Last week, Spiny Norman and I enrolled in the Top Gun school, so that Spiny Norman could fulfill his dream of flying airplanes. Little did I realize that the cutthroat world of the Top Gun school makes the cutthroat world of the university seem like the cutthroat world of kindergarten. We immediately ran afoul of the local BMOC, Maverick; but now that I’ve gotten Spiny Norman into this program, I will not let him fail, despite the best efforts of Maverick and his sidekicks!
Before we are entrusted with a multi-million dollar piece of state-of-the-art hardware, we must sit through any number of classes. It reminds me of my days as an undergraduate in the archeology department, although here the questions, and challenges, are different. Plus we are required to wear sunglasses at all times. When he sees that I forgot to bring a pair, Maverick generously loans me his, only to later make false accusations in an effort to get me thrown out of the program. Fortunately, his attempt to stir up trouble backfires, costing him valuable brownie points with the instructor.
But Maverick, not accepting that his scheme failed, continues to make accusations. In fact it seems as if he believes his own lies.
At last, we are ready to begin practicing in the jets — at which point I discover that, despite his professed love of model airplanes, Spiny Norman is actually afraid to fly. The alternative is to let him wash out, and so I tell him what he needs to hear to retain his confidence:
Thus reassured, Spiny Norman and I take our places in the jet and prepare for our first flight. Here we discover that despite Spiny Norman’s uncanny ability to be just the right size to fit into whatever we happen to be doing at the moment, his big nose doesn’t quite fit into the canopy. Fortunately we won’t be flying very high in the air this time, and Spiny Norman thinks this is just going to be a simulation. Otherwise he might worry, and that would affect his performance in the air; our opponents will be ready to exploit any weakness, and so we must show them none.
Maverick and his sidekick Mark Greene will be going up with us; this will be the first chance we get to test each others’ limits and abilities. I am confident that Spiny Norman and I, with the help of our well-maintained and completely unsabotaged aircraft, will emerge victorious from this dogfight; after all, being a dog, I already have one distinct advantage.
My other advantage is that I am Dennis the Vizsla, and I never give up.