Any city, near or far
Feels twice as good as where you are
"Yeah, uh, my name is Frank Williams. I'm a co-pilot for Pan Am based out in San Francisco, I flew out this morning at 8 o'clock and I'm due out at 7 tonight. Now, it's never happened to me before, but I sent my uniform through the hotel to be dry cleaned and apparently they lost it on the way…. Yes, thank you."
Frank wasn't a co-pilot. He'd set foot inside Pan Am once in his lifetime.
And, honestly? He couldn't even fly a kite.
But he pretended to. He kept making those phony checks, put on that real uniform with the real wings on it. But he was far from a real pilot. He had that phony FFA license and Pan Am ID on him, too, but they certainly looked real.
Frank was good at his job. But his job wasn't flying. No, it was a game of lies. As long as he kept up the façade, the half-truths identity of Frank Williams, he was winning.
He kept on running. Kept on passing those fake checks, smiling at the gorgeous tellers and coaxing secrets of the check out of them with his flawless charm. And now, he could do just that wherever he pleased.
He could fly out to any Pan Am base without even flying himself. All he had to do was fill out one of those forms and board another airline's next flight to anywhere in the world, paperhanging all the while.
He knew he was a crook. He knew everything he was doing was illegal and the only way it could end was in jail. But he could very easily decide when and where that happened, as long as he kept up being a co-pilot.
As long as he didn't fly Pan Am, as long as nobody ever recognized him, as long as nobody learned he was 16 and not 26, he was perfectly safe.
He always felt safe. Lies came so naturally, so convincingly, and the ladies could be misdirected in just a few words and a flirtatious wink. It was so easy to learn from them.
If learning the tricks of the con man's trade was a career path one could study for, Frank was at the top of his class.
He loved the chase. The game of cat and mouse with the government. He loved to run, to be free to do as he pleased. He had everything he ever wanted. The fame, the fortune, the ladies, the respect. People looked up to pilots. They controlled the skies. He was a big guy now.
He never stayed somewhere very long. He'd fly out to Miami, hook up with a stew, maybe a teller, and stay with them for a week. Soak in the information they had to offer. He often promised he'd return.
What could he say? The lies flowed from his mouth. Virtue wasn't one of his virtues.
He kept flying. Kept running, and he ran until he couldn't run anymore.
But even track runners only have so long to run before the race is over.
There are lots of folks that I miss every day
Frank Abagnale, Sr. had been dead for seven years.
And today would've been his birthday.
He dreamed about his childhood often. Coming home after school to a smile from his dad, watching his parents dance around the living room, driving around town with his dad, going out to dinner with him…
And now he was gone.
It wasn't an open wound any longer to think about his dad. But it was often a searing pain in his chest, when he wondered what his dad would think of him now. If he knew he'd been caught, and was working for the FBI these days. If he could talk to him now.
He loved his dad. He'd always loved his dad, like every good son did. But what good son left their father in debt and newly divorced? What kind of a son was Frank?
He didn't deserve Carl's sudden care and kindness. He didn't deserve to be let out of prison so early. He just wanted to curl up and die.
He wanted his dad back.
Frank kept to his tiny office in the back that Monday, staring at a fraudulent check he was supposed to analyze. Through his sorrowful reveries and his anger at how horrible he'd been to his father, he shoved the book of fake checks aside, crossing his arms over the desk and hiding his face in them.
He wanted to die. He hated it here. He hated everything. He hated those stupid checks, and that stupid room, and the stupid FBI, and stupid Carl, stupid everything, even his own stupid self. He wanted to run away and never look back. He didn't even care where he ran, or if he flew, or if he got re-arrested.
Alright, maybe he cared if he got re-arrested.
He glanced at the clock at what seemed like ages later. It was noon. He and Carl had developed a sort of routine, going out to get sandwiches every Monday and Friday for lunch, and usually by now he'd be out to meet him and go.
But he stayed where he was, head burrowed in his arms, eyes squeezed shut to keep back his stupid tears.
A knock at the door. He didn't answer.
But of course Carl walked right in anyways.
Carl. He'd done so much for him; lightened his sentence, brought him into the FBI to help him pay off his debt and stop other less experienced paperhangers, taken him under his wing.
Treated him like a son.
And that's what set him off.
He closed the door behind himself, crouching beside the desk. "… You gonna eat lunch today?"
"Frank." He sighed, just barely lifting his head to glance at Carl. His eyes were rimmed red, tears streaked down his face.
"I'm not hungry."
It was then that Carl realized what day it was.
"Frank, you've gotta eat something," he coaxed.
He suddenly looked so small, and felt it too, dropping his head back into his arms, never mind Carl was right there. "I'm not going anywhere."
He was shaking now, and Carl knew it was because Frank hated crying, especially in front of him. Sighing, he slid his arm around his shoulders, hugging them a little.
He let out a choked sob, which was certainly progress, but it broke his heart to see the kid like this. He had such emotional extremes- either he was collected or flying apart, there was no in-between. It was so hard to tell what he was thinking; he so often put on a smile when something was bothering him. But when he flew apart he knew it was something big, or he would be under that emotionless mask as usual.
It took him a few minutes to calm down, but by then he'd spoken. "I'm hungry."
Carl had to smile at that. "Come on, Frank. Lunch is on me."