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    Catch Me If You Can

    Автор книги Frank W. Abagnale

    Время прослушивания 03:44, Дата публикации

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    A man's alter ego is nothing more than his favorite image of himself. The mirror in my room in the Windsor Hotel in Paris showed my favorite image of me - a handsome young airline pilot, looking perfect with a smooth skin and bull shoulders. Modesty is not one of my virtues. At the time, virtue was not one of my virtues. Satisfied with my appearance, I picked up my bag, left the room and two minutes later was standing in front of the cashier at the hotel reception. "Good morning, Captain," said the cashier in her warm tone. The markings on my uniform identified me as a first officer, a co-pilot, but the French are like that. They often make a mistake in rating everything too high except their women, wine and art. I signed the hotel bill she handed me across the counter, started to turn away, then turned back, taking a payroll check from the inside pocket of my jacket. "Oh, can you cash this for me? Your Paris night life left me without any money and it'll be another week before I'm home." I smiled sadly. She picked up the Pan American World Airways check and looked at the amount. "I'm sure we can, Captain, but I must get the manager's approval of a check because it is large," she said. She stepped into an office behind her and was back in a moment, showing a pleased smile. She handed me the check to sign. "I think you want American dollars?" she asked, and without waiting for my reply counted out 786.73 dollars in Yankee currency and coin. I pushed back two 50 dollars bills. "Please, take care of the necessary people, since I was so careless," I said, smiling. She beamed happily. "Of course, Captain. You are very kind," she said. "Have a safe flight and please come back to see us." I took a cab to Orly, instructing the driver to stop at the TWA entrance. I passed the TWA ticket counter in the lobby and presented my FAA license and PanAm ID card to the TWA operations officer. He checked his manifest. "Okay, First Officer Frank Williams, a deadhead to Rome. Fill this out, please." He handed me the familiar pink form and I wrote the necessary data. I picked up my bag and walked to the customs gate marked "crew members only." I started to lift my bag to the counter but the inspector recognized me and let me through. A young boy watched me as I walked to the plane, looking with admiration at my uniform with its polished gold stripes and other decorations. "You the pilot?" he asked. He was English from his accent. "Nah, just a passenger like you," I replied. "I fly for Pan Am." "You fly Boeing 707s?" I shook my head." Right now I'm on a different plane." I said. I like kids. This one reminded me of myself a few years ago. An attractive blond stewardess met me as I stepped aboard and helped me to put my things in the crew's luggage section. "We are full this trip Mr. Williams," she said. "You won the jump seat that two other guys wanted to take. I'll be serving the cabin." "Just milk for me," I said. "And don't worry about that if you get busy. Deadheads can't have anything more than the ride."