “Kim. I wish I had some good news here but unfortunately, there isn’t any. You have stage IV breast cancer and the kind of cancer you have is very aggressive and incredibly resistant to every form of treatment.”

Keith stepped and said, “I don’t want to hear that, doc. Kim’s a fighter and she’s gonna beat this thing. I want options. I want…”

Kim interrupted him and asked, “How long do I have, Dr. Hanson?”

Hanson looked at both of them and said, “I’m not a cancer specialist so I can’t be sure but I’ve talked to three friends who are and who reviewed your case for me. They’re saying maybe six months. Maybe less. I’m so sorry, Kim. With radiation and chemo you might have up to a year but even so…”

“No. None of that,” Kim said firmly. “I’m not going to spend what time I have left sick and vomiting and in bed.”

Keith started to insist otherwise and she said, “Keith. I’ve had 25 years with you. No woman has had a better life. No one has been more loved. But not even you can fix this. And this is not your decision to make. I want to spend every day I can with you while I’m healthy and then we’ll do what we have to after that. But no radiation. No chemicals. That decision is mine and it’s final.”

For the first time in his adult life, Keith Langston broke down and cried. He had never once felt so…helpless. Langston solved problems. He fixed things. But not this time. Ironically, it was Kim comforting him rather than the other way around. She knew that while this was her death sentence, the news was also killing her husband and best friend. She couldn’t change the diagnosis but she could be brave for him. She had to be brave. There simply wasn’t enough Betturkey Güncel Giriş time left to waste on self-pity. There was still life to be lived and every day now counted. Every hour of every day mattered.

Keith gave up command of the flying group the next day along with any shot he had at ever becoming a general. He didn’t care. Kim was all that mattered to him. He used every day of the nearly three months of leave time he’d saved up. They spent every minute of the next several weeks together trying to cram another lifetime into them. Sky diving, scuba diving, hang gliding, para sailing, BASE jumping. They played all day and fucked every night like it might be their last time. Kim needed rest but she refused. They did everything a couple could do until Kim grew too weak to continue. She spent her last weeks in a local halfway house with Keith at her side nearly every minute of each day.

Just before slipping into a coma Kim motioned for him to move closer. “Keith? Honey? I want you to promise me something.”

He took her hands in his. “Anything, Kim. Just name it.”

She mustered up all the strength she had and whispered, “Promise me you’ll marry someone else. Please? You don’t do well alone and you’re going to need a woman by your side. Promise me.”

Langston had no interest in any other woman let alone marrying one, but he couldn’t tell her that. There was no time to share feelings or have a discussion. Kim was fading fast and he knew it. “I will, Kimmy. I promise.”

Kim managed to smile and say a whispered, “I love you” before her hands and body went limp. Thirty minutes later, his beloved wife took her last breath. For the second and last time in his life, Keith Langston wept.

The day after the funeral he went back to work in his new assignment. He was no longer flying but working at a desk job supporting the flying group. He poured himself into his job. He spent 12 hours a day, six days a week at the office and in what little spare time he had, he was in the gym and then forcing himself to study Russian. Even sleep was his enemy as Kim appeared to him every night. And most of the time she was sick and dying. So he did anything and everything he could to keep his mind off of Kim and away from the bottle which would work against everything he stood for in terms of fitness and nutrition. He allowed himself a beer or two now and then but that was it. Any more and he’d fall into a state of melancholy and depression and want to kill a case. He forced himself to keep up his grueling gym routine which was the one place he still felt normal and almost sane. He lifted with an abandon throwing weight around like he hadn’t done since college.

Before he knew it the young adjutant at the Group headquarters came up to him and said, “Colonel Langston, sir? We just got word you’re facing mandatory retirement in four months. You have to retire no later than August 1st and we haven’t done anything in that regard. Just let me know what I can do to help, okay, sir?”

Langston knew in the back of his mind this was coming. But just four more months? He had no other plans, no other interest. The Marine Corps (and Kim) was his life. He thanked the young lieutenant and told him to put in his retirement date for the latest date possible then returned to the stack of papers on his desk.

Retirement day rolled around in the blink of an eye and Colonel Langston was honored at a huge parade in which hundreds of Marines passed by for his review. After the parade was over, the Wing Commander, a two-star Marine asked Langston,”So what’s next for you, Ivan? You got a civil service job lined up?”

“Ivan” was the call sign he’d been given when he came back from his FAO tour. Prior to that he’d been known as “Giant” in the Hornet community. It was unusual but not unheard of, for a pilot to get a new call sign. Because of Langston’s command of the Russian language and his in-country experience, this one just seemed a better fit and his new CO at the time agreed. “Giant” was renamed “Ivan” and that was that.

He told the commanding general who’d just retired him he really didn’t know what was next and that was the truth. For the first time in his life he had no plans and no plan to make one. He’d had to decide where to live and Beaufort seemed like as good a place as any. His parents had both passed away and he had no family back in Ohio. So he moved out of government quarters and bought a beautiful home on the water along with a bass boat where he spent quite a bit of time the first few months as civilian trying to sort things out. Never having had kids, he and Kim had built up a very impressive financial portfolio which she would never get to enjoy with him. He spent half a million on the house and still had twice that amount in investments along with the $250,000 he received from Kim’s term insurance policy. He’d taken out a million on himself and that amount on hers after his own father passed away leaving his mother to try and get by on social security. In addition, he had a lifetime pension that was worth just north of $75,000 a year and had a very affordable healthcare plan for life. There was no need for him to ever work again unless he wanted to and for now, that just wasn’t something he intended to do. Bass fishing, weight lifting, and reading books in Russian were enough to keep him busy. At least for the time being.

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