Each week Allistair Forbes tosses us a bone in the form of a photo prompt and allots us roughly two hundred words to make a story. I enjoy this type of challenge immensely and celebrate my second week back in the fold.
There was countless hours studying mathematics, calculating physics answers, statics classes to make sure the structures were sound, all in all over a quarter million dollars worth of investment in the mind of the engineer assigned to build the suspended tram system.
From an engineering standpoint the system was perfectly sound. Everything worked exactly as designed, transporting the happy skiers up and down the mountain as they desired. That was until the flash ice storm of April 1, 2016. Even a Magna Cum Laude mechanical engineer could not design a system to deal with a five inch coating of ice on every surface. The complicating factor was that it came during the peak usage time of the day, stranding many visitors to the slopes.
Several calls to the engineer found only his voicemail, which meant that the problem rolled back to the director of operations, Sammy Cale. Sammy was a sixty-two year old career Marine sergeant in his eighth winter on McIntosh Peak. His no-nonsense style was evident as he tried to direct his team to deal with this crisis. The weather forecast offered no hope as the temperature wasn’t expected to rise above freezing for another twenty hours.
“What kind of Marine experience can you bring to this train wreck?” his second in command asked.
“Looks like an Air Force problem to me,” Sammy grinned as he chomped down on his cigar.