The driving rain that pounded the small private airstrip outside Medellin for several hours finally stopped. Enrique Cabrera had begun to despair of taking off before dawn. Not that he hadn’t been in the air in bad weather before. It was getting into the air that worried him. With the heavy cloud cover, visibility was nil. Worse, the temperature was dropping, and it wouldn’t be long before the water on the runway began to ice. He didn’t want to take a chance skidding off and into the muddy field. Not with this cargo.
The rain had been unexpected. This part of Colombia seldom got more than a few inches a month. Cabrera almost postponed the flight until tomorrow night, which would not have made El Comandante or his customer happy. As it were, they were several hours behind schedule. Mierda. Fucking global warming, he thought.
He climbed from the nondescript rust-pocked panel van sitting on the apron near the old DC-6 cargo plane. He walked around to the front of the plane, and with a circular motion of his arm, he beckoned to Juan Muñoz, sitting in the cockpit.
Vámanos, he mouthed. Let’s go. Muñoz nodded, and in a few moments, the first of the four prop engines on the plane coughed to life, releasing a cloud of oily smoke. As each engine approached speed, it was followed by the next, until all four props were spinning at full speed and the plane was ready for take-off.