The teacher can be forgiven if she dismissed as an impossible dream the English schoolgirl’s declaration that she wanted to be a jazz singer when she grew up. Young Mary O’Brien was a gawky tomboy with thick spectacles — always ready for rough-and-tumble play with the neighborhood lads. She hardly matched the image of glamorous and sophisticated entertainers seen in the cinema and the picture magazines of the post-war years in London.
Nevertheless, Mary began pursuing her dream early in life. At the age of 11, she cut a demo record of Irving Berlin’s When That Midnight Choo Choo Leaves For Alabama at a London music store.
They climbed inside. Ringo took the copilot’s seat, and Mike sat behind.
Laura put on a headset and flipped switches, and the instrument dials glowed.
“Fuel’s almost max.” She bit her lower lip. “Listen, I know this was my idea, but tell me again why it isn’t stealing.” She activated the starter.
“Taking this aircraft for personal gain would be ‘stealing,’ ” Mike said, shouting to be heard over the sudden roar. “Taking it for the purpose of helping someone else is ‘commandeering into the service of the people.’ Besides, you have to perform a solo for your license anyway, and we’ll pay for the fuel and flight time. Eventually.”
“I’m not even sure we’ll be able to find Dad!” Laura shouted as the Beechcraft taxied across the field toward the grass runway. “I won’t be able to help you interpret the eye’s projection and fly the plane too!”
“We accept your offer,” Mike said. He took the eye halves from his coat, screwed them together, and pushed the sphere into Ringo’s right socket.
Ringo blinked. If he concentrated, he could see and hear what Jeremy saw and heard. It was unpleasant, but he would put up with it.
“Two barks warm, one bark cold,” Laura said. “Got it?”
Ringo barked twice.
“Lassie should have been a Doberman!” Mike yelled.
Laura revved the engine. “This is against the law!”
“All laws, both of nature and of man, have been suspended!” Mike cried.
“Haven’t you heard? Buddy Holly is alive and well on Ganymede!”
The Bonanza roared down the runway and rose into the February night.