By Alan Leverone
Air traffic controller Nick Jensen’s life is in a shambles. His wife Lisa has died following a horrific automobile wreck and the authorities suspect foul play. He finds evidence suggesting Lisa, a Pentagon auditor, had discovered potentially treasonous material on a fellow employee’s computer, a man who also winds up dead.
Desperate to escape the pain, Nick throws himself into his work and is on duty at the radar ATC facility serving Boston’s Logan Airport on the night U.S. President Robert Cartwright is scheduled to fly into Boston. Armed terrorists storm the facility, killing the security staff and taking Nick’s fellow controller hostage as he works.
Nick escapes capture, but with time running out, must use the information from his murdered wife to unravel the terrorists’ plot and stop an assassination while outnumbered, unarmed and on the run…
Between the Pages is thrilled to welcome Allan Leverone and his character, Nick Jensen
Allan Leverone is a three-time Derringer Award Finalist whose short fiction has been featured in Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Shroud Magazine, Twisted Dreams, Mysterical-E and many other venues, both print and online. His debut thriller, titled FINAL VECTOR, is available February 2011 from Medallion Press. For details, please visit www.allanleverone.com or his blog at www.allanleverone.blogspot.com.
Hello, Nick, and thanks for joining us. I see here that you are employed as an air traffic controller working airplanes into and out of Boston’s Logan International Airport, but your lovely wife Lisa works in Washington, D.C. at the Pentagon. How do you manage that?
Thanks for having me; it’s a pleasure to be here. As you can imagine, it’s not easy for the two of us spending so much time away from each other. But Lisa works ten hour days in D.C., Monday through Thursday, then drives home to New Hampshire every Thursday night after work, so we are at least able to spend two full days together each week. We’re hoping that after a couple more years of this, we will have put enough money aside that Lisa will be able to quit her job at the Pentagon and stay home here in New Hampshire to raise a family.
Isn’t there any way you could move down to the D.C area and work at one of their airports, to avoid all that travel and time apart?
I could probably get a hardship move approved, but Lisa and I have always viewed our current situation as temporary, despite the fact we’ve been doing it this way for years now. Both of us grew up in New England and this is where we really want to raise our children, so as difficult as this semi-long distance marriage sometimes is, we feel the struggle will be worth it in the long run. Neither of us is going anywhere; we will have a long life together after our current situation is just a memory.
Don’t you worry about your wife driving hundreds of miles from Washington to New Hampshire and back every week?
Absolutely, but Lisa is a very careful driver and although her car has racked up a lot of mileage, it’s extremely reliable. I really don’t think my wife is in any more danger driving up and down I-95 once a week than she would be, say, commuting from our home in Merrimack, New Hampshire down to Boston and back every day.
They say air traffic control can be a very stressful occupation. How do you deal with that constant stress?
I’ve been a controller at Boston for a long time, and I like to think I’m pretty good at my job. It’s like anything else; after you’ve been doing it for a while, most days are fairly routine. Sure, there’s stress and excitement every now and then—as is the case with any job—but it’s not like I come to work every day and have people pointing guns at me or anything. That would be some serious stress.
What is the favorite part of your week?
That’s an easy question to answer. The moment I hear the front door open at about two o’clock every Friday morning and Lisa steps into the house after coming home from D.C., my week gets a lot better. We have a few little rituals we like to enact to get reacquainted, but I can’t tell you about them here!
You two seem very dedicated to each other.
Lisa is the best thing that ever happened to me. I can’t imagine any scenario where she would not be a part of my life. Quite honestly, I don’t know what I would do without her.
You appear to know exactly what your future has in store for you and where your little family is headed. Don’t you have any regrets with how your life has turned out so far? Anything you’d do differently?
Nothing. I couldn’t be happier. I’m just an ordinary guy living and average life. No excitement, no drama. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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