Summary of Aldridge’s “Last Inch”

Working in Canada on an old DS-3 aircraft gave Ben a “good temper”, thanks to which he flew in the “fairchild” over the Egyptian deserts in recent years, searching for oil for an oil exporting company. To land geologists, Ben could land the plane anywhere: “on sand, on a bush, on a stony bottom of the dried up streams and on long white shallows of the Red Sea”, each time “winning the last inch above the earth”.

But now this work is over: the company management refused to try to find a large oil field. Ben was 43 years old. His wife, unable to withstand life in the “foreign village of Arabia”, left for her native Massachusetts. Ben promised to come to her, but he understood that in his old age he would not be able to hire a pilot, and “decent and decent” work did not attract him.

Now Ben has only ten years old son Davy, whom his wife did not deem it necessary to take with him. It was a closed child,

lonely and restless. Their mother was not interested in them, and the boy was afraid of his father, who was sharp and short-tempered. For Ben, the son was a strange and incomprehensible person with whom he did not even try to find a common language.

And now he regretted that he had taken his son with him: the rolling plane “sharp” was very much shaking, and the boy was nauseous. Take Davy to the Red Sea was another generous impulse from Ben, which rarely ended in good. During one of these rushes, he tried to teach the boy to fly the plane. Although Davy was a clever child, his father’s brutal cries finally brought him to tears.

On the secluded coast of the Red Sea, Ben led a desire to earn: he had to shoot sharks. The television company paid well for a film meter with this film. Landing a plane on a long sandy beach, Ben made his son look and learn, although the boy was very ill. “It’s all about the last inch,” instructed the pilot.

The canopy formed the Shark Bay, so called because of the toothy inhabitants. After giving his son a few harsh orders, Ben disappeared

into the water. Davy sat on the beach till dinner, looking at the deserted sea and wondering what would happen to him if his father did not return.

Predators were not very active today. He had already shot several meters of film when they were interested in a cat shark. She swam too close, and Ben hurried to get ashore.

During lunch he found that he had taken only beer with him-he did not think about the son who does not drink beer yet. The boy was wondering if anyone knew about this trip. Ben said that you can only get to this bay by air, he did not understand that the boy is afraid of not intruders, but to remain alone.

Ben hated and feared sharks, but after lunch he ducked again, this time with a bait – a horse’s leg. With the money received for the film, he hoped to send Davy to his mother. Predators gathered around the meat, but the cat shark rushed to the man.

Lying bloody, Ben climbed to the sand. When Davy ran up to him, it turned out that the shark almost tore off Ben’s right arm and severely damaged his left. The legs, too, were all rugged and chewed. The pilot realized that his deeds are completely bad, but Ben could not die: he had to fight for Davy.

Only now the father tried to find an approach to the boy, to calm him and prepare for an independent flight. Momentarily losing consciousness, Ben lay down on a towel and pushed his feet away from the sand, while his son dragged him to the “oster.” In order for his father to get into the passenger seat, Davy folded stones and fragments of corals in front of the aircraft door and dragged his father along this ramp. Meanwhile, a strong wind rose and began to darken. Ben sincerely regretted that he did not bother to recognize this frowning boy and now can not find the right words to cheer him up.

Following the instructions of his father, Davy barely lifted the plane into the air. The boy remembered the map, knew how to use the compass and knew that it was necessary to fly along the sea coast to the Suez Canal, and then turn to Cairo. Almost the whole way Ben was unconscious. He woke up when they flew to the airfield. “Ben knew that the last inch was coming and everything was in the hands of the boy.” With incredible efforts, he raised himself in his chair, his father helped the son to plant the car. At the same time, they miraculously missed a huge four-engined plane.

To the surprise of the Egyptian doctors, Ben survived, although he lost his left hand along with the ability to drive airplanes. Now he had one concern – to find the way to the heart of his son, to overcome the last inch separating them.

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Summary of Aldridge’s “Last Inch”