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Mary Ann Foils a Threatened Rape

I almost moaned out loud, “My God! Those feet must belong to a camel! They’re so wide! At least 14D!”

I waited patiently. I was sure this was not a woman. I comforted myself with the fact that whoever it was would have to leave sometime. My eyes were glued to those feet. At last, the feet shuffled out of the stall. I listened intently for the companionway door to open and close. It didn’t. PROOF! It had to be a man! There was no change in sound, just the steady thundering drone of the engines.

Slowly, fear crept over me. I felt weak as I realized Lee would never hear my scream through the bulkhead and the noise. A man was out there waiting for me. I waited some more and planned my move. I would be cool. I would be totally in control. I would have a surprise move for every move he made. I rehearsed all the possibilities in my mind. I was aware the longer I waited, the more I risked arousing his suspicions.

I was ready. I exited the stall.

He was standing against the companionway door blocking my escape, a rapist’s leer pasted on his face.


His feet may have been gigantic, but the man was just my size in height and weight. Good! An even match for me! I had already proven many times in steeplejacking that I was as strong as any man my size.

Maintaining my composure, and sticking with my plan to act completely nonchalant, I walked straight toward him.  I had to get past him,  yank the door open,  and in my 500-foot-radio-tower voice yell, “LEE-E-E!”

I was within arm’s length of the man when he lunged forward and grabbed for me. But I was quicker than he was. I jumped for the door handle and yanked on it so hard that the impact sent my would-be attacker flying fifteen feet across the room to bounce off the opposite bulkhead. I didn’t have to call Lee.

Now the balance of power had shifted. I was in control. The man cowered on the deck, fear widening his eyes.

“You dirty so and so. Don’t you ever try that with me again!”

Of course, he probably didn’t understand English, but it made me feel better to have said it. It wasn’t my normal way of speaking to anyone, but perhaps in moments of extreme stress the worst of us surfaces.

Back on deck I told Lee my tale of woe and pointed out the man in the dimly lit area. Lee’s attitude was one of indifference. It was, “Well, nothing really happened, so what’s the fuss?” Apparently, my encounter did not qualify in his mind as a “real” adventure. That night I was thankful to be sleeping in the protective custody of chivalrous French-Arabian airmen.

In the morning the airmen insisted we each accept a cup of coffee. We dunked our bread and it seemed a wonderful treat. Then we realized each airman was rationed just one large cup of coffee. They went without so we could enjoy.

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