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Monthly Archives: August 2007

Our Lady Of The Blues:

From Gaia To Maia

V-7

by

R.E. Prindle

 

     ‘Hey, Kerry.  I don’t like this.  These guys could roll us.  Let’s go back.’  Trueman said in disgust.

     ‘You worry too much, Dewey.  Kayo vouched for them.’  Maclen said unable to conceal his admiration for Kreskin.

     ‘Kreskin’s got something to do with this?’  Deasy who had Kreskin’s number asked.

     ‘ Oh, Kreskin vouched for them.’  Dewey added sarcastically.  ‘No one knows he’s a crook.’

     ‘Well, we’ve already paid.’  Kerry replied.  ‘We might as well lay back and enjoy it.’

     But Dewey wouldn’t lie back and enjoy it.  The Japs switched the lights off and the camera on.  We often observe various facts but never put them together.  As the men sat Dewey did notice that Kerry sat behind the rest of them.  This disturbed him but he transferred his attention to the Japs.

     It was their intent with Maclen’s assitance to bop the sailors on the head and take their valuables.  When they all came to Maclen too would be rolling around holding his head but his pockets would be full while theirs would be empty.

    The Japs eyed them contemptuously as ‘Love Through A Keyhole’ began to run.

    ‘Hmm.  Through a keyhole.  That ought to stretch it pretty thin.’  Dewey joked.

page 1091.

     ‘This is too corny for words.’  Parsons added.

     Dewey thought he heard a chair leg scrape.  Turning it seemed the Japs were easing back into their chairs.  Dewey shifted to a podsition with his back to a side wall so he could see in both directions.

     ‘It’s alright, Dewey.’  Maclen affirmed.

     ‘No, it is not.’  Dewey contradicted seeing the handle of a sap projecting from the pocket of one of the Japs.

     ‘What do you see?’  Deasy whispered nervously.

     ‘At least one of ’em’s got a pipe or knife in his pocket.’

     ‘Probably for self-protection.’  Maclen offered.

     ‘So’s the Atom Bomb.’  Dewey laughed failing to assimilate the persistent criminal interpretation of facts characteristic of Maclen.

     The insipid film ended with the Japanese objectives unfulfilled.

     ‘We show one more.  No extra charge.’  Shuji said.

     ‘Why not give us our money back.  That wasn’t an out of the ordinary porn flick.  I’ve had enough, let’s get out of here.’  Dewey said keeping a wary eye on the Japs.  ‘I could be enjoying myself in Tokyo.’

     ‘No.  Let’s get our money’s worth.’  Maclen replied.

     During the showing of the second movie, more insipid than the first, Shuji called to Kerry.  Maclen got up to listen affirming the Jap’s injured sense of superiority.

     ‘Hey, boy.  Are we lucky.’  Maclen began.  ‘These guys know where there’s some great pussy cheap.’

page 1093.

     ‘Yeah?  Y’kuska’s full of it.’  Deasy replied, himself disgusted with the trite porn.  ‘If it’s anything like these movies they can have it themselves.’

     ‘Yeah.  Besides I don’t have another cent.’  Dewey said loudly for the pimps’ benefit.

     ‘I’m game if you’re buying, Maclen.’  Parsons added.

     ‘Hey, wait a minute.  These guys know their way around Y’kuska.’  Kerry remonstrated.

     ‘Great.  then they’ll know how to get us back.’

     The pimps gave Kerry an angry glance as they felt he had bilked them of the extra money.  Feeling cheated they refused to drive the sailors back.

     ‘No.  You walk.’  Shuji glowered.

     ‘We no walk.  You drive.’  Deasy said sternly.

     The sailors formed a hostile phalanx with Maclen standing uncertainly to one side.  The balance of power had shifted back to the sailors; unwilling for a showdown in the street in which they worked against prepared opposition the pimps motioned for them to get in.

     The men divided up as before.

     ‘Boy, that wasn’t worth three hundred yen.’  Trueman griped to Deasy.  We could have seen Tokyo.’

     ‘Sure as hell wasn’t.  That cost almost a dollar; should have been no more than fifty cen…a quarter.  You don’t think Maclen lied do you?  Like, maybe the cost was only a hundred yen and he collected three hundred?’

page 1093.

    

     ‘I don’t know.  I don’t think Kerry would do that.’

     ‘I bet he would.’  Deasy concluded.  ‘That guy’s always got his eye out for the main chance.’

     The Japanese drivers had been driving side by side shouting back and forth at each other in angry tones.  Things quite obviously had not gone as they planned.  After only five minutes of driving they pulled into an alley behind the garbage cans of a club.  The pimps now prepared, while the sailor weren’t, the balance of power had shifted again; the pimps motioned the sailirs out pointing down the alley with a grunt.

     ‘This isn’t where we started.’  Deasy objected.

     ‘Out. Out.’

     ‘Take us back to that square.’  Parsons demanded.

     ‘No.  Out here.’

     ‘Hey, what is this?’  Trueman asked although he knew the answer;  he’d seen this movie before.

     Suffering from the trauma of defeat the Japs had cheated the Americans on the porn.  Balked at getting the rest of the sailors’ money through Maclen’s inability to control them they were now bent on humiliating the Americans by dumping them next to the garbage- a universal symbol.  Now prepared, with allies close at hand they were willing to provoke a fight.

     ‘We can take them.’  Deasy said softly, ignorant of their true situation.

     ‘Wouldn’t do us any good.’  Trueman replied.  ‘We don’t know where we are and we don’t know who they have waiting on the other side of those garbage cans.  Besides if we do beat them up the SP will get us and we’ll get Captain’s Masts for sure.  They can claim we were trying to steal our money back.  Ratches already said the Navy is going to take their word for it.  I think best to tell them to kiss our ass and hike it.’

page 1094.

     The two groups stood eyeing each other.  Maclen had quietly drifted out of the alley.  It was well for the sailors that Trueman’s opinion prevailed because they would have been no match for the Japanese assassins trained in karate and armed and dangerous.  Their allies would have streamed from the door behind the garbage cans.

     Emerging from the alley the men found themselves in the square in front of the House Of Golden Joy.  Stepping into the light they spotted Maclen near the door nervously drawing a cigarette with his hat on the back of his head exposing his blond curls.

     ‘Everything OK, guys?’  He asked.

     ‘No thanks to you.’  Deasy said with an understanding gleam.

     ‘Hey, Kerry.  What’re you doing leaving us like that?’  Trueman demanded.

     ‘I knew you guys could handle it.’  Maclen laughed.

     About that time Kayo Kreskin emerged from the club for a breather.  Not seeing the others but noticing Maclen he said:  How’d it go, Maclen?’

page 1095.

     Maclen made a motion with his cigarette that indicated the others without actually pointing at them.  Reaching up to scratch the back of his neck with his right hand holding the cigarette in a chracteristic nervous gesture he replied:  ‘Just fine.  Just fine.’

     Kreskin studied them for a moment then went back into the club.

     The truth dawned on Deasy who merely said:  ‘Thanks for nothin’, Maclen.’

     ‘I’m sorry guys.  How was I to know?  Kayo said they was OK.’

     ‘Ya.  That’s another thing.’  Deasy growled.

     Maclen’s reputation sunk a little lower with his shipmates although Trueman chose to ignore what was not only mounting evidence but an open and shut case.

The Finest Haircut In The World.

     There was no time to reflect on the the excitement of the previous evening.  Still, Dewey resented having been coerced  into wasting an evening watching pornographic movies which could be seen the world over at any time.  As he couldn’t influence the group to do as he wanted he chose to dispense with the group.  He was going over by himself.

page 1096.

     He wanted to see Yokosuka.  He would see it as he knew how; by walking the streets.  He would walk the streets as he had done in the Valley, Philly, San Francisco or San Diego or any other place he had been.  Just put one foot in front of the other and walk.  Just walk.  Keep moving.  Walk.

     He found his way out of the waterfront into the main street.  To his consternation he found it not much different than the United States.  Even Australia had looked more exotic.  These streets were not much different than the streets of San Francisco.

     As he was walking the streets of Yokosuka he spied a fellow with a very satisfied air step from a storefront, brush his hair back, and contentedly move off down the street.  Coming abreast Dewey slowed to look inside.  It was a barbershop.  But instead of a man behind the chair there stood two very beautiful young women in traditional Japanese dress.

     The concept of female barbers was a startling revelation to Dewey.  He had never in his life imagined such a notion.  The beautiful young girls smiled invitingly indicating the chair as he slowly and wonderingly drifted past.

     He was a couple weeks past due for a haircut.  He had been putting it off because he didn’t like Frutman, the ship’s barber.  It wasn’t that Frutman wasn’t friendly enough, probably he was too friendly.  In the first place Dewey didn’t like being ministered to by other men.  Secondly he didn’t like the way Frutman put his finger in his ears and thirdly he didn’t like the way Frutman felt it necessary to put his finger up his nostril.  Fourthly…but well, Dewey’s list of little grievances could go on and on.  He thought of all these grievances as his steps led past the shop’s windows.

page 1097.

     Might be interesting, he was thinking, but why waste valuable time getting your hair cut.  Then, he thought, what exactly did he have to do.  Nothing.  He stopped then retraced his steps.  The two very lovely looking girls were pressed against the corner of the window hoping he would.

     Dewey gave them a big smile as his steps quickened.  They rewarded him by becoming all atwitter.  As Dewey entered they flattered him with the most wonderful attention.  They observed none of the barbering ritual of the States save the apron.  They didn’t inconvience him by making him take his middie off or making a show of turning down the collar.  Knowing no English they merely went to work, the two of them, one on each side.

     They twittered in such musical tones accompanied by gay laughter that Dewey knew they were talking both to and about him.  Not knowing Japanese Dewey put on his most cheerful countenance smiling away at their smiles and he began cooing and clucking in an amatory way.

     The girls used only combs and scissors.  They had the strangest way of just hitting the hair up and snipping it on the fly.  No measuring it out with the comb and clipping it off, no electric razors which were common in the States, just combs, scissors and deft movements.  Dewey had never experienced anything like it.

page 1098.

     He was just thoroughly charmed, entranced, he had fallen down the rabbit hole into a species of paradise.  Or so it seemed.  The girls were making the most flattering comments to each other about him.  While Dewey couldn’t understand the words their father, the old Major Domo of the Bataan Death March in the back room could.  He could understand what the girls were saying as well as understanding Dewey’s nonsensical billing and cooing.

     Hiroshigi like, he stepped into the parlor with downcast mouth glowering eyes and folded arms.  Nothing daunted the little darlings ignored him as if he wasn’t there.  Lost in the beauty of the moment Dewey ignored him too.

     He would be reminded of these beautiful barbers years later when he saw the the chirping singing of the fairy girls in the Godzilla movies.  Those lovely little sprites were the very image of those beautiful hairdressers.  They sounded the same.  Dewey would watch every Godzilla movie he could to see and hear those little fairy girls.  How he wished he could go back for another of those magical haircuts.

     The old buck, the Hero Of Bataan, wouldn’t budge but stood there glowering through the remainder of the haircut.  Then, their ministrtions finished, the fairy maidens placed Dewey’s hat on his head while the other charmingly held out her hand.  Dewey had never asked the price, didn’t know what it was, but he placed a five hundred yen note in her hand which seemed to please the girls mightily even getting a grunt from the Death Marcher.

     The lovely things didn’t do any bowing or scraping but touched his cap to straighten it, gave a couple endearing flicks to his shoulder and still giggling and cooing waved goodby pressing to the corner of the window to get a last glimpse of him.  Turning Dewey rewarded them with biggest and most loving his smile his face would ever wear.

page 1099.

     Elated beyond all measure, feeling the best he had ever felt in his life, the smile didn’t leave Dewey’s face for blocks.

     ‘That was it!’ He thought.  ‘If women cut hair in the States that would make it.  Maybe some do.  I’ll have to check when I get back.’

     At that time he heard a boogie woogie piano coming out of a bar.  ‘Hey.’  He said to himself.  ‘That sounds just like Jerry Lee Lewis;  I’ve never heard that record before.’

     Stepping into the bar he asked the bartender which Jerry Lee record that was.  The bartender gave him a blank look.

     ‘That Jerry Lee Lewis record you’re playing, which is it?’

     ‘Jelly Lee Lewis?’

     ‘Yeah.  the guy playing the pumping piano.  Which record?’

     ‘Not Jelly Lee Lewis.’  The bartender said with an unhelpfull shake of the head.

     ‘Well, OK, who is it?’

     The bartender begrudging a straight helpful answer looked bewildered.  Maybe this guy had been at Bataan too.  Then as though it hurt him to say it he grunted:  ‘Fats Domino.’

     ‘Wow! No kidding?  Fats Domino?  I didn’t know he played like that.’  Dewey said looking down the long bar at the row of sailors sitting in the dark.

     ‘Jeez.’  Dewey thought.  ‘They come six thousand miles to sit in the same bars they have in California.’   He gave them a little salute and left.

page 1100.    

     A block further down the street he came across a record store.  Twelve years after the Divine Wind failed Japanese music had been replaced by Western music.  The culture was in the hands of the White Devils.  The superiority of Western ways is no more evident than in music.  Western harmonies have made a clean sweep of the world with the possible exception of India.  All other styles have fallen before the West having little to contribute to a universal synthesis. Even in India one wonders how much the Aryan influence may have affected the musical consciousness from the days of the invasions.

     The Orient had nothing with which to counter sixteenth to nineteenth century European orchestral music, Mao the Dong notwithstanding.  All their musical explorations were dead ends compared to that.

     Similiarly national cultural expressions were rolled over by American Rock music around the world.  The brain trust of the ‘greatest generation’ never realized the unifying aspects of the ‘Devil’s Music.’  The whole world was being transformed into the image of teenage America and the old Fuds never realized it.

     The Japanese, who were inadequately prepared to understand the English of the lyrics let alone the slang evaluated the records differently than the Americans.  They paid more attention to the underlying music and the emotions of the singer than the lyrics.  Thus, while Jerry Lee Lewis was represented in the racks, the selections were those songs given little attention in the States like ‘You Win Again.’  The effect was like introducing Dewey into a whole new world, an anti-world if you like, of the same artists and music.

page 1101.

     Amid exclamations of ‘Wow, they like that?’ and ‘Geez, who’d believe that.’  Dewey found his way into Rock n’ Roll down a different rabbit hole.  Between the barber girls and the spectacular little record store the axis of his understanding shifted at least ninety degrees.  It was an Epiphany in time and space and Dewey’s mind.

     Carefully selecting his records so as to get those he considered most essential without completely exhausting his meager financial resources Dewey with a satisfied feeling stepped back into the street with his precious bundle.  It was perhaps Rudyard Kipling who made the sage observation that a woman is only a woman but a good cigar is a smoke.  The same may be said in regards to records.  Forced to make a decision between a prostitute in a whore house and a bundle of records that he wouldn’t even be able to listen to for nearly two years Dewey chose the records.

     Standing outside the record store with the finest haircut in the world and his records Dewey was trying to gather his elated senses when he heard a voice exclaim:  ‘There he is.’

     Turning in the direction of the voice Dewey saw Parkman, Parsons and Vincent approaching.

     ‘What’re you doing way over here?’  Parkman queried.

     ‘What indeed.’  Trueman replied in a W.C. Fields manner, although he had seen no Fields.  ‘One might as well ask how you boys found me way out here.  Or, in other words, what are you doing way out here?’

page 1102.

     ‘We’re just looking over the town.’

     ‘Well, my boys, you have captured the very essence of my own maneuvers.’

     ‘What?’  Parsons asked.  ‘Speak English.’

     ‘Let us essay a short jaunt down this collateral avenue.’  Trueman continued, high enough from his little epiphany that he no longer cared what others thought.

     ‘What’s down there?’  Parkman enquired, thinking Dewey knew something he didn’t.

     ‘Y’kuska, my lads, the real Y’kuska you won’t find on any tourist maps.’

     Trueman was just talking to hear himself talk but his words seemed to imply some secret knowledge they weren’t privy to so they followed along expecting the unusual.

     There was not nothing unusual, unusual for Y’kuska that is.  The street was an ordinary residential street.  Dewey’s practiced eye picked out the architectural details, the peculiarities of construction which he had learned to find interesting.  His fellows saw nothing but buildings.  They followed behind him expecting him to say at any time:  ‘This is the place.’

     The street was a stone paved lane bordered by houses.  No sidewalks no room for cars such as the ’55 Chevy that moved slowly toward them taking up fully four fifths of the lane.  Dewey backed into a doorway to let the car pass.  No sooner had it driven by then the door behind him flew open and a little boy burst through his legs at a dead run bowling him over.  Dewey was picking himself up when the boy’s mother came rushing out after him screaming some imprecations which the boy ignored as he ran safely out of range.

page 1103.

     By this time the sailors, who were unheard of in this part of town, had drawn attention to themselves.  People leaned out of windows over the street or came out to get a closer look.

     About this time another little boy burst from a house followed by his mother.  The words of the previous mother still rang in Dewey’s ears although he had no idea of their meaning.  Impusively he shouted them out after the boy.  A gasp of astonishment went up from the crowd.  The mother put her hand over her mouth and giggled comvulsively.  The boy stopped with an air of amazed hostility to gape open mouthed.  Dewey broke into a gay merry laugh still thinking of the barber girls.

     ‘What did you say, Trueman?’

     ‘Heck, I don’t know.  Probably something like ‘Hey, you little bastard get your skinny ass back in here.  How should I know.’

     ‘You shouldn’t have done that?’

     ‘I don’t know why not.’

     ‘We shouldn’t even be here.  This is their part of town.  Let’s go back to our own area.’

     ‘Aw, for Christ’s sake, why did you ever leave it?’  Dewey asked sourly, but as the sun was going down behind Mt. Fuji Dewey followed the others back into Sailortown.

     There, stationed on a corner, the usual endless discussion of ‘What do you want to do?  I don’t know, what do you want to do?’  began.  This was exactly what Dewey had wanted to avoid by going over by himself.

     ‘I’m going back to the ship.’  He said waving goodbye.  He needed the rest and besides he wanted to look at his new records.

The Crown Of Thorns.

     ‘Ya wanna go over with me, Trueman?  I know where there’s a good little whore house.’  Maclen asked Dewey who was leisurely polishing his shoes preparatory to making up his mind about what to do.

     Maclen was a little down in the mouth.  The previous evening had been a catastrophe for him.  His attitude at the porno flicks had aroused Deasy’s suspicions.  Deasy didn’t take being conned lightly.  He wanted to know.  In collusion with some other Operations men he had set up a situation to to trap Maclen.  Kerry had stepped right into the trap viewing it as a windfall.  He was now a convicted cheat as it were.  His status had fallen to nil.  Thus he turned to Trueman who really was his friend and hadn’t heard of Maclen’s disgrace nor in the crush of succeeding excitement would he.  As a criminal Maclen was incorrigible; having no one left to cheat he would cheat the best friend he would ever have.

     Dewey sprinkled a little water on his shoe as he sought the indefinable pitch of the perfect spit shine.  Most sailors just spat on their shoes for the spit shine but Dewey was no spitter so he kept a little water in the cap of his Shinola tin as did some few fastidious others.

page 1105.

     ‘Aw, jeez, Kerry.  I don’t know if I have enough money, I’m down to my last couple dollars.’

     ‘Why don’t you draw some advance pay like everyone else.  Ponzi’s still on board.  I just saw him.’

     ‘That’d leave me short on payday with Hong Kong coming up.’

     ‘No it wouldn’t.  Do what everyone else is doing.  Draw the advance, give half of it back to Ponzi and get your full pay on payday.  It’s what everybody else does.  Nobody’s short of cash but you.’

     ‘Can’t work out that way, Kerry.  Gotta be something wrong there.  You’ll just have to pay it back later.’

     ‘Bullhshit!  Ensign Shaffer is an officer and he’s behind it.’

     ‘That’s just it, Kerry, he’s an officer.  When it all comes down it’ll only come down on the enlisted men.  Officers can do no wrong in this man’s Navy.  Shaffer will walk, believe me.’

     ‘Bullshit!  If an officer says it’s OK, it’s OK.’

     ‘Officers are just guys like you and me, Kerry.  They’re all the guys who lived on your block in high school you never liked.  They aren’t any different now than they were then.  They’ve just been to college.  Don’t trust them.’

     ‘Well, anyway, how about it?’

     ‘I’ll go over with you but like I say I’ve only got a couple bucks.  Anyone else going?’

     ‘No. Just you and me.’

     Maclen and Trueman approached the brothel.

     ‘This is a terrific place.  Kreskin gave it a real good recommendation.’

      Trueman who knew streets realized that this street was a few steps down from the street of the Roses Of Old Nippon which itself was not a top street.  Approaching closer he stopped in his tracks.  ‘The Crown Of Thorns.’  He exclaimed dumbfounded.  ‘Is that the name of the place?’

     ‘Yeh.’

     ‘Yeah?  Well, look at it Kerry.  What does it mean?  I mean look at that design, two crosses with the crown of thorns uniting them.  Where’s the middle one?’

     ‘Those are the two who count and they wear the crown.’  Kerry said humbly waiting for a sign of recognition from Dewey that didn’t come.

     Once inside Dewey knew immediately that the Two Roses had been a top flight house.  The Crown was bare and barren.  Exposed unfinished timber was everywhere.  It looked like it predated Perry’s visit of 1853.  There was no decoration to the aged boards which had gaps between them.  One looked down between the cracks into flowing water.  The madam was cold and crusty used to dealing with the hardest elements of society.

     ‘Let me handle this now.’  Kerry demanded.  ‘How much you got?  Nine hundred fifty yen?  Give it all to me.  Don’t let the old sow see it, just slip it to me.’

     Dewey did as he was bid but the place alarmed him.

     ‘I don’t like this Kerry.  Give me my money back and let’s get out of here.’

     ‘Don’t worry.  It’s alright.  I’ll get the best price.’

page 1107.

     Maclen appeared to be negotiating for the best woman for himself and the cheapest for Dewey.  Thus when the women were brought out Kerry got the youngest and best looking who was still far below Pearl and Dewey got a veteran who looked like she may have been a blossom just before the war started.  She was pretty wilted now.

     Dewey didn’t want to be insulting so he drew Kerry aside to remonstrate.  ‘Why don’t we just take our money and leave?’

     ‘Are you kidding, Trueman?  What do you expect for nine hundred yen?’

     ‘You didn’t have much more.  You said you only had a thousand.  Why do you get a much better girl?’

     ‘Because I’m doing all the hard work.  If it wasn’t for me you couldn’t afford anything.’

     ‘If it weren’t for you I wouldn’t even be here.’

     Kerry was at his criminal best acting wih an authority that he only wished he could legitamately assume.  Trueman didn’t like his manner.  He too began to think Maclen was cheating but his feeling overrode his sense and he went along.

     He was introduced to Violet who led him into the back.  The Two Roses was sumptuous compared to the Crown Of Thorns although the room into which Violet led him was very large compared to that of Pearl.

     Violet, who was well over forty and well used was nevertheless a good hearted sweet woman who seemed to have retained her innocence.  She was indeed a sweet violet who enjoyed her work.

page 1108.

     She was apparently used to athletic or at least strenuous sex becuse she stripped her bed down to the bottom sheet and pounced on it like a wrestler ready to grapple.

     Not quite so eager Dewey looked her over as he slowly removed his uniform.  Although old by his standards she was thin and bony.  Not unattractive, she had a full sensuous mouth.  Dewey searched out her good points so as not to be unkind in his appraisal.

     ‘I paid for all night.’  He said gently.

     ‘Yes.’

     ‘Now, you don’t have a sick mother was across Tokyo that you’re going to have to visit, do you?’  Dewey asked.  While he didn’t exactly begrudge Pearl her ‘sick mother’ yet he did feel like he had been taken advantage of.

      ‘What you mean?’

     ‘Well, the last girl I paid all night for had a ‘sick mother’ she had to visit and disappeared all night.  You’re not going to do that, are you?’

     Violet suppressed a giggle.  ‘Oh, no.  I good girl.  In not leave you all night.’

      ‘OK.’  Dewey said, who believed her if for no other reason than from the looks of the place there would be no other customers.

     ‘Oh, and one other thing I don’t want to go to that toilet to sit in a hot tub either, so forget it.’

     ‘No problem, we don’t have room.’

     Dewey hopped up on the mattress where Violet promptly jumped on him.  Giggling and laughing she directed the athletics as they both rolled and tumbled until with a deft move she slipped it in.

page 1109.

     Suddenly Dewey knew what had been wrong in Australia.  Violet like Maggie May was as loose as a Piper Cub being brought out of a 747 hangar.  All of a sudden the tightness of Pearl came into perspective.

     Dewey gave out a gasp which Violet took as a compliment.  Giggling she thrust and pulled with an activity Dewey would never experience again.  Violet was an experienced hand, she searched Dewey’s face for the reaction to every move.

     There is a little sphincter in a woman’s box which Violet knew how to use.  Over time she had developed the muscle to the point where she could cinch it so a man couldn’t move.  It was tighter than a rubber band and felt like a vise.

     To the delight of Violet Dewey did a push up as he let out a yowl.  Hung there as if in suspended animation, Violet worked him with wild enthusiasm.  With a gasp Dewey enjaculated.

     ‘OK, OK.’ He groaned.

     ‘Just pull it out.’

     ‘I can’t. Relax.  It’s too tight.’

     ‘Yes it is.’  Violet said delighted at her engineered deception.  ‘You pull.’

     It was like taking your finger out of a tightened vise.  Dewey pulled as the sphincter slowly slid down his penis to catch at the head.  With another great yowl Dewey pulled the head past although he felt like he pulled it off.  Looking down to make sure he still had it he cupped his crotch in hand and rolled around in agony.

page 1110.

     Violet was sitting up with a joyous look on her face singing:  ‘La, la, la.’  and primping her hair.

     ‘Was that tight, you Boy?’

     ‘Oh hey.  I’ll say.’

     ‘La, la, la.’  She continued bouncing on the bed.

     ‘Want more?’

     ‘No.  Let’s put the covers on and just lay here and relax.’

     ‘OK, you Boy.’  Violet said, ready for anything.

     She snuggled up to Dewey as though a young girl and looked at him adoringly.  Dewey laughed and began talking to her not caring whether she understood him or not.  But that curious sound of running water aroused his curiosity.

     ‘What’s the sound of that running water, Violet.  It sounds like a river.’

     ‘It is a river, Boy.  This house built over a creek long ago.  Creek run down to sea.’

     Dewey thought he knew why criminals had bought this particular place.  He imagined that when they wanted to dispose of a body they opened a trap door and threw it in the creek where when it washed up in the bay nobody could figure out where it came from.  He mentioned his notion to Violet but she reassured him that it wasn’t so- anymore.

     An hour or so later he drifted off to sleep.  She remained awake giving him little pushes throughout the night to remind him she was still there.

page 1112.

     When morning came she woke him for the walk back to the ship.

     They met Maclen and his girl in the foyer.  Even though Dewey had been disappointed in both the age and appearance of Violet her obliging simplicity had won him over in a way Pearl hadn’t.  Having felt betrayed by Pearl he had merely walked away without even saying goodbye but he felt a real affection for Violet.  She had been a very good woman in her way.  Although it was not customary to kiss a prostitute, Dewey reached down and gave her a kiss on the lips.

     ‘Goodbye, Violet.’

     Caught completely by surprise Violet actually blushed then holding her face in her hands she rushed from the foyer.  Dewey had done the kindest thing he could do for her; he had made her day.  Well, it only cost him nine hundred yen, why not?

     ‘Speaking of my nine hundred yen, Kerry, are you sure she cost that much?  Weren’t you, maybe, you know, taking some off for yourself?’

     ‘She must have been OK, Trueman, you kissed her.  That make you a cocksucker by proxy.’  Kerry accused trying to divert the conversation in the best criminal style.

     ‘Uh, did you ever see her do that, Maclen?’

     ‘No.’

     ‘Then you don’t know whether she has or not.  So I’m no proxy.’

     ‘It’s likely she did.  She’s just a whore.’

     ‘No matter.  You don’t know.  Did you get a blow job?’

page 1112.

     ‘No.  She wouldn’t do it.’

     ‘Well, neither would mine.  What about the skim.  I saw you putting money back in your pocket.’

     ‘It was my money.’

     ‘To be sure but you said there was only nineteen hundred total and you paid that.  What was there to put back in your pocket?’

     ‘You don’t trust me, Dewey?  I get you laid and you’re not even grateful.’

     Dewey began to speak then stopped himself.  What was the use?  Between the porn flicks and the previous evening he too came to the conclusion that Maclen was a cheat; then over the next few weeks the idea eroded from his mind as other needs supplanted it.

     As they crossed the Quarterdeck Maclen popped a Penicillin tab in his mouth holding the dish out to Trueman.

     ‘No thanks, I’ll wait to see if I get something.  Besides if you take that stuff casually you’ll just become immune to it.’

     ‘Who told you that?’

     ‘Nobody.  It just makes sense.  It’s just like everything else.  The first time you use it it works great then it works less well after.’

     ‘Navy should know what it’s doing.  If they’ve got them here for my benefit I’m going to take them.’

     ‘Well, you brought it up.  I don’t know where you guys get off this selective faith in officers or the Navy though.  Gotta change.  See you around Maclen.’

True Love Is A Many Splendored Thing

     Now completely broke there was no reason for Trueman to go over.  He found it necessary to spend the last day in Tokyo aboard.  After liberty call at noon he found himself standing on port looking over at the shipworks in Yokohama.  As he stood musing he was joined by Blaise Pardon.

     ‘Pretty impressive, eh, Trueman?’

     ‘I’ll say.  What’re you doing on board, Pardon?  Thought you’d be out there having fun with your double pay.’

     ‘You taking those advances, Trueman?’

     ‘No.  You know Pardon, I’ve got the kind of personality that when it all comes down they’d make sure it landed on me.  They’re gonna have to pay it back sooner or later anyway.  Then what?’

     ‘I think so too.  I’ve been in the Navy a long time and it all comes out in the wash.’

     ‘Probably so.  You got over eighteen in Pardon, you get out pretty soon.  ‘How come you’re not a Chief?  You’re at least as good as Dieter, if not better?’

     ‘Why, thanks, Trueman.  Hard to say.  I guess they closed the rating before I took my first exam.   Some of those things are hard to explain.  Yeah, I get out in early ’59.’

     Closed ratings were only part of it.  Dewey had noticed that all the Old Salts slighted Pardon.  He was always pushed to the outside.  When Dieter talked to Pardon he never looked at him; always talked off in the other direction like he wished Pardon was somewhere else.

page 1114.

     The truth was that Pardon, Ratches and Trueman all shared the same characteristic; they all had a ship to run.  Getting the job done and done right was more important to them than the personal politics that characterized Dieter and the vast majority of mankind.  Personal loyalties are more important to them than loyalty to an ideal.

     Just as the Commodore would have had no remorse if the Teufelsdreck had gone to the bottom in the storm so Dieter had been more concerned with injuring Trueman than if the ship had sunk and he went down with it when he ordered Trueman to set the Depth Charge at 30 feet.  Most people will and do cut off their noses to spite their face.

     Thus since Dieter was managing the men for his own exaltation while Pardon was managing the men to run the ship their efforts were at cross purposes.  Dieter saw Pardon as disloyal to himself; just as he thought Ratches had betrayed his worthiness by ‘having a ship to run’ as he sneeringly put it.  So Pardon valued Trueman because he did get the job done while Dieter despised him because he didn’t kiss the Big Chief’s big ass.

     At any rate Pardon was punished for his ‘disinterestedness’ by being held back in rating as much as they could.

     ‘Think you’ll make Chief before you get out, Pardon?’

     ‘Never can tell.  I doubt it though.  Rating’s shut tight.  It will be until the vets go then it’ll open up.’

page 1115.

     ‘Oh yeah?  So you get out what?  About a year from now?  What then?’

     ‘Year and some odd.  What then?  I get a pretty good pension for the rest of my life.  That’s security you should consider.  My wife and I are going to sail tramp steamers around the world.  You’d be surprised how cheap fare is and you don’t have to put up with a snooty first class passenger; everyone’s equal.  Just going to go from port to port.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Pardon, the Wandering Sailor hum?  I didn’t know you were married.’

     Pardon had just opened his mouth to speak when a howling Lane Vincent backed through the wing hatch.

     ‘I’m in love, Captain, I’m in love.  I want to marry her and you’ve got to give me your permission to do it.’

     ‘Listen, Sailor, this happens all the time.  A young inexperienced sailor arrives in Japan, is treated well by one of these whores and thinks he’s in love and wants to get married.’

     ‘I am in love.  I am in love.  She’s the most wonderful woman in the world and she’s not a whore.’

     ‘She works in a brothel, Sailor…well perhaps not, perhaps she isn’t a whore to you but this happens all the time that’s why the Navy has rules.  I announced before we came into port that this might happen to someone and we wouldn’t allow marriages.  They all turn out bad.  I’m not trying to interfere in your personal happiness; the Navy has rules.’

     Well, the Navy can change them for me.’  Vincent was shrieking hysterically at the top of his lungs.  Ratches respectfully, much too respectfully, continued trying to reason with Vincent.

page 1116.

     Listen, Captain, I’m free, white and twenty-one, Navy rules or no Navy rules you can’t stop me from doing what I want to do.  I’m a free man.  This woman is the most wonderful woman I’ve ever met, more wonderful even than my mother.  If I leave here without marrying her there is going to be hell to pay.  You better say yes, you can’t stop me.’

     Ratches should have had Vincent clapped in irons but the bane of every fair and decent man is his fairness and decency.  So Ratches reluctantly agreed to give his consent.  Lane Vincent was married to his Japanese prostitute that very afternoon.  Not that Ratches was to get any gratitude for his decency.

Manifest Destiny Meets The Closed Door

     The world is wide, our views are large,

We’re sailing on in freedom’s barge,

Our God is good and we are brave,

From tyranny the world we’ll save.

 American Ballad c. 1850

     Before heading out into the wine dark seas of China the Teufelsdreck dropped down the coast of Honshu to the beautiful port of Osaka.  The bay is a long narrow cul-de-sac.  Osaka sits at the head of the bay.  Far into the sub-tropical zone the abundant rainfall creates cascades of greenery that descends sharply down the steep hills that form the bay.  Like Hawaii this was a one day stand.  Still broke, Dewey elected to stay on board.  Nonetheless the spectacular scenery lining this narrow inlet was enough to feast one’s eyes on from sunup to senset.

page 1117.

     The next morning the Teufelsdreck sailed out of Osaka bound for the Straits of Formosa on a mission to intimidate the Red Chinese.   At this time there was much sabre rattling between Chiang and Mao the Dong.  Mao was threatening to invade Formosa so the US in support of its ally sent the mighty three hundred six foot sub killer that could on a mission down the straits to keep Red China in line.  Did it too.

     Some people worried themselves sick about the Bomb but Dewey was more concerned with places like Formosa and Berlin.  Some people, most, considered the Berlin Airlift some great demonstration of Western resolve.  Dewey did not.  He thought that had the supply trucks just driven down the corridor nothing would have come of it.

     In his mind it was just like the bully who stations himself  on the corner and says he’ll punch you out if you try to cross the street.  Using another corner is not a means of defiance it is an act of cowardice.  So was the Berlin Airlift.

     Stalin was not known for his sense of humor, yet the forces of the Arsenal of Democracy being turned back by one lone single Mongolian soldier with nothing but an ordinary single shot Soviet army rifle is so outrageously funny that Stalin should have received the Charlie Chaplin Joke Of The Year Award.

page 1118.

     One must remember that one of Hitler’s great fears was that of the Mongol hordes engulfing Europe again as they had in the fifth century with Atila and in the thirteenth with Genghis Khan, Timugen for the purists in the crowd.  The Russians themselves were regarded as more an Asiatic people than European.  Thus the placement of a single Mongol to repel the massed divisions of the West from the Gates Of Berlin is precious humor.

     The thought of the tiny Teufelsdreck with its one hundred eighty sailors terrorizing the Mongol hordes of hundreds of millions brought a little smile to Dewey’s lips.  He still took things much too seriously to laugh out loud.

     As they plowed their way through the East China Sea which Dewey mistakenly thought was the North China Sea he had occasion to speak to Chief Dieter.  The Big Chief was becoming increasingly frustrated by Trueman.  The words between Roberts and Trueman in which following Dieter’s instruction he had tried to humiliate Trueman because his girl had visited her ‘mother’ had been duly reported to the Chief.  Roberts had lost the exchange.  Thus Dieter felt defeated and humiliated by Trueman.  Perhaps the Big Chief was the underdog as it might not appear.

     ‘Hey Chief, an Old Salt like you must have been in these waters before.’  Trueman began in the cheerily abrasive manner he knew how to assume unaware that Dieter had been at Inchon, or how seriously it had affected his life or how seriously he was offended because Trueman was unaware of his heroism there.  ‘The Yellow River is supposed to discolor the North China Sea for miles from the mouth.  Did you ever see that?  Think we will?’

page 1119.

     Dieter exploded:  ‘North China Sea?  This isn’t the North China Sea.  The North China Sea is over there by Korea, Inchon, you ignorant puppy.  What could you possibly know about the North China Sea?’

     ‘Jeez, take it easy, Chief.  I don’t know much about the North China Sea.  That’s why I was asking you.  I just…’

     ‘You just.  Well, this isn’t the North China Sea.  This is just the Pacific Ocean.’

    ‘Not very pacific if you ask me.’

     ‘What?’  Demanded Dieter who was not very quick on his feet.

     ‘Nothing.  Nothing, Chief.  Forget it.  I was just…you know…I thought I’d ask.  Hell, water’s water to me.’

     Dieter glared at Trueman  with that liverish complexion then stomped away swinging his arms wildly with a stiff step as though the proverbial corncob were projecting an inch or two.

     ‘This is so the North China Sea.’  Dewey mumbled after Dieter baffled and offended by his outburst.

     The tragedy was that Dieter was too small to fit either his uniform or his heroism.  The One was the gift of the Navy while the other was the greatness that had been thrust upon him; between the two they were the meaning of Dieter’s life.  Trueman negated both whether intentionally or subconsciously leaving Dieter walking the Wasteland with a sense of desolation.  Dieter shouldn’t have messed with Trueman.

page 1120.

     The Malaise in Dewey’s own soul over the defeat of his hopes in McCarthy must have an outlet.  Seemingly innocuous he was actually a very dangerous opponent who knew where your jugular was.

     Cleaving the waves with the inexorability of steel and oil  the Teufelsdreck left the East China Sea behind as it entered the Straits of Formosa.  The Portuguese gave the island its Western name which means ‘Most Beautiful.’  The Chinese renamed it Taiwan.  the island isn’t actually mainland Chinese in culture and intellect.  The mainland always ignored it.  When the Japanese claimed it in the later nineteenth century the inhabitants were still living in the stone age.  The island remained in Japanese hands until 1945 when it reverted to China subsequently occupied by Chiang and his Nationalist forces when Mao drove them from the mainland.  Thereby hangs a tale.

     Chiang had Formosa and the two little islands adjacent to the mainland called Quemoy and Matsu.  The Reds had been demanding these islands since 1948.  They had been a serious bone of contention since then.  Reading the newspapers in the USA the impression was that these were substantial islands securely in Chiang’s orbit and not to be given up.  At the time many people thought the US should go to to war to retain them.  The feeling was that the US could and would sweep through China in a week with a regiment of Marines.  As a high school student Dewey had been of that opinion.

     The Teufelsdreck was crawling through the Straits at six knots to show the Reds how fearless she was.  There was some risk involved because it was thought quite possible that the Reds might fire on US warships.  You know, it was not a time of peace and amiability.

page 1121.

     The Teuf wasn’t so fearless that it was within the twelve mile limit not wishing to give undue provocations, so the ship was in the middle of the Straits, the imposing bulk of Formosa to the port and the seemingly brooding mass of Mainland China to the starboard and there hoving into view were the two tiny specks of sandbank known as Quemoy and Matsu.

     The islands were practically connected to the mainland while their elevation appeared to be barely above water.  Dewey gasped, all his preconceptions dropping from him like rusty chains.  ‘How in the hell are we supposed to defend those?’  He thought.  ‘Heck, the Chinese could practically rake them with machine gun fire.  Kwajalein offered more cover.’

     ‘Hardly worth going to war over, hey?’  Craddock said as he stepped up to Dewey.  Trueman had let his opinion on the subject be known aboard ship.

     Craddock had read Trueman’s thoughts to the letter but Dewey resented this because his beliefs were based on different premise’s than Craddock’s.  For Trueman us and them meant the US and Communist China; for Craddock us and them meant Capitalists and Reds.  Craddock’s loyalty was with the Reds which included the faith’s adherents anywhere in the world.  Thus he was allied with both Chinese and American Reds against the US.  Craddock would have denied being an unpatriotic American.  It was all in the interpretation of patriotic.  It was just that he thought his country would be better off Red.  One world, one people, one faith, you see.  It’s not what you say it’s what you mean by what you say.

page 1122.

     Thus it may be said that Craddock’s nationality was Red.  He was kin to Reds of any nationality.  They combined, dare I say conspired, against the forces of the Whites, or counterrevolutionaries.  Trueman’s nationality, although he didn’t know it, was White.  the world was engaged in a great civil war with local outbreaks in places like Korea and Viet Nam.

     Stalin was dead; Khruschev had smeared his memory in 1956.  Nikita was not a charismatic leader of global import so the leadership of Reddom had fallen to the Chinese Communist, Mao Tse Tung as his name was spelled in those days before the Curltural Revolution.  Mao the Dong like Uncle Joe could do no wrong.  Just as the Soviet show trials of 1936 or the Nazi-Soviet pact of 1940 could be reconciled by American Reds cum Liberals so could Mao’s murder of tens of millions of his subjects.  As the Caliph, Pope or Grand Lama of the Revolution he was not only above the law but every word that proceeded from his mouth was the law.  Obviously democracy meant something different to Reds than the democracy Dewey and the Whites understood.

     Having just conducted the Anti-Rightist campaign of 1957 Mao was about to launch his Great Leap Forward of 1958.  The damage to the economy caused by the Great Leap Forward prevented Mao from acting on Quemoy and Matsu.  Chinese conservatives derailed the Great Leap Forward in 1960 pushing Mao into the background.  Mao triumphed over his adversaries in 1966 when he launched the Cultural Revolution.  Following standard Revolutionary beliefs Mao attempted to eliminate all class distinctions, indeed, all distinctions, nearly destroying by White standards the entire Chinese State.  Actually Mao was achieving the Red ideal.  He really was a great Revolutionary as greatness goes in those circles.

page 1123.

     The Cultural Revolution rapidly spread to Europe and America in ’67, ’68 and ’69 causing most of the unrest associated with the Vietnamese flareup.

     Few, if any, understood the religious implications of being Red but the seeds of discord or religious schism had already been sown.  The European/Chinese brand of Redism was different than that of the American Reds.  The Reds of the United States, currently going by the name of the Politically Correct, were in the thrall of Manifest Destiny, although they would have denied it and were unaware of the sources of their own beliefs.

     Manifest Destiny was never racist, as has been claimed, but it was racial.  It is an expression of the Anglo-Saxon faith in itself.  Anglo-Saxons of the nineteenth century America believed that they had found to key to self-government and freedom; not only freedom in the political sense but personal freedom, freedom from all restrictions.  As the Jewish singer of the nineteen-sixties, Bob Dylan, put it:  Except for the sky there are no fences facing.

     As the banner of Judaism is borne by the Jews as the self-proclaimed Chosen People of God so the banner of Manifest Destiny is borne by its Chosen People- the Anglo-Saxons of America.

     The faith that developed in the first half of the the nineteenth century has changed its symbolism but the goal remains the same; the dissemination of the Anglo-Saxon ideal of personal freedom and liberty.  Originally a message only for the worthy peoples of the world it has now been extended to include everyone except ‘White Supremacists.’

page 1124.

     As Chosen People the Anglo-Saxons proceeded to possess North America as its Manifest Destiny, its Israel.  The Pacific Ocean was a barrier but not an insuperable one.  Perry opened Japan in 1853 which the Americans possessed mentally and thought of as a colony.

     American missionaries and merchants invaded China treating it as an extension of the West which was eager to be brought into Manifest Destiny.  The Anglo-Saxon ideal was imagined to be rolling around the world until it would meet again in Picadilly Circus.  No effective oppostion was thought possible.

     But there was a conflict in China.  American involvement with China began in the wake of the Opium Wars and the Chinese Diaspora.  Although beginning to get the attention it deserves now the Chinese Diaspora is little known.  Americans imagine that the Chinese emigrated to California as a special tribute to the Land Of The Free.  Actually Chinese emigrants invaded South, West and East and still are.  Millions of Chinese moved into Siam, or Thailand as it is now known, Indo-China, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines and well as Turkestan and the US.

     Their reception in California which bigots like to term racist was no different than their reception in the so-called ‘brown’ nations.  Invaders are invaders no matter what the circumstances.  Behind the Chinese already in occupation in their various sites there were millions upon millions more to form wave after wave of a foreign culture or intellect that would inevitably swamp the invaded cultures causing them to lose their identities.  In such a contest one or the other intellect must prevail.

page 1125.

     Compared to other States the Chinese were treated well in California.  The Filipinos rose up and massacred the Chinese on more than one occasion finally creating their own ‘Chinese Exclusion Act.’

     Even today the Indonesians are carrying on a campaign to eliminate Chinese cultural influence.  Their point is simply become Indonesian, leave or die.

     Nothing of that sort ever happened in the ‘White Man’s Country’ of California.

     Thus in China the strength of the indigenous Chinese culture was and has been too strong for Manifest Destiny.

     Over the years the overt racial content of the program was converted into philosophical symbols but the intent remained the same.  But when Manifest Destiny reached Chinese shores it found a closed door.  Chinese civilization was one of the oldest continuous civilizations on Earth.  They didn’t call it the Middle Kingdom because it was tolerant of other cultures or intellects.  The Chinese did and do consider themselves to be the center of creation under the four pillars of the sky and the Master Race.

     Chinese civilization was in a very weakened transitional state during the nineteenth century so it had to endure the interference of the White peoples.  But when Mao expelled Chiang he expelled the Western world with him, the exception being Hong Kong.  In 1997 the British lease on Hong Kong expired thus eliminating the White man from China.

page 1126.

     The PC fantasy overrode all obstacles with China until the Tiananmen Square incident.  It then became apparent that the Chinese Reds were not nice guys.  They weren’t buying into the program.  The American Reds began to beat their heads against the closed door to break it down.  Now they will learn what Disraeli meant when he said that race is everything.  The Yellow Peril of Kaiser Wilhelm, Hitler and W.R. Hearst can afford to wait patiently.  Time is on their side.

     Back in 1957 Dart Carddock and his fellow Reds saw Mao as the leader of the Revolution.

     In answer to Craddock’s question Dewey fell back on the age old expedient:  It’s not how difficult they would be to defend it’s ‘the principle of the thing.’

     ‘Which principle is that?’  Craddock taunted.

     ‘What’s once ours is ours forever.’  Dewey replied bluntly paraphrasing the adage:  Where the flag has once flown it shall not be lowered.

     ‘Hah! My country right or wrong, hey?’

     ‘Yeah.’  Dewey replied.  ‘That’s right.’

     ‘That’s really archaic.’  Craddock retorted.  ‘Mankind is more important than any component of it.  The world should be shared out proportionately, without favoritism.’

page 1127

     ‘Oh yeah?  What’s that supposed to mean?  From each according to his ability and to each according to his need?’

     Dewey’s mind flashed back to Craddock eating the steaks in the kitchen and the good looking girl in Brisbane while Dewey was assigned the pregnant dog.

      Dewey’s suppressed resentment flared forth:  ‘How does that work now?’

     ‘Instead of all the good things accruing to one people like in America they should be shared out fairly to all the peoples of the world.’

     ‘Uh huh.  Well you know the story of the Ants who worked hard all summer long to store up supplies against the winter while the crickets sang and danced.  That’s sort of what’s happened isn’t it?  We’ve applied our intelligence and energies wisely while others haven’t.  Why should we give the result of our efforts away?’

     ‘Because we’re rich and they’re poor.  It’s unfair for one class of people to have all the good things.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Now, is this a general principle or does it apply to specific individuals too?’

     ‘Yes.’  Craddock replied grandiloquently, stepping into the trap.  ‘The same principle holds true in the microcosm as in the macrocosm.’

     Dewey had missed those two words while reading the dictionary but as he caught their general meaning of small and large it didn’t show.

     ‘Yeah?  Well, how do you explain that Commies like you and Kanary swipe the steaks meant for everybody and hog them down secretly at midnight?’  Then Dewey got to the core of his resentment.  ‘And how do you explain that in Brisbane your share of the girls was young and good looking while mine was old, toothless and pregnant and so big you could launch an ICBM up there without touching the sides.  Do you call that an equitable distribution of the riches, Craddock?  I don’t; my needs were greater than that.  I had a real good looking chick I let you talk me out of.  How about that?’

page 1128.

     Craddock inadvetently laughed scornfully as he was trying to think up a smooth answer, which might have proved impossible, he decided to let his habitual Red dissimulation fall away to show his true colors of thwarted aristocracy.  Here we get to the true crux of the Revolutionary.  He, like Kanary, just thought he was better than the rich nabobs but could see no way to achieve eminence by his own exertions so he opted for some hope of future revolution which would reverse the roles putting the last first.

     ‘Aw…f…sh…Trueman, you got what you deserved.  You didn’t deserve that number you got lucky enough to be with.  We had to get her away for someone more deserving and put you where you belong.’  A little more self control is necessary in a true revolutionary.

     But Craddock was letting it all hang out.  As a natural nobleman whose life had been circumvented by ‘artifical aristocrats’ Craddock and Kanary as Reds believed that they knew who the truly deserving people were and weren’t.  It was their self appointed task to forward the deserving and hold back the undeserving.

page 1129.

     ‘Oh yeah, buddy?  Is that what you and your Wobblies call Solidarity Forever?  You and your Joe Hill and his stupid songs: Halleluyah, I’m A Bum?  You’re a bum Craddock but I’m not.  You can take your stupid CIO and run it up your ass.  Is that what being a Communist means?  That you guys skim off the cream that you don’t produce and leave the rest for others? Is that what it means?  You and your unions and solidarity.  You let other people make the money so you can spend it.  That’s what your idea of sharing is?  You and Kanary and your buddies up at midnight eating your stolen pleasures so no one knows where it went?  Is that you, Craddock?  You damn right it is.  Well, you’ll get yours buddy and it won’t be long in coming.’

     ‘Blow it out your ass, Trueman.  If you don’t know you have to appropriate the cream for the common good you’re too simple to understand.  There have to be rewards along the way for those making sacrifices for the common good.  You’re in the way and got what you deserved.’

     ‘I don’t fancy you as my judge and jury Craddock and I don’t see you as working for the good of anyone but yourself.  Like any self-chosen people the beneficiaries are yourselves.’

     ‘I’m on the winning side Trueman, no matter what you say.  Right now across the Straits the Revolution is being won by a better man than the West can produce.  The Red Wave is going to roll right over America.’

     ‘Winning side your ass, Craddock, and in the future I’ll determine what I need and not you.  See you around.’

page 1130.

Under The Guns Of Kaosiung.

     The ship continued trolling down the Straits.  At dawn on New Year’s Day 1958 it had reached the Southern Formosan port of Kaosiung.  The harbor was a very narrow entrance accessible only to smaller ships like the DE.  Fabulous green clad mountainsides rose from the water to climb two thousand feet.  Standing on port watch Dewey was gazing entranced when an even more incredible sight met his eyes.  Suddenly waves of things began moving up and down and from right to left in rows rising up to the top of the mountains.  They extended from side to side as far as the eye could see.

     Dewey put his glasses to his eyes to unravel the puzzle.  Each moving object turned out to be a gigantic cann0n capable of shelling mainland China one hundred twenty-five miles away.  The Nationalist Chinese were exercising their guns as they did every morning.

     Dewey’s jaw dropped wide in amazement.  He began to calculate the cost of each gun as well as the stores of ammunition for each one.  What sort of supply trains and tunnels there must have been staggered his mind.  He tried to imagine the din of these monster guys simultaneously firing salvo after salvo.

     As usual he could interest no one in the spectacle.  They all seemed to take it in stride as an everyday sight.  But surely Dewey thought to himself, this must qualify as one of the lebendy-leben wonders of the world.  He’d already seen so many wonders that seven had been passed long ago.

page 1131.

     The Teufelsdreck inched into the harbor.  The placement of the entrance was such that the ship had to steer right into the face of that hillside alive with the motion of cannon.  Then as suddenly as it began the exercising of the guns ceased and all the mountainside returned to its primordial tranquillity.

     The bay was very shallow; almost too shallow for even the Teufelsdreck.  The ship couldn’t even proceed to the dock it just kind of treaded water in mid-bay.

     The populace had been alerted to the sub-killer’s arrival.  There was money to be made for the enterprising.  A low lying sampan style cum dugout canoe craft left the shore.  The water was so shallow that the craft could be poled as well as rowed.

     Captain Ratches got on the bullhorn:  ‘To the craft approaching.  Stand back.  Do not come closer.  Do not approach this ship.’

     The craft paid no attention.  As it came closer its exotic nature became more apparent.  The crew appeared in loin cloths emulating stone age islanders.  Toward the aft of the craft on a divan of what appeared to be green silk and gold trappings reclined a woman.  She was apparently posing as the Whore Of The World or her fantasy of the Dragon Lady.  She aimed for voluptuousness but hit the target as corrupt, degenerate and rotten.  She exuded all that was or ever had been wrong with the world.

page 1132.

     Her craft, ignoring the repeated warnings of Captain Ratches, approached on the starboard side just aft of the wing hatches.

     The Deck was assembled on the fo’c’sle.  Ratches bullhorn warning brought everyone to the starboard side.  Trueman was standing just forward of the superstructure with others around him.  Above them the gun deck began to fill with curious sailors.  Above them on the bridge Ractches stood in the starboard lookout post issuing his useless orders disregarded both by the Whore Of The World and the crew of the Teufelsdreck.

     Dewey was irritated because the Taiwanese refused to obey the Captain’s orders; after all they might have been Red agents with the intent of sinking the ship to block the harbor.  But as they drew closer the corruptness of this sham Dragon Lady revolted Dewey.  He had a visceral  reaction.

     Who was this woman posing as the Whore Of The World?

     ‘Hello you lovely Sailors.’  She called out from her couch feigning a familiarity that offended rather than enticed.  But who as Dewey to criticize this Bitch Goddess?  She successfully entranced the witless crew of the Teufelsdreck.  ‘I come to offer you treasures from my storehouse.’

     ‘Do not buy those goods.’  Ratches boomed down futilely from the bridge.

     Led by Proud Costello, the Pride of Santa Rosa, the Sailors eagerly demanded the prices of worthless junk.  The Dragon Lady knew her psychology.  Led by Costello hands eagerly thrust money, careless of value, into the hands of the minions of the Bitch Goddess.

page 1133.

     Dewey was totally revolted.  He projected his revulsion and enmity at the Whore Of The World.  Ever perceptive to nuances of feeling she suddenly looked into his eyes and saw her arch enemy, Apollo.

     Letting out a horrific shriek she put her hand to her flaccid exhausted dugs:  ‘Him. Him.  Remove that man.’

     Her minions looked up quickly locating ‘him’ in the throng of sailors.

     ‘What are you guys doing buying that vile woman’s wares.  Do what your Captain says.’

     ‘Shut up, Trueman.  This isn’t your business.’  Costello barked.

     ‘The hell it ain’t.  You’re being cheated by this vile woman.’

     ‘Get him out of here.’  The Bitch Goddess shrieked clutching her heart.  ‘Get him out of here.’

     Kanary leaned over from the three inch deck:  ‘Trueman, you’re disturbing her.  Step around the superstructure out of sight where she can’t see you.’

     ‘Like hell I will, this is my ship, not hers.’  Then beside himself with a rage beyond his comprehension he shouted a string of appellations and charges that came from within deep cavities of his psyche.

     He did not know what he said but the Whore Of The World leaped to her feet trembling and shaking tearing at her cheeks as she hurled wave after wave of shrieks in his direction, seeming to cast each wave with a thrust of her hand.

     Dewey as though facing the Medusa herself stood his ground amidst the hostility of his fellows seduced by the corroded charms of this spent Delillah, this degraded Ishtar cast up naked from the underworld.  Trueman hurled waves of sanitized justice back at her in this colossal battle of Titans.

     Ratches stared at him in disbelief as Dewey slowly drove the devil Bitch Goddess back.  Quivering and shaking she sank to her divan covering her face with her hands.

     Glowering with hatred her minions, the Sons of Belial, slowly backed the craft away.  They retreated back across the mud flats from whence they came.

     ‘Hey, you ruined it, Trueman.’

     ‘I ruined nothing.  I saved your asses.  Listen to your Captain.  He told you not to deal with those people.’

     ‘Sometimes you’re a real pain in the ass, Trueman.’

     ‘You should throw that trash you just bought over the side.’

     Later that evening as the ship cleared the harbor Proud Costello examining his purchases exclaimed.  ‘Hey, this stuff is nothing but junk.  I wasted my good money.’

     ‘Hello, Costello.’  Trueman sang out.

Boy On Buoy.

     The Tuefelsdreck sailed out of Kaosiung harbor on its way to the fabled splendors of the Crown Colony of Hong Kong and the New Territories with the fabulous scenery of ‘Love Is A Many Splendored Thing’ fresh in mind.  Everyone was so eager the ship seemed to be flying to its destination.

page 1135.

      Hong Kong and the surrouding provinces was the source of almost all the Chinese immigrants to the United States.  If you want to understand the intellect of these people these are the areas to study.  They are the reason why Cantonese cuisine was synonymous with Chinese cooking in the United States for decades.

     The only man on board who had ever been to Hong Kong was Chief Dieter.  As he reminisced, a notion, I can’t dignify it with the name of idea, formed in his mind about dispensing with Trueman.  The Chief still had bitter feelings toward Teal Kanary.  He wouldn’t need the Yeoman anyway; but he would need an officer so he approached Lt. Bifrons Morford.  The Lieutenant apparently was no smarter than any enlisted man.

    ‘I’ve got the Maggio problem solved.’  The Chief confided to the Lieutenant.’

     ‘How’s that?’  Morford replied with bitterness thinking back no further than the nighttime confrontation with the Seaman.

     ‘I’m the only man on board who’s been to Hong Kong.  The Commodore isn’t going to let us dock with the squadron at the piers; they’re going to make us moor at the buoys out in the middle of the bay.  It’s a big bay open to the sea.  You don’t even tie up aft, you have to rig a sea anchor to keep from swinging around the buoy.

     My plan is this; someone has to stand on the buoy to handle the lines through the bow sprit.  I’ll sent Trueman.  Here’s the catch; you have to get Ratches off the bridge ’cause he won’t go for this a second time.  He’s still pissed at Duber and wants his ass like he got Erect’s.  You don’t need that much experience to manage the ship at the buoy anyway so he’ll probably want to go below to get ready for liberty.  Hong Kong is one hell of a place let me tell you.  Then with Trueman on the buoy you just guide the ship in dead center and run over the buoy.  That may not do it to Trueman but once we get him in the water we take ages to get the boat lowered.  He won’t be able to climb back on the buoy because of the way they’re shaped so if he hasn’t drowned by that time we’ll just hold his head under in the guise of helping him until he does.  Fool proof; can’t go wrong.  Can you do it?’

page 1136.

     ‘That just might work, Dieter.  That just might work.  Yeah.  I can get the bridge; don’t worry about that.’

     ‘All right then.’  Dieter said smugly.  ‘It’s done.’

     The Chief was less than brilliant when it came to details.

     Dieter had to arrange things with Cornell Roberts and some others so that as they sailed into fabled Hong Kong everyone on ship except Trueman knew the gig.  Still Maclen, Da Costa and even Frenchey held their tongues.  The homos aboard were openly ecstatic that Peter Erect’s death would be avenged.  All their crimes would be a wash.

     ‘We need someone to get on the buoy to handle the lines.’  Dieter boomed.

     ‘You get the shit job, Trueman.’  Roberts sneered.

     ‘I don’t think that’s a bad job; I dig it.  Any of you other cats don’t want it?  Sure, it’s mine.

page 1137.

     ‘None of the other ‘cats’ ‘dig it’, Trueman.’  Dieter said in disgust over Trueman’s hep lingo.  ‘Get in the boat and we’ll ferry you out.’

     ‘Sure thing, Dad…Dieter.’  Trueman taunted.

     ‘Humph.’  Dieter snorted to himself with a wry sneer as his complexion turned liverish.

     Robert’s brought the ship’s boat right alongside the buoy.

     What a fabulous experience.  Trueman thought as he stood alone in Hong Kong harbor surveying the terrifically exotic scenery around him.  ‘This is living.’

     It was a spectacular winter day in Hong Kong which lies just South of the Tropic of Cancer.  The temperature was a bracing sixty-five degrees.  Huge white galleons drifted across the deep blue sky.  The buoy was over a mile from Hong Kong to port and the same distance to Kowloon on the starboard.  He could swim both if he had to.  To the stern looked like open sea.

     Mentally Trueman pictured boot camp where they taught you to take off your pants tieing the legs and inflating them to act as pontoons.  As he stood waiting and gazing he nodded his head affirmatively.  It could be done.

     The buoy itself was as large as a small house.  He’d never seen such a large one.  You could probably tie a carrier to it.  It was rounded in such a way that footing was difficult.  Trueman who was not asleep was vaguely aware of the plot to knock him off the buoy but had not guessed how, noted that if he fell off there were no handholds to climb back up.  He worked inflating his pants and the swim to shore over in his mind again.

page 1138.

     ‘Hell.’  He thought.  ‘If I make Kowloon I might be able to get away for three or four days.  What an adventure; come back a hero.  That’d be great.’

     He was staring off toward Kowloon, or the New Territories in their alternate form, when he spotted the Teufelsdreck coming forward again after having backed up.

     The great mariner, Morford, was off center by abut 3 degrees so the bow glided past the buoy to about midships before backing astern for another try.  Trueman stood expectantly alert to dodge the monkey fist which he assumed would be thrown at him as the ship backed past and grab the line behind it.

     The he spotted Kanary on the fo’c’sle.

     ‘What the hell is he doing there?’  Dewey asked himself as his mind snapped more alert.

     ‘What’s wrong with you guys?  Come on, throw the line.’  He called.  They just stared at him, Da Costa, Frenchey and all.

     The ship backed astern about a mile so Verlaine could get a good visual fix on the buoy.  The ship came forward at 1-2 knots.

     Dewey was becoming quite spaced out at the wonder of his situation.  ‘God, this is unbelievable.’  He thought as he sucked in the fabulous air nearly quivering with delight.  The prow drew nearer.  At Dewey’s angle the thin blade where the plates met flared back and up in beautiful gorgeous flowing lines.  The anchors projected on either side like cauliflower ears.  Dewey could see the numbers he’d painted  both sides at once.

page 1139.

     He was so elated that all time and space dissolved within and without as he became one with eternity and the universe.  The ship came steadily on as Dewey was lost in admiration.

     It was dreamy; it wasn’t fearsome.  The blade of the prow backed by the mass of the ship loomed closer, towering above him a mere few inches from running over the buoy.  As Dewey was one with existence, like a magician he merely put his right hand out gripping the blade of the prow pushing the Teufelsdreck aside to port.    He shoved the wonderful, beautiful ship off the port side of the buoy in admiring wonder palpating the magnificent steel beast as it glided by.  6…6…6 glided through his consciousness as each number slid by.  Numbers that had been put there by his own hand.  And then he looked up to see Kanary hanging over the lines staring at him in open mouthed wonder his hair standing on end as though watching a demon shaping the present.

     Trueman smiled up at his distorted face as the from the depths of eternity.

     Dieter signaled to Morford who was waiting for the feel of the collision, that the trick had miscarried.  There was no use to try again so as the ship backed a line was dropped to Trueman.

     ‘Let me throw it.’  Kanary exclaimed seizing the lead line from Roberts.  In his anxiety he was far wide and the Monkey’s Fist splashed harmlessly far to Trueman’s right.

     ‘Jesus Christ!  Don’t get cute.  Get that stupid Yeoman off the fo’c’sle and don’t throw the darn thing;  just lower it down and I’ll grab it.  You’re all bozos on that ship.’

page 1140.

     The Monkey Fist was passed to Frenchey as none of the others could have restrained themselves from throwing it directly at Trueman’s head, who lowered it to Trueman who hauled the mooring lines down wrapping them around the cleat and heaving the Monkey Fist back up to haul the lines through and double up.  the job was quickly done.

     ‘Hey! You guys going to send the boat around or are you just going to leave me here?’

     ‘We’re just going to leave you there.’

     ‘Oh, BS.  Get that boat down here.’

      ‘Climb up the lines, Trueman.’

     ‘I didn’t climb down the lines to get here and I’m not going to climb up the lines.  Send the goddamned boat.’

     ‘Take the boat to him Roberts.’  The Chief said with a wink and some arcane handsigns Roberts probably didn’t get.

     ‘Gotcha.’  Roberts acknowledged forming his own opinion on what to do.

     Roberts brought the boat near the buoy.  they hoped to get Trueman in the water where they could deal with him.  The boat was several feet from the buoy.  ‘Jump.’  Roberts commanded.

     ‘You’re crazy Roberts.  I’m not going to take a chance in jumping that far.  Bring the darn boat alongside just like when you put me on.’

    ‘This is it.  Jump.’

     ‘Come on, Roberts, don’t be a prick.  Closer.’

     Roberts brought the boat to within three feet of the buoy.  Trueman should have made him bring it alongside but he was always too impatient.  He jumped, landing just inside the gun’le.  ‘Taxi me in, Roberts.’  He commanded without the pretense of a joke.

page 1141.

     ‘I warned you about those waves, Trueman.’

     ‘I think I mentioned something to you about bozos too, Roberts.’

     Back aboard Trueman eagerly went to search for someone to listen to his big adventure.

     Morford was questioning Kanary:  ‘What happened?’

     ‘Aw, it was impossible.  He just put out his hand and pushed the ship aside.’

     ‘Can you do that?’  Morford said in awe.

     ‘Yes.’  Dieter replied in disgust.  ‘You’re just displacing water.  How in the hell did he know that?’

     ‘Don’t worry Chief.  I’ve got him standing the twelve to four tonight.  I’ll give him duty two days from now.  He’ll have to stand it or else.  When he complains we can just say we made a mistake after the fact.  I’ll ruin that jerk’s stay in Hong Kong.’

     ‘Don’t give him any watches while we’re here.’  The Hero of Saipan commanded giving Trueman the grudging admiration of the warrior.

     ‘I’ve already got him down, Chief.’

     ‘Well, then change it.  What did I say, Kanary?’

     ‘You said no watches Chief.  But…’

     ‘Well then, I mean no watches.  If I see him on watch in Hong Kong Kanary you’ll hear about it.  Oh and by the way, the fo’c’sle is for the Deck Force only.  Stay the hell off it while we’re tieing up and don’t ever touch one of our lines again.  It’s off limits to Yeomen.  Stay in the Yeoman’s shack.’

page 1142.

A Few Words To The Wise

       As usual going into a port the Captain came on the intercom to give the crew the pitfalls of Hong Kong.  There were quite a few of them.  Hong Kong at the time was not the glittering capitol of consumerism that it has later become.  Its transformation was still in the future.  The place was in many ways a somnolent outpost of the Anglo-Saxon diaspora.

     Its inhabitants were impoverished; there was both inadequate employment and housing.  Huge numbers of people carried their belongings on their backs flopping down at night where they could.  Crimes such as picking pockets were therefore prevalent.  The sailors were warned to secure their billfolds better than usual.  As sailors were forbidden to use thier pockets billfolds were usually hung over the front waistband.  The Captain now advised them to use their socks or next to their bodies beneath their underwear wasitband.  Better yet, dispense with the billfold and put your ID and bills in your pocket.

     There are tens of thousand of kids in the seven to ten year old bracket roaming the streets panhandling for what they can get.  Disregard all humanitarian impulses, Ratches advised.  Even though you might feel charmed by the ragamuffins, if you give one of them anything you will be beseiged by mobs of them who will jump and climb on you.  When you finally do get rid of them you will have nothing left but your name.

page 1143.

     And most importantly, Ratches advised, if you are eating a sandwich or something and don’t want to finish it do not give it to the street Arabs, as mean as it sounds, throw it in the trash or once again you will be besieged.

     The last statement drew a gasp from the crew who thought it extreme. 

     Buy only from US Navy approved stores, Ratches went on.  They will display a little card in the window.  Hong Kong is a wonderful place to buy high quality merchandise cheap but unless you buy from approved stores you will certainly be cheated.  The goods when delivered will not be as advertised.  If you buy shoes they will look good but the leather will be reconstituted and the soles will be made of Wheaties box tops stained to look like leather.

     Lastly, this is not Japan.  This is a tough cold city.  The prostitutes here are not checked and controlled as in Japan.  VD is much more prevalent.  You have a much better chance of being drugged and rolled.  If that happens the Navy will do nothing in your individual case.

     Oh, and also, if you go to Kowloon the only thing separating Red China from the Colony is a white line painted across the road.  if you cross into Red China and are captured the Navy will disown you.

     That said, take care and have a wonderful time; you all deserve it.

page 1144.

     Yes.  A word to the wise should be sufficient.

East Meets West

     The deck was lined with bright shining faces eager to taste the splendors of the Orient.  Japan is East of course but Hong Kong was the real thing, not exactly Kipling country, but close.  The crew had been treated to one transcending experience after another.  There was no one aboard who hadn’t been dazzled but now they were to be dazzled by the greatest of all, Hong Kong, Kowloon, the New Territories, an Anglo-Saxon outpost in the heart of the Orient.

      Unlike San Diego there was no landing craft for transport but a boat provided by the port.  It had seats so instead of packing in fifty men at a time it only carried twenty-five, luxurious but time consuming.

     Trueman although anxious was in no big hurry.  He had his sightseeing brochures as well as a memory packed with the exciting scenes of ‘Love Is A Many Splendored Thing.’  He wasn’t aware of it but William Holden had become sort of a role model for him from his starring role.

     Trueman had his day’s itinerary fresh in mind when Deasy, Parsons and Vincent came up to him.

     ‘Who you going over with, Trueman?’  Deasy asked.

     ‘Uh, nobody yet.  I was going by myself.’

     ‘Why don’t you come along with us?’

     ‘Well, you guys, I have some things I want to see.  What do you want to do?’

page 1145.

     ‘Just goof off.’

     ‘Uh huh.  Well, the first thing I’m going to do is go see the Tiger Balm Gardens.  You guys want to come along it’s OK with me but, you know, I’ve got to see some of this stuff.  I missed Tokyo.’

     ‘Hmmm.  Where’d you hear about this stuff!’

     ‘Oh now, didn’t you guys ever see ‘Love Is A Many Splendored Thing?’  Man, what a terrific movie.  Gotta follow in the footsteps of William Holden and all that.’

     ‘I suppose we could do that, couldn’t we guys?’

     Trueman was uneasy because experience had shown him that the guys weren’t really interested in the things he was.  His wishes always ended up thwarted while they stood around on a street corner asking each other what they wanted to do.  But this wasn’t San Diego and Dewey wasn’t to be deterred.  He had to sign them on or be a bad guy so he agreed.

     The ship’s ladder had been placed over the side at the Quarterdeck.  They dropped over the side into the boat with a feeling of suppressed excitement gazing eagerly at the embankment a mile or so away.

     The reality of Hong Kong was different than the expectations.  The city was old and decrepit.  At the time there were two cities; one the decayed dirty jumbled Chinatown the other the planned streets and stately buildings and hotels of the Anglo-Saxons.

     Long strings of sampans ran the length of the embankment.

     Short vertical piers held dozens and dozens of boats.  Large families lived on each one.

page 1146.

     Orienting himself for the hillside which lay just before them, the streets of Hong Kong could be navigated visually, that contained the Tiger Balm Gardens Dewey directed the men to the left past a series of sampans.

     ‘Hey, Sailorboy, you looking for good fuck?’  wafted up from one of the boats.

     Looking down they saw a forty year old man and wife and a couple of giggling young girls.

     ‘I have these two daughters.  They very much like fucking.  Yu know how it is with Chinese girls; once they get it they never want to stop.  You come down, fuck them.’

     ‘He’s talking to you, Trueman.’

     ‘Me?’  Trueman asked incredulously horrified not only at the thought of a man and wife offering their daughters but appalled at the filthy condition of both the water and sampan.

     ‘You come down, go inside, very cheap.’

     Dewey shook his head.  ‘That’s alright.  I’ve got someplace to be.’

     ‘You’re not going to do it, Trueman? Why not, I will.’  Lane Vincent of recent wedded bliss exclaimed.  ‘You guys wait here, OK?’

     Vincent climbed down on the sampan to go into the little rounded hovel that protected the family from the rain.  A few minutes later he emerged with a big smile and dose of clap.

     ‘How was it Lane?’

     ‘Terrific man.’

     ‘Yah?  You gonna marry her too?’

     Deasy’s question was very cutting.  Vincent said nothing but for the first time he began to think seriously about his marriage.

     The Tiger Balm Gardens was a donation to the people of Hong Kong by the man who created Tiger Balm salve.  This was a patent medicine; an analgesic salve guaranteed to cure everything.  The stuff had been so successful thrughout the East that the man had made a huge fortune.  You can still buy the stuff.  His gratitude was genuine; the Gardens were a sort of amusement park created at great expense.

     The Gardens are or were on one side of a gorge.  Coming up the steps to the Gardens Dewey was disappointed to find the site devoid of visitors except for one Chinese man.

     ‘This it it?  There’s no one here.  Let’s go.’

     ‘Oh, God, here we go again.’  Dewey thought.  He said out loud;  ‘No, no.  This is it.  Let’s look around.’

     A magnificent carving of the exploits of a Chinese hero was done in intricate lattice work for a hundred feet along the curved face of the hillside.  Dewey gazed in wonder.

     ‘You don’t even know what it means.’  Parsons said.

     ‘I’ll just look at it and try to figure it out.’

     ‘I tell you what it means.’  Said the Chinese guy who had been loitering around.

     ‘Aw, that’s alright.’  Dewey said, who on occasion, could spot a con.

page 1147.

     ‘C’mon let him tell us.’  Deasy said.

     The Chinese gave a cursory explanation of the scene then changed the subject leading into his pitch.

     ‘That hillside over there is where ‘Love Is A Many Splendored Thing’ was filmed.

     That caught Dewey’s attention.  ‘Oh, wow.  Yeah man.  That was something.  That was beautiful.’

     The hillside was indeed gorgeous.  From that distance the shacks and hovels that had featured so prominently in Holden’s climb up the steep rain soaked slope were invisible.

     ‘Very poor.’  The Chinese said with bitter distaste.

     ‘Yeah, but it was very beautiful.’  Dewey retorted.

     ‘Chinese not think so.  You boys want boots, shoes?  I know a very fine place.’

     ‘Really?’  Vincent asked.  ‘I’d like a pair of ankle boots.’

     Also known as fruit boots these were a low boot that could be worn in place of regulation shoes although not for inspection.  On liberty they could pass for civilian shoes.  As they were unlaced many sailors preferred them.

     ‘Is it a shop authorized by the Navy?’

     ‘No.  Mo’ betta.  Navy shops charge very high prices.  Take advantage of sailors.  My friend’s prices very good.  Much cheaper.’

     ‘Sounds good to me.’  Vincent gushed.

     ‘You follow me.’

     ‘You coming Trueman?’

     ‘No.  That guy’s just a shill.  ‘Sides I told you I wanted to see this stuff.  You agreed.’

page 1148.

     ‘OK.’ Deasy said.

     ‘Yeah?  Well, I’m going to get me some boots.’  Vincent said, following the Chinese.

     ‘OK, Lane, see you back at the ship.’

     ‘We’ve seen enough of this, Trueman.’  Deasy complained.  ‘Let ‘s get out of here.’

     Trueman hadn’t had a chance to get it all in but he also understood the futility of arguing with the others.  He had known that this is how it would be.

     ‘I’m not going to any bar.’  Trueman replied casting another searching glance at the other hillside.  ‘But why don’t we go ride the funicular railroad that takes you up the steep hill?’

     ‘What the hell’s that?’  Parsons asked irritably.

     ‘It’s this terrifically steep hill, steeper than Lombard Street in San Francisco,  where you can only get up in the funicular railway that goes almost straight up like an outdoor elevator.  William Holden and Shirley Jones rode it in the movie.’

     ‘Movie?  What movie?’

     ‘Love is a many splendored Thing’ Parsons.  There it is right over there.  see.’  Dewey said pointing across to another hill.  Hong Kong was a wonderfully compact town; everything was within a stone’s throw of everything else.

     Dewey had a pretty fair sense of direction.  He quickly brought them to the foot of the hill.  The movie made the tram a little more glamorous than it was.  Movies have a way of glamming everything up.  You don’t notice the old cushions and the smell.

page 1149.

     The hill was very steep.  The cars faced downhill and were drawn up backwards.  So far as is known this tram is the only one of its kind left in the world.  Dewey’s sense of wonder was in full flight but Parsons and Deasy were singularly unimpressed.  ‘What’s so wonderful about this?’  Parsons asked.

     ‘It would be a lot better if you were Shirley Jones.’  Dewey replied.  ‘But now, here we are in Hong Kong just like in the movie.

 

     ‘Why can’t we go to a bar?’  Deasy asked feeling he had cooperated enough to fulfill his obligation.

     ‘Oh now, bars are the same all over the world.’  Dewey said as they got out at the top of the hill to a stunning view of Hong Kong Harbor that was wasted on everyone but Dewey.

     ‘Boy, this is sharp.’  Deasy said sarcastically.

     Dewey was somewhat taken back because there was very little at the top.  An abandoned building lay to their left amid a scene of general desolation.

     ‘Hmm.  The tram must have taken them to the top of another hill in the movie.’  Dewey mused.  ‘Oh, but wait.  Deasy, there’s a bar for you.’  Trueman said pointing to the left.  ‘Let’s go in there and have something to drink.’

     They watched as a couple officers came up the hill entering the club, casting a disdainful glance at the enlisted men.

     ‘No.’  Deasy said in a surly tone.

     ‘C’mon.  Looks like a decent place.  We’ll go have a coke with the brass.’

page 1150.

    

    

    

Our Lady Of The Blues:

From Gaia To Maia

Part V-6

A Novel

by

R.E. Prindle

 

     Now, these are hard truths for Liberal Americans to swallow but that truth must be swallowed nevertheless.  Thus the Californian hostility to the Japanese while perhaps ‘un-American’ was completely justified.

     After the First World War the Japanese paramilitary troops having been stymied by the vigilant Californians the Japanese began sending the missing women over as the famous ‘picture brides.’  Thus the first generation of American born Japanese came to maturity in 1940 en masse just as the Japanese of Old Nippon decided to discharge their fixation on America.

     By 1940 the Issei or Japanese born generation were getting on in years, martial in spirit but no longer so hale in bady.  The Nissei or the first generation born in America had no great affection for their homeland.  Thus a sharply defined generational conflict arose that was exacerbated by the detention camps of the Western Defense Command of 1942.

page 1051.

     It ssems to be a psychological problem of the Japanese to bite off more than they can chew.  So it was in the 1500s when they declared war on China and so it was in the thirties and forties when they declared war on the world.  They lost each time.

     They did learn a lesson in 1945.  They didn’t have the military strength to conquer the world.  Already organized along Western lines the Japanese in the post-war world quickly organized their economy  to not only compete with the West but hopefully to subdue it economically.

     The tremendous industrial strength Dewey watched across the straits in Yokohama was but the beginning of the phenomenal industrial development that was to follow.  Already in 1957 one of the major shipbuilders of the world, they would soon rival somnolent Detroit and a quiescent electronics field.  One might have said of the Americans: Pride goeth before the fall.

     Not as much of a man of the world as he would have liked to have been Dewey watched the cranes with a sense of foreboding.

    ‘Aw, they’re just Japs.’  The sluggard Roberts sneered.  ‘Who’s afraid of trinkets.’

The Roses Of Old Nippon

     The Teufelsdreck maneuvered in behind the H.P. Lovecraft.  The Lovecraft had a name that was a  standing joke in the Navy.  Chief Dieter was overjoyed at the sight of the ship.  His old comrade in arms, Dean Redman, was Chief Bos’n’s Mate of that ship.  He hurried over to renew his acquaintance.  He had a matter to discuss.

page 1052.

     Trueman was absentmindedly getting dressed for liberty.  He had no idea what to do first or how to go about it.

     ‘You going to get laid, Trueman?’  Blaise Pardon asked anxiously.

     ‘Well…yeah…I suppose so.’  Trueman replied.  The geisha girls of Japan were justly famous.  Dewey was just going to seek a regular prostitute but all indications were that it should be worth looking forward to.  The whole ship was ablaze at the prospects.

     ‘Where you going to go?’

     ‘I don’t know.  Same place as everyone else, I guess.’  Dewey replied.  Although he knew nothing of the matter he just assumed that everything would fall into place, which, of course, everything did.

     ‘Let me give you a tip, Trueman.’  Blaise said who was anxious lest Trueman fall afoul of other people’s machinations.

     ‘Well, OK, Pardon.  What is it?’

     ‘It’s been several years since I’ve been there so I can’t guarantee things haven’t changed but when I was at the brothel called the The Roses Of Old Nippon it was a first class establishment.  I’m sure it would the right place for a neophyte like you.’

     ‘Neophyte like me!’  Dewey repeated bursting out laughing.

     ‘Well, yes, you are a neophyte.  You don’t have any experience.’

page 1053.

     ‘It’s not that, Pardon, I know I’m a neophyte and there’s no dishonor in that, it’s just that I’ve never heard words like that aboard this ship.  You must be a pretty literate guy under all that salt.’

     ‘I’ve read a couple quartos in my time;  do you want the directions or not.’

     ‘Whoo, quartos and octavos too.  Sure.  I think I can trust you Pardon.  I don’t think you ever steered me wrong, on purpose anyway.’

     ‘Thank you, Trueman.  I suppose that’s a compliment.’  Then Blaise reeled off a set of directions of the turn here, turn there variety ending with the description of a small sign with two roses and rising sun on it.  Trueman blocked out the directions mentally.

    ‘Are you going to write this down?’

     ‘No, I can remember.’

     ‘Really?  Another bit of advice.  Go alone and don’t take more money than the price.  Things have a way of disappearing in the night even in the best run brothels.’  Blaise always went to brothels he would never go near a whore house.  He may have been only a Bos’n but he had his pride.

     Trueman did go alone.  Stepping ashore he carefully followed the directions ticking off each landmark as he went.  He marched in steadfast manner that portrayed to any watchers that this was a man on the way to get his ashes hauled.

     He antagonized any Japanese viewer by walking fearlessly with full confidence on the sacred soil as though he belonged on their conquered corner of the earth.  Trueman didn’t realize it but he did consider himself one of their conquerors.  Subconsciously he did think he had rights over them.  They deplored the ‘arrogance’ of the conqueror as only thwarted would be conquerors can.  Actually Dewey was nowhere near arrogant; this was just the place he was; he would have walked the same in the Valley or San Diego.  In each of the three places his walk would have been interpreted differently because we see what we want to see.

page 1054.

     Having made his last turn he scanned the signs in the vacant cobblestone street looking for the sign of the two roses and rising sun.  There the tiny thing was jutting out from the wall of a dingy nondescript looking building in a long file of row houses.  The brothel looked very small and unpretentious.  He knocked on the door which was opened by a very lovely lady in a white evening gown with a rose over each ear.

     He was invited into the little anteroom where this very lovely woman subjected him to a little interview.  An ugly pimp, sullen and mean looking, the same the world over, hovered behind her a useless emasculated drone nervously trying to look powerful.

     ‘Welcome to the Roses of Old Nippon, Sir.’  She smiled graciously.  ‘What may we do for you?’

     Dewey was suitably impressed.  The woman, like any self-respecting madam, projected a beautiful respectable feminine image, not exactly what Dewey was expecting.’

      In answer to her question he rather bumptiously inquired:  ‘Isn’t this a whore house?’

     ‘We prefer to call it a house of assignation, please.’ She said without a waver to her smile.

page 1055.

     ‘Oh, well, I’ve come for an all nighter.’  He stuttered clumsily.

     ‘An all nighter?’  She smiled at his simplicity recognizing a first timer.  ‘I think we can do that.  Would you like to step into our reception room and chat with some of our hostesses?’

     ‘No.  I just want an all nighter.’  Dewey replied doggedly expecting an ‘all nighter’ to be handed him like a hamburger in a drive in.

     The madam licked her lips both amused and mystified.

     ‘Why don’t we introduce you to Pearl?’  She said amiably.

     ‘Sure.’  Dewey replied waiting for his burger.

     The Madam sent the pimp after Pearl while she stated the price to Dewey.  Trueman was from one price America; if he was supposed to negotiate he didn’t know it.  He just forked over the fifteen hundred yen.  The fact that he didn’t negotiate indicated he was a mark.  Conmen are the same the world over.

     ‘This is Dewey, Pearl.  He would love to have your company for the entire evening.  Wouldn’t you Dewey?’

     ‘Well, yeah, sure, but I want to get laid too.’  Dewey said anxiously.

     ‘I’m sure you and Pearl will get along just fine.’

     As Dewey followed Pearl the Chief Bos’ns Mate of the Lovecraft entered the Two Roses.  Redman preceded his buddy Angus Dieter who would follow after.  The Big Chief had been unable to obtain satisfaction to this point.  He had learned a trick or two from the Commie Yeoman.  He too would pursue Trueman on liberty.  He had learned Trueman’s intentions from Blaise Pardon.

page 1056

      The very modest entrance to the building concealed the evidence that the brothel occupied the whole block for Pearl led Dewey through mazes of halls before stopping before the door of her cubicle.

     ‘Would you like to come in?’  She asked coyly in accents of English that are impossible to reproduce with the same charm.

     ‘Uh…sure.’  Dewey said boggled by the procedures to preserve dignity.

     Like all good sailors Dewey had had the dangers of venereal disease impressed on him but he caught on quickly.  He had been indoctrinated in the need for rubbers.  As a neophyte and expecting to be there all night he had come prepared.

     The room was just as lovely as Pearl.  The woman had a very nice self-conception of herself.  The bed which was lavishly made up occupied three fourths of the room.  Adjoining it was a nightstand with a lamp.  The rest of the space was just large enough to undress.  The head board of the king sized bed was a long empty bookshelf.

     Spotting it Dewey reached into his pocket taking out two dozen or so packets of rubbers he had purchased for the occasion.  With the careless authortitative gesture of a man about to go to work he threw them into the bookshelf.

     Pearl’s eyes went wide with astonishment as she uttered the Japanese equivalent of ‘Ay, mama mia.’

page 1057.

     ‘You are going to use all of these.’  She cried preparing herself for a tremendous night.

     ‘I suppose.’  Dewey replied matter of factly.  He imagined sexual intercourse was like popping bread into a toaster.

     Pearl was a very wonderful woman who enjoyed her work.  As Dewey had inadvertently given more than the going rate she was prepared to reciprocate.  ‘Here, let me undress you.’  She said preparing to give all the trimmings.

     ‘That’s alright, I know how to do it myself.’  Dewey replied somewhat testily believing she thought he wasn’t able himself.

     Stripped down to his shorts and socks gazing out from his rutty trance Dewey noticed the bed for the first time.

     ‘God, what a beautiful bed.’  He said lovingly stroking the fluffy down comforter, admiring the precise yet natural way the upper sheet was turned down over the comforter.

     ‘Hey, hey!’ He laughed.  ‘Four pillows!  I’ve never seen that before.  I really like your style.’  He said with smiling admiring sincerity that Pearl had perhaps never heard in her life.  She batted her eyelashes in appreciation while turning back the cover for him.

     Halfway in as she snatched the socks from his feet he noticed that the sheets were of a better quality than he had ever seen.  Pausing a moment with one knee in the bed he took the sheet between his fingers to examine it closely.

     ‘They are from La Belle France.’  Pearl gushed with pride pleased that he had noticed.  ‘I import them.’

page 1058.

     ‘Very nice.’  Dewey murmured as he slipped between them.

     Pearl dropped the gown alluringly from her chubby little body slipping in beside him ready for a night of non-stop action as she cast a sidelong glance at the pile of rubbers.

     Once in bed Dewey did not know how to begin.

     ‘Are you ready?  I am.’  Pearl said.

     Nineteen and a half years of denial and oppression swept over Dewey.  His relationship with his mother combined with that of Ange his first sweetheart inhibited him.  His unfulfilled commitment to Ange in which he had been wedded in youthful romance if not in fact made him feel unfaithful without his realizing his motives.  He was in the grip of his subconscious.  All motive force denied him, all he could do was break out into giggling.

     Pearl thinking it was some shortcoming of hers asked nervously:  ;What’s wrong?  Why are you giggling?’

     In response Dewey sent up burst after burst of giggling.  He giggled and giggled.  He giggled uncontrollably as he desperately sought to stop giggling.  All his other motor functions were inhibited.  He lay there with an intense erection unable to move.

     Pearl, nearly in tears and deeply offended expressed in hurt tones:  ‘What is wrong with you?  First you scare me half to death by pulling out a hundred rubbers and now you don’t do anything but giggle.  What is wrong with you?’

     In response Dewey redoubled his gale of giggles into a typhoon of giggles.

page 1059.

     Pearl taking it as a reflection on herself, thinking he was maybe embarrassed because she was Japanese was about ready to flee the room when she had an idea.  ‘I know what you want.’  She said, then taking his hand she placed it bravely on her left breast.

     The effect was magical.  A burst of giggles died in Dewey’s throat.  He turned his head to look at Pearl then without a word rolled over on top of her completely forgetting the rubbers meant to protect him from VD and began pumping just like one of those oil wells in Long Beach, over around and up and down.  By some miracle he just slipped into the orifice because he hadn’t the sense to guide it in nor had Pearl had time to do so.

     Then with a gasp Dewey launched his own little rocket into space where the effect of the explosion distrupted his communications system for some little while.  Rolling over he stared blankly at the ceiling.

     ‘You damn man.’  Pearl crossly ejaculated.  ‘You damn man.  First you scare me to death with this big pile of rubbers; then you don’t want have anything to do with me; you lay there giggling like some big fool and now you fill me up so much I’m overflowing.  What kind man are you anyway?’

     ‘That really is more than usual?’  Dewey asked with a feeling of merit and satisfaction although he couldn’t have explained why.

     ‘Aiee.’  Pearl exclaimed in confirmation slipping a towel between her legs.

page 1060.

     Dewey lay back his mind the depth of a vacuum.  There was comfort in this bed, this room, with this woman.  He had had the most satisfying coupling that he would ever have in his life.

     His mind was in a satisfying unobtrusive fog as he lay in this woman’s most magnificent bed between sheets of the finest quality in the world under a comforter that this woman had put the greatest care into obtaining.  After a year of rough cotton mattress bag and scratchy woolen Navy issue blanket Dewey was only too comfortable;  Perhaps the most comfortable he had ever been in his life.

     Pearl’s voice recalled him from his lethargy.

     ‘You come with me; we go take bath.’

     ‘Oh, no thank-you.’  Dewey said lazily, unwilling to move.  ‘I showered before I came here.’

     Pearl laughed delightedly at his naivete:  ‘This is Japan you silly boy, now we go down and wash.  Come.’  She asserted pulling him from bed.

     As Dewey loathingly dragged himself from bed he noticed a shadow through the paper wall hurrying off.  The pimp who had been paid by Dean Redman to apprise him of  Dewey’s actins rushed off to notify the Chief that Dewey was on his way to the baths.

     Dewey wrapped a towel around him and padded down through the seemingly endless maze of hallways after Pearl until they came out in a large sort of a toilet cum gym where they were to bathe.

page 1061.

     There was nothing that looked like a shower or bath tub.  There were several deep tubes sunk into the floor in various places.

     Dewey gave Pearl a look of ‘Now what?’.  Pearl pointed to the the deep tubes and said ‘Bath.’  Dewey was a little mystified but he grabbed a bar of soap and started to get in.

     ‘No, no, not like that.’  She said.  ‘Like this.’

     She took a pitcher of hot water pouring it over her head and then soaping up.

    ‘Then you rinse soap off and get in tub, soak.’

   ‘Why would I want to do that?’  Dewey asked longing for the bed.

     ‘Why you ignorant puppy; don’t you know your way around?’

     Dewey looked over in the direction of the stentorian voice to see some rut crazed old putz who seemed to be speaking from the other side.  He was reclining in a tub with his whore tending him in an elevated recess in the wall which gave the impression of being some Peacock Throne.  To Dewey’s eyes he seemed to think himself an old bull, the cock of the walk.

     This was the Pride of the Pacific, Chief Boatswain’s Mate Dean Redman, the friend of the Hero Of Saipan, Angus Dieter.  These men of Brokaw’s ‘Greatest Generation’ having vanquished the Japanese now had nothing better to do than fuck around with a nineteen year old.  Having learned the art of the sneak attack from Hideki Tojo they now employed it freely while deploring it in others.  At least the Japanese flew the colors at Pearl.  The ‘greatest generation’ preferred to operate covertly.

page 1062.

     Dewey looked at the glazed eyes and the arms spread on either side of the tub.  He correctly divined that this loud mouth was a Chief of some sort.  Forced out of his daze to some extent he chose to ignore this apparently sex-crazed monster.

     Following Pearl’s example he washed and rinsed as she went through her female ablutions in full view of Dewey, the Chief and his woman.  Dewey did a double take as his modesty was offended whether this was Japan or not, but ‘What the hell.’  He thought.  ‘When in the toilet…’

     Dewey had no desire to soak but since Pearl insisted he lowered himself into the steaming tub which was only a tube just deep enough that he had to double up his legs.

     As he was lowering himself the Chief bellowed from behind glazed eyes from his other world:  ‘I thought only men were allowed in here.’

     ‘Obviously he’s looking for a fight.’  Dewey thought, then he said:  ‘The Napoleon of the toilet must be talking to himself.’  Anwering into space following the Chief’s example Dewey’s light high voice was no competition for Redman’s klaxon so the Chief had points on volume and tone.

     ‘I’m talking to you you foul mouthed puppy.’

     ‘Then you’re talking to yourself, old sack.  My manhood’s secure.  I’m not complaining about your odor, am I?  Swish, swish.’

     Still speaking as through a ventriloquist’s voice Redman bellowed:  ‘We’ll see who’s a man.  If I have to get out of this tub it’ll be to your sorrow.’

     ‘Aw, you old rut, why don’t you put your energy into screwing your woman and mind your own business.’

page 1003.

     ‘I’m coming.’  The voice said without raising a muscle.

    ‘I’m sure your are, especially if you’ve got a week’s leave.  Come on, Pearl.  I’ve soaked enough.’  Dewey said getting up, wrapping his towel around him he montioned Pearl to lead the way back.

     ‘Good riddance of bad rubbish.’  The Chief roared.

     ‘Aw, vaporize yourself, dicklick.  Ride an atom bomb to hell.’  Dewey snarled over his shoulder as he left.  Unfortunately his snarl was weak defensively compared to the Chief’s bull roar.  He seemed to come out on the losing end.

     The pimp at the entrance hovered out of sight watching.  In the pay of the Chief he waited further orders.

     Back in Pearl’s empty room Dewey sought the comfort of the bed.

     ‘That man very rude.’

     ‘Aw, he’s just a faggot.’  Dewey grumbled.

     ‘If he faggot, what he do here?’

     He’s just trying to prove himself normal in front of the sailors.  I bet all his girl did was give him a blow job, then he hangs around the toilet to ogle men as they pee, indulging his un-nat-u-ral tastes.’

     Dewey laughed making it up as he went along but he wasn’t far off the mark.

     ‘You want more?’

     ‘Not right now.’  Dewey replied.  He was so content to lie in splendor recruiting his battered mind and emotions that he had no other desire than to rest.

page 1064.

     Pearl was chatting with him when the pimp pushed the door open saying a few words to her in Japanese.  Dewey looked at him in astonishment.  ‘Hey, this is private, jerk.’  He managed to blurt out.

     Pimps of any nation are the most vile scum on the face of the earth.  Living off the sexual acts of women, protected by the group of the house and dealing with men in a debilitated state they revive their emasculated manhood by being contemptuous only in the most secure situations.  It would be fair to say they are not human.  This pimp snarled contempt casually closing the door.

     In the employ of Redman he had hurried him into the baths as soon as he heard Pearl suggest Dewey and she go there.  All these rooms had paper thin, real paper, walls.  Not only did sound easily pass through them but forms could be seen passing outside.

     Having made life uncomfortable for Trueman in the toilet Dieter and Redman had further plans to humiliate Trueman.  Their plans were of the tee-he-he variety of private joke.  Trueman would never know he had been humiliated but Dieter could laugh and slap his knee in glee everytime he saw the sailor.

     Redman’s pimp had been sent to fetch Trueman’s woman for his and Dieter’s pleasure.

     ‘Who’s that?’  Dewey asked Pearl.

     ‘He’s a friend of mine who work’s here.’

     ‘Yeah, well tell him not to do that again.’  Dewey said with a weary lack of conviction.

page 1065.

     A few moments later Pearl turned to Dewey:  ‘You are such a kind man.’

     ‘Yeah?’  Dewey had already begun to equate the word ‘kind’ with sucker.

     ‘I would not say this to you if it was not true.  My friend tell me my sick mother has taken a turn for the worse.  I know you have paid all night but I wonder if you be so kind to let me to go to her?’

     ‘Sick mother, hah?’  Dewey said who had read enough sex novels passed around the ship to recognize the ruse.  ‘What’s she got?’

     ‘The doctors don’t even know but she may die this night.  I would not want her to die without I see her again.’

     Dewey could see the outline of the pimp crouching and listening on the other side of the paper wall.  He knew Pearl was going off to turn extra tricks with the fleet in town but he also knew he was through with her anyway.  All he wanted now was the luxury of those imported French sheets and four pillows.  Besides 1500 yen was a very cheap price for a hotel with this quality of bed clothes.

     ‘If she’s dying, sure, go ahead.’

     ‘Oh thank-you, kind boy.  I will be eternally grateful.  Oh.  My mother live all the way cross Tokyo so I will have to be gone all night but I will be back for you in the morning.  I wake you up and do something nice for you and you be back to your ship on time.  That OK?’

     Pearl turned off the light and left as the pimp slunk along after her.

page 1066.

     Needless to say she was not going way cross Tokyo but only to another cubicle in the whore house.

     As she opened the door of the new cubicle a fat nude Dieter boomed out:  ‘Hell-ooo Ba-bee.’

     Dewey was very happy in this little island of luxuriousness; bliss amidst a sea of misery.  About four o’ clock the pimp slunk back into his room to rifle his pockets.  Dewey heard him come in.  ‘There isn’t any money there you cocksucker.  I only brought enough for the lay so get out of here slime ball.’

     The pimp looked at him, startled by his cool demeanor.  Taking his hand out of Dewey’s pocket he dropped the pants slouching back out into the night that covered his filthy soul from pole to pole.

     At six Pearl turned on the light to rouse him from bed.

     ‘Time to wake up, Dewey.  Do you want quick one before you go?’

     The smell of the alcohol on her breath wafted over Dewey.  He could see that she was flushed from the excitement of too much sexual activity.  He had no desire to follow where he thought hordes had been.  He was wrong about where she had been.  Had he known that she had been debauched all ngiht long by Dieter and Redman he probably would have been angry.

     They, or at least, Dieter had spent the night pretending she was Trueman.  After all, to fuck a man’s woman is the same as doing it to him.  So when pearl got down on her knees and sucked Dieter and Redman off they, or Dieter, could imagine it was Trueman.  Now, in their fancies, they had sent their leftovers back to be used by Trueman.  That was their big joke.  Of course, they had taken Trueman’s sloppy seconds but their minds didn’t range that far.  The men of Brokaw’s ‘greatest generation’ really knew how to do things.  These boys had done nothing in the war that necessity hadn’t dictated, the same as any generation before or after.  No need to gratify their vanity.

page 1067.

     ‘No, Pearl.  I’m OK.  This is a wonderful bed.  I enjoyed it very much.  Tell your pimp he’s lucky I’m not a violent guy or I would have broken his head when he tried to pick my pockets.’  An empty boast but necessary in the circumstances.

     Then he got dressed in much the same half-conscious haze he’d been in all night.

     ‘What about these rubbers?’  Pearl asked pointing to the big pile.

     ‘You can have them.’  Dewey replied with prodigal largesse.  ‘I don’t need them anymore.’

     Pearl escorted him out of the maze, otherwise he would never have found his way out, letting him back into the street.  She attempted a little show of affection to flatter him but as he didn’t believe the sick mother story he turned coldly away.  Dewey retraced his steps to the ship in the same determined manner in which he had arrived.

     Coming into the piers his path crossed that of Dean Redman.  Scanning his sleeve Dewey discover that he was a Chief Bos’n’s Mate the same as Dieter.  Despite his big voice he was a smallish man of only five-six, one hundred twenty pounds.  Offended by his big voice and small size Dewey’s anger rose.  The Chief’s crossing Dewey’s path was meant to be the final insult by these men of the ‘greatest generation’.

Dewey ruined it for them.

page 1068.

     ‘Kiss my ass, you son-of-bitch.’  Dewey growled rushing to thrust his foot between the Chief’s legs in an attempt to trip him.  The Chief stumbled but did not fall.  Neither did he look up or acknowledge Dewey’s agression in any way.  The big voice of the toilet was now going rather than coming.

     Spewing a few insults after the Lovecrafts’s retreating figure Dewey continued to the Teufelsdreck stepping up the gangway.

     Dieter who had been watching from before the door of the Yeoman’s shack hoping to see Trueman’s final humiliation had to suffer the ignominy of seeing his man decline combat.

     ‘How was it, Trueman?’  Hubie Blake smiled holding out a dish of Penicillin tabs.

     Dewey bobbed his head without speaking declining the Penicillin.  He went below to change for muster.  ‘I guess that was good as it gets.’  He thought thoroughly unimpressed.

The Hero Of Saipan Meets The Scourge Of The Teufelsdreck.

     As may be imagined the sacred soil of Japan was the highlight of a tour which included Australia, Hong Kong and seven days in Hawaii as a finale.  As Porky Pig says:  ‘T-t-t-that’s all folks.’  It doesn’t get any better than that.  As a morale builder Westpac had rolled a seven followed by an eleven.  If Liberty hadn’t been the order of the day the whole ship would have gone over the hill.

     As it was the twenty-five desperadoes had done the crew a favor.  They stood all the watches for the visit leaving the rest free.  Not that a number of them didn’t slip over when possible.

page 1069.

     After mustering, the Deckhands were given orders for the minimal maintenance work.  Liberty was declared at noon.

     Dewey was buttoning the cuffs of his dress blues when Blaise Pardon called him back into after steering for a private tete-a-tete.

     ‘Did you go to the Two Roses, Trueman?’

     ‘Yah.  I did, Pardon.’

     ‘Well?  Was it like I remembered?’

     Blaise was a very cautious fellow; some might say prudent.  As it had been five years or more since he had been there he didn’t want to walk in cold to find that it had changed.  He had used Trueman as a sort of scout to spy out the land.  Trueman should have been flattered; after all every spy in Canaan had been a prince.  Nor was that mere class pride.  Expectations are based on social station.  Thus the perception of abundance would be different for a prince than a private.  Pardon had considered Trueman a cut or two above the others although the compliment went unappreciated by Trueman.

     ‘It’s the first place I’ve been to, Pardon, so I don’t have any basis of comparison but I don’t think you steered me wrong.  I mean, the place was clean and well organized.  I can’t complain about my girl, I mean, you know…’

     ‘Would you go again?’

     ‘No, Pardon, but only because I’ve seen it and I haven’t seen much of anything else.  Maybe the first is best, don’t know, don’t care but if you thought it was tops back then it probably still is.’

page 1070.

     ‘Maybe I’ll go.’

     ‘If you do ask for Pearl.  She may be a little on the chubby side but she was a good woman.  I do know good from bad in women athough I don’t have much experience there either.  By the way, her mother died last night if she asks you to let her go see her.’

     ‘Alright, I will.  Have a good liberty, Trueman.’

     Trueman looked at his shoes, pulled his pants up and his middie down swung the knot of his scarf in place, squared his hat and stepped over to Maclen’s bunk.

     ‘Ready, Kerry?’

     ‘Yeah.  Say, Deasy, Parkman and Parsons are coming along.  Ok?’

     ‘Yeah.  I don’t mind.  Thanks for the warning.’

     They collected the other three on the Quarterdeck.  Stepping down the gangway Trueman spotted Dieter across the Plaza standing with the Chief from the brothel.  Dewey was unaware of the backdoor machinations of this dynamic duo from the Greatest Generation.  He was startled to see them together.

     The situation at the Two Roses had been set up by Dieter.  He knew from conversations with Pardon that Blaise favored the Roses and he also learned that Blaise, being the cautious sort of fellow he was intended to use Trueman as a scout.  He had served with Redman on the Sullivans some years before.  When the Teufelsdreck had pulled in behind the Lovecraft Dieter had hurried over to renew the friendship.  Things had neatly fallen into place as they usually do if you let them.  Thus, on the heels of Trueman Redman entered the Roses just before Trueman was led out by Pearl.  A few words and several times that number of yen explained the constant attendance Dewey received from the pimp outside Pearl’s door.  Informed of Dewey’s movements Redman was able to be in the right place at the right time.  There is no difficulty in undertanding Dieter’s movements of that night.

page 1071.

     While Dieter was never much of a detail man things had worked out well in that instance.  Now, standing on the corner waiting for Trueman, his projected vision of the course of events was to prove chimerical.  Fortunately for Trueman Dieter never tied the ends down; the four corners were always flapping in the breeze.

     Trueman forgot Dieter as he approached, concentrating his anger on Chief Dean Redman.  The constrast between his loudmouthed boldness in the toilet and his timidity on the street rankled Trueman.  Dewey would have walked by with only a glare but Dieter wanted to have his triumph.

     ‘Hello, Trueman.’  Dieter called.  ‘Are you going to get laid again?’

     Dieter was about to hint around how he and Redman had cuckolded him screwing and getting blown by his whore that he had paid for.  Behold the Heroes of the Pacific in undress twelve years after.

page 1072

     ‘Hey, who you got there, Dieter?  Big Chief Bullhorn?  The loudest mouth in the toilet and the most chicken-shit guy on the street?’

     Chief Dieter wa taken back by Trueman’s aggressiveness.  While he considered the Seaman mouthy he had always seemed timid aboard ship.  Trueman was surprised at his own aggression almost pulling back but since he was launched he quided the missile in.

     ‘Let’s have a little more respect, Trueman, we’re Chiefs.’

     ‘Yeah.  Chiefs of the toilet, you lay down in the gutter with pigs and you get up with fleas- and that’s being kind to Big Chief Bullhorn here.  ‘Dewey fairly shouted mixing that metaphor just a little.

     ‘Curb your tongue, Trueman.’

     ‘Curb your ass, why don’t you Chiefo Dietero.  We ain’t back on the ship now, Daddyo, we’re out on the town.  If you don’t like my mouth you can kiss my ass.’

     The Hero of Saipan was non-plussed.  He had never expected such an outburst from the diffident Trueman.  Redman remained silent looking out into space hands clasped behind his back in a Chiefly manner.  The big voice of the toilet was stilled.

     ‘If I wasn’t a Chief, Trueman…’

     ‘Aw, can it Dieter.  Why doesn’t your loud mothed buddy here hand you his jacket like they do in the movies and whale into this ‘puppy’ like he said he wanted to do last night in the toilet.  Here I am Big Dick or are you still only coming?’

page 1073.

     As everyone knows, indeed, the Bible tells us so, there is a season for everything.  There is a time for kicking ass and a time for not kicking ass.  The best time for kicking ass is when the other fellow isn’t prepared; the worst time is when he is.  Being a man of fine discrimination Redman recognized this time as a season for the latter.  He stared indifferently into space through all the abuse.  The Heroes of the Pacific in their element.

     The Hero of Saipan faced the Scourge of the Teufelsdreck.  Dieter had enough self-respect to not attempt to pull rank any further than he had.  Stymied by Trueman’s unexpected attitude, backed into a corner, he chose to use the glamour of his rating and the dignity of his age as an out:  ‘Humph.  Well, you enjoy yourself in Y’kuska Trueman.  This is a place where anyone can have a good time.’

     ‘Yeah.  You too, El Jefe.’

     Dieter turned liverish as he watched Trueman walk away to join his friends who had prudently but traitorously walked slowly on.

     Dieter would have to be satisfied with his secret knowledge of his supposed humiliation of Trueman.  He would have to take a different approach to let Trueman know.  He would instruct Roberts of the circumstances and how to wheedle the story out of Trueman without it being apparent to him and then ridicule him.

     But had Trueman really been humiliated?  Trueman had taken the full value of what he needed for himself from his fifteen hundred yen which is all anybody could take.  He wouldn’t have felt cheated at twice the price.  He had gotten his ashes hauled; he had slept in a finer bed than most people would ever see and fewer still appreciate.  He had gotten his battery charged.

page 1074.

     By great good luck he had found his way to the Roses Of Old Nippon.  If not the finest, its quality could only be exceeded by superfuous luxuriousness.  How could anything have exceeded the luxuriousness of the sheets on Pearl’s bed?  The Two Roses had well deserved its name as had Pearl.  Whoever had given her the English name she bore when she had arrived at the house had correctly evaluated her.  There is much in a name.  It is true that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet but it wouldn’t be a rose.  The name Rose was given only to the flower that merited the name.  Hence a rose by any other name would not be a rose.  The Roses Of Nippon by any other name would remain the same but the name given to a lesser place would be a joke.  They would make it give up the name returning it to its rightful owner.  A rose by any other name would not be a Rose, it would be whatever it was called.  A Daisy remains a Daisy no matter what name you give it.

     Names have significance.  Pearl simply had the qualities of a pearl; she was no Rose nor was she a Daisy.  She was a pearl of a woman.  Pearl had saved Dewey from degrading embarrassment by finding the way to his release from giggling.  Perhaps a Rose would have fled in disgust thereby shaming Dewey.  There was some poetry involved for Dewey.  In his watery state of mind at the time, which equated the ocean, one had to dive down deep to find that Pearl one had brought to the surface.  It was capable of reestablishing balance between land and water.  In her own way Pearl was a link in the chain between his emasculated state and his eventual return to balanced manhood.

     Dewey had gotten more than he paid for.  He had no notion of using women to indulge perverted visions of reality; of seeking to balance the Anima and Animus to the detriment of both.  He had no desire to destroy women to exorcise his demons as Dieter and Redman did.

     If the two paid for Dewey’s sloppy seconds, as far as Dewey was concerned they were welcome to them.  If they thought they were taking something of value form Dewey it was only largesse the innocent Sailor could well affort to dispense.  There was no miserliness in his soul.  Still, the consensus was that Dewey had been taken advantage of.  There’s no denying public opinion.  The Chief knew the prejudices of his proteges well.

Some Of The Epigoni

     As Dewey sneeringly departed Redman and Dieter he passed Captain Ratches, the Commodore and the other Captains.

     The Commodore had not quite eased his heart by sending the Teufelsdreck into the heart of the typhoon by way of expiation of its sins.  He was saying:  ‘I can’t understand why you came up from so far South rather than more Easterly as we did.’

     Ratches well understood the punishment and the taunt.  He also knew, or believed, that it was only his superb seamanship that brought the little subkiller through the killer typhoon.  He was certainly justified in his pride.  Raising the middle finger of his left hand to pick at the nail of the middle finger of his right he said:  “We had a spot of rough weather, high winds, you know, the sort of things that happen in a typhoon; helmsman had a hell of a time keeping the ship on course, seems like a good man though.  Perhaps I should send him over to you for training.  You could lend us yours.’

page 1076.

     The Commodore laughed inwardly in appreciation:  ‘That’s alright Gabe.  I’m sure your boys did the best they could.’

     As Dewey refoined his party Mike Deasy said:  ‘You shouldn’t have been so hard on the Chief.’

     ‘Hard on Dieter?’  Dewey responded in amazement.  He was well aware he had been taking abuse from Dieter for some time.  As it was he didn’t know half or even more of what the others knew.  He did realize that Dieter and Redman believed they had done something to him which had been especially harmful or humiliating and they were attempting to gloat over it.

     ‘You don’t think Dieter’s hard on me Deasy?’

     ‘Well, maybe he is but I’m always on the side of the underdog.’

     Dewey was stopped in his tracks:  ‘Always for the underdog?’  How could Deasy say something like that?  A Chief against a Seaman and the Chief was the underdog?  A Chief allied with half First Division which was willing to kill for him was an underdog?  Trueman didn’t connect the implication that he was clearly seen as the intellectual and moral superior of Dieter.  He didn’t know that he was disparagingly referred to as the Scourge of the Teufelsdreck.  Nor did Trueman connect on what he had observed:  That Dieter was only the suit of clithes that the Navy had provided him and the gaudy goofy underwear that Dieter had bought himself.

page 1077.

     Up to this point in his life Dewey had always considered himself the underdog but now that Dieter was the underdog compared to him the concept became shameful in his eyes.  Now, to be the underdog seemed to him to be a simpering weakling.  Dewey renounced the role on the spot never considering himself an underdog again.  But he had to ransack his mind to find who else he could be.  He would discover that opposite Quemoy and Matsu.  For now he hurried to catch up with his companions.

     Across the Plaza from the ships one entered a street where all the Japanese predators on the Navy set up shop.  The street was lined with open air souvenir shops, bars, some brothels and various gyp joints.

     This was twelve years after the sacred soil had passed to the Americans with the unconditional surrender.  Twelve years in geologic time is of no consequence but in human affairs sliding psyches metamorphose into fantastic forms.  Those ‘poor little yellow people’ had not accustomed themselves to the role of conquered nor would they ever.

     Now, twelve years after, as they looked at the streams of post-high school kids come laughingly off the ships the old sods, the veterans of the jungles, the men of China, many who had been in active combat most of their lives looked at these downy cheeked White boys in disgust.

page 1078.

     The young Japanese who had not been old enough to fight but were older now than these ex-high school students could only clench their fists in impotent rage.  They fondly imagined that the Gods would have aided them in their last ditch defense bearing only hoes and rakes.

     The first Americans ashore had been as gods; indeed who could have defeated God’s own favorites but the favorites of other more powerful gods.  The Americans must have stronger magic; if the Atom Bomb wasn’t its stronger magic than the term had no meaning.  If Hirohito was the son of god then what must Douglas MacArthur, nearly twice the height of the little emperor, have been.  Exactly as they treated him; as the superior of Hirohito.  It was possible to lose to men like that but to these, the epigoni of the giants?

      Psychologically those giants were so proud of their conquests, so convinced of their superiority that rather than let their epigoni outdo them they hamstrung them.  They disarmed them, said that they could not feel superior as conquerors.  They were demoted to less than equals of the conquered.  Warned that in any disturbance with the Japanese that they would automatically be judged the aggressors.  The ex-high schoolers had to walk on eggshells while the Japanese aggressors of yesteryear sneered them down.  This was the attitude of the ‘greatest generation.’

     The older men who ran the shops were all defeated soldiers of the Emperor.  Some, if not most, had been officers used to commanding in China, Indo-China, Siam, the Philippines, wherever the Rising Sun had flown.  They had defeated the British on bicycles with empty rifles.  They had laughed themselves silly after those first easy victories as the mighty White Man fled before them.

page 1079.

     Now these commanders of the destinies of others begged dollars for trashy souvenirs from these children they despised.  As difficult as it is for any soldier who has, for instance, been put in charge of a ‘million dollar tank’ and a crew of men to go home and pump gas for a living it was troubling to the souls of these commanders even more so.  The role of sucking off the epigoni for their sustenance was in reality a form of penance serving what they considered inferior men.

     This was the heyday of cheap Japanese souvenirs that sailors sent back to their families; the black velvet picture of Mt. Fuji, fans with the image of Mt. Fuji, salt and pepper shakers with the same image; Fuji was everywhere.  You could see it rising as a backdrop to Tokyo Bay.

     Dewey’s group wandered into the open front of a fairly large shop crammed to the rafters with this stuff.  This cheap fare had seemed wonderful and marvelous to Dewey when it had been shown to him by veterans back home.  But now surrounded by piles of the junk it seemed cheap and tawdry.  Somehow he imagined that the vets had won this junk by their valor not given a few pennies for it in a bazaar.  Dewey’s sensibilities were offended.

page 1080.

     ‘Don’t pay what they ask for; you have to bargain for the right price.’  Kerry warned Dewey.  The old con, Kerry, was at home.  The advice was well given for Dewey came from one price America.  He liked it like that; bargaining did not appeal to him.  When he was not pleased he was not good at concealing it.

     the woman who ran the ship was forty and therefore twenty-eight in ’45 when the Yanks came ashore.  She had lost a husband int he war and had endured great subsequent hardship because of Tojo’s Folly or as she put it, at the hands of the Americans.  Always the other guy, isn’t it?

     She rushed up to Dewey, who was idly looking at some salt and petter shakers with Mt. Fuji on them to say:  ‘Nor nice boy like you three hundred yen.’

     the last time a woman had called Dewey a nice boy she had had a sick mother across Tokyo.  Once again nice seemed to equate sucker.

     Pearl had been pleasant but there was something vile about this woman.  She ill-concealed her hatred of the epigoni of the conquerors.  She saw the American victory as not so much men over men as materiel over materiel.  She mistakenly believed that if Japan had had the productive capacity of America her men would have won the war.  Probably a nice enough woman originally, adversity had corrupted her body and soul.  She looked like a whore who had lost her innocence but not her cunning.

     ‘Oh yeah?’  Dewey said in a combative jeering tone looking sneeringly down his nose at the five foot woman:  ‘I’ll give you a hundred.’

page 1081.

     Torn between her hatred of the conquerors, the seeming insult to her status and sex and the sight of this pimple faced skinny boy sneering down his nose at a once proud matron of Japan was too much for her to take.  The misfortunes of twenty years flowed back into her face like a tsunami.

     ‘Oh, no.  One hundred way too not much.’  She stuttered in her shame and debasement.  She subconsciously eached for a billy club with Shore Patrol armbands wrapped around the barrel.  Perhaps in her latent masochism she was offering it to Dewey to give her a good beating.

     Dewey was also barely controlling his internal rage.  ‘I don’t want them then.’  Dewey said spuring both her and her merchandise.

     Beside herself and not knowing what to do whe held out the club and armbands saying:  ‘Here is SP stick.’

     ‘What would I want with that?’  Dewey laughed coldly, disgusted with the whole situation.  ‘I’m not with the Shore Patrol.’  The corruptness the woman exuded riled him as he turned coldly away.

     Mortified by his rejection coupled with the humiliations of twenty years the woman ran after him swinging the club.  If he wouldn’t reward her masochism she would be sadistic.  Had she been taller she might have hit him on the head.  As it was the blow landed between his shoulders.  The blow was very loud resounding throughout the market area.  As the club was wrapped in armbands the blow caused Dewey neither pain nor inconvenience.

page 1082.

     At the sound of the blow and the cursing of the woman a couple of the Emperor’s ex-commanders began to rush across the street.  One had been a Major in China for ten years, present at the Rape of Nanking, while the other was enlisted who had been repatriated from the Philippine jungles only in 1949.  Expecting Trueman to hit the woman as they would have done they rushed to her assistance for the thrill of beating one of their Conquerors.

     Heeding the Navy’s warning that the warriors of the most powerful nation in the world would be left hanging out to dry  Dewey merely sneered over his shoulder at the woman while giving a contemptuous look at the defeated heroes of the Bataan Death March.

     ‘Not then, not now, not ever.’  He though as Major Takahashi and his pal returned to their souvenir stalls sneering at the cowadice of a American sailor being subdued by a woman.

     ‘Geez, thanks for waiting for me.’  Dewey said as he caught up.

     ‘We thought you were doing OK.  Did she hurt you?’

     ‘No.  The armbands absorbed the force.  mad a hell of a noise though.  Well, I hope when I offer the same excuse for walking away from you guys you'[ll accept it as cheerfully as I have.’

     By this time they were entering a square thronged with flush faced exuberant sailors having the time of their lives polluting the sacred soil of Nippon.

page 1083.

     ‘Kerry’s got something for us.  We’re supposed to wait here and he’ll be right back.’

     ‘Let’s don’t hang around here; let’s go into Tokyo and see that.’

     ‘Tokyo?  That’s a long way.  How’re we supposed to get there.’

     ‘It’s not so far; just at the head of the bay.  Heck, there’s supposed to be a train up here a ways that’ll take us right in.  We should see Tokyo.’

     Trueman had seen Maclen talking to Kayo Kreskin as he was walking up.  Kerry walked off one way while Kreskin came over to talk to him.

     ‘See that place.’  Kreskin pointed to a bar lit by massive moving neon sighs called the Golden House of Joy or the House of Golden Joy, one of the two, I forget which.

     ‘Yeah?  What about it?’

     ‘You can’t go in there.’

     ‘Why not?’

     ‘Because you’re not man enough.  You’d get your ass kicked.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Ass kicking time again, hey?  You want to kick my ass Kreskin?  We could step over in the alley?’  Trueman didn’t mean it but it sounded good and he didn’t think Kreskin would take him up on it, rightly as it was.

     ‘I got better things to do.’  Kayo said switching his attack.  ‘The best looking hooker in Japan is in there.  She’s waiting for me now.  She wouldn’t even look at you.’

     ‘Yeah?  You got the best looking hooker in Japan waiting for you in there and you’re out here talking to me?  You queer?  Have to wonder about you Kayo.  How much she want, five-six thousand yen?’  Dewey jeered gently amused by Kreskin’s need to inflate his ego.

page 1084.

     ‘Thirty-five hundred and that’s per hour.’  Whether true or not, which is always doubtful in these cases, Kayo had his dope smuggling profits, extra cash from his dad nd he’d been drawing double pay since the States so if what he said was true he could afford it.  ‘And I can afford it.’

     ‘I don’t have that kind of money so I guess I’ll just have to leave her to you.’

     ‘I know Trueman.  I’m just better than you.’

     ‘I’m sure any proof of that you’ll need is all in your mind but you’ll never be able to prove it to me.  Go on in there, have a couple drinks and have a good time, I don’t care.  See you later.’

     How can you get excited about guys like that?  Dewey thought.

     Jack Kerouac once said that if you put a hophead down in any city in the world he will have scored withing half an hour.  This wasn’t exactly true.  Kayo Kreskin who was a hophead took over half an hour by five minutes after setting foot on the Sacred Soil.  he was what is called ‘soaring’ as he talked to Trueman.  In addition to scoring he had gained the confidence of the criminal element.  By signs, he had made it clear that he was ‘wise.’  As he was buying dope he had quickly made the necessary criminal contacts.  They had indicated the ways and means available for fleecing his fellow sailors.

page 1085.

     Maclen had greatly admired Kreskin ever since the marijuana buy in Tijuana; Kreskin treated him as a subordinate which Kerry, who desperately needed a leader, relished.  Kreskin had turned Maclen over to the criminal brotherhood for the potential benefit of all three.

      Having made arrangements with the Japanese thugs Maclen now came back flushed with success.

     ‘Come on.  We got lucky.  I’ve got it all set up.  Three hundred fifty yen per man.  Fork over, I’v got to pay these guys.’

      ‘Not in advance.’  Deasy said.

    ‘IK.  When we get there but give me the money now.’

     ‘How lucky did we get?’  Trueman queried.  ‘What do we get for our money, bubble gum in the shape of Mt. Fuji?’

     ‘Kayo knew a guy who’s got these fantastic pornographic movies.  They’ll take us to see them.’

     The other four men stood looking at each other.

     ‘Who the hell wants to waste Japan watching pornographic movies?’  Trueman asked.  ‘I didn’t come to Japan to see movies.  Let’s go see Tokyo.’

     ‘How does Kreskin know a guy in Y’kuska?’  Deasy muttered under his breath.

     ‘These aren’t ordinary pornographic movies; These are fantastic.  Tokyo?’

     There was a brief argument in which Trueman was overruled, everyone believeing Tokyo too far, costly and dangerous.  Maclen persisted until he won the other three over.  Kerry led them around the corner where two men twenty-seven and twenty-eight waited beside motocycle contraptions with a cart behing to haul up to four people.

page 1086.

     These men had been fourteen and fifteen when Emperor Hirohito stepped aboard the Mighty Mo.  Both had been eager to man Kami Kazi planes against the White Devils in the upcoming battle of Tokyo.  Friends and family had armed themselves with no more than sticks and stones in a desperate attempt to repel the invader as they prayed for the reappearance of the Divine Wind.

     The steel craft of the enraged victims of Pearl Harbor were immune to the effects of the most divine of winds as witness the travails of the Teufelsdreck in the typhoon.  Unlike the junks of the Chinese invaders of the thirteenth century the steel behemoths could cleave their way through any sea.  The two boys could only grit their teeth in impotent rage as President Truman standing placidly on the broad decks of the Missouri accepted the sword of the Son of Heaven of the Land Of The Rising Sun.  The deed was done.

     The two boys had participated in several plots which came to nothing to kill and expel the hated Americans.  Circumstance forced them to accept their fate so they turned to exploiting the vices of the hated White Devils.  They could do nothing to satisfy their rage but degrade their conquerors.

     Now grown men they took pleasure in either fleecing or rolling these high school kids.  Not infrequently they were aided by Whites of the great international brotherhood of criminals.  Criminals, Jews, homosexuals, these are all semi-secret societies in which the members work for their own interests against the common good.  No one knows who they are unless they choose to declare themselves.  Meanwhile they further the interests of their group by backing ‘liberal’, ‘humane’ or ‘benevolent’ concepts.  They are opposed to ‘hatred.’

page 1087.

     The movies the men showed were mildly pornographic films made in France in the 30s.  They showed only Whites in their films, no Japanese women.  They reveled in seeing the Americans become aroused.  then getting them fully heated they offered them Act Two, live entertainment.  If they collected the money in advance they hopped on their carts saying they would be right bacvk.  The angry sailors were left milling on a dark street in the a strange country.  If the cons couldn’t collect in advance they took the sailors to a house where they were clubbed, rolled and dumped in the street.

      These men had been thoroughly corrupted by their hatred.  Who can blame them, but which of their victims would be willing to condone them?  They were just criminals.

     The Japanese were slowly recovering economically but the amount of investment necessary was so huge their was little visible evidence of the progress in the living standards of the people.  There were very few cars on the road.  This fact alone infuriated the pimps for they had heard Chuck Berry’s ‘Maybelline’ and the song about the ‘Hot Rod Lincoln.’  They had seen American movies where virile carefree men with complaisant blonde women rolled down endless convertible black top highways laughing senselessly as their hair blew in the wind without knotting.  Defeated, impoverished and faced by such images they gritted their teeth against a feeling inferiority.

page 1088.

     They could not accept such inferiority as they gazed at these seeming simpleton American boys of nineteen.  It didn’t seem possible that these boys could have had anything to do with ‘Maybellines’, ‘Hot Rod Lincolns’ or the ballsy types of the movies.  Hawaii, California, the Golden West could have been all theirs they thought.  Except for what?  A little bit of luck of course.

     Both Deasy and Trueman protested the carts.  There was a hidden symbolism there that the felt but didn’t understand.  The great Lancelot’s reputation was smeared for all time because he once rode in a cart.  the Japanese men didn’t know that legend but they knew what they were doing just the same.

     Still protesting, Deasy and Trueman got in one cart while Maclen and the others jammed into the other one.  The two pimps revved up the bikes then sped along behind each other on a twenty minute ride.

     ‘How far away is this place?’  Deasy asked after fifteen minutes of twisting and turning.

     ‘I don’t know.  Probably a couple of blocks.’

     ‘Couple blocks!  It must be a lot further than that.  Thing’s been driving around for a quarter hour.’

     ‘Yeah, but this is at least the third time I’ve seen this corner.  I think they’re driving around in figure eights.  You notice the neighborhood hasn’t changed at all, we haven’t crossed any main streets.  Probably just like in the movies where the enemy agents drive around to get you confused then take you in the back door of the house you walked out the front.  Whadya think?’

page 1089.

     ‘Probably.’  Deasy said sitting back.  ‘I don’t know about this Maclen guy.  I’ve heard weird things about him.  He’s getting a bad reputation.’

     ‘Kerry?’  I think he’s alright.’  Dewey replied who because of his own developing long range plans included Maclen turned an unseeing eye to Maclen’s obvious criminal nature.

     At this time the two carts bumped against the curb at their destination.  They were about two blocks from where they started just like in the movies.  Since movies aren’t art there is no reason to ask whether art imitates life or life art; like all good novels, good movies portray real life.

     The five sailors were led inside to an empty room.  A small table held a movie projector; the screen was the blank wall facing.  A chair for each of the Japanese was on either side of the projector.  They would be seated above their American cattle.  The Japs motioned deprecatingly for the Americans to sit on the floor.

     ‘We want chairs.’  Deasy demanded.

     The Japs shrugged their shoulders.  Acting as an accomplice Maclen seconded the Jap opinion at each step.  The sailors didn’t realize they were in the hands of three criminals- two Japs and one American.  The balance of power had now been shifted from the conquerors to the conquered upon entering the room.  No one knew but that a secret panel might open disgorging a band to slit their throats.  Maclen who seemed to Trueman and Deasy at least to have an affinity to the Japanese criminals if he wasn’t in collusion with them, calmed them down insisting they accept the situation.  Their cicerones became surly nd commanding men now that they felt the sailors were in their power.

page 1090

    

    

Our Lady Of The Blues:

From Gaia To Maia

V-5

by

R.E. Prindle

 

     Captain Ratches equally enraged emerged from the wardroom long enough to say sternly:  ‘You men are restricted to ship for the remainder of the stay.  Ensign Shaffer write everyone of these men up.  I’ll be seeing each of you at your Captain’s Mast tomorrow.  No need to waste time.  You’ll be lucky if you don’t get General Court Martials.’

     Ratches was thinking ahead to his confrontation with the Commodore in which he would be dragged through the mud again.  The Commodore was becoming less tolerant as time passed.  The ship would rue this adventure.  It was time that Ratches became less lenient if for no other reason than to protect himself.  Good luck, Captain Ratches.

Kanary Eats Krow

     Looking fairly hung over and rasty the twenty-five desperadoes plus Kanary gathered on the fantail after morning chow to await their Captain’s Masts.  Ratches had truly wasted no time.  The Wild Bunch smelled rather strongly as the evaporaters were down and their was no potable water available for showering.  A heavy miasma of sweat and vomit hung over the area.

     They were angry and remonstrated loudly:

     ‘Hell, I don’t see why we gotta get no Captain’s Mast.  Hell, this is Subic.’

page 1001.

     ‘They had guns, man, they had guns.  We had guns we woulda wiped the gooks out.’

     ‘Yeah.  The sons of bitches they run us just like we was dogs man, they treated us just like we was animals.’

     ‘Hell, yes, man.  They wan’t nothing but gooks.  Couldn’t even speak English.’

     ‘Hell, yes.  We’re warriors in the Navy of the most powerful nation on earth.  They don’t like it they can eat shit.’

     They were going on in this fashion when Paul Duber noticed Trueman and Frenchey who were swabbing the deck.  A cold chill went down his spine.  In the light of semi-sobriety it dawned on him that Trueman might have witnessed the spectacle.  If so he had degraded himself below Trueman.  His sense of superiority was shattered.

    ‘Where was you Trueman yesterday?’

     ‘The correct literate way to say that Duber is:  Where were you yesterday, Trueman?’

     ‘Cut the bullshit.  Where was…were you?’

     ‘Here in Subic Bay the same as you.’  Trueman replied coyly.  ‘Of course, I wasn’t actually in the bay.’  He sniggered, glancing over at Kanary.

     ‘That’s not what I mean.’  Duber said, unwilling to mention the ignominy of being hustled aboard by El Jefe.

     ‘You’ll have to be more specific Duber.  I can’t read your mind.  That’s assuming you have one…left.’  With faux innocence.

     ‘Cut the crap, Trueman.’  Cornell Roberts snarled.  You know what we’re talking about.  You seen us, right?’

page 1002.

     ‘Crap it was Roberts, not to mention about an ocean of puke.  Remember puking all over Blake’s shoe.  He does.  You guys sure were great comic relief; I nearly laughed my ass off.’  Trueman joked,  Then holding his swab in front of him like a rifle in imitation of the Federales he strutted around the fantail shouting:  Hep, dos, tres, quatro.  Hep, dos, tres, quatro.  Andale hombres, andale.’

     Then he and Frenchey broke down in laughter.

     ‘That’s enough of that.’  Lt. Bifrons Morford snapped as he arrived to escort the Wild Bunch up to the fo’c’sle for their Captain’s Mast.

     ‘Oh, aye, aye, sor, Lt. Morford, sor.’  Trueman mouthed sourly pronouncing ‘aye sor’ as though it were eye sore.  Morford ignored him directing his men forward single file.

     Last was Kanary hoping to vanish en route from the fantail to the fo’c’sle.  He was still genuinely ill from the spectacular crash and near drowning but he was sicker still at the prospect of a Captain’s Mast.  His identity was at stake.  All of them were sick at heart that they were to be tried while Trueman and some half dozen others they despised were not.  Kanary especially felt the degradation of lowering himself before his negative alter ego, Trueman.  His conscious ‘purity’ was being challenged while his projection of impurity in the person of Trueman stood laughing which would require tremendous self-deception to counteract.  Any conscious effort would be superficial as his subconscious ruled.  As he had no concept of morality he couldn’t help but do what he most sought to avoid: inhibit and repress himself.

page 1003.

     Kanary hung back reluctant to face the music.  He slipped between the K-guns and crouched down hoping Morford would overlook him but Morford didn’t.

     ‘Come on, Kanary. Let’s go.’  Morford said crisply.

     With mouth drooping Kanary slunk out from betwen the K-guns not so much in shame, as he was all chutzpah, but in mortification.

     As he started up the deck Trueman let out a low mocking:  ‘Stop thief.’

     Kanary’s shoulders sagged forward as he let out a low sob.

     ‘What did I say, Trueman?’  Morford cautioned.  But by that time Trueman was down between two K-guns pretending to swab carefully.

     ‘We go watch thees.’  Frenchey said breathlessly as Kanary and Morford disappeared from view.

     ‘Might as well.’  Trueman replied leaning his swab against the three inch tub.

    ‘To the breege.’  Frenchey whispered.

     They clambered up the aft Starboard ladder to the boad deck then up to the bridge.  There were already half a dozen men there.  Several more lined the divider between the forward three and the fo’c’sle while two concealed themselves behind the three inch.  Others crouched in the concealment of the Hedgehogs.

     As it was impolite to be seen all crouched low, hats off, barely peeping over or around their barriers.  Trueman and Frenchey found a place starboard where they were concealed but could see around the curved windshield.

page 1004.

     The Captain arraigned the sailors forward of the vacant 20MM gun tub while he took up a position inside the tub where the mount used to be.  As Kanary, who would normally function as secretary was being arraigned his place was taken by the Operations officer, Bifrons Morford.  Since this was the largest Captain’s Mast in the history of the Teufelsdreck and squadron the Executive officer, Sieggren was also in attendance.

     Ratches was torn between disgust and the time honored Navy tradition that boys will be boys.  He was angered at the Bunch because they could perpetrate such an egregious offence during his Captaincy.  The story was already making the rounds not only of the squadron but the fleet.  The inevitable consequence was that Ratches’ and the ship’s reputation was suffering further deterioration with the Commodore.  He felt like sending them all to hell.  Still Ratches had a ship to run, he must stay true to his principles and what’s more my son, he was a man.

     Ratches had a good style about his Captain’s Masts.  He appeared to be the most humble of men, embarrassed by his duty, rather than a stern or angry judge.  It was as though he hated to do this but as it was a part of the Captain’s duty he was so bound.  He gave the impression that if you had any kind of excuse at all he would heed it.  Thus he stood before the malefactors as only a benign shipmate performing a task as any one of them might have done it.

     The fact that he had a shipload of foulups, men and officers alike, was beyond his or any other Captain’s ability to correct.  Sometimes, you know, it’s just the luck of the Irish.

page 1005.

     Ratches called Duber out first as the ranking petty officer.  Duber stuttered out something incoherent about being South of the Line and only doing what others before him had done and then shut up.  The rest with the exception of Kanary, who was up on different charges, said nothing, merely standing with heads down.

     Ratches broke Duber down to Seaman Apprentice, restitution of damages and restriction both in Subic and the upcoming visit to Yokosuka.  The last part really smarted because everyone was looking foward to Japan.  He did the same with the rest of them.  Thus the Teufelsdreck, ironically, had a higher percentage of Seaman Apprentices than any ship in the fleet.  Trueman and Frenchey giggled with glee as Ratches broke each man.

     As Kanary’s offence was independent of the others he was saved for the last.  When he was called forward the blow to his self-esteem was more than he could handle.  He began first by blubbering the false remorse of the guilty caught in the act:  ‘I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry.  I didn’t mean to do it.  I’m so so sorry.’

     The worst of it for Kanary was that he couldn’t see where he had done anything wrong.  Not only was the strongest injunction in his intellect that he was not to inhibit himself but no one had said anything to John Wayne for appropriating his bike.  In the movie it was treated as a satisfying humorous adventure for the big lunk.  Why should it be different for him?  But it was.  This was no movie, real people with real bicycles were affected.

page 1006.

     Disregarding Kanary’s spurious remorse Ratches also busted Kanary down to SA, ordered restitution and restriction in Subic and Yokosuka and an apology.

     By the time Ratches had gotten to apology Kanary had begun to wail:  ‘No. NO!  Not me. Not ME.  Do it to him, not me.’

     Mystified Ratches asked who ‘he’ was.

     ‘Dewey Trueman.  Do it to him, not me.  He’s that kind of guy, I’m not.’

     ‘But Trueman wasn’t involved in this Sailor.  You were.’

     ‘That doesn’t matter.’  Kanary sobbed.  ‘That doesn’t matter.  You can’t do this to me.’

     But the hammer had already fallen.  Kanary did have to eat crow.  Crow of his own baking but as he grappled with the sentence it was suppressed to his subconcious where it was attached to his fixation on Trueman.

     After the Captain had tried one’s case and passed sentence it is demanded of you that you say:  ‘Thank-you Captain.’ whether he’s just sent you to the brig for six months or dismissed your case.

     And the muffled ‘Thank you, Captain.’ of Kanary was heard while his lowly uttered ‘Fuck you.’ went unnoticed.

     The Wild Bunch was dismissed.  As they came off the fo’c’sle Duber was saying to Roberts:  ‘That son-of-a-bitch Trueman saw us all broken down.  He said so.’

     ‘So?’

page 1007.

     ‘So?  So that goddamned fuckup had no right to see us screwed over by those goddamned gooks and drunk on our ass to boot.  Didn’t you see that hup hup he did?  Who the hell do you think he was imitating?’

     ‘Well, we could always kick his ass.’

    ‘We might could do that, Roberts.’  Duber said in disgust.  ‘But I got a better plan.  We’re supposed to go over to the Reefer tomorrow for supplies.  They have a meat locker, if you get my drift.’

     ‘What’s a meat locker got to do with marijuana?’  Roberts sniffed.

     ‘Reefer not reefer, you idiot.  The Refrigerator ship.  We’ll throw him in the meat locker and leave him.’

      ‘Oh yeah, just like Skinny What’s-his-name Dieter told us about.’

     Duber didn’t know Dieter’s story but pretending always to be privy to everything he said:  ‘Yeah, just like that.’

The USS Sheridan Le Fanu

     When someone you despise sees you in the most degrading of situations there must be a response.  You either accept the fact that you have been degraded below your eminence or you must do something to rectify the situation.  Since it is no longer possible to elevate yourself above him he must be degraded below you.  If that is impossible he must be injured or killed.  Only by so doing can one reestablish one’s own self-respect.

page 1008.

      It was resolved to kill Trueman.

     A landing craft came alongside to transport the work detail to the refrigerator ship, the Sheridan Le Fanu.  The Reefer loaded up in the States then anchored in an inlet adjacent to Subic where it sat for six to eight months while ships restocked their larders from it.  The procedure may seem superflous as one might think stores could be bought locally.  But this cannot be.  No sailor will work unless he is fed the food he is used to.  Had they tried to feed the crew Japanese foods bought in Tokyo Bay during that visit very likely the crew would have rioted.  Besides, imagine Bocuse working with foodstuffs he’d never seen before.  What would he do without string beans?  Any ship must stock only the native foods of their crew.  Being a rich nation the US solved this problem by stationing Reefers at appropriate locations.

     The large work detail of twenty-four was comprised almost entirely of the desperadoes and homosexuals who now directed the internal affairs of the crew.  Each was a sworn enemy of Trueman.  Larger than necessary, the detail was treated as a sort of holiday or learning experience.  Trueman was wishing he could go when Roberts motioned him in the manner of a handler saying:  Come on Trueman.  You’re going.

     ‘Hey, terrific.’  Trueman replied needing no further prodding.  ‘Ordinarily Roberts I don’t take orders from Seaman Apprentices but I’ll make an exception in this case.  I don’t want to be left out.’

     ‘Oh, you don’t have to worry about that;  you’ll be left in alright.’  Seaman Apprentice Kanary cooed from the craft.

page 1009.

     As the boat shoved off Chief Dieter wearing his liver colored comlexion waved bye bye while Roberts gave him a knowing wink.

     ‘All Seaman Apprentices to the back of the boat.’  Trueman jeered with a rollicking laugh.

     Not surprisingly this joke drew no response from the two thirds or so who had been busted the previous day.  The others remained prudently silent.  Trueman was not disturbed.  He stood relishing the beautiful scene.  The waters were that gorgeous blue, smooth and glassy; the light beamed down ignoring the fluffy clouds as though they were transparent glass; the tremendous green of the jungle ran back in waves from the sea.  Even the stark gray steel bulk of the Le Fanu seemed appropriate to the time and place.

     Proud Costello, the Third Class Gunner’s Mate, standing a few feet from Trueman said loudly- he always tried to boom but it was beneath his lung capacity- ‘You’re going to have to climb a cargo net Trueman, so try not to lose it.’

     ‘Don’t worry, pal.  I’ll be up the net way ahead of a pussy like you.’

     ‘Don’t bet on it, little man.’  Costello intoned down his nose.

     As they spoke the craft rounded the starboard stern to reveal a cargo net fifty feet wide draped over the side of the Le Fanu.

     Reefers are very large ships, in the 500-600 foot class.  The bridge and all the working and living quarters are above the main deck on the stern.  As they are designed to hold as much as possible they have a very broad beam and rise high above the water.  There was a thirty foot climb from the craft to the top of the gun’le.

page 1010.

     ‘Oh hey, terrific, this is what I joined the Navy for.’  Trueman said under his breath.  Those who heard him thought he was joking but he wasn’t.  A thing like climbing a cargo net may seem like small potatoes but it really isn’t.  For one thing the height frightens a lot of men; for another the climb is very difficult for a fat or out of condition man.  It also requires some dexterity.  The climb was really quite a high one.  There were many who were afraid and one so terrified he refused.

     Trueman had admiringly seen the Marines do this in a lot of movies; he was eager to go.  In movies as in real life the best place is the end of the net where the notion is that one straddles the end then using either side for foot and hand holds climb up.  Trueman had already visualized the whole process.

     Oblivious to pseudo-compassionate cries of ‘You don’t have to do this if you want, Trueman.’  Dewey maneuvered himself into position to get the end, he got it and clambered out of the craft as it was still moving.

     Seeing him ascending and realizing that they had been mistaken about his courage Roberts and a couple others grabbed where they could determined that he would not be the first to the top.

     The less aggressive waited to see how the others fared while the terrified cringed back.  There were six who had to be coaxed and prodded to move.  The most recalcitrant was the hero of his own dreams, Proud Costello.

page 1011.

     Trueman climbed steadily.  Actually hauling yourself up thirty feet is not so easy as the movie Marines make it look.  It was tiring.  Just beneath him, ever shadowing him, Teal Kanary followed him up.

     About two thirds of the way up Trueman felt a hand on his ass with a thumb probing his rectum.  Looking down he discovered Kanary groping his ass with his hand.

     ‘Get your hand off my ass, Kanary.’

     ‘I’m just trying to help you.  I don’t want you to fall.’

     ‘When I want your help I’ll ask for it.  Get you hand off my ass.’

     As it would have been stupid to quarrel on the netting Trueman had to suffer the indignity, cursing Kanary as he went.  Spilling over the gun’le first, struggling pantingly to their feet Roberts and a couple broken Wild Bunchers hauled Dewey over the gun’l as though he really needed their help.  Anyone viewing from a distance would have thought Trueman had been saved from falling.  In their own minds the Bunch thought themselves to have redeemed some of their dignity.

     Feeling much below him because of their busts they had hopefully projected a character of cowardice on him imagining that he could not climb the net.  When he eagerly had been the first on, this aggravated their feeling of degradation so they they had to demean him further.  Hence Kanary’s fondling his rectum and the hauling him aboard as though he couldn’t succeed without their help.

page 1012.

     Trueman had been dumped roughly on his ass.  Scrambling to his feet he gave Kanary a shove which was a very rare display of anger for him.  Kanary stepped nimbly back feigning dismay while Trueman lunged for Roberts who also stepped back.  As they were deprived of the sneak attack which gave them the advantage they now refused to fight on fair terms.  Adepts at transferring responsibility they now gave the impression that they were not afraid but found Trueman’s rage incomprehensible.

     Down below the terrified sailors were being coaxed onto the netting to begin the climb while the deck filled noisily with triumphant sailors who had made the climb.  Proud Costello was loudly, even tearfully, refusing to climb.  As a defense he bemoaned the indignity of a man of his stature, a man of officer material, having to climb the netting.  He loudly demanded to use the Captain’s ladder.  That ladder was a set of steel stairs suspended down the side of the Le Fanu a few yards forward of the craft.  The craft was unsecured being moved alongside the ladder for Costello to ascend.  Once again while everyone was in dungarees Costello was in undress blues to display his third class chevron.  Proud Costello with stiff dignity but with shaking legs as though performing the Grand March from Aida mounted each step with sniffing austerity as though he were the great man himself on the way to snatch the crown from the Pope’s hands and place it on his own head.

     There were at least thirty steps to the ladder so the Grand March took some time.  Surprisingly Costello’s prestige was such that his cowardice at climbing the netting was disregarded.  His demand to use the Captain’s ladder was met with awe rather than derision.  No one seconded Dewey’s derisory taunts.

page 1013.

     Still, the Navy has its rules and Costello had just committed a major faux pas.  The story was relayed to Captain Ratches by some route and he did not view the act with admiration but with indignation.

     Once on deck the sailors of the Teufelsdreck milled about looking for direction.  The Le Fanu might as well have been a ghost ship like the Marie Celeste anchored mysteriously in the bay, for none of her sailors ever showed their faces.  Perhaps the Officer In Charge knew his way around in some mysterious way but no general directives were ever given.  The sailors broke into bands roving over the gigantic storerooms of the Reefer.

     ‘Hey, it’s over here.’  Roberts called having found the meat locker expecting to find sides of beef hanging from meathooks.  Instead the locker was empty, fully depleted, completely raided by the Pirates of Subic Bay with the cooling units off and the doors standing wide open allowing the space to air.

     The eight or so sailors entered the locker which was perhaps twenty by fifty feet in size, amazingly large but seemingly tiny in the middle of the deck of the huge Le Fanu.  Duber and Roberts were disappointed to find it empty as in the killing of Skinny La Monte Dieter had said that Skinny had been lost amongst the beeves.

page 1014.

     ‘Maybe we’ll just leave you here to freeze and die, Trueman.’

     ‘Go ahead, Roberts, I won’t mind.’

     ‘You’d freeze to death.’ Roberts sneered expecting Trueman to beg for his life.

     ‘Not unless they turn the freezers on.’  Trueman laughed.  ‘More likely I’ll roast to death when the heat builds up in this sun.’

     ‘Oh yeah?’  Roberts said belatedly realizing that the freezer unit was not operating.  ‘Well, you’d starve to death.’

     ‘Who you kidding?  This is a reefer ship.  Someone would open the doors right away.  I’d be out in no time.’

     ‘Huh!  Well, even so, we’d be gone and you wouldn’t be with us anymore.’

    ‘Gee, that would break my heart.  Without you drunken bums rolling around the Quarterdeck and puking on Blake’s shoes I wouldn’t have anyone to laugh at.’

     ‘Ha ha ha.’  Was Roberts clever retort as the men realizing the futility of the situation filed out leaving Trueman standing two thirds of the way down the locker.  In frustration Duber and Roberts swung the doors close but didn’t latch them.  With some apprehension Trueman stepped over tentatively pushing a door which swung open.

    ‘Aw hell, I’m going to have to look at you bums a while yet.’

page 1015.

     ‘What’re we going to do now?’  Roberts asked Duber.

     ‘Give me a couple minutes.’

     Somebody yelled:  ‘Hey, over here.’  as they found the hatch leading down into the aft storage decks.  The ship was gigantic.  It was about to be sent back to the States for restocking so not only was the meat locker empty but the shelves were nearly bare.  The four decks above the waterline presented compartment after compartment of empty metal tiers.  The supplies must have been fantastic when the Le Fanu was fully loaded.

     Supply ships are built tubby so the midship beam extended from the blunt bow to the rounded stern.  Sailors raced from stem to stern five hundred fifty feet over four decks looking for goodies but none were to be found.  Other crews had raided the Le Fanu before the Teufelsdreck got there.

     Duber had found some left over gallon cans of string beans, both regular and jullienne, the kind Trueman always complained about, on the second level of the stern.  His idea came to him.  He explained his plan to Roberts.  Dawson, Duber’s innamorata in Operations was sent to draw Dewey back.

     The shelves were about ten feet high spaced thirty inches between shelves.  Duber and Roberts were far from clever men.  While Dawson was supposed to be keeping Trueman occupied Roberts crawled down the top shelf to hopefully push the gallon cans on Trueman’s head.

     The shelves were those latticework jobbers that can seen through so Trueman had no trouble seeing Roberts creeping along the top shelf.  Waiting until Roberts was about to push the cans Trueman shouted: ‘It’s a blob of dogshit, it’s a sack of garbage, no, it’s the Man of Puke, it’s Roberts.  What the hell you doing Roberts?’ and stepped back.  A half dozen cans slammed into the deck exposing Roberts face in the vacated space.

page 1016.

     ‘How’d you knowit was me?’  Roberts asked lamely.

     ‘Aw, for Christ’s sake, Roberts, you’re even dumber than you look.  I can see you.  Now, I see why you drink.  To try and blot out your stupidity.  Well, let me tell you, nothing will ever disguise that.’

     ‘Fuck you, Trueman.’

     ‘Aw, go do what you do best, Roberts.  Suck a weenie.’

     A call to reassemble came over the intercom so the sailors drifted back to the main deck.  As there were no supplies evident the detail seemed superfluous.  Maybe it was just to keep the restricted men occupied and on their feet.

     The sailors scrambled over the side back down the netting into the landing craft.  Using gravity rather than fighting it was a heck of a lot easier.  Proud Costello made his magisterial  descent down the Captain’s ladder.  By then he had devised a mythology for his actions.

     A day later the lines were drawn in.  The Teufelsdreck bearing the warriors of the most powerful nation on earth turned its poop to Subic and its prow to the Land Of The Rising Sun.

Waking Up Is Hard To Do.

     Subic was the turning point in the voyage.  After Subic the qualities of the men had been tried and weighed.  Each knew who the other was.  The presence of others became a burden.  People tended to draw within somewhat more.  The routine became deadening.  Then too the long four thousand mile jaunt from the tropics through the Alaska low pressure system was a transition from warm idyllic seas to cold stormy tempestuous seas.

page 1017.

     The events of Subic had deepened the hard feeling certain men had for others.  While Kanary wasn’t exactly Morford’s protege, his homosexual capacity to revere Morford as an unobtainable ideal disposed Morford in his favor.  Thus even though Kanary had brought his misfortunes on himself he both blamed Trueman on the grounds that if he hadn’t been there he, himself,  wouldn’t have misbehaved.  It is not impossible that Kanary hoped to impress Trueman with his bicycle escapade in Subic becoming embittered toward him because it failed.

     At any rate from this point Morford’s detestation of Trueman increased tenfold.  Then too, Navy life began to wear on Bifrons.  He longed for the fleshpots of Las Vegas.

     Trueman had stood the morning 12-4 at his preferred postion as port lookout.  At three-thirty Ensign Princing sent him to the wardroom to wake Morford who was Princing’s relief, up.

     Tim, affectionately known as Poopy to his fellows, was First Lieutenant.  Which is to say he was in charge of First Division.  He had come aboard just before the ship left the States.

     Trueman’s repugnance of the Officers was such that he hated to enter the wardroom.  As there was nothing for it he searched out Morford’s cubicle.  The officers all had their own little cubicles really just enough for their bunks and a space to hang up their uniforms but private.  The door stood open or, rather, the curtains were pushed aside.

     ‘Time for watch, Lt. Morford.’  Trueman said as loudly as he dared.

     Morford gave no response but it appeared that he heard.

     ‘Time to go on watch, sir.’  Trueman repeated leaning closer and speaking more loudly.

     Morford threw an elbow in his face as though by accident,  Trueman ducked.

     ‘Sir…’

     ‘Alright, alright.  Get the hell out of here.’

     Fifteen minutes later Princing was still waiting for his relief.

     ‘Did you wake Morford up, Trueman?

     ‘Yes, sir.  He told me to get the hell out of there.’

     ‘Well, go down and wake him again.’

     ‘He doesn’t respond well to being told to get up, sir.’

     ‘Well, then hit the edge of his bunk, just so, to jar him awake.’

     ‘Aye, aye, sir.’

     Returning with even greater repugnance Trueman tried a vocal approach first which Morford ignored.  Then Trueman hit the bunk frame as he had been instructed.  This time Morford rolled over throwing a punch which Dewey evaded.

     ‘Goddamn you, sailor.  Don’t you ever touch me or anything belonging to me again.’

page 1019

     Trueman’s hatred of the abnoxious officer flared:  ‘Don’t you goddamn me you son-of-a-bitch.  I did what Princing told me to do.  I’m following orders.  Now get of bed and relieve the watch.’

     ‘Goddamn you, I’ll write you up for talking to me like that.’

     By now their voices were reaching angry shouting tones.

    ‘Go ahead son-of-a-bitch and I’ll have you on the carpet for throwing a punch at me for doing my duty.’

    Half sitting Morford threw another punch.  Trueman backed into the opposite cubicle which being Princing’s was empty.

     ‘You’re goddamn lucky you’re an officer Morford.’  Trueman shouted raising his fists.  Morford yelled out further invective beginning to get out of his bunk to punch Trueman out.

     ‘Watch yourself, Morford.’  Trueman warned although desperate to avoid contact that could only go against him.  The other officers had been awakened.  Fortunately Ensign Shaffer defused the situation by calling out in alarm:  ‘Hold on.  What’s going on there?’

     Both men desisted but Morford said with muffled hatred:  ‘If you ever come into my cubicle again I’ll knock your fucking head off and ram it up your ass.’  Now, get the hell out of here.’

    ‘Such a wiener.’  Trueman muttered under his breath but loud enough for Morford to hear.

     Morford appeared on the bridge just after the enlisted reliefs had shown.  He gave Trueman a threatening glance that Trueman dismissed contemptuously with great ostentation.

page 1020.

Peter Erect Goes Down For The Last Time.

     The following day Ratches received word that the parents of the two injured sailors were filing suit against the Navy.  The Navy like any other organization and most individuals had no intention of taking responsibility for its actions.  Those things were bound to happen as the brass saw it, the wear and tear of daily life that had to be put up with…until the shoe was on the other foot.  Why should dishonor accrue to the Navy for the actions of men over whom it had no control.  Thin logic for, put in this light, the men became free agents not indentured servants for which the Navy was responsible.  Contradictory, but in the devolution of command from entity to officers to men it made, if not logical sense, legal sense.  Ratches knew what he had to do.

     The ship had just passed the northern end of Luzon.  The seas were choppy over medium length swells.  The weather had already turned from tropical to temperate although delightful.  Trueman was basking in the gorgeous climate on the 12-4 afternoon watch when he noticed that Captain Ratches leaning against the bridge rim was staring absorbedly toward the fantail.  Trueman turned to look from time to time puzzled by the intensity of Ratches’ gaze out over the empty sea.

     Reflecting on Ratches’ apparent anxiety Trueman once again looked aft.  There he saw Peter Erect being herded toward the area just forward of the K-guns.

page 1021.

     There was a heated discussion going on as the six sailors appointed by Ratches upbraided Erect.

     ‘You s0n-of-a-bitch, you purposely crippled Baxter and Basehart.  Those were two good men, better than you.  You cannot get away with that you dirty dog.’

     ‘It was a accident.  Maybe I made a mistake but it was OK because it was hazing, Paul said we could.  I didn’t no nothin’ wrong.’

     ‘Accident?  Mistake my ass.  You loaded the end of that hose with lead, you swung at their balls; you couldn’t help but hurt them even without the lead.  You would have crippled the whole ship if you hadn’t been jerked off the line.  You cannot be allowed to get away with that.’

     ‘I don’t care.  I don’t see how there’s anything you can do about it.  That’ just the way it is now, it can’t be changed. Paul said so.’

      ‘Nothing we can do, hey?’  One said reaching out and slapping Erect alongside his head.

     ‘You goddamned faggot.  Those men were crippled for life.  You’ve got to die.’

     Erect had raised his arm defensively at the slap.  As he did so a sailor threw a full nelson on him while another sailor grabbed his ankles.  Between the two of them with the others each at least laying a hand on Erect they hoisted him up and dumped him over the side like a sack of garbage.

     ‘Nothing any one can do about that either.’

     Dewey watched the scene in wonder training his glasses on them.  When he saw them pick Erect up and toss him over the side he couldn’t believe his eyes.  ‘That’s murder.’  passed through his mind.  He saw Erect’s head bobbing on the crests as though he were standing on Davy Jones’ shoulders rather than on the way to Davy’s locker.  He made no outcry but quietly and calmly accepted his fate.  It took only a couple hundred yards before the head could no longer be seen amongst the choppy waves.

page 1022.

     Dewey stood mouth gaping while the realization of the situation dawned on him.  ‘Hey, that’s man overboard.’  He said to himself still astonished at the sight.  Then his lips formed the words:  ‘Man Overboard.’  Then he looked at Ratches who was staring aft with a look of grim satisfaction.

     ‘God, he must have seen it.’  Dewey thought.  Then he pointed aft and said tentatively in a normal tone to Ratches:  ‘Man, overboard?’

     Ratches shrugged:  ‘Aw hell, we’d never find him now in this choppy sea.  We could circle around for hours and never find him.  Waste of time and fuel.  He’d probably drown by then anyway.’  Ratches turned away and belched and farted.

     Dewey looked back again.  He thought he saw Erect’s floating head crest with that same impassive stare at the ship he could see but which couldn’t see him.

     The reality of the situation clustered around Dewey’s mind but couldn’t sink in.  That could have been me flicked on his consciousness.  All of a sudden he realized that his own survival had elements of luck while the future loomed menacingly.  Peter Erect was gone.  No one ever mentioned his name again nor was his absence missed.  That’s the way it is aboard ship; either you’re aboard or you’re not.  Once gone it’s as though you had never existed.

page 1023.

     Even though Erect ceased to exist even in the homos’ minds the memory of the injury to their kind by the others persisted.  They had forgotten Erect’s crime to which, indeed, they were accessories, thinking only of their own injury.  Two wrongs do not make a right but three do.  Strange logic but true.  Society forgets or paid no notice to the original offence.  Its attention is called only to the response to the first offence which it holds as the crime.  The reply to that is seen as proper vengeance that cleans the slate.  It does make sense in a perverse way.  After the third offence a feud would begin and feuds are to be avoided at all costs so the perpetrator walks.  Anyway, that’s the way society works.

     ‘Someone has to pay for this.’  They all said to each other as they sported in after steering.  ‘Someone has got to pay.’

The USS Charles Maturin

     Slipping past the Philippines into the North Pacific the seas began to rise as the Teufelsdreck approached a huge stormfront that was to last until Tokyo Bay.  At this juncture the Snipes were called on to exercise their talents.  They were to refuel at sea.

     The Navy masterminds who sat behind those desks in Washington DC must have been busier than anyone thought to arrange to put each ship through every imaginable maneuver so that the old hands had their memories refreshed and novices gained this valuable first experience.  This was really phenomenal organization to mastermind the training of a million sailors on hundreds of ships spanning the seven seas of the world.

page 1024.

     The Teufelsdreck rendezvoused with the Tanker:  USS Charles Maturin.

     Tankers are even larger than Reefers being in the 600-700 foot class.  Built like Reefers they are stubby vessels broad at the beam, blunt bow and rounded stern.  As the big Tanker appeared on the storm’s horizon it was clear that it was less than half full.  The Maturin sat high in the water rolling eerily from side to side.

     Out on the trailing edge of the typhoon which was heading Northwest toward Japan the seas were high with choppy waves and long rolls and cross currents.  It would have been better for the Snipes if the Maturin had been fully laden lowering it in the water while reducing its crazy roll.

     Gunnery and Deck gathered around to watch the Snipes go through their paces.  They had a fairly hazardous task ahead of them.  The Teufelsdreck being the more maneuverable came alongside the Maturin to within twenty feet as both ships labored through the heavy weather at ten knots.

     Both bridges were required to give full concentration to the maneuver to maintain distance and speed.  Ratches had Verlaine who as an expert helmsman at the wheel.  Verlaine was more important for the success of the operation than either the Snipes or the Maturin helmsman.  At the larger ship, the crewmen the of Maturin were very mischievous.  Since they had nothing to lose everything was a joke to them.

page 1025.

     The Maturin towered over the little Teufelsdreck.  The little DE looked like a speck alongside the huge Tanker which was twice as long.  Six inch diameter hoses were lowered down the span between the two ships to be connected to the intake pipe just aft of the rear starboard hatch.  The Snipes went bravely to work on the rolling pitching decks while they were not used to the cold.  Not often outside in the cool air they shivered at their task.

     It took a full hour to maneuver the hose onto the intake.  The sailors of the Maturin who did this everyday played Tanker games.  Just as the Teufelsdreck Snipes had the hose nearly connected the Maturin would shorten the give pulling the hose away.  It appeared that connection had been completed and fueling began when the Maturin shortened the give snapping the connection.  Already pumping oil, the gooey mess spilled over the deck as the Oilers fought desperately to reconnect.  The sailors of the Maturin high above, safe from any retribution broke down in laughter at their joke jeering mightily at the Teufelsdreck Oilers.

     Successful in their maneuver the Maturin Oilers were beside themselves with glee.  The Teufelsdreck had nothing f0r it but to bear them patiently.  The connection was redone with minimal leakage.

    Then sailing side by side through the heavy seas the Maturin inseminated the Teufelsdreck with its life sustaining liquid.  Refueling finished the Oilers disconnected the hose while the Maturin sailors reeled it in.  This was really a breathtaking exercise that did the Captain, Verlaine and the Oilers credit.

     ‘Your men better clean this mess up.’  Dieter said to Chief Oiler by way of congratulations.  ‘My men aren’t going to do it.’

To Helm Or Not To Helm, That Is The Question

     Troy Verlaine, the Quartermaster, held the wheel.  He was a good helmsman who could keep the ship on course through all kinds of seas:  headers, cross or following.  The sea like the wind is capable of moving in any and all directions.  the pressure on the hull can be sensed and answered.   Steering a ship is different than steering a car which has a defined track ahead of it.

     Helmsmen must develop a peculiar relationship to the officers.  Once at the helm, responsible for the safety of the ship in a way that the Captain is not, hence of almost equal authority, he was still one of the enlisted subservient to the temporal authority of the officers.

     Fully conscious that he was in control of the vessel yet subservient to the Captain he found it necessary from time to time to demand that the Captain take certain actions.  Verlaine like all experienced helmsmen developed a manner of being laughingly humble while at the same time issuing demands that had to be attended to.  The Captain accordingly was more familiar with his helmsman than any other enlisted man.

page 1027.

     Verlaine had been doing four on and four off at sea since San Diego as there was only one other, Cygnette, who could serve as helmsman.

     ‘Yes, Captain.’  He volunteered.  ‘We should really be training another couple men to take the helm.’

     ‘What’s wrong?’  Ratches replied.   ‘Can’t you and Cynette handle it?’

     ‘Oh yes, sure, I don’t have any problem with four on and four off.  I don’t have much time for my other duties but I don’t mind at all.  The only thing is if one of us gets sick the other can’t stand watch twenty-four hours a day.’  He laughed humbly.  ‘If you catch my drift, Captain.’

     ‘Yes, I do.  I see what you mean.’  Ratches mused while watching Trueman on port watch.

     Ratches, who, while abhorrent of personal contact with the enlisted, still conscientiously examined the personnel files, was well aware that Trueman had one of the half dozen or so highest general intelligence scores on board.  From 60 to 70 represented the cream:  Trueman had a 62.  There was no question in Ratches’ mind that Trueman’s abilities were being wasted in deck but the man resolutely refused his cooperation.

     Ratches saw it as not only his duty to his command to develop the men to their full potential but he also sought to reduce the friction aboard ship between Trueman, and very nearly, all the others.  He was more aware than Trueman how narrowly the sailor had escaped Dieter’s death sentence.  The insanity of Kanary never left his mind.  The Captain reasoned that if Trueman were skilled in something the others respected perhaps he could be integrated into the crew.

page 1028.

     Intergrated into the crew, indeed!

     Ratches made a hand motion toward Trueman asking for Verlaine’s permission.  Verlaine was not happy with the choice but he would have taken anyone to get away from four on, four off. so he shrugged his shoulders as if to say, if I have to.

     ‘You must get bored standing all those port watches, sailor.  So little going on.’

     Trueman hated the officers as much as anything for referring to the enlisted impersonally as ‘Sailor’.  He responded coldly.

     ‘I don’t ever get bored, Captain.  Being bored is for boring people.  I bring it with me when I come.  I am that I am.’  Then he put his glasses to his eyes as though peering out over the bounding main.

     ‘You are that you are.  Yes, of course,  you bring it with you…’  Ratches began grasping for a different approach.  ‘…why don’t you come up here and take the helm for a while.  Wouldn’t you like to steer the ship?’

     Trueman looked over at Verlaine at the helm.  The helmsman had never shown him any consideration, Trueman could see no chance of becoming friends with him.  Still he would like to steer the ship.  He’d always wanted to steer the ship.  The Captain made a little coaxing move but many thoughts were rushing through Trueman’s mind.

page 1029.

     Always present in his mind, the dominant reason for refusing to accept any responsibility was the manner in which he had been treated when placed as bridge talker without any instructions.  Perhaps it was only the hazing a man must take when new, but if so they dumped too big a load of abuse on the man.  Had they laughed and made light of it Trueman could have accepted the hazing but they reviled, scorned and belittled him.

     ‘You can kiss my ass from here to sundown before you get anything else from me.’  Trueman had silently promised them.

     Even now the memory roared out of his brain like some ancient Thera sending a boiling spume of ash forty thousand feet into the atmosphere having blown its top.  Still, he would like to steer the ship.  But he had overheard the whole conversation, seen all the signs, watched the body language.  He knew that Verlaine would soon pass his shifts onto him while the other ‘duties’ consumed his time.  It was written all over his face.  Trueman did not relish doing four on and four off while having to work another four on deck every day.  He wouldn’t ever get any sleep.  He didn’t think about the beating he was taking in the Treatment, which was the only thing that allowed him to endure it, but he didn’t want to place himself completely at their mercy.

     ‘Naw.  I’m happy just standing watch.’

     ‘Come on.  You can do it.’

     ‘I know I can do it, Captain, but I’m not going to.  I don’t need the trouble.’

page 1030.

     The last remark bothered Ratches; he couldn’t understand it.

     ‘Thank you for the offer, Captain, I appreciate it.’  Dewey said softening a little but knowing he would never change his mind.

     His thoughts drifted to Balboa Park where he had found comfort beneath the Eucalyptus tree.  It was a scene typical of mankind.  A beautiful park is empty, no one had any use for it but then a solitary figure gives a spot beneath a tree unbelievable desirability merely by sitting there.  Eyes watch the solitary figure find a comfort in the spot that seemingly surpasses any comfort that they have ever been able to find.  They want that very spot that appears to possess ‘comfort’ else why would that solitary figure find ‘comfort’ there?

     Suddenly meaningless lives, idle minds, are galvanized into action.  They find their identity in that solitary figure.  They go to rob the meaning and identity from him.  It’s the only way they will ever find any.  They bring nothing with them when they come; they come only to steal.  They have nothing to offer so they seek quarrels hoping to displace him and drive him away or submit to his authority if he will have them sucking identity from him.  They want to received substance from him.

     A man seeking a place subdues them assuming their leadership and giving meaning to barren lives but someone seeking only the solitude to mind his own business being no longer able to do this just lets himself be driven off.  Then the spot having no ‘comfort’ to offer anyone else is left abandoned as it was before.

page 1031

     So Dewey sensed that while no one wanted to be helmsman as soon as he took the task the clamor for it would be ceaseless until he was forced to be ‘democratic’ and give way.  Then when he no longer wanted the job they would fall away going back to their lifeless selves and the situation would be the same as before.  Verlaine and Cygnette were doing four on and four off.

     Actually Dewey needn’t have worried.  Unlike most Navy tasks it did take above average intelligence to keep the ship on course.  Some four or five others tried and failed.  At athat point if Trueman had been clever enough the job would have been his with no further contest.  But, much to what should have been his regret he was intractable.  Fortunately neither Verlaine nor Cygnette got sick.

How Much Is That Doggy Out In Space?

     Trueman was coming down off watch when he noticed the Operations men milling around outside the Radar Shack on the boat deck.

     ‘Hey, how come you guys aren’t inside looking for enemy aircraft?’  He said jocularly.

     ‘Can’t.’ Drew Sessions smiled.  ‘All communications systems are disrupted.  Radio, radar and everything.’

     ‘What do you mean?’

     ‘Well, all signals are voided.  There’s nothing but crackle on the radio and static on the radarscope.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  What’s the problem?’

     ‘Nobody knows.  Everything’s blacked out.’

    ‘Oh yeah?  Hey, I’ve got an idea.’

     ‘What’s that?’

     ‘You remember how the Ruskies put up the Sputnik just before we left and then sent up the space shot last month with the dog on board?’

     ‘Yeah.’

     ‘What do you thing of this?  Somewhere out in the Test Range we sent up a rocket with an atom bomb warhead to try to blow that dog up.  The bomb exploded and disrupted communications?  Yeah?’

     ‘That’s an awful of money just to kill a dog.’  Sessions drawled.

     ‘Yeah.  That’s what I call really kicking some guy’s dog around.  I know it’s costly, makes him the most expensive dog on ea…uh, in space.  On earth, if they ever get it back down.  Sound like anything a rocket scientist would do?’

     ‘You got a great imagination Dewey, I like it but I think it’s the most far fetched story I’ve ever heard.’

     ‘Well, I don’t say they were trying to knock down the space poodle but I can’t think of anything else that could disrupt communications like that.’

     ‘I don’t know but why would they explode atom bombs in space?  I don’t think they were trying to kill a dog either.’

     ‘Got me.  Maybe they’re dumb enough to just want to see if we can survive it.  Heck, anybody dumb enough to destroy an entire island with a Hydrogen bomb on Earth or detonate an atomic bomb underwater off San Diego is capable of any stupidity, don’t you think?’

Trial By Water

     During the night the seas rose.  The Navy had sophisticated systems to locate storms.  Up to this point the squadron had been sent around them.  But now it was determined to send the Teufelsdreck straight through the center of the mighty typhoon that lay athwart its course to Tokyo.

     The Commordor and the rest of the squadron took a course that skirted the edge of the storm to the North.  The Commodore had decided to put the Teufelsdreck in Harm’s Way.  Perhaps if the maimed sailors hadn’t been followed by the debacles of Fiji and Subic the ship might have regained his favor.  Now he saw them as useless, better off at the bottom of the sea so he sent them into the heart of the typhoon fully hoping they would sink.  Except for Ratches superior seamanship they might have.

     The reader might think it preposterous that a whole ship might be ordered to its death.  I can assure the reader that stranger things have happened and even things he is more familiar with.  David and Bathsheba for instance.  The innumerable small plane crashes that claim the lives of celebrities.  Even the spectacular crash in Chicago during the Nixon administration which was intended to take out one man at the expense of a jetliner and the lives of nearly as many as were aboard the Teufelsdreck.

pag 1034

     The mind of man is capable of any crime when it is seeking satisfactions.  The Commodore’s mind was that of a mean small petty man.

     The order was received with some trepidation by the Old Salts.  Orders were given to prepare the ship for heavy seas.  That means that the ship had to be gone over foot by foot with everything loose tied securely down.  Already the seas were washing over the deck amidships.  The spray began to blast through the wing hatches so they were dogged down.

     Lines were strung down the deck for safety for in a lttle while anyone not holding onto them would be washed over the side.

     Then as the winds rose and water sloshed over the decks continually all hatches were dogged.  If water entered the hold the added weight would be sure to send the ship to the bottom.

     The roll and pitch became so bad it was impossible to sit at table in messhall.  Bocuse took Trueman’s advice serving up tuna fish sandwiches.  Rather than meeting with complaints he met with accolades as the sailors grabbed a couple sandwiches to eat in the relative comfort of their bunks.

page 1035.

     The storm became so bad that water washed out of the toilets flooding the head.

     The winds flew over the crests of the waves bitter cold.

     Kanary always on the lookout to make Trueman’s life miserable had assigned him to the eight to twelve evening after watch.  To get to the three inch gun tub one had to exit the after starboard hatch and haul oneself along the line in waist deep water.  Once in the gun tub waves still washed through occasionally.

     But then at six before the eight to twelve the Captain canceled the after watch as it was both dangerous to open the starboard hatch and useless to watch.

     Thus Trueman would get a bye and a good night’s rest.  This was intolerable to the queer Yeoman.  Rather than that Trueman should benefit from the canceled watch Kanary immediately transferred him to the bridge giving Roberts the watch off on the excuse that he was sick.

     Trueman grumbled but there was nothing he could do about it.

     The word was that it was freezing so Trueman wore nearly every stitch of clothing that he had: double T-shirts, double shirts, the sweater that was seldom used and his pea coat as well as two pairs of pants.

     Thus accoutered he passed through Engineering on his way to the bridge.

     The shower line was a comical sight.  Twenty nude men wearing shoes danced a comic dance as they struggled to keep their feet as the ship took huge rolls right and left and rising and falling several feet at a time, sometimes rising horizontally with the waves, sometimes sliding up the wave sometimes toppling steeply into the trough.  All these moves were happening simultaneously and in rapid succession.

page 1036

     Toward the end of the line stood a forlorn Ragnar Ock.  The big Swede had been unable to work out for nearly three months now.  The huge artificially maintained muscles had sagged and collapsed.  The form he had once been so proud of was now a flabby mess.  Repairing the damage would be a difficult time consuming process.

     Trueman suppressed a smile as he passed through the dancing men.

     The passageway leading to the mess hall was long and narrow, not wide enough for two men to pass comfortably.  Had Dewey any inclination to reenlist this storm would have ended it.  The ship was rolling so much that in compensating for the roll he had already smacked his head against the steel I beams on different occasions.  The force of a rolling ship cracking into your skull is not inconsiderable.  Hence Trueman prepared himself to roll with the ship by bracing himself with his hands rather than compensate and crack his head.

     Whenever possible Kanary and the fairies liked to add insult to injury.  So, after first having told Trueman that Roberts was sick, Cornell now appeared at the other end of the passageway with a mocking smile on his face.

     Ever since Subic the drunken Wild Bunch had begun to physically harass Trueman.  Shamed by their behavior as they were escorted back to the ship their self-image had taken a major blow.  Defeated in their attempt to compensate their degradation on the cargo net and foiled in their two murder attempts on the Le Fanu they had turned their sense of impotence on Trueman more openly.

page 1037.

     Since Subic they had refused to give the half turn necessary to pass in the passageway.  Thus Trueman was either degraded by turning to let them pass or forced to crash into them causing hard words and perhaps more.  Roberts’ eyes issued the challenge to Trueman.  The latter was ready.

     Roberts looked straight ahead as though the passageway was vacant.  He wasn’t going to turn.  Trueman prepared to slug it out on contact.

     As their shoulders slammed into each other luck was with Trueman.  The ship made a tremendous roll to port on contact.  Driven by Dewey’s shoulder Roberts was back flattened across an I beam.  Trueman who had had a hand on the bulkhead thrust his shoulder into Roberts breast bone.  His weight augmented by the roll of the ship, the full force crashed into Roberts sternum and spine.  He gave out a loud howl followed by a curse.

     It was several seconds before the ship righted and rolled to starboard so Dewey could regain his balance.  They were excruciatingly painful seconds for Roberts.

     ‘Goddamn it Trueman; watch where you’re going.’

     ‘I will when you do, Roberts.  Rough seas, tough break for you.’  He said with satisfaction.

page 1038.

     Kanary and Duber who had stood at the passageway behind Trueman’s back melted away disappointed that they had witnessed their humiliation rather than Trueman’s.

     ‘We’ll have to get the son-of-a-bitch back.’  Kanary said.  As they despised Trueman any show of spirit by him was considered illegitimate.  A successful defense was considered a crime that had to be avenged.

     After this incident however this particular type of  ‘treatment’ was called off.

      Proceeding onward Dewey emerged into the cold blast of the storm.  The wind was slamming through the rigging like the hammer of Thor thrown after the baying hounds of hell.  The first sight that greeted Dewey’s eyes was a shining wall of water rising above the bridge.  The seas were truly mountainous.  Although it wasn’t raining, foul weather gear was required for protection against the horizontal sheets of water blown off the waves.

     While Dewey was slipping into the yellow foul weather gear he looked around the bridge to orient himself.  The Captain who well knew how dangerous these storms were had been on the bridge for the last thirty hours most of which he had been on his feet not even leaving the bridge to eat but having food brought to him.

     There was a little cabinet that ran athwart the breadth of the front of the bridge for his use during such situations.  He had used his bunk sparingly nor would he be able to use it any less sparingly for the next thirty hours.  It wouldn’t be fair to say that he was afraid but his face showed the strain of being aware of the ship’s peril.

page 1040.

     The ship was already several degrees off course.  Partly the raging winds kept blowing it south-westward and partly the immense waves and cross seas which turned the ship about made it impossible for Verlaine to maintain course.

     Certainly Dewey had never seen the like nor would he ever want to see it again.  As he looked aft the water coursed the entire length of the decks high enough to submerge the guard lines.  It appeared that the whole ship was underwater except the boat deck and bridge.  He marveled that the game little subkiller stayed afloat.

     When the amazing seas roared over the all but submerged bow the massive mountains of water thudded against the three inch bulkhead slamming with a crash into the wing hatches.  Spray shot over the bridge drenching everything.

     The ship was tossed about like a cork in the torrent.  Forty foot waves came together fore and aft making a half mile long quarter mile wide swale through which the Teufelsdreck entered by sliding bow first down a great crest into the deep trough.  Not infrequently both bow and screws were simultaneously out of the water, then as the bow settled the ship was often twisted to the side by several degrees.

     Sometimes it crossed the trough to climb the monster wave at the other end which was so awe inspiring that the salty spray left its flavor in the gaping mouths.

page 1040.

     Sometimes the ship would be caught by the rising wave ratcheted up with knee buckling force forty feet up its shimmering expanse to be rolled over the crest into the next trough or to be caught in the twirling tangle of two or three crests coming together.

     There was nothing to watch for, Dewey could only clutch the compass stand to keep from being thrown across the deck and possibly over the side.  The rises were so sharp and so sudden that Dewey gave up buckling his knees to absorb the rise, he merely clutched the compass stand for dear life rising and falling with it.

     Several times Verlaine reported he had no rudder as following seas raced faster than the ship leaving no purchase for the screws.

     As Dewey looked at the glassy striations of the waves towering above him or down into the deep trough as crests passed beneath the ship he felt a sense of growing elation.  It was as though the Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse had been turned loose on the little ark of survival called the Teufelsdreck.  Fury there was.  Fury above, fury below, there was no escaping that elating fury.  Ignorance of what it was saved Dewey from fear.

     Already living with the prospect of death the ship came face to face with total destruction.

     Dewey’s knees had been buckled to his chest as the Teufelsdreck made an anstonishing ascent up a sixty foot wave as the gigantic swell passed under the ship rolled heavily to Starboard then with a flick at the crest it righted itself rolling to port as it began to slide into the trough.  The Captain lost his balance falling against the steel barrier.

page 1041.

     Perhaps a submarine current caught it but the ship kept rolling and then it rolled some more.  The Captain struggling to his feet was downed again.  Dewey was standing upright with one foot on the barrier and one foot on the deck; his hand rested on the compass whose floating disk had bottomed out several degrees before.

     It seemed as though the ship had hit an invisible barrier as it froze at this crazy angle.  The rollometer swung past twenty degrees.  Half crazed with elation Dewey looked Death in the face.  ‘One more degree.’  He said to himself. ‘And the ship will roll over.’

     With a shrieking laugh he screamed back at the wind:  “Whoopee, we’re all going to die.’

     But Death was only teasing the little subkiller.  Sliding down the wave the ship slowly righted itself but at the bottom of the trough as the ship should have begun a roll to starboard a cross current slammed into the hull keeping the ship perpendicular.  The ship’s beams gave a booming shudder as incredible forces were absorbed by the hull.

     Dewey who had been preparing himself for the starboard roll was thrown off his feet rolling over to the starboard compass.  The starboard watch was hanging over the divider trying desperately to get his balance inboard, he was about to lose the battle.  At his back the waves towered over Dewey to port and starboard, fore and aft.  Scrambling to his feet he looked over at the watch then he reached up under his rain gear and falling backward while pulling hard drew the man back aboard.  He raced for the security of his compass as the ship remained absolutely motionless.  Then the screws caught and the ship lost to any sense of direction mounted the next mountainous wave.

     Half frozen, excited beyond his wits ends Dewey gave his compass to his relief eagerly descending the ladder to the warmth of the ship.  He no longer believed in safety.

     ‘If you gotta die, you might as well die warm.’  He thought as he climbed into his bunk.  There was no surcease from the raging typhoon there.  The roll and pitch was so bad that Dewey had to hold onto the suspension chains on either side to keep from being thrown from his bunk.

     While no one was willing to show fear there was much loud grumbling about the severity of the storm that concealed a mounting sense of terror.

     About 4:00 AM the ship made another colossal roll this time to starboard.  Dewey held on desperately to keep from being thrown out of his bunk as the contents of the lockers shifted to starboard with loud thunks.  there wasn’t a hand in First who didn’t think the ship would roll over.

     Loud were the sighs of relief as the ship reversed its roll toward port.  Dewey with all the others thought they were going to die.  There could be no chance of surviving this storm.  ‘Jesus I hope it’s not too cold when that water rushes in.’  He thought because his overhead bunk would turn into the bottom bunk on the deck that had formerly been the overhead.  ‘Let me be knocked unconscious.’  He prayed.

     The sturdy little subkiller made it through the night.  At about eight the next morning a hose restrainer near the after starboard hatch broke loose banging against the bulkhead.

page 1043.

     Pardon and Ratman opened the hatch to go outside to restrain it.

      Pardon grabbed Ratman around the waist to secure him while he worked as he held onto the line to keep them both from being washed over the side as the water swirled waist high around them.

     The hatch had to be closed on them to prevent too much water entering the hull.  Finally a thump on the hatch indicated they were ready to return.  They were nearly washed in as the sea sloshed through the hatch.  Several sailors grabbed swabs to mop up the sloshing water inside.

     There was little more for First to do until the Teufelsdreck exited the storm more than a day later.

     Rather then entering Tokyo Bay from the East the ship approached the Bay from the South passing through innumerable little islets.  The seas still rough enough now apeared calm in comparison to the typhoon.  The little subkiller had passed through hell hale and hearty.  The fleet’s little Black Sheep was a tough nut.

Now Hear This…

     As was customary with every port except Subic Ratches came on the loudspeaker to give instructions to the sailors as to what they could expect of the port and a course on the experience the Navy had acquired.

     ‘Now hear this.  Now hear this.’  The Captain’s introducer announced.  ‘A word from the Captain.’

     ‘Good afternoon, men.  We are now going to visit a friendly nation.  You are not to enter Yokosuka (pronounced Y’kuska) as conquering warriors.  We are now at peace with Japan and have been for the past twelve years.  It is true that we are an occupying force but you are to act as tourists.  If you are overbearing and chastised for it the Navy will listen very carefully to the complaints of the Japanese so be forewarned.  Do not call them Japs or Nips, they are to be referred to as Japanese.

      Secondly, the Japanese prostitutes are so delightful that you may be tempted to think that they are sincere in giving you the favors you have paid for.  Do not be fooled; you have only made a business transaction.  The Navy has found over the years that men often mistake the attentions of the prostitutes as falling in love.  Hundreds of sailors have married these women.  In ever case the results were disastrous.

     Do not ask my permission to marry a prostitute.  It will not be given.

     Now go ashore and enjoy yourselves.  There is no place like Tokyo to do it.  Good luck.  This was your Captain speaking.’

     ‘Did you hear what he said, Trueman?’

     ‘Ya.  Have a good time.’

     ‘No.  He said don’t ask permission to marry the prostitutes.  That’s just what you’d do.’

     ‘I wouldn’t count on it, Vincent.’

     Dewey had expected the storm to be covering Japan ruining their stay.  He thought Tokyo would be freezing.  But they had left the storm behind; Japan was overcast but pleasant.  Tokyo lies on almost the same parallel as LA or Santa Barbara so there was no chill.

page 1045.

     The entrance to Tokyo Bay is fairly narrow.  Yokahama with its great shipyards lies to port and Yokosuka lies to Starboard.  Tokyo is at the head of the Bay.

     In 1957 Japan was only beginning to develop its industrial muscle.  It was already a major shipbuilder as well as a whiz at turning out trinkets.  As they stood on deck studying the massive traveling cranes and other industrial machines Dewey was struck with awe.  All the equipment was brand new and shiny making the comparable industrial gear of the US look shoddy.  At that point Dewey knew that the war was not over but had only shifted arenas.

     Had he known the historical background of the Pacific War he could have predicted the next forty years with assurance rather than a guess.

     The history of the conflict between the two nations began in 1853 when Admiral Matthew Perry sailed into Tokyo Bay aboard the great black ships with their roaring cannon.  The Japanese had never seen the like.

     The ships and cannon might just as well have been the Atom Bomb.  The Japanese caved in to American demands.  In so doing they created a fixation on the Anima of the national psyche that had to be discharged.

     At the time Perry arrived Japan had isolated itself from the world for over two hundred years.  Prior to 1600 the Japanese had been very active in the orient, they had even been to Mexico.  Their attitude had been a multiple of that of the Teufelsdreck’s desperadoes in Subic.  The Japanese made repeated piratical raids on the China coast.  They were so aggressive on liberty in Southeast Asia that they were not allowed ashore with weapons.  Imagine if the Teufelsdreck’s desperadoes had had guns.   As a precursor of later attitudes the Japanese declared war on China and lost.

page 1046.

     When the Westerners in the character of Portuguese Catholic missionaries began making great inroads in Hiroshima and Nagasaki the Japanese unable to culturally resist merely sealed the country off.

     Japanese citizens were allowed to have no contact with the outside world.  Ocean going vessels were forbidden.  thus the great ships of Perry in 1853 were astonishing.

     Now, the Japanese had been minding their own business. There was no cause to disturb them.  The ostensible reason for ‘opening’ Japan was that American and European sailors who had been shipwrecked on Japanese shores were being mistreated.  The real reason was that anyone minding their own business is anathema to other people.  The Japanese refused to trade.  Dammit, didn’t they know there was money to be made?  The Japanese refused to let the West make it.  What are you supposed to do with people like that?

     The Japanese were compelled to surrender nearly everything but their sovreignty, which means that the national Animus was repressed and the Anima fixated.

     Having been isolated for two hundred years and then confronted with what must have appeared to be space age technology the Japanese did a remarkable thing.  They abandoned their old ways completely embracing the ways of the West.  Within thirty years they completely overhauled their society.  They adopted Western style aristocracy, military organization, education, science and technology.  The intellect of Japan was changed to that of a Western state along Japanese national lines.

page 1047.

     They also adopted an undying hatred for the West.  Their humiliation at the hands of Perry had to be avenged, the fixation on the Anima had to be discharged.  The seeds of the Great East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere were sown in 1853.  Still directed internally it took the West once again to show the Japanese the external direction.

     American’s had invested the Hawaiian Islands where they set up huge plantations.  Now these were the descendants of the men who had plunged the Union into a civil war because they said they detested slavery.  Not willing to work the land themselves they had originally brought in Chinese contract labor, that is to say slaves, to work the fields.  The Chinese were supposed to go back to China when their contracts expired as the Whites didn’t want the island overrun by the Yellow Race but they didn’t.  They liked Hawaii OK.

     So the planters did an incredible thing.  Remember they began a war against slavery in the South.  They sent a ship to Yokohama, over there where the Yellow traveling cranes were at work, and shanghaied a hundred some Japanese off the streets to work the fields for them.  These were the same men who had chastised the Whites of the South for the same thing.

page 1048.

     The Japanese were quite naturally enraged.  But then a light went on in someone’s head.  The Japanese began to look outward.  Alright, they said, if you want Japanese laborers let’s make a deal.  The deal was that Japanese would contract for three years of indentured servitude returning home at the end.  This they did.  Unlike the Chinese the Japanese returned to Japan.  However the number of Japanese going out always exceeded the number returning.  The Japanese rather quickly became the largest nationality on the islands.

     The planters weren’t entirely stupid.  By 1920 they realized their error abandoning Japanese laborers for Filipinos.  It would be funny if it weren’t so serious.  White boys just don’t want to cut cane.

     By the 1890s the Japanese were having delusions of grandeur.  This little band of brothers saw the world as theirs.  They acted on it too.  In 1896 they renewed their interrupted war with China, winning it this time.  Then they squabbled with Russia winning that one too which propelled them into the international big leagues.

     They now turned their eyes to their arch enemy, the United States.

     Americans have difficulty interpreting the world in any other than their own image.  Their vanity is such that they cannot comprehend that other peoples have different ideas and perceptions.  Imagine, if you can, a Japanese strategist looking at the history of the American West.  The first thing he will see is that Cortez with only a handful of men conquered for all practical purposes the whole North American continent.  First Mexico, then the Spaniards with no legitimate claim to anything, Texas and California not to mention Florida.

page 1049.

     Then the Japanese strategist sees the Anglos infiltrating themselves first into Texas then California.  Once there these, what amount to paramilitary troops, men seize the lands incorporating them into the United States with about the same amount of justification that the Spaniards had.  So the Japanese diaspora began.

     Easy enough.  In fact studying western colonization patterns the strategist sees how Japan can do the same thing with the same amount of justification.  I see, I want, I take.  Colonists were sent not only to the US but up and down the entire West Coast of both Americas.  A failed attempt in Brazil was seconded by one in which the coherence of the Japanese community was maintained.

     The move on California began.  Now, the Japanese considered their soil sacred.  They didn’t even want foreigners to step on it so they considered the Americans who gave away their patrimony to any and all who cared to stake a claim incomprehensible.

     The Californians who had thwarted Chinese Immigration with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 were in no mood to be taken over by the Japanese.  They fought like tigers to have the Japanese excluded also.  The Japanese could not endure the stigma of inferiority of a Japanese Exclusion Act so they volunteered to restrict immigration on their own.

     The Chinese Diaspora will be dealt with in its proper place.  The attitude of the Californians toward the Asian peoples has been characterized as outrageous White bigotry.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Seen from the point of view of Californians the threat to their existence was very real.  At the time of the Chinese Diaspora there must have been close to a parity in California between the two populations with millions even tens of millions of Chinese waiting in the wings.  The Whites would soon have been swamped and expelled from the West.  Yes, expelled.  Neither the Chinese nor Japanese tolerate Whites in their own countries.  As of the turn of the twenty-first century Whites no longer have a presence in either country.  There would not have been room for both in California.  Imagine a world without Hollywood.

page 1050.

Proceed to Our Lady Part V-6

 

 

    

Our Lady Of The Blues

by

R.E. Prindle

Part V

v-4

     Elyse, fearing that her cover might be blown suddenly exploded.

     ‘You need a search warrant before you can break into a person’s house.  This is a country governed by good English law.  You can’t just break into a respectable person’s house like this.  Show us your stinking search warrant.’

     ‘We don’t have one.’

     Elyse rushed at the leader hitting him in the chest with her hands.  ‘You…you get out of here.  This is my house.  Don’t you dare  come back without a search warrant.’

     ‘We’re leaving, but you Yanks better be alert.  We’re going to be looking for you.  Come on boys.’  The intruders turned and left as Elyse and Craddock tried to straighten the door in the frame.

     ‘The idea, breaking in here without a warrant.  I’m sorry fellas but I guess that ruins the evening for other things.  Here let me make you some coffee and sandwiches while you recover.  You’ve had quite a shock.  The idea of those police.’

     ‘Aw, those guys weren’t cops.’  Dewey snarled thoroughly displeased with his performance.

     ‘How do you know, Dewey?’  Deasy asked.

     ‘Aw, they just didn’t move with the authority that cops have.  They didn’t talk right.  They didn’t have ‘no stinking badges’ or other cop gear.  Those were just nosy guys from around here.  Probably these girl’s neighbors.  Did you recognize any of them?’

     ‘I?  No.  I’ve never seen any of them before.’  Elyse lied.

page 951.

     ‘You’ve got a phone.  Let’s call the station and see if they sent some plainclothesmen down to your house.’

     ‘Hmm.  Well, it’s all over and it’s too late now.  Better let it drop.’

     ‘You’ve got a broken door.’

     ‘Oh well, we can fix that.  Why don’t you boys leave now.  We’re so sorry things didn’t work out.  We so wanted them to.’

     The boys would never catch on but for weeks prior to the visit the women and men of Koalaville had discussed the impending visit.  They knew that the sailors would be expecting a very nice time with the Australian girls.  They also knew that many girls would do anything to snag an American husband.  They wanted to save Australia’s honor by preventing that as much as possible.  Their plan had been to foil at least four Yanks and teach them a lesson for their alleged presumption.

     The whole thing from the trip to the theatre to the Budgie boys to the break in had all been planned.  Phase two was about to be launched.

     The girls commiserated with the boys until the clock showed 12:01 then Elyse said.  ‘Well the evenings ruined. It’s past twelve and we all have to get to work tomorrow.  It’s been lovely boys, we’ll remember it for the rest of our lives.  But you’ll have to leave now.  Bye.’  She said pushing them toward the door.

     ‘Well, how are we going to get back?’  Craddock asked.  ‘Can you call us a taxi so we can get back to the bus lines?’

     ‘Oh!’  Said Elyse as though the thought had just occurred to her.  ‘Taxis don’t come out here after twelve and besides the public transportation ceases at midnight too.’

page 952.

     ‘Well, could you drive us back?’

     No, so sorry, I’d be late for work.  Bye Bye now.’

     Dewey stifled a nervous laugh.

     ‘What’s so funny?’

     ‘I don’t know but it just occurred to me that this whole thing was impossible.’

     ‘How’s that?’

     ‘No matter how you cut it we’ll be late getting back.  AWOL down under, you know.  Even if the bus lines were running and they had kept us till two we couldn’t get back in time.’

     They had been walking back down the park.  They reached the square where the taxi stand was.  As might be anticipated there was no taxi.  Neither could they raise the taxi company on the phone.

     ‘What do we do now?’

     ‘Start walking, I guess.’

     ‘What good will that do?’  Craddock asked.  ‘We might as well sit here and wait for morning.’  He added dully.

     ‘I don’t know what good that will do but if we stand around here nothing will change but the hour.  We’ll still be standing here when muster’s called.’

     After more discussion the boys walked off down the road to Brisbane.

     ‘Boy, I sure do like this place.’  Dewey reflected.  ‘ I can’t imagine why they would want to leave to go to the States.  I just like the way they do everything.’

page 953.

     ‘How long do you think it will take to walk back?’

     ‘When I was a kid in high school I used to have a girlfriend who lived five miles away in the country.  If I walked at top speed I could make it in an hour.  So at five miles an hour it would take us about twelve hours.  We aren’t moving even half that fast so it would take us a whole day.’  Dewey plotted.

     ‘The buses start running at five or six, don’t you think?’

     ‘Yeah.  So by then we’ll have gone maybe six miles and we’ll still be over the hill.  Might as well jump ship and settle down here.’

     ‘Fat chance of that.  So now what?’

     ‘Let’s sing.’  Craddock cried, breaking out into song.

     ‘Quiet down, Craddock.  The neighbors might call the cops.  They’d  have to give us a ride though, don’t you think?’

     Here, I’ll teach you:  ‘Solidarity Forever.’

     They did a few choruses of Solidarity Forever.

     ‘OK.  That was good.  Now here’s one that’s really good:  Hallelujah, I’m a Bum.’

     Craddock was slipping into one of his proselytizing Wobbly moods.  He felt personally responsible for the situation which, indeed, he was.  His solution was not practical but then the Wobblies never were.

     ‘The IWW got a whole songbook written by Joe Hill and Ralph Chaplin.  Joe Hill was a real hero.  His real name was Joseph Hilstrom.  He was a Swede.  He was murdered in Utah by the police.  They said he was guilty of armed robbery but he wasn’t.  He just had his gun out while he was in the store.  They convicted him anyway and shot him by firing squad.’

      ‘Hallelujah, I’m A Bum?’  Dewey said startled.

     ‘Yeah, here’s how it goes.’

     ‘I’m not going to sing that.’  Dewey stated bluntly offended by the lyrics.

     ‘Come on, it’s great.  Show your solidarity.  The Wobblies were all bindle stiffs working from place to place.  They were all real people.’

     ‘Bums aren’t real people, not anymore than real working people.’  Dewey rejoined.

     His reaction was identical to the reaction of the 1912 Socialist Convention when the Wobblies were thrown out of the Party for singing the song.  The Socialist Party was composed of a wing of immigrant Jews and the IWW.  When the Wobbly leader, Big Bill Haywood,  proposed they all join in for a couple choruses of Hallelujah, I’m A Bum they said no and the respectable Jews voted the Wobblies out.

     Dewey would have understood their reaction had he known.  He had no intention of being picked up by the police while walking down the middle of the Brisbane street at two-thirty in the morning singing ‘Hallelujah, I’m A Bum.’

     Already angry at Craddock for various very good reasons he began to doubt Dart’s smug superior knowing Wobbly attitude.

     They had come up to the next main intersection where there were a couple stores and another taxi phone.

page 955.

     ‘Maybe this one will work.’  Dart said apologetically.

     ‘Great.  We still don’t know the taxi number.’  Deasy grumbled.

    ‘Hey, look over there.  It’s a taxi, just sitting there.’

     ‘Where?’

     ‘Across the corner, under that tree.’

     ‘I can’t see it.’

     ‘Yeah?  Well, it’s there.  I’ll go over and see if he’ll drive us in.’

     Dewey approached the cab.

     ‘Hello, Mate.  What’re you boys doing way out here at this hour?’

     ‘Long story.  We have to get back to the ship.  You’re our only hope.  Can you drive us in?’

     ‘Don’t know, Mate.  Little bit out of my territory.  Over fifty miles, you know.’

      ‘Yeah, but it’s a good fare.  Better than sitting here all night for nothing.’

     ‘Call your mates over and we’ll see what we can work out.’

     The boys ran over at Dewey’s call.

     ‘You see, Mates, if I drive you into town I’ll have to come back empty because I don’t have a license to operate in Brisbane.  It’ll cost me a lot of gas.  Are you getting my point?’

    ‘Give the bindle stiff your pitch about solidarity forever, Dart.’

     Dart took Dewey seriously:  ‘We’re working stiffs just like you, pal.  You know, we have to stick together.  Solidarity, Mate.’

     ‘Solidarity is all very well Mate but it don’t put beans on my table.  I can take you boys into town but you’ll have to pay fare back as well.  If you can do that I’ll do it.’

     Fifty miles is a pretty good taxi fare that would exhaust Dewey’s resources.  All the way back to the ship Dewey was thinking of all those Lonnie Donegan records he could have had for the price of this taxi fare.

     The cab pulled up to the ship just as muster was being read.  Dewey gave Dart some money and began to walk away.  ‘Dewey it’s going to be a little more.  We’ll need another few dollars.’

     ‘That’s it, Dart.  You can make up the rest out of solidarity because you screwed up so bad.  I got us back for muster and that’s all I can afford to give.’

     Dewey felt like a fool standing at muster in his dress blues but he at least had made it.  There was no harm done as liberty began again after muster was called.

     He had another day of liberty but was now dead broke.   He cleaned up hanging around till lunch was over then decided to walk around downtown which was all he could afford to do.

     He was in a troubled state of mind.  His thoughts were confused and jumbled, thoroughly undifferentiated; the kind of numb musing one does when overwhelmed by reality.

page 956.

     Regret and anger characterized his mood.  He was thoroughly tired of Craddock and his self-serving ‘Solidarity’ attitude.  He regretted losing his virginity over a toothless, pregnant waste of a woman.  He also felt guilty for not having kept his date with Stella.

     As going over with others seemed unrewarding compared to doing what he wanted he was walking along alone looking in store windows when a sharp tap on the shoulder jolted him back to awareness.  A hand with a note reached around while a voice in his right ear said:  ‘From Stella Maris.’

     His attention directed to the note by the time he looked around the bearer was indistinguishable in the crowd.

     Dewey opened the note which read:

     Darling Dewey:

                                 I am so sorry I missed you last night.  I so wanted to give you my pussy.  Come to the address below right now and I will spread for you.

         True love and kisses,

                              Your Stella Maris.

     Dewey almost burst out laughing as a first reaction.  He clearly saw that the note had been written by a man.  But then by some alchemical reaction his hopes were revived.  He had thought she was rather low class the other evening.  Possibly a low class broad might express herself in that way.  Possibly.  Then it became more of a probability and finally a fact.

page 957.

     There was a little map drawn out that quite remarkably began from almost the spot on which Dewey had been standing.  Well, that wasn’t impossible was it?

     Dewey began walking slowly in the indicated directions.  The way led back toward the mooring turning left and paralleling the river.  Dewey expected to see houses so he was disconcerted to find himself in an industrial warehouse area.  He was vaguely aware of a figure in uniform hanging back in the shadows trying to stay out of sight.  The figure was, of course, the ubiquitous Teal Kanary, the same as who had handed him the note.  Il est partout.

      The situation portended evil but as Dewey had escaped all Challenges unscathed he allowed his curiosity to get the better of him.  Wary, he stood across the street studying the building.  A dim light shone inside but there was no indication of activity.  He got some idea of the layout then crossed over.  Above the entrance was a faded sign: Th. Crapper & Sons.  They must have crapped out a few months back.  He opened the door and stepped inside.

     He had barely cleared the threshold when the door slammed menacingly behind him.  In the dim light he could see five or six men standing or sitting holding lengths of rubber hose as well as the man behind him who had slammed the door shut.

page 958.

     Before the leader had gotten through his:  ‘Well, Mate, so you couldn’t volunteer compassion for your brothers…’ Dewey had spotted the row of industrial style windows standing open on the right wall levered from the top.

     He automatically took the four running steps to them vaulting out over the window sill.  Having defenestrated himself he hit the ground running.  He raced through back yards and over fields in a wild dash for the river.  Impelled by the haunting fears of childhood more than from the actual fear of pursuit, he ran for all he was worth bounding and leaping trying more to shake his past than the queers.  He came out a couple hundred yards up river from the Teufelsdreck.

     There was no reason for him to look back; his past was still with him but the queers had never gotten off their behinds.  Kanary had slithered into the building behind him to watch his degradation. The room was still.  The men were sitting looking at him.

     ‘Where is he?’

      ‘Defenestrated himself, he did.’

      ‘What?’  Kanary asked puzzled by the word.

     ‘Out the window, Mate.  But you’ll do.’

     It wasn’t anything Kanary hadn’t done before but the six of them weren’t anything he intended to do.  Hoist by his own petard Kanary knelt before the first.  As he did his astral self floated up and hovered over the scene with tears in its eyes.  ‘Oh, poor, poor, Teal.’  It lamented.

page 959

Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself

     His personality still split in two Kanary stood on the port wing of the boat deck watching the scene prior to the departure of the Teufelsdreck.  Teal was under considerable mental stress.  His mind had not yet begun to assimilate his deed of the preceding evening.  It lay like a layer of green slime across the top of his brain slowly bleeding down to be transformed into the purest Teal Kanary in his subconcious but beside it lay the encysted fixation that he was foul.  Thus the dichotomies in Kanary’s character grew out of his own misdeeds.  A grim reality lay beside his fantasy self.

     The indignity he had been subjected to had been much more than he could handle.  After Trueman had defenestrated himself and Kanary had appeared the aroused homosexuals had compelled Kanary to ‘do a nice thing’ for them in succession.  Thus not only had Trueman escaped the fate intended for him but Kanary was compelled to do what he was saying Trueman had done at the skating rink.

     Peeping through the keyholes down on his bended knees had splintered Kanary’s personality.  He had separated his mind from his body.  His astral self floated up and away where he hovered with crossed arms watching himself suck off the homos.  Poor, poor Teal, indeed.

     In the succeeding several days he would alter the image so that he would see himself watching Trueman as he had originally planned.  Nor would anything shake his story; it became true in his mind.  He could probably have passed a lie detector test on the subject.  He would have been totally convincing in a court of law.  He was convinced he had ‘witnessed’ the scene.

page 960.

     Trueman who had been below decks was called up to witness what was meant to be his humiliation.  Stella Maris had come down to the ship amidst the other girls to bid adieu to her beau, Cornell Roberts.  He was not all that eager to bid adieu to Stella.  He had hoped to avoid the situation, but others pushed him forward hoping to irritate Trueman.

     Dewey too had his reasons to suppress bad memories.  The scene of the previous evening which had done him no discredit was already gone from his conscious mind encysted below.  In connection with the scenes in Koalaville, where he knew he had been had, the homos had been more than he could bear.  The memory would only survive in a dream of an inexplicable dark row of buildings and a dream scene consolidated with other memories in which he was being interrogated by Mafia chieftains.  The flight across the backyards, once again consolidated, would form staple dream fare for decades until the fixations were exorcised.  Combined with the failure to keep his date with Stella the events oppressed his mind making him behave in a ridiculous manner.

    Rather than dismissing the fact that she was at the ship, after all she was equally the predator,  he snuck up behind the gas belching smokestatck pretending to hide behind it while he and Kanary watched the scene from different vantage points.  Both men were overwhelmed by fears.

page 961.

     The stresses apparent on Dewey’s face far exceeded the actual happenings.  They instead reflected the hurts and humiliations of nearly two decades.

     His own anxieties were matched by those of the girls who had made their useless sacrifices to obtain the impossible dream of screwing their way to America.  As they tried their best to project true love the screaming anxiety of their fears tinted their expressions emerging from behind the lowing voices grim.

     Roberts even though he had had his way with Stella was strangely withdrawn and reserved, anxiety showing where none should have been.  Someone pointed out Dewey behind the smokestack to Stella who pooh poohed him saying that she had found her man now.

    ‘How’s that make you feel, Trueman.’

     Trueman didn’t hear through the shrieking howling waves of hysteria being beamed down as it seemed in heavy shock waves from super clusters deep in space and galaxies nearer.  Waves of shooting stars seemed to crash into his mind scattering his senses far beyond his reach.

     He could see himself screaming in answer, howling back at the malignant fates that had strapped him to this torture rack called life.  An enormous howl of despair formed in his belly which he was able to stifle in his throat before discrediting himself forever.

     Then came the call to muster for casting off.  Kanary, his mind in turmoil, returned to the Yeoman’s Shack while Trueman joined Deck on the fo’c’sle.  As the lines were drawn in Stella studiously ignored him, much to his relief, while she waved to Roberts saying sternly:  ‘Remember.  Remember.’  There was nothing on Roberts’ face that said he wanted to remember, quite the reverse.

page 962.

     The other three ships sailed past the Teufelsdreck which with the disgrace inherent in the Black Sheep dropped down the river to the sea a respectful five miles or so behind its brethren.

South Of The Law.

     The quick run into Brisbane from Samoa had thrown the schedule out of whack by seven to ten days.  So rather than sail up the coast of Australia into the Coral Sea the squadron backtracked fifteen hundred miles or so to spend three days in Fiji.  Now trying to lose time the ships proceeded at a liesurely pace.

     The mood of the Commodore had worsened rather than improved.  The injuries to the two sailors of the Teufelsdreck turned out to be much worse than anyone imagined.  After three days to clean them up a little in Brisbane a Navy transport had flown down to take them back to the States.

     The parents of the men were understandably upset.  Fortunately for the Navy the men had been so traumatized that they suffered amnesia being unable to tell what had happened to them.  The Admiralty was not pleased.  The fear that the parents would sue the Navy increased its anxiety.  There was the scent of scandal in the air.  The Teufelsdreck was placed in a limbo until the situation cleared.

page 963.

     Thus while the other three ships proceeded to Suva and delightful liberty the Teufelsdreck was assigned to an abandoned wharf halfway around the island.

     The bulldozer and chain saw had not yet come to Fiji so the primeval jungle still stood foreboding and impenetrable.  The Teufelsdreck sailed up to this deserted spot to moor at an old half rotted wharf without potable water but with the giant rats of Viti-Levu in abundance.

      While the Commodore might have been upset by the results of the festivities crossing the equator Duber and Erect were oblivious of their criminal deeds or their possible consequences.  The two felt no guilt, indeed, they didn’t know what guilt was.

     It was probably just as well that the Teuf wasn’t allowed in Suva because Duber’s mind was now possessed.  During the nights on the way to Fiji Duber had regaled the homos gathered in After Steering with his vision of life South of the Line.

     He truly suspended reality.  He had seen the old movies of South Sea life as portrayed in movies like Lord Jim and Raffles of Singapore as well as various John Wayne epics.  From them he derived the notion that white men were all very hard drinkers in the tropics.  Because simple English galoots had carved empires out of these jungles in most unscrupulous ways he believed that there was no Law South of the Line.  A white man could do exactly as he pleased with impunity and without regard to the natives.  He preached this each night in After Steering so that the homos were eager to reach Fiji so they could begin to smash it up.  John Wayne again.

page 364.

     The scene that presented itself when they arrived was straight out of the movies.  It could have been a set for John Wayne, or the Duke as he was fondly known, maybe it had once been.  The ratty wharf had just the right aura.  Not only had bulldozers not arrived in Fiji but concrete had missed it also.  A dirt floored area beside the dock led to a single track road that diappeared into the dense jungle that struggled to reclaim the road.

     A number of Fijian men had come down to the dock for the excitement.  They were clad in the native costume.  Bare chested they wore a wollen blanket around their waists reaching to mid-calf secured by a wide leather belt.  The blanket was folded square to form a straight skirt.  Under the blanket the men wore pants of one sort or another.

     The reason for the pants was that when the missionaries came they were horrified to find the men wearing skirts.  They shamefacedly told them that men wore pants.  They didn’t say that men didn’t wear skirts so the Fijians put on pants under their skirts and let it go at that.

     As soon as the ship was secured the Captain granted liberty or, at least, permission to go ashore as there was no place to go except up that jungle road.

     The liberty uniform as always overseas was dress blues.  No matter how hot it was the men were not allowed to change into more comfortable whites, so the men began filing ashore uncomfortably hot in their dress blues.

page 965.

     Kanary had been the first ashore.  There he approached the Fijians who were standing around.  The men of Fiji are wiry little black men, not as dark or shiny as the Negro but still black.  Kanary spoke to them while waiting for Trueman to appear then he pointed him out and told the Fijians that Trueman wanted to kill all black savages.  The Fijians were just as gullible as the Samoans.

     Truman stepped into the trap.  Coming ashore he joked to Parsons and Deasy about the skirt-pant combination.  He made the mistake of pointing and laughing at the same time.  The Fijians were convinced that Kanary had spoken the truth.  They began to jeer at Trueman which caused him no little surprise.

     As Trueman came up to Kanary standing at the entrance to the jungle road the nasty little homo sneered:  ‘Isn’t it funny that wherever you go everyone takes an instant dislike to you?’

     The evil twit then ran ahead a few steps before Trueman could reply.  In this manner he hoped that Trueman would pursue him up to road so as to appear that Kanary was trying to get away from him.  In his twisted homo way he wanted to make it appear that Trueman wanted him rather than vice versa.

     Disappointed that Trueman didn’t chase after him he went ahead to catch up with Duber and Erect who were racing ahead to indulge themselves in some delicious lawlessness.

     The reaction of the Fijians did give Trueman pause as he had seen Kanary talking to them and pointing at him.  Still he didn’t fully understand why he had been singled out.

     All such thoughts were driven away as the raw vitality of rampant nature drew his wonder.  He marveled at the dense undergrowth which was so profuse as to be impossible.

page 966.

     ‘Wow!’ He said to Deasy and Parsons.  ‘You could take three steps off this road and never find your way back.  Stranded in the jungle, for sure.’

     ‘Oh no, I think it would take more than three steps.’  The very literally minded Deasy remarked giving Dewey a look that expressed wonder at his simplicity.

     Trueman prepared a line of chat, thought better of it then let the matter drop.  About a mile on through the jungle they emerged into a large clearing in the middle of which stood a white wood frame ‘hotel.’

     Dewey had to laugh.  If you were going to build a hotel where there was no chance of business this place was a choice of genius.

     ‘How much business do you think they get Deasy?’

     ‘Don’t know, but they’ll get a lot tonight.  Hey Trueman, I think you should know this.  They say they’re going to kick your ass straight up and down tonight.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Not very likely.’  Dewey said with feigned bravado.

     But while he thought about it rather than enter right away he walked over to the edge of the clearing a hundred yards above the hotel to take in the whole setting.  He reasoned that the bar was a small place for over a hundred fifty sweating men.  He didn’t have to be told the men would drink themselves into oblivion.  If they did that anything could happen but nothing he wanted to be involved in whether anyone tried to kick his ass or not.

page 967.

     Deasy who had followed after him asked what they were doing out on the edge.  Dewey liked Deasy OK but he was amazed by the other’s lack of interest in anything.

     ‘Well, hey, Mike I was just kind of scouting the land, see what it looks like.  If we’d done that in Brisbane we wouldn’t have been so silly as to be sixty miles from the ship with no way back.  It’s not like I’m not sore at Craddock about that.’

     ‘We were lucky to get back.  It was a good thing Dart spotted that cab; you got laid didn’t you?’

     Dewey merely snorted angered at the former clause, incensed that he had been demoted from ‘hero’ while Dart had appropriated his place.  He had no wish to dignify the latter with an answer.

     ‘You going in?’

     ‘I don’t think so Mike.  All you can do is drink and I don’t drink.’

     ‘You aren’t afraid they’re going to kick your ass are you?  If you don’t go in they’ll think you’re chicken.’

     ‘Think I’m chicken, hell.   Those guys just talk big but after Shellback initiation those same guys have shown they’re dangerous.  Baxter and Basehart will probably never walk again.  Here, they’ll probably riot and break up the place.  I don’t want to be involved in that.’

     ‘Oh sure, Trueman.  I understand.  I’m going to have some drinks though; there’s no age limit South of the Line.’

page 968.

     ‘See you later then.’

     As Dewey came down the road emerging from the jungle the Fijians were waiting for him.  Somehow they had learned his name.

     ‘Hey, Dewey Trueman, you nigger.’  They jeered as they bandished large knives while making threatening advances toward him.  They were a little tentative staying to one side but still blocking his way.

     Had Dewey tried to run he wouldn’t have gotten more than two steps so he had no choice but to brave it out.  He was defenseless against the knives.  He thought quite seriously his moment had come as he edged carefully toward the gangway shouting out:  ‘Hey, what’s the matter with you guys?’

     They shouted some more abuse at him in Fijian which Dewey couldn’t understand but got the meaning anyway.

     Doubling a fist that would have been useless against the knives but showed resolve, Dewey kept edging toward the gangway.  Had he shown fear and bolted thereby giving them permission to chase him they would have finished him in an instant.

     Dewey kept edging toward the safety of the ship.  Carlovic  was the Petty Officer of the Watch.  The hubbub caught his attention.  When he saw the knives he realized the seriousness of the situation.  No one likes irregularities to happen on their watch.  It’s always more trouble than it’s worth.  Carlovic was already upset because the ship had earned unfavorable treatment because of Duber and Erect.  He didn’t want the Teufelsdreck to acquire any more notoriety not to mention that he didn’t like the sight of blood.

page 969.

     Leaning out on the lines he pointed at the Fijians demanding they desist in his most authoritative if shaky tone.  They ignored him menacing Dewey further.  Their intent was clear.  Shaking at the responsibility Carlovic began to unholster his .45 fully intending to shoot.  This gave the Fijians pause.

     While their attention was distracted Dewey took three or four quick, but not hasty, steps that put him between the ship and the Fijians.  He could now walk casually aboard as though unconcerned with them which he did.  His cool was intact.

     ‘Thanks Carlovics.  I owe you one.’

     ‘It wasn’t for you, Trueman.  This is the US Navy.’

     ‘OK.  I owe the US Navy one.  Thanks, anyway.’

     Trueman dropped below.  Neither he nor the Watch could explain the attitude of the Fijians.  That’s because as always the key was missing.  The psychology of the murderous Teal Kanary was the key.

     After Brisbane Trueman began to assume greater importance to him.  In fact, he had become Kanary’s ‘impure’ alter ego.  Kanary’s experience with the queers in Crapper’s warehouse had encysted  impurity in his mind further conflicting with his notion of purity nestling beside it.  Kanary remained ‘pure’ in his conscious mind because he could project his subconscious impurity on the person of Trueman but the projection was still part of him but a part he could hate as though it were not.  Since he had objectified his impurity in the person of Trueman  he thought that if Trueman were killed his sense of impurity would be severed from him.  He was mistaken of course, but Trueman was still in jeopardy.

page 970.

Lonely At The Top

     The Commodore wished to have a strategy meeting so no sooner had the ship docked than a boat arrived to carry Ratches on a two hour ride to Suva.  It was a small not overly clean boat so Ratches had to stand the whole journey so as not to soil his dress whites.  The Commodore was a devious man, he had ways.  At least Ratches arrived with his uniform clean and pressed.  He looked good crossing the gangway to the Desade.

     The Commodore was not in a good mood.  He had his four captains there.  He meant to roast Ratches before the other three.

     The officers stood around to chat with their drinks in their hands as the Commodore began.

     ‘It looks like we may have a problem with those men of yours who were injured.’

     ‘How’s that, Commodore?’

     ‘Well, it may create a public relations problem for the Navy.  After some preliminary patching they were flown back to Oakland for hospitalization at Oak Knoll.  Neither of their parents will consent to their being treated by Navy doctors.  They insist on their being treated by private doctors even though the Navy has some of the best medicos in the world.  I don’t understand it.  Needless to say the Navy can hardly refuse to pay for private care although we’re going to try.

page 971.

     Preliminary reports indicate those boys are crippled for life.  Fine savage this Erect fellow.  Seems the bones were fusing on the long trip into Brisbane so now everything has to be broken again to square the corners.  Parents are hopping mad; blame the Navy even though the Navy is innocent.  Luckily the kids had memory lapses.  Can’t remember anything.  It’s quite possible the parents will sue.  Not our fault but that Erect fellow was solely to blame.

     So long as they don’t sue everything will be straight but if they do sue then this Erect fellow will be a liability.  Do you follow me?’

     Ratches sat mute for a while looking into the bottom of his glass.  Then he said:  ‘Yes, I think I do.’

     ‘Good.  What the hell is going on over on your ship anyway?  Not only this Erect fellow but you had some fellow wanted to turn a suicide nozzle on the Pollywogs?  My god!’

     Ratches wiped his jaw.  ‘That would be Yeoman Kanary.  Well, I don’t know how you can blame me for that, Commodore.  I stopped him.  The Kanary fellow appears to be the spoiled rotten son of some high school teachers.  He brought them to the ship to introduce them to me one day.  They were both precious sorts very confident in their ideas and full of themselves.  Gave me some pointers on how to run the ship.  Very confidently self-important as though they were only disguised as school teachers but were in reality earth shakers.  As I understood it they are some sort of followers of Freud.  They have taught this boy that he should always express his emotions.  He thinks that inhibitions and repression are bad, leading to complexes.   That’s what he told Morford anyway.

page 972.

     I don’t know how he reconciles killing people with being uninhibited.  He must realize that the Navy will inhibit his freedom if he murders someone.’

     ‘They don’t think that far anymore.’  Darwin Danielson of the Deviant interjected.  ‘The whole generation has always known too much prosperity.  They weren’t honed in the tough school of the Depression like we were.  New fangled ideas like this Freud stuff are undermining the Christian ideals of this country.  These kids don’t think of anyone else.  Kind of a me first generation.  Me first and only.

     Things are changing too fast for me, I don’t like it.  Next few years the Navy won’t even have fighting men anymore.’

     ‘How’s that?’

     ‘Missiles.  All this rocketry is changing things.  Already they’ve removed the twenties.  Forties are useless against jets.  All our anti-aircraft is outmoded.  They’ve already got ships armed only with rockets on the drawing boards.  Pretty soon it won’t be men against men but machines against machines.  All they’ll need men for is to push the buttons; hell, they can get girls to do that.  Hell, it might even get to the point where they send out ships without crews; everything done by remote control.  I’ve already got twenty-two in; I’m out at twenty-five.’

     ‘Seems far-fetched Dar.  Huh.  Women aboard ships.’  The Commodore said.  ‘But speaking of change, how are your Negroes getting along Gabe?’

page 973.

     ‘That’s another thing.’  Danielson kept on.  ‘This has always been a white man’s Navy.  Old Harry may have thought we were going to jump when he issued that executive order but we showed him.  Hard to resist an old soldier like Ike though.  Even so it’ll ruin the Navy.’

     ‘Thanks for your thoughts, Dar.  Now, Gabe, you were saying?’

     ‘Well, we haven’t had any trouble yet.  The Negroes are pretty paranoid.  They’ve barricaded themselves into part of Supply and secured certain other areas to themselves exclusively that creates some tension among the Whites but no trouble so far.’

     No trouble?  Ratches could have used some lessons in Freudian psychology.

     ‘Believe it or not the Negroes haven’t been ashore since Pearl.  As I understand it they have no intention of going ashore until we get back to Pearl.  Scared to death of how they might be received in what they call these ‘White ass countries.’

     ‘I love the Navy…’  the Commodore began to pontificate when there was a knock on the door.  The Desade’s Operations officer handed the Commodore a message.

     ‘Hmmm.  Seems like your boys are out of control again, Gabe.’

     Ratches drew in his breath.  ‘How’s that Commodore?’

     ‘Seems like a bunch of ’em tore down Harry’s Bar.  The owner’s mad as hell.  Better get back there, Gabe, and straighten ’em out.  We don’t want any more trouble from your command.  Remember what I said about this Erect fellow.’

page 974.

     Somewhat less steady on his pins, for they had been drinking steadily, Ratches got back in the dirty boat.  When he arrived back at the Teufelsdreck his uniform was not so neat.

Boys Will Be Boys

     There was really no reason for Ratches to rush back because at 2:00 in the morning when he arrived the lights were out, the damage had been done.  It was, of course, irreversible.

     The Wild Bunch had gotten right down to serious drinking as soon as they entered the bar.  Dusty Ways, the owner, was ecstatic because he knew a bonanza when he saw one.  The question isn’t why the riot happened so much as why it didn’t get started earlier than it did.

     Thus began one of the most unpleasant aspects of the tour.  Not the rioting but the aftermaths.  Not the aftermath of the rioting but the consquences of the heavy drinking.

     Above decks the weather was delightful but below decks the heat was horrendous.  With heat comes perspiriation, with perspiration comes dank foul odors.  Bad enough in any circumstances they were horrendous in Fiji because as the Commodore’s devious mind knew there was no potable water at this rotting wharf.

     That meant the the ship depended on its tanks; the evaporators were inoperable when the ship was still.  That meant no showers for three days.  The Commodore was a subtle man in his punishments.

page 975.

     Now, the drinkers aboard ship, which excluded all but six men, were much given to excess, expecially here in the South Seas where there was no Law.  As is well known the human body can handle only so much alcohol before it rebels.  The first night in Fiji there was mass rebellion.

     Trueman was sweltering in his bunk going over the well worn copy of ‘On The Road’ for the second time when Proud Costello came reeling through the hatch.  The intrepid Costello realizing that the Bunch was becoming overheated, capable of almost anything, had fled the scene before the crime was committed.  He wasn’t ‘that’ drunk but he was only a whisker short.

     Perhaps the stifling heat hit him hard as he passed through engineering or the subtle movement of the ship upset his equilibrium but as he reeled through the hatch tripping on the lip he shot out a projectile of vomit that carried almost to the end of Groddeck’s bunk fourteen feet away.  Overwhelmed by his nausea he staggered to his knees clutching Groddeck’s bunk with Groddeck in it and vomiting all over a four foot area which included a fair portion of Groddeck’s bunk as well as a couple lineal feet of Groddeck, fortunately for Costello, the lower part.

     Staggering to his feet literally soaked in his own vomit he found his way to his bunk into which he tripped and fell.  The stink drove Trueman wild while Groddeck was transported.  While not so blotto that he was unconscious Costello was still not blotto enough to accept responsiblity.  In between incoherent sounds he denied doing it.  Even with Trueman and Groddeck standing over him reviling him Costello could not be shamed into admitting it, let alone cleaning it up.

page 976.

     Totally enraged Groddeck rolled Costello out on the deck snatching his mattress cover while throwing his own vomit drenched mattress over Costello’s face.  Not having the energy to get up or even throw the mattress cover off Costello lay ther sobbing:  ‘I didn’t do it, Mamma, I didn’t do it.’

     Shortly after the stench of the other returning warriors of the world’s most powerful Navy filled the compartment, they having been ejected by Dusty Ways.  Stumbling and howling Rogerts managed to unload a couple schooners of beer on his shoes as he struggled to remember how to climb into his bunk, clothes and all.  Completely disgusted Trueman grabbed his blanket to take a place beneath the Hedgehogs to get what repose he could.

     The next morning Roberts, who had been strangely subdued and humble since Brisbane, cleaned up his mess with no demur.  Costello on the other hand stoutly denied that a man of his stature could do such a thing.  He was unable to withstand the enraged Groddeck or deny the laughingly sarcastic Trueman.  He didn’t so much admit it as to give in.  Both Trueman and Groddeck earned his resentment.

     Meanwhile  the Captain was up at the hotel talking to Dusty Ways, an old South Seas hand, about the damage caused by the wayward sailors of the little subkiller, Teufelsdreck.

     Dusty was what is called a man’s man.  He was the stuff of legend that Duber had read about.  He was forever on the run from civilization.  He would be fortunate enough to die before the Fiji chain saw massacre cut away the primeval jungle surrounding his hotel in a single day.

page 977.

     Dusty wasn’t hurt or offended by the riot.  He liked the wild ways of boys on a rampage; he’d been cackling and laughing as the riot ensued but the codger expected them to pay for it.  As he hoped and knew the Bunch would rampage he had nipped the riot before any excessive damage was done and then exaggerated its extent by maybe two or three hundred per cent or maybe, four.  He wasn’t greedy but then he didn’t get too many opportunities next to that rotting wharf.

     Dusty looked the Captain in the eyes and opined that he could fix his place up for three thousand American dollars.  His opinion allowed him a twenty-five hundred dollar profit but, what the hell, everybody has to pay for their entertainment including the Wild Bunch of the Teufelsdreck.

     Ratches raided that tin box for the three thousand which he turned over to Dusty who slapped him on the back with a jovial:  ‘No harm done that can’t be fixed, Cap.  Still,’  He said.  ‘It used to better before the war.’

     As things had worked out with no prejudice to the Navy Ratches was content to apportion the damage to the malefactors of little wealth without Captain’s Masts.  Ratches was always too lenient in the wrong places because the Wild Bunch read his motives incorrectly.

     The riot actually established a spirit of conviviality between Dusty Ways and the men of the Teufelsdreck.  The stay turned out to be a high spot in the tour for the Wild Bunch.

page 978.

     As there was nothing to do but drink in this spot passed over by the wand of time the men found ways of entertaining themselves or just lounged around.

     All this time the Black sailors in Supply stayed in their sweltering quarters venturing out but rarely.  They thought that the White boys or peckerwoods as they alternately called them were constantly discussing ‘niggers’, furiously plotting all sorts of crimes against them.  In fact anyone who didn’t like them kept his mouth shut as they were never discussed except in sympathetic terms, at least openly.  However there was a slight discrepancy in what the Whites thought they should do and the feeling they masked in their minds.

     No one had been more altruistically sympathetic than Proud Costello.  To hear him talk he was the Black Man’s best friend.  He was offered an opportunity to show his true feelings.

     The locale was terrific for a pick up basketball game.  The ship had a ball so Costello and a few others Jerry rigged a hoop to a tree and started a game.  Costello of course thought he was the star of the ship.  His prestige was such that the others allowed him to think it.

     He and the boys whooped it up loud enough that the sounds of hoop introjected themselves into the mess hall where the Black boys sat chatting it up.

     Stoval Stuval went up to take a look.  Peeping out the wing hatch he saw Costello and friends engaged in a sprightly game.  Stoval loved round ball.

page 979.

     Stuval was the most ungainly of men.  He had gotten all the features of his species which cartoonists caricature.  He was tall and uncoordinated.  Skinny to a fault he had one of those long heads with the broadest of noses, thick lips and an overhanging set of uppers, high rear end and he was goofy acting.

     Whether Costello would let one of the more graceful Blacks play will never be known but he refused to let Stoval play.

      Stoval begged but Costello rudely, very rudely, ordered him off the court.  Costello would have accused anyone else of being prejudiced but he persisted although he didn’t use any racial epithets.

      Stuval would not take no for an answer but slipped onto the court and slid into the game.  Costello was really exasperated.  For a while he didn’t know what to do but the answer came to him.  He fed Stuval the ball and then edged back so the Black could drive to the basket.

     Stuval stepped into it.  As he went up to shoot Costello brought a forearm back agains his Adam’s Apple and clotheslined him.  Stuval hit the dirt full length on his back gasping for air.

     The eyes of the Black faces peeking from the wing hatch bulged out.  All their fears seemed realized.

     Stoval Stuval gaspingly tried to get to his feet bleating out:  ‘You only done that to me ’cause I’se Black.’

     ‘Didn’t have anything to do with it.  I just told you I didn’t want you in my game.’

page 980.

     ‘Naw.  Being Black had nothing to do with it Costello.  You only did that because he was showing you up.  Haw, haw.’  A jeering voice called from one of the sailors lounging around leaning against the bulkhead of the boat deck.

     ‘Hey Costello, I like to see a guy without prejudice.  Boy, I can see why you hate them bigots.’

     ‘Shut up, Trueman, or I’ll come over there and give you some of the same.’

     ‘Uh huh.  Is that before or after you clean up your puke?’  Trueman replied giving him the horselaugh.

     Costello was properly chastised especially as Trueman’s horse laugh was greeted with several knowing snickers from the lounging hands.  Costello’s sense of shame had been touched.  He wanted to hide but contented himself with a threatening gape of the mouth and shake of the head as he went back to ‘his’ game.

     Stoval Stuval limped below to the sympathy of his fellow Blacks.

     And so the stay ended and the Teufelsdreck put to sea to begin what may have been the most blessedly delightful segment of the voyage.

Guadalcanal, Bougainville And The Coral Sea

     All hands or, at least those who showered on a regular basis which, fortunately, was the majority, waited anxiously for the evaporators to be fired up to do their work.  The tanks filled, the able bodied men rushed to the showers.

page 981.

     The ship began a cruise through the main battle grounds of the Pacific War.  These were the places that the advance of the Japs was stopped.  The way led above the Coral Sea through the New Hebrides to the Solomons with its detested Guadalcanal then up to Bougainville the scene of Joe McCarthy’s South Sea adventures.

     When the ship passed Guadalcanal the Old Salts lined the rails speaking in private hushed tones not meant for the profane ears of the new generation.  Indeed, what could they do but interrupt the thoughts of the Old Salts with stupid even if well meant questions.  Arms pointed here and there making sweeping rising and diving motions that were more expressive to watchers than words.  Dieter and Oiler and Davis the three Chiefs stood in dress blues under the tropical sun while Blaise Pardon and Ratman as First Classes stood by them.

     Their shining faces gazed into the distant past of ’43, ’44 and ’45 as they relived those hazardous days when they were heroes.  They had all been Tin Can sailors even then.  The life expectancy of a Destroyer Escort in combat was something like sixty minutes.  They were expendable.  They were there to give their lives to protect the Cruisers, the big Battle Wagons and the monarchs of the fleet, the Aircraft Carriers.  It was the DEs’ and DDs’ job to intercept the torpedoes meant for what were called the Capital Ships.

     Those old boys had been in Harm’s Way.  It was man to man in those days not machine to machine.  Those guys had been in the thick of it and lived to tell it.

page 982.

     ‘Boy, those guys deserve a lot of credit for what they did.’  Parsons said admiringly, gazing at Guadalcanal to starboard.

     ‘Yeah, and look at them now.’  Trueman sneered.  ‘What you did isn’t nearly as important as what you do.’

     The ship glided through those azure gleaming calm waters at a slow pace still trying to lose time to get back on schedule.  Azure seas and crystaline blue skies studded with white cream puff clouds drifting yet standing still holding a golden moment of time in a bottle while the jungle islands resplendently green slid by as they awaited the arrival of the chain saw.

     The splendor was lost on the working class souls of Dewey’s shipmates.  They were more of the chain saw mentality.  Only he and Frenchey seemed to appreciate this place in the islands that time had momentarily forgot.

     ‘You know what I really like, Frenchey?’  Dewey asked in the semi-private hushed tones employed by the Old Salts.

     ‘That thees is a small sheep, not ze gian aircraft carriere.’

     ‘How did you know?  Yes.  Here we are midships just six feet above the waterline.  It’s almost like standing on the water.  It makes you feel like one with all this.  You know, on a carrier you’d be fifty feet off the waterline, an artificial island, but everything would be manmade and hard, even steelier than this.  All the bustle and roar, no solitude.’

    ‘Oui, Meeshur Dewey and it seem we can walk right off thees sheep into zat jungle.  Do you know what thees island ees called, Meeshur Dewey?’

page 983.

     ‘I overheard Pardon saying that there is New Britain.  Over on the other side is New Ireland.  We already passed Bougainville.’  Dewey said just to feel the names roll off his tongue.  ‘McCarthy was stationed there.’

     ‘McCarthy?  He ees bad man.’

     ‘No, he wasn’t a bad man, Frenchey, he just didn’t know how to keep the Commies from bringing him down.  Let’s go over to the other side, better yet let’s go back to the fantail where we can watch both islands and the straits.’

     ‘Why not to the fo’c’sle?’

     ‘Good enough, let’s go.’

     And so these fantastic days were passed each more marvelous than the last.  On two occasions the Captain brought the ship to a halt so the crew could swim in the deep ocean water while the fisherman aboard threw their lines over aft.

     There’s a certain thrill to jumping from the side of a ship into the open ocean, climbing a rope up the side and jumping off again.  The men were delirious.  For many these scenes were the highlights of the trip.

     The fishermen brought up exotic varieties not least of which was the incredible Blowfish.  these strange fish inflate like a balloon when facing their enemies, sharp spines erecting on their skin.  They were amazing to watch as they puffed up and rolled around the deck.

     The days were wonderful but the nights were torture.  Above decks the weather was wonderful but below decks the heat was unbearable.  The Captain refused to let the crew sleep on deck for fear someone might be chucked over  the side in the dark.  His fears were more than justifiable.  The crew of the Teufelsdreck were little more than savages.

page 984.

     But intelligent ones.  Someone rigged up a system where all the hatches but one and the after hatch were closed.  This created a forced draft that sent a near gale force wind coursing aft and out the after hatch.  However if the forward hatch were closed the change in pressure would cause the ship to explode.  With Peter Erect and Kanary in mind the Captain did not know what other madmen were aboard who just might close the hatch.  The practice was forbidden.

     Thus this lovely four thousand mile stretch came to an end when the Teufelsdreck reached port at the little island of Palau.

Palau

     Palau was merely a refueling stop after the long four thousand mile cruise from Fiji.  The island had little to offer.  The harbor was filled with myriad schools of exotic fish.  The water was becoming fouled but was nowhere near the cesspool of Pearl.

     Somewhere in the Solomons, possibly as the ship passed Bougainville, Kanary’s experience at the Th. Crapper And Sons warehouse resolved itself in his mind.  To transfer his resp0nsibility from his shoulders he began to relate to the Operations people that he had witnessed Trueman’s outrageous behavior, not his own.  This startling news was accepted by most if not all.  No one bothered to question how it was that Kanary was present to act as witness.

page 985.

     This excited his mates because not only were women hard to find on Palau but it is a great deal easier to get a queer to service you than a woman.  Queers may even pay you.  With high hopes, then, three of Operations that Dewey knew only at sight invited him over.  Palau was a dead place for excitement.  Knowing not what else to do they merely followed Trueman who chose this time to go looking for coconuts.  Palau did abound in coconuts and Trueman found and ate more than was necessary for his system to handle.  Beware of too much fresh coconut; it’s a hurting burning feeling.

     Kanary’s stories gave them the idea that Trueman was virtually out of control.  In the pursuit of coconuts they found themselves in a native cemetery.  Cemeteries excite sexual desire.  Don’t ask me.  Numbers of trysts are held in such places.  The boys now became sexually anxious.

     ‘Come on, Trueman.’

     ‘C’mon, what?’

     ‘This is far enough.’

     ‘I don’t follow you.’

     ‘You know, for Christ’s sake.  We can do it here.’

     Trueman caught their drift.  Not knowing why they expected him to turn it up he could only assume they were all queer.  The public toilet in Brisbane all over again.

     ‘You guys that way?’

page 986.

     ‘No. We’re not that way.  You like to blow, don’t you?’

     ‘Fuck you.  Where’d you get that idea?’

    ‘Aw, c’mon Trueman.  Christ, don’t be so coy.  It’s alright with us.’

     ‘I’m sure it’s alright with you fags but it’s not alright with me.  I’ll be going back to the ship alone.  I don’t want you queers following me.’

     Dewey was deeply hurt, offended to the depths of his being.  Like most hysterics he internalized the situation searching for what seen in him would lead these guys to believe he would do such a thing.  He was unaware of external factors, although Kanary’s two stories would generally be believed aboard ship and acted on again and again,  Trueman never learned the cause.

Mail Call

     The following day the mail caught up with them.  The Navy in many ways was a marvel of organization.  The masterminds in Washington who plotted the whereabouts of each and every ship in so many fleets also made sure that the mail reached each ship at places along its course.  Palau was selected as such a spot.  All the mail collected along the way from the US to Hawaii  to Australia now found its way to its final destination- the eager hands of the crew of the Teufelsdreck.

     The mail from Australia was the most welcome.  Those sailors who had scored now found letters eagerly demanding their attention.

page 987.

     Parsons who had been in the part with Stella Maris came dancing back to First to crow to Trueman:  ‘Look at this, Trueman.  She sent a pair of panties to remind me.  Ha. Ha. What do you think of that?  Did yours send her panties to you?’

     ‘Naw, she wasn’t wearing any.  Didn’t have any to send.’

     Other sailors read out passages of their letters.  Merriment was the order of the day when Roberts was seen looking very green with his letter from Stella Maris in his hands.

     ‘Got any panties there.’  Parsons roared.

     ‘No, Roberts said, choking back a sob.  ‘She says she filed charges against me for rape.’

     ‘Rape?  That’s not so.’

     ‘I know.’  Roberts said, brushing away a tear.  ‘But she said she wanted me to marry her and go to the States, now that we’d done it we were as good as married.’  I didn’t promise to marry her so she filed charges for rape.  She says she’ll drop the charges if I promise to marry her.’

     Dewey said nothing but gave Roberts a grateful look for taking Stella off his hands.  He still harbored a grudge against Craddock but he was now almost ready to seek him out and thank him.

     ‘Wow!  That could have been you, Dewey.’  Parsons said said laying a sympathetic hand on Trueman’s shoulder.

     ‘Yeah, could have been.’  Dewey said as Shakey Jake entered the compartment to tell Roberts:  ‘Captain wants to see you forward, Roberts.’

     Roberts got up mechanically and submissively followed Brook forward.

page 988.

     ‘I received this notice from the Fleet which says you’ve been accused of raping this girl in Brisbane.  What’s your side of it, Sailor?’

     Cornell Roberts was crestfallen.  Stella Maris had been the worst nightmare of his young life.  In the States he would have been a goner but the Navy tends to look after its own.  Still, the experience of Stella had depressed Roberts.

     ‘No sir, it’s not true.  That’s not it.  She wanted to do it but then she said that since she had given me what I wanted now I had to give her what she wanted.  She called it a fair exchange.  I had to marry her and take her back to the States.  I said no way.  I mean, see, she wasn’t even that good.  She barely spread her legs;  I couldn’t even get it all the way in.  I wasn’t going to marry her and take her back to the States for that.  I was getting the short end of the deal.’

     Ratches turned away to conceal a smile.

     ‘See here, Sir…’  Roberts held out his letter.  ‘…she even says if I marry her and take her back to the States she’ll drop charges.’

     ‘May I keep this letter Sailor?  It might come in handy to exonerate you.’ 

     ‘Sure, Captain.  I don’t want it.  I’m not going to marry her though, I don’t care what.’

     ‘Let me handle this.  Go about your business now.  Don’t worry about this too much.’

     ‘I hope not, Sir.  She wasn’t even worth it.’

page 989.

The New Wild Bunch Sails Into Subic Bay

     Having sailed from Palau the Teufelsdreck entered the Philippine Archepelago.  The ship slipped through the narrow Eastern portal into this amazing wonderland of hundreds if not thousands of islands sprinkled over a length of a thousand miles.

     The sea was so thickly studded that the Captain had to reduce speed to five knots as he guided in on a zig-zag course.  Some islands were relatively large, some were tiny islets a stones throw across.  All were thickly covered in dense jungle.

     Dewey stared in open mouthed wonder as the ship dreamily glided over the brilliantly blue waters beneath a brilliantly blue sky contrasting with the brilliant green of the jungles.  Everything was brilliant, even the brilliantly colored fish that darted to and fro in the shallow waters.

     Dewey gasped as they entered a narrow channel between two islets.  The bottom was clearly visible just beneath the ship.  The prow almost seemed to push the islets aside like the Argo to make its way through.  Leafy boughs overarched the ship.

     It was one of those moments you hope will last forever.

     But, alas, Dewey drifted up deck approaching a knot of talking sailors-  Paul Duber, Peter Erect, Cornell Roberts and Teal Kanary.

     ‘Yeah, Subic is the last place in the world where a man can be a man.’  Paul Duber was saying.

page 990.

     ‘Sure is.  You can get drunk, fight, raise hell and smash the place up and they don’t care.  Hell, they like it like that.’  Peter Erect added.

     ‘You know why?’  Teal Kanary giggled.  ‘Because they know they’re going to make so much money off us it doesn’t matter how much we destroy.  They can replace everything for nothing.  Life is cheap in Subic.  I can’t wait.  Freedom at last.  True liberation.’

     ‘I just want to get drunk.’  Roberts nearly moaned.

     Dewey came drifting up vibrant with wonder.

     ‘Hear that Trueman?  We get to Subic you can kiss your ass goodbye.’  Duber sneered.  ‘Subic’s not for shithooks like you.’

     ‘Oh yeah?’  Trueman retorted.  ‘This is the place, huh?  This is where you guys all get together and kick my ass, hey?  When I see you guys coming I will call up the reserves.  What’s in Subic anyway?’

     ‘It’s just the wildest, hairiest place in the world, that’s all.  Last place left where a man can be a man.’

     ‘I didn’t think there was a place on earth where you could be a man, Erect.  After crossing the line I thought everyone knew you were an animal.’

     ‘Keep it up, Trueman, keep it up.

    ‘I don’t have as much trouble doing it as you probably do.’  Trueman sneered.

     Trueman walked on wondering how in this seeming paradise men could care to continue to hate everything that moved except themselves.  Still, as the ship glided through the myriad islands a sort of spell fell as a lassitude on the sailors.

page 991.

     Somewhere along the way the squadron had broken up, each ship going its own way fulfilling whatever known or unknown function the Navy had for it.  Thus the Teufelsdreck entered Subic Bay alone.

     Subic is on the other side of the Bataan Peninsula from Manila Bay.  This was the site of the famous Bataan Death March.  The Old Salts were not to be seen during the stay.  They went off on memorial trips.

     Subic had the rusticity that could lead you to believe that it was the last uncivilized outpost in the world.  The kind of place where the French Foreign Legion, which had lost its reputation for invincibility at Dien Bien Phu, might hold its conventions, or, indeed serve as a hideout for Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch.  A lot of the cowboys on board certainly thought it was.

     But the desperadoes and criminals who formed the Foreign Legion who supposedly fought with such abandon because they had nothing to lose had also lost their mystique in the jungles of Viet Nam.  All the Dirty Dozens were no more than that.  Dirty.

     Ah, but you know , as the saying going around ship had it: ‘The jungle though beautiful from a distance contains deadly terrors inside.’

     His anger unabated the Commodore refused to allow the Teufelsdreck to moor in the port.  Instead they were sent to another out of the way pier without potable water.

page 992.

     The Teufelsdreck swung around to tie up at a pier alongside the bank.  Another pier ran out into the water aft of the Teuf.  Deck had not honored the people of Subic by lining up at parade rest on the bow in undresswhites but slunk in in a desultory manner in dungarees.  As the soon as the ship docked liberty was announced.

     Subic had a real Huck Finn quality to it.  The dirt roads were just as they should be.  A green sprawl flowed from the bank toward the town which lay behind a rise a mile away.  It was just a short walk to the bars.  The cowboys streamed off the ship like some of Charlie Siringo’s trail drivers hell bent for leather into the last place on earth where a man could be man.  Fortunately for Captain Ratches these cowboys did not have six shooters, could have been real bad.

     Dewey elected to stay on board.  He assumed that even if he didn’t get his ass kicked for him as promised he would have to at least spend his time fighting especially as the boys were going to get really liquored up.

     Not enough of a cowboy to enjoy fighting for fighting’s sake he did the obvious.  One advantage was that with nearly everyone off the ship he could relax.  As said the Negroes stayed on board although they stayed invisible lounging around their ghetto in the sweltering Supply Compartment.  Supply was in the front of the ship, the Blacks were not going to ride in the back.  Theirs was a special case because if they went ashore they might have to fight their way there and back.  Who knows how the Philippinos felt about them.  After all MacArthur’s boys had been all white.  In a way the Blacks were prisoners of circumstance.

page 993.

     Trueman went up to the bowsprit to lean against the lines trying to catch a breeze while viewing the tropical panorama before him.  He had a premonition that the cowboys were heading for trouble.

     After a while Dart Craddock, who had duty drifted up to join him.

     ‘Word’s out that you’re too chicken to go ashore for fear you’ll get your ass kicked.’

     ‘No kidding?  You know I don’t drink, Craddock.  What else is there to do here?’  Dewey evaded giving all the good reasons he had for staying aboard so as to avoid mentioning a real reason.

     ‘Well, I only tell you what they say.’

    ‘Do I care what dummy’s say?  Look down there Craddock, what do you see?’

     Craddock looked into the water, did a double take, then looked up saying:  ‘Oh my god.’

     ‘Right, Craddock.  Have you ever seen the like?  Look at that.  There must be hundreds of fish in colors you or I never knew they came in.  Just check that out.  Isn’t that something that looks better than the inside of a barroom?  Isn’t this weather better than the inside of a stinking cantina?’  Trueman was going now.  It sounded better and better.  Almost the whole truth.

    ”Sides, look at those asshole cowboys who went over, are you really one of them?’  This was really sincere.  ‘Those guys are nothing but losers.  You might call them bindlestiffs but I just call them jerks.’

page994.

     ‘I think I have a lot in common with my working compadres…’  Craddock began.

     At this this time the excitement began happening fast and furious.

     As they watched Teal Kanary came over the rise on a bicycle.  He was obviously loaded.  The Yeoman had seen some old South Sea epic in which someone, probably John Wayne, had appropriated a bicycle conveniently laying about and ridden off the end of a pier into some bay.  The image had captivated young Kanary’s mind so that he had always yearned to do it.  Subic was the place.

     In the movies one approriates a bike, in real life one steals it.  That is just what Teal did.  He’d had more than enough beer within a very short space of time to fuddle his intelligence.  The fuddling was increased ten fold by the stifling tropical heat.  Making a strategic retreat from the bar the rest of the boys were tearing down plank by plank he spotted a bicycle leaning against a post.  He hopped on to the dismay of the owner and began peddling back to the Teuf and that pier running out into the water just aft of the ship.

     Between a pitcher or two of beer and the brain swaddling heat he was definitely under the influence.  Lost in his South Sea fantasy he was oblivious of the gentleman running behind him yelling:  ‘Stop, thief.’

     Topping the rise he began to accelerate for the down slope run.  In the movie Big Bad John took his feet off the pedals and stuck them out to the side while wobbling in a romantic humorous way with this joyous expression on his face.  ‘Freedom’ at last.  Kanary got the joyous expression more or less right but he was too zapped to perform the athletics well.  He was in the process of arranging his face into joyous when he lost control.  His face went through several contortions from joyous to fear as he fought to gain control of the bike.

page 995.

     Now, in John Wayne’s  movie there was no six by six inch beam laying across the end of the pier; in real life there was.  Kanary had not taken this beam into consideration.  In the movie John Wayne sailed off the end of the pier emerging with a big laugh and that great big grin of the big lug.  He was the Duke.

     In real life Teal Kanary slammed into the beam completely upsetting his chemical balance.  The booze, the heat and the shock of the collision made very unpleasant reverberations through his mind and body.  Brought to such an abrupt conclusion of his fantasy Kanary with a truly wobbling howl catapulted over the handlebars head over heels emitting a long stream of warm beer from the bottom of his soul.  Kanary was a jungle joker.

     He did a double gainer out over the water landing ten feet ahead of the bike.  Disoriented by the collision, the warm tropical water did not help his disposition.  Already sick from the beer and heat he went into a mild delirious shock.

     He splashed and floundered.  It was fairly clear that he would drown.  Trueman’s hopes rose.  He was truly disappointed when Parsons kicked off his shoes swimming over to rescue the struggling seaman.

page 996.

     Hauled out half dead he was met by the owner of the bicycle who did not let Kanary’s condition deter him.  He punched and roared at Kanary demanding to know in some language whether Spanish, English, Tagalog or whatever who was going to pay for his bicycle.

     Indeed, when they fished it out the front tire was blown, the rim was bent and the sprockets cracked.

     Kanary was carried semi-conscious and half dead aboard ship.  As he was crossing the gangway a new ruckus assaulted their eyes.  The cowboys had been met by an armed citizenry just like in the Northfield shootout.

     The twenty-five or so sailors in the gang were being marched along double time by a line of rifle toting Federales on either side of the column.  Apparently the last place on earth where a man could be a man had been moved further South the day before the Teufelsdreck had entered port.

     The sailors were a sorry sight.  All of them were close to falling down drunk magnifying the comic aspects as the bedraggled lot fought to keep their feet as the Federales hustled them along.  Dirty and fighting the lethargy of the beer and heat they were quite a sight.

    Dewey and Dart who had watched in amazement as Kanary did his double gainer and then Dewey, at least, who viewed with great pleasure as they carried the inert Yeoman aboard could repress himself no longer.  Laughing and jeering he grabbed the line to support himself rocking back and forth in joy.

     ‘Hey, what are you guys doing reenacting the Bataan Death March?’

page997.

     Stumbling along the desperadoes didn’t have the strength or presence of mind to answer if they even heard Dewey in their distress.

    ‘There you go Dart.  Are those guys the compadres you were talking about?  Look at Duber out in front with his mouth hanging open in that disgusting fag way.  Look at Roberts with mouth agape and eyes rolled back in his head hands held like a monkey barely able to keep his balance.  Is that you, you working class compadre?  Are you really one of those guys?  You think I was afraid to go with them?  Maybe, but if I was it wasn’t because I was afraid to get my ass kicked it was because I would have gotten my ass in a sling just like those guys.  You’re lucky you had duty or you’d be one of them.  How about it?  You one of them, Dart?’

     The question troubled Craddock.  Confronted by the degrading spectacle his brain became troubled but loath to give up his fantasy in the face of reality he just made an inarticulate sound heading for the Quarterdeck for a first hand view.

     Dewey had no such reservations; he turned back to the desperadoes:  ‘Naw, you guys couldn’t be imitating it.  The guy’s on the Death March looked alive on their feet, you guys look like the walking dead; maybe you’re lemmings making a rush to drown in the sea.  Ha. Ha.’

     The indignant Peace Officers herded the men up to the gangway where they crowded and fought each other to get across as the momentum of those behind crushed in on those in front.  Erect missed the gangway completely.  Grabbing desperately for the lines he slipped down the side of the ship into the tepid water.

page 998.

     Exhausted and sick from their mile run the sailors sprawled out on the Quarterdeck even falling over each other.  Not a few were hanging over the side providing fodder for those multi-colored fish which seemed to love the vomit.

     Much to the delight of Dewey, who had moved from the fo’c’sle to the boat deck directly overhead for a better view, one sailor disgorged his load directly on Erect’s head who was still struggling in the water.

     Hubie Blake who was Petty Officer Of The Watch was doing a masterful job of appearing blase in the face of this pandemonium.  He was tested to the limit when Roberts following who knows what psychological need crawled on his hands and knees and seizing Blake’s shoe in his hand barfed over shoe and hands both.

     ‘Hey, not on my shoe!’  Blake protested coming within a hair of losing his cool but recovering just in time.  A grimace passed over his face as the warm vomit slid down his socks into his heel.

     Standing just above Blake on the Boat Deck Trueman was less than cool.   He was laughing uproariously dancing about he shouted down to Duber who was far beyond the reach of any human voice:  ‘Hey, Duber.  Want to come up here and kick my ass?  Ha. Ha.’

      Blake standing in his soggy sock looked up to give him a disparaging glance but it was no use; to see all his enemies including Kanary humiliating themselves at once was too once in a lifetime to forego one iota of pleasure.

page 999.

     El Jefe, without asking permission to come aboard stepped gingerly over the writhing bodies to demand with the utmost offended dignity to see the Capitan.  As Ratches’ luck would have it, he was aboard.  He came out of the wardroom to be met by this horrendous sight.  He was just as cool as Blake however.  Taking it all in at a glance his face set in concrete as he advanced toward El Jefe with equal dignity with his hand outsretched.

     El Jefe was much gratified to be treated as an equal but he was no less adamant in his demands.  The Teufelsdreck desperadoes had done some serious damage to the town.  Many thousands of dollars worth of fun.  El Jefe demanded to know who was going to pay.  The bicycle owner was also putting in his petty cash claim.

     The harassed Ratches invited El Jefe into the wardroom to sound the depth of the problem; this was a full fathom six situation, too.  Captain Ratches assured the Jefe that the Teufelsdreck would be in port four days so there was plenty of time to work out the problem.

     But El Jefe was no fool and wise to the ways of men and the Teufelsdreck sailors; he knew that if he wasn’t paid then and there the chances of being paid later were slim to none.  He refused to budge until he had the money in his hand.

     Ratches called Ensign Shaffer who was the Officer Of The Day.  The little box of dynamite was raided to satisfy the Jefe who left enraged and disgusted to step over the destroyed sailors who had not yet gotten up from the deck.  Erect had been hauled aboard where he stood dripping leaning sickly against the bulkhead.

page 1000

Our Lady Of The Blues

by

R.E. Prindle

V-3

From Gaia To Maia

 

     Finally Trueman was joined by Mike Deasy and Conrad Parsons.  As Kanary was still following along a few paces behind Trueman Deasy turned to Dewey to ask:  ‘What’s wrong with him?’

     ‘I don’t know.  He tried to drown me with his hose yesterday and now I think he wants to put his hose somewhere else.’

     That got a good round of laughs from Deasy and Parsons much to Kanary’s dissatisfaction.  The split between the former Pollywogs and faux Shellbacks had firmed overnight.  The personnel was now split down the middle.  Kanary did not realize the nature of his crime but he would no longer be allowed to hang around with the former Pollywogs.  He dropped back, then disappeared into the gathering dusk.

     The three sailors were walking toward a Recreation Hall to while away a couple hours when Trueman was taken by the hand by a Samoan girl who wished to lead him into the bushes.  Now, here was a guy who said he never got any chances with women but who now turned down the fairest offer a man will ever receive.  Partially he was afraid of contracting Elephantiasis, partially he was repelled by the girl’s ugliness and partially he was inhibited by his former relationship with his childhood sweetheart Ange.

     He pulled his hand away much to the dismay of the girl.  She then took Parson’s hand who showed no reluctance to follow her.  Looking back at Trueman mystified he indicated his willingness to let him have her but Dewey wasn’t interested.

     The next morning the Teufelsdreck and the squadron put out to sea in a flat out run to Brisbane.

To The Great Barrier Reef

       The squadron set out at a dead run in contrast to the previous dawdling pace.  Not aware of the seriousness of the two men’s injuries, indeed, not even fully aware of the men as they were out of sight Dewey marveled at the speed.

     The squadron quickly dropped South below the Tropic of Capricorn where the waters lost the placidity of the tropics turning choppy once again.

     The plight of his two sailors weighed heavy on Ratches’ mind.  It weighed heavier still when the supply of narcotics ran out leaving the men in desperate pain.  The only solution for this was to transfer the Desade’s supply to the Teufelsdreck.  This could have been done very easily but Ratches was ashamed to openly receive the narcotics.  To solve the problem the Teufelsdreck and Desade engaged in cover maneuvers involving the transfer of men from ship to ship using the Jacob’s Chair.

     Gunnery and Deck were involved.  The maneuver involved the two ships running side by side at a maximum distance of thirty feet.  Lines were strung and passed from the bottom of the Hedgehog deck above the forward three inch mount.  The chair was connected to this line with lines on the chair to pull it back and forth.  A sailor was placed in the chair for this spectacular ride.  Thus if the ships were to  pull too far apart the line would snap dropping the passenger into the drink where he might easily be lost at sea or die of hypothermia before he could be rescued.

 page 902.

      If, the ships came closer together the passenger was dunked in the ocean.  Nor was this a laughing matter because the ships performed this difficult maneuver at top speed so that the sailor slammed into the waves at sixteen knots.  Believe me a wave has mass.

     First Division gathered on the fo’c’sle to begin.  It was an overcast day of fairly high seas.  The Commodore glared from his bridge with folded arms at Ratches on the Teufelsdreck.  The Commodore occasionally burst out in rancorous language at Ratches.  Trueman was amazed a this as his notion of authority was that it had absolute control of its emotions.  Actually its members are less cool than any of the Blacks huddled in Supply.

     Dieter selected his favorites to handle the lines for this was exciting and valuable experience.  Monkey’s Fists shot back and forth as the seamen struggled to connect the lines and get the chair rigged as the helmsmen struggled fighting the wash between the vessels to keep the ships on course thirty feet apart.  This is a situation where one really lives and curses every moment of it.

     Having finally rigged the chair it became necessary to select the sailors to transfer to the Desade to pick up the narcotics.  The task was so formidable that all the sailors were afraid to go with the exception of Trueman, who saw it as an incomparable experience.  Dieter looked at him and Trueman leaned forward in eagerness which was his mistake.  Dieter seeing his eagerness passed him by.  The selection actually represented a sort of vengeance on the so-called Shellbacks.  The first selected was Van Wye who had been over zealous with his hose in the early part of the initiation before he too was pulled from the gauntlet.

     Van Wye was quite terrified but to his credit he quelled his fears stepping up for the ride of his life.  What a trip it was.  He sat facing the stern with his back to the cresting waves.  The thing could have been done with better efficiency but men being what they are they prefer to make it look harder than it is.  Van Wye could have been hauled across without mishap but that wouldn’t have been any fun.

     As First watched each man vicariously experiencing the passage breathlessly the ships closed dropping Van Why to just above the crests where his dangling feet were buffeted by the waves, sitting as it were on the water racing along at seventeen knots in a three hundred six foot steel corridor.  Then he was bobbed back up to deck level and then dropped into the trough while several crests slapped his back painfully enough that he let out a yowl, back out of the water over to the Desage where he was lifted shaking out of the chair.  He collapsed against the bulkhead lying there panting.

     Dewey was green with envy.  How many men in the world could ever say they had that experience.

page 904.

     Then Dieter looked around for another sailor.  Dewey looked up bright eyed hoping against hope to be selected but he was disappointed again.  Dieter’s eyes lit on ‘Judge’ Proud Costello, the handsomest man in the Navy.  Why Costello was in his undress blues while everyone else was in dungarees could perhaps only be explained by the fact tha he could sport his third class chevron on his blues but not his dungarees.  Costello was nothing if not self-important.

     He had made such an ass of himself at initiation that he was something of a laughing stock until he regained his shaken dignity.

     ‘You’re up Costello.’

     The Man amongst Men completely lost his composure.  He was not only terrified but cowardly.

     ‘Me?  No, not me Chief.  I-I’m a Third Class.  Make a Seaman go.  Take Trueman.’

     ‘OK.’ Trueman shouted seeking to haul himself up to the gun tub.

     ‘No. Not you Trueman.  Costello’s going.’

     ‘No. Not me.’  Costello bawled on.  Dieter took him by the arm shoving him toward the basket which had been returned.

     ‘This isn’t fair.’  Cried the ‘Judge’ of the kangaroo court.

     Fair or not he was strapped into the chair and screaming and yowling was dangling over the brine.  Not for long.  He was dropped in over his head.  This was no laughing matter as the speed of the ships swept him back and up tossing skipping over the waves.  Dewey watched breathlessly as the ships speed swung the basket horizontal while Costello’s yowlings were stopped as the water rushed over his head.

page 905.

     Dewey suppressed a giggle to see the ‘Judge’ of the Damned perform in such an undignified manner.  After Dieter had had fun Costello was pulled over and dumped in a heap in the corner of the Desade’s gun tub.

     Van Wye was given the box of narcotics which was the reason for this charade.  Clutching it tightly he was swung out and dipped but he held onto the box.

     ‘Well, you gotta give the creep credit.’  Dewey said to Frenchey.  ‘He pulled it off pretty well.  What’s in the box?’ He added with a raised voice but no one answered.

      The basket went back, Costello was scooped off the deck and dumped in the basket.  Once safe back on the Teufelsdreck he began to regain his composure.  Quickly suppressing the memory of his unmanly behavior he began to boast.  He ignored the smiles and derisive comments building up his heroism in his mind.

     Back in First he remembered that Trueman had jumped at his suggestion that Dewey be taken rather than himself.  This meant that the suppression of his cowardice couldn’t be complete until Trueman was put down.

     ‘Did you see me, Trueman?  You couldn’t do that.’

     ‘You’re right there Costello.  I couldn’t possibly scream as loud as that.  You hit C over C a couple times, I’m sure.’

     ‘You’re that kinda guy, aren’t you Trueman?  Belittle a strong man’s heroism.  Damn you.’

     ‘Aw, eat a weenie, Costello.  The only strong thing about you is your stench.’

     ‘Up yours, Trueman.’

     Dewey let it drop, Costello wanted the last word, let him have it.

page 907

Payday.

      Life goes on whether two men are crippled for life or not; as a matter of fact life goes on whether six or fifty million die.  Life goes on.  As Chairman Mao once said:  If thirty million die so what?  Will the flowers not still bloom in spring?’  Then in typical Communist fashion he conducted a campaign to exterminate flowers.

     The sailors were headed for Australia where it was rumored the women threw themselves at you.  In this case the rumors would prove to be at least half true.

     Certain close connections had been offered the advance pay deal before Hawaii.  The extra pay for Shaffer, Ponzi and Kanary had been so welcome that they extended the program to the whole crew excluding the Blacks.  Prejudice will out.

     Most of the crew responded enthusiastically, most drawing a full paycheck and now lining up again on payday for their regular allotment.

     Trueman had been approached by Kanary who wanted to get half of Trueman’s draw.  He was stunned by Dewey’s reluctance.

     ‘Why not?  You draw extra, have a good time, and never have to pay it back.’

page 907.

     Well, yah, Kanary but if I draw fifty I have to give you twenty-five.’

     ‘Well, yes.  There’s a service charge.’

     ‘Uh huh.  But if they ask for it back then I have to give them fifty but you still get to keep the twenty-five.  Right?’

     ‘They aren’t going to ask for it back.  Ensign Shaffer guarantees it.’

     ‘What’ll happen when they find out?’

     ‘Why would they find out?’

     ‘Audit, Kanary.  Have you ever learned the word, audit?  All companies audit the boods for accuracy and skullduggery.  So does the Navy.’

     ‘How do you know that?’

     ‘Easy.  At the administration building at the Navy Station they have a door with Department of Audits written on it.  I asked what they did.  They do audits.’

     ‘Ensign Shaffer and Ponzi say it’s OK.  Shaffer’s an officer he can’t do anything wrong and Ponzi’s got twelve years experience.  He never said anything about audits to me.’

     ‘Well, but Kanary, you remember when you guys brought the black box aboard and you told us there was a million dollars in it?’

     ‘Yeah.’

     ‘Well, that money is supposed to last the whole tour with nothing left over.  If you take double the money out the till comes up short before the trip’s over.  Then what?’

     This was too much for Kanary who had dollar signs before his eyes; he didn’t want to think about any of this.  If Ensign Shaffer was behind it that was good enough for him.

page 908.

     ‘Never mind all that bushwa.  Do you want an advance or not?’

     ‘Are you hard of hearing, Kanary.  I already said no.  Wash your ears out with a suicide nozzle.’

     And so Trueman was one of only twenty some sailors who refused the advances for one reason or another.

     The happy sailors drew their second allotment leaving them flush with cash as they entered the channel leading through the Great Barrier Reef.

The Price Of Excess

     Entering the channel put Dewey on top of the world.  To be able to see these things for oneself almost made it worthwhile to have joined the Navy.

     ‘What the hell you looking at Trueman?  This is just water the same as the rest of the ocean.’  Laddybuck Ifrit sneered at Trueman who was hanging over the lines staring down at the reef.

    ‘That’s what you say Ifrit.  This is the Great Barrier Reef.  It runs a thousand miles down the whole coast of Australia.  This is the largest coral reef in the world.  I’ve been hoping all my life to see it.’

     ‘I don’t know where you get this crap, Trueman.  Laddybuck said who had never even heard of the Great Barrier Reef.  ‘It’s just water.’

page 909.

     ‘Even so, do you notice how calm it is above the reef compared to the open sea.  If you look close you can see all kinds of fish.  Look at those sand bars out there, probably shift all over the place with wind, waves and tides.  This is wonderful.’

     ‘Just water, you drip.’  Ifrit snarled walking off not even realizing he had made a pun.

     That’s how one acquires a reputation for being weird, taking an interest in things.

     The ship moved through the channel to the other side of the reef into the coastal waters and began the ascent up to the river to Brisbane.

     Brisbane is midcoast on Australia’s East Side.  The location makes it a beneficiary of Northern rains but the seasonality of the rains and its heat keeps it from being a jungle.  The squadron arrived in the midst of a dry spell.

     The City of Brisbane had planned a magnificent reception for the sqaudron with brass bands, fireworks, welcoming dignitaries making speeches, the whole works.  Their river was not that big or deep so they were not often visited by units of the Pacific Fleet.  The payroll of the seven hundred or so warriors of the most powerful nation on the face of the earth was very welcome.

     The early arrival caused by the initiation on the Teufelsdreck had scotched the plans.  The bands and fireworks were dispensed with.  A lone dignitary merely welcomed them.  This was a severe setback for the Commodore who took such vanities as the projected festivities quite seriously.  In his imagination his chest was too broad for the medals he had won, puffed up at the thought of addressing the assembled multitude on behalf of his Superpower.   You see, some of that power would have sloughed off to magnify him.

page 910.

     Enraged at missing this fine opportunity he vented his fury on Ratches and the Teuf.  Perhaps he was even right.  Even though such honors are empty, devoid of real substance, they are nevertheless the high points, the distinctions of life.  They are experience that teaches you how to do it better the next time.  Even the humble sailors on the fo’c’sle would have found it a stirring spectacle to make their lives shine a little.

     Because of Ratches lack of control over his crew the Commodore missed it by arriving a week early.  He made his decision.  The other three ships of the squadron were allowed to proceed to the main docks at the foot of the main street downtown while the Black Sheep was relegated to an industrial pier downstream by itself, thanks to the beastly appetites of the homosexuals.

     Ratches was angry but resigned.  A secret rage burst into flame in his heart against Peter Erect and Paul Duber.  He projected his shame on them which is where, after all, it belonged.

     The subkiller tied up in obscurity.  As usual Trueman was given the odious duty of tieing on the rat guards.  This time on the fantail.  Rat guards are those round metal things on the mooring lines.

     Rats are an ever present danger on the waterfront.  You don’t want any on board.  To tie the guards on a Deckape has to slide down the doubled up lines, which is to say three strands and tie the guards on and then slide down the lines to shore.  Needless to say this is painfully hard on the rectum.  It takes nearly a surgical operation to cut your shorts out of your asshole.  Very unpleasant.

 page 911.

     Grumbling mightily Trueman slipped down the line ankles crossed to keep his balance and to keep from falling in if he lost his balance.  He had just secured the rat guard when Paul Duber and Peter Erect showed up to taunt him.  They wanted to start the magnificent liberty time on a sour note for Trueman.

      ‘Hey, how’s it going Trueman?’  They laughed grabbing the lines and shaking them into a wave motion.

     ‘Hey, knock it off you jerks.’  Trueman yelled.

     ‘Har har.  Ride ’em Cowboy.  Show us your bronco bustin’ style Trueman.’

     Trueman had good balance so he could ride the hempen roan but he couldn’t move, he could only hang on.  The added activity did nothing for his rectum.  Fortunately Pardon showed up and chased the two Supplymen away.  They were in bad odor with the senior non-coms.

     Trueman shimmied to the dock, taking his time strolling up to the Quarterdeck pleased at the feel of terra firma beneath his feet.  By the time he reached the gangway his anger had dissipated.  There really wasn’t much you could do about such hi-jinks but retaliate in kind when the opportunity offered itself.  Trueman had better things to do.

     He was flipping his scarf over his head when Kanary came up to him to say:  ‘You’re on the Cricket Squad, Trueman.’

page 912.

     ‘Get lost Kanary.  I’m on my way downtown.  I don’t even know what a Cricket Squad is, get someone else.’

     ‘I’m tellin’ ya Trueman, you’re on the Cricket team.’

     ‘I don’t know how many times I have to tell you this Kanary but you are both a Seaman and a Yeoman.  You don’t have the authority to tell me anything, so piss off.  However I do have the authority to tell you that.  Back off, puke.

      Kanary glared hatefully at Trueman then stomped off.  A couple minutes later Chief Dieter stepped through the hatch:  ‘You’re on the Cricket Squad, Trueman.’

     ‘Aw, come on, Chief.  That sounds like fun, give it to one of your favorites.’

     ‘Muster is on the Quarterdeck no later than fifteen minutes.  Be there or I’ll square your wheels.’

     Trueman was there.  As he was standing and waiting Baxter and Basehart were brought up on stretchers on their way to the hospital.  Both men had the sheen of men in desperate pain.  Basehart was only semi-concious but Baxter seemed to have an affection for Trueman held out his hand and fondly bid him adieu.  ‘Oh yeah, so long Baxter, good luck.’  Trueman said having almost forgotten his existence.  Then the two men were loaded into ambulances and never seen again.  Life went on.

     The mustered men were put in a van and driven to a Cricket field.  That’s one thing about the English they always take their insitutions with them.

     Dewey knew what Cricket was which put him one up with most of the sailors but no one had ever played the game.  It was quite a novelty for all.

page 913.

     Kanary quickly spread his blow job story about Trueman to the Australians.  The chill hit Trueman in the sub-tropical sun immediately.

     Most of the sailors couldn’t grasp the concept of swinging the cricket bat to protect the wicket so Trueman got to his innings pretty quickly.

     He understood the principle if lacking in execution but he protected his wicket pretty well.  The slanted blades of the bat gave him some trouble but as there is no such thing as a foul ball in Cricket many of the little tips he gave the ball rolled between the fielders while his fairer hits kept him running in the hot sun in the heavy woolen dress blues.

page 914.

     In Cricket you have to keep running back and forth between the wicket and the pitch until the ball is retrieved.  If you can only make it to the pitch you stand there while another batsman takes his turn.

     Cricket is a straight forward game without provisions for legal cheating as in American baseball and other games.  You may be able to ‘steal’ a base in Baseball but you can’t steal wickets in Cricket.  American sports may be unique in that they sanction such criminal behavior.  This fact may have something to do with why crime is rampant in America, you’re trained to it in sports.

     Trueman was never put out.  He was up to fifty-seven runs when they called the game lest he get his hundred.  By fifty-seven he was forty-five ahead of any of the sailors.  Rather than chance his getting a hundred and making them all look bad they called the game.  Trueman had not taken this as a hardship.  He was exhausted from running back and forth, sweating through his blues.

     Kanary approached Trueman:  ‘We’re all going over to a party at Mr. Highnote’s house.  You’re not invited.’

     ‘Who says so, Kanary?’

     ‘I do.’  Said Hugh Highnote, a son, stepping up.  ‘We don’t want your kind there.’  He said with all the detestation reserved for the homosexual Kanary had advised them he was.

     ‘Alright.  I didn’t volunteer for this anyway.  Bite a weeny, asshole.’

     Highnote turned away in disgust while Kanary gloated viciously:  ‘How does that make you feel, Trueman?  Nobody wants to have anything to do with you.’

     Trueman didn’t know the reason but he knew it probably involved Kanary and not himself.  Still it is almost impossible in such circumstances not to have doubt about yourself, not to internalize the rejection expecially as this would only be one of many engineered by Kanary.

     There was nothing for it as the Knights of old would say but that the injury is on me, the shame is on you.  Shame?  What shame?  Homos like Kanary are beyond shame, they are chutzpah chiseled in stone, shameless despicable creatures.

     Left in the middle of he knew not where Trueman nevertheless started walking through beautiful neighborhoods quickly finding his way downtown.

page 915.

     There as the evening cooled he began his sightseeing.  Just the thought of standing Down Under was a thrill.  As a boy from the Valley he had had only dreams of visiting such places.  As was usual with him be began an orientation tour.

     The English always build stately public buildings.  When you’ve won the lottery ticket by being born an Englishman I guess you have to show it.  Trueman was admiring Brisbane Statehouse when he was approached by…Kanary.  The marvel of it is that this man had no life of his own.  Both as a Homo and a Communist he gained his identity from the men he pursued.  The whole of his life was dedicated to pursuing men.

     ‘What the hell do you want Kanary?  I thought you were at some party.’

     ‘Oh that.  I left early.  What a bore.  Besides Roberts started a fight after only a couple beers and all the other guys were thrown out.’

     Trueman snorted a laugh.  ‘How’d you start that, Kanary?’

     ‘I didn’t do anything.  All I said to Roberts was that… Oh nevermind.  They’re such unruly people anyway.’

     ‘Yeah?  Well, so am I Kanary.  Take a hike.’

     ‘Don’t be so rude Trueman.  You have no reason to dislike me.  I’d like to do something nice for you.’

     ‘Whatever you’ve got I’ve already seen in the showers.’  Trueman sneered thinking Kanary was going to hit on him.  ‘I wasn’t impressed.’

     ‘I beg your pardon.’

page 916.

     ‘Go ahead.  See how far you get.’

     ‘Don’t be so difficult Trueman.  If you’re so suspicious you won’t ever make friends.’

     ‘I think our ideas of friendship are diametrically opposed Kanary.  Move along.’

     Shaking a queer isn’t the easiet thing in the world unless you use violence.  If you don’t use violence they think you’re just playing hard to get.  That’s why queers get beat up.  If women had physcial strength there would be a lot more guys beaten up.

     ‘Just come with me a minute.  It won’t hurt you.’

     With a groan Trueman reluctantly followed Kanary hoping to lose the fairy on the way.

     ‘There.’  Kanary said pointing to a public toilet.

     Some men find bars, some men find women, some men find dope; Kanary with an unerring nose found all the toilets.

     ‘There what?’  Trueman asked.

     Kanary made a gesture indicating that the toilet was it. 

     ‘That’s just a public toilet.  You brought me over here just to see a toilet?  What?  Are you an expert on the architecture of public toilets?  You going to write a book called ‘Toilets I Have Pissed In?  or ‘Toilets Around The World’ or something like that?’

page 917.

     ‘Go inside.’  Kanary sniffed.

     Trueman looked at the queer like he was a madman; of which there is little question he was.  But as he had nothing else to do while also feeling the call of nature he stpped down the stairs pushing open the door.  He was immediately surrounded by a dozen chattering queers who apparently used this toilet as their clubhouse.

     ‘Get back.’  Trueman snarled as he pushed his way through them to the pissoirs.

     ‘Do you need a hand with that?’  One tittered.

     ‘My but you’ve got a lot to be proud of.’  Said another taking the positive approach.

     ‘Aw, mind your own business.’  Trueman said zipping up as he pushed through them to the door.

     He found Kanary waiting for him breathlessly at the top of the steps.  In point of fact Kanary had no reason to doubt Yisraeli’s story about the skating rink so he had told these toilet queers that Trueman would give them all a blow job.

     So, as eager queers clustered around Trueman in expectation Kanary was mystified that Trueman didn’t appear aroused.

     ‘You should do something nice for them Trueman.’

     ‘Like what?’  Trueman barked.

     ‘Like what you’ve done before.’  Kanary said genuinely puzzled.

     ‘What have I done before?’  Trueman asked angrily disliking the implication.

     ‘You should take compassion on these poor men and give them some sexual satisfaction.’

     ‘Me?  You’re the one that’s queer Kanary.  If you like toilets so much you do something nice for them.’

     ‘No.  I can’t do that.  I’m not queer.’  Kanary said precisely.

     ‘We want something nice.’  The queers clamored.

     ‘Well, there’s your man.’  Trueman sneered pushing them back as he walked away.  ‘And don’t follow me Kanary, goddamn you.  Dewey threatened as he walked away.

Nobody’s Business But My Own

             ‘Hey, any of you guys seen Trueman?’  Kanary announced stepping into First.

     ‘Na. He’s gone on liberty.’

     ‘He’s gone already?  You know where?’

     ‘No.  We don’t care Kanary, the further the better.  Maybe he won’t come back.  Whatsamatta, you got a hard on for him or something?’

     ‘What are you talking about?  I just had something to tell him that’s all.’

     ‘Wouldn’t be anything that comes out the end of a ‘hose’ would it?  Ha, ha.’

     ‘That’s disgusting.’  Kanary lamented leaving to get dressed for liberty.

     While he was dressing he kept wondering how he could find Trueman.  He was still smarting from the exchange with Trueman the preceding day at the public toilet.  Because he thought himself ‘pure’ and Trueman ‘foul’ he believed that Trueman had no right to retaliate.  He thought Trueman should merely submit uncomplainingly to his abuse, accede to his opinion.  Since Trueman was of the opposite point of view Kanary blamed Trueman for defending himself.  Self-defense is a crime to all bigots.

page 919.

     Kanary may have failed in cutting Trueman in two with the suicide nozzle which had been his intention but he was determined to not let him enjoy himself on this tour which Kanary had tried to keep him from.

     The Teufelsdreck was moored at the lower end of town as punishment for the doings of the fags so Kanary emerged from this more disreputable neighborhood into the glory of downtown Brisbane.  Although a very large city, Brisbane ranked among the top three in the world in square miles, it retained the look and feel of a small to medium sized city of the US in the twenties.  There was a complete absence of neon which in its absence was remembered as surprisingly ugly.  The city therefore had a claim that no US city could have.  The people were not so prosperous so the streets were not filled with automobiles, no bad thing in itself.  People were no where as hard and as aggressive as in America.  The only race problem was the few Chinese who had somehow gained admission to what was then an unashamedly White country.

     When an Australian Prime Minister was told that if they brought in Chinese Coolies they could devlop the country faster he replied in effect:  ‘The country is being developed fast enough.  Antything that can’t be done now will have to wait its time.’

page 920

     The Australians were chid for this attitude but for the time being anyway the country was civil and relaxed unlike the rude hypertense US.

     Kanary who saw only in political and sexual terms was quite unobservant of his physical environment.

     He had spent two hours racing up one street and down another in his pathological search for sexual gratification when he spotted three Operations men from the Teufelsdreck staring into a restaurant window.

     ‘Have any of you guys seen Trueman?’  He asked anxiously.

     Gar Potter pointed into the restaurant.  Kanary looked in to see Trueman sitting at a table quietly enjoying those little sandwiches that only an Englishman could create.

     ‘What’s he doing in a nice place like that?’

     ‘That’s what we’d like to know.  Who’s he think he is?’

     Trueman had seen them standing staring at him but had made no motion to invite them in.  Indeed, they wouldn’t have entered if he’d invited them.  The restaurant was too polite for their tastes.  Most the sailors had very low self-esteem.

     Trueman had been walking down the street when he had been charmed by the facade.  The place was more of an English tea room than a restaurant but it reminded Trueman of the retaurant of the Corbenic hotel in the Valley, not in decor but in tone.

     Many was the time he had walked past its windows on Main to see classmates and their families sitting in what was to his experience palatial comfort.  The Corbenic had been off limits to his family then, they wouldn’t have been served, they were relegated to the low life of the Royal Palms; the name tells everything.  He had longed to eat at the Corbenic but had never been allowed; now this charming place lay before him; he walked right in.  He wanted to be part of it.

page 921

     He was ushered in and seated at a table in the middle where the genteel old ladies who patronized the place at this hour could discreetly stare at an American sailor which they hadn’t seen since the end of the war if they had then.

      He made somewhat of a faux pas by leaving his hat on but then he was so giddy at being in a ‘quality’ place that he forgot.  He did know better but then a sailor is never dressed without his hat.  Not wearing your hat would be like not polishing your shoes.

     The menu was something he had never seen.   Tea was no problem although seldom on a US menu but the little tea sandwiches baffled him.  He had never heard of a tomato sandwich or, this set him to giggling, a cucumber sandwich.  One thin slice of cucumber.

     He cleared his throat:  ‘What do you get with this cucumber sandwich?’

     ‘I don’t know what you mean.  I should think the name is self explanatory.’

     ‘Oh sure, cucumber, I get that, but I mean what comes with it?’

     ‘Tea.’

     ‘Uh, no.  I mean, like, you can’t make a whole sandwich out of cucumbers!  There must be ham or beef that goes with it.’

     ‘No.  It’s just what it says.  A cucumber sandwich.’

page 922.

     ‘Oh, oh.’  Dewey reflected among the titters of the old ladies who discreetly pretended to look the other way.  ‘Well, I’ll have one of those.’

     ‘What sort of tea?’

     Here was an unexpected problem.  ‘Regular tea.’

     ‘We don’t have ‘regular’ tea.  Would you like Darjeeling, Assam, English Breakfast?’

     ‘OK.  Well, just give me your number one best seller.’

     ‘Our number one best seller?’

     ‘Yeh.  You know, whatever you sell most of.’

     ‘English Breakfast tea then.’

     ‘Sure.  What do I care?  I don’t know anybody who drinks tea anyway.

     Many fingers went to lips to suppress giggles over that.

     The waiter brought the tea and cucumber sandwich.

     ‘I’m afraid there’s been some mistake.’  Dewey said, holding up a corner of the sandwich with a look of disbelief.

     ‘What could that be?’

     ‘Well, look at this sandwich.  Someone took all the crust off the bread and there’s nothing on it but butter and three skinny slices of cucumber.  Nice big round cucumbers though.’

     ‘That is a cucumber sandwich.  We don’t serve American overstuffed sandwiches here.’

    ‘Really?  Overstuffed huh?  Well, OK.  Thank-you.’

     It was at this point when Dewey was staring wryly at the quarter section of his crustless cucumber sandwich in his hand when he was spotted by his shipmates.

     ‘What’s he doing in there?  That’s not the kind of place we go into.  That’s for officers and people from society.’

page 923.

     They had been standing gawking at Trueman motioning him to come out for five minutes when Kanary walked up to them.

     Kanary scoped out the situation for a few seconds then made his decision.  He open the door announcing in his most vulgar tone:  ‘I’m with Dewey Trueman over there.’

    The maitre d’ escorted him to the table.  ‘Your friend is here.’

     Trueman’s heart sank as he spotted Kanary.  He knew that to send him away would cause an unbearable scene that would probably end in his own expulsion so he said nothing to the maitre d’.

     ‘This place is too good for your kind, Trueman.’  Kanary nearly bellowed.  ‘What’re you doing here imposing yourself on decent people.’

      ‘Minding my own business Kanary and that doesn’t include you.  Go away.’

     Kanary was in the saddle and well versed in the arts of defamation.

     ‘What’s that you’re eating?’  He said loudly and as vulgarly as he could directing attention away from himself to Trueman.

     ‘Go away.’

     ‘Waiter, waiter come over here now.’  Kanary commanded loudly and offensively.  ‘How dare you give my friend a sandwich with nothing on it.  Take this back to the kitchen and fill it up.’

     ‘Go away, Kanary.  I don’t know him.’  He said quietly to the waiter.

     ‘Do it now!’  Kanary fairly screamed.

page 924.

     Looking directly at Dewey the waiter said:  ‘If you are not happy with us, you may leave.’

    ‘How dare you treat Dewey Trueman with such insolence.’  Kanary shouted.

     Dewey realized the situation was past remedy.  Everyone was giving him a hateful eye rather than Kanary as the waiter was staring directly at himself.  The Yeoman had successfully shifted attention to Trueman defaming him.  Trueman got up resignedly heading for the door.

     ‘You should be ashamed of yourselves treating Dewey Trueman this way.’  Kanary added making sure the name stuck for good measure as he slammed the door violently behind him.

     ‘You’re not my friend, Kanary, now get away from me.  Everytime you show up it means trouble.  Now beat it.’

     ‘Of course I’m not your friend, you simp.’  Kanary said with a knowing simile at the other sailors seeking their approval.

     ‘What were you doing in there Trueman?  Parsons said.  ‘Places like that aren’t for the likes of us.  We’re enlisted men.’

     ‘Places like that are for people like me.  Speak for yourselves.  I didn’t ask you to go in and I didn’t appreciate your standing there gawking at me.’

     ‘Aw, forget it.  Come on, let’s do something.’

     ‘I was already doing something and I don’t want Kanary anywhere near me.’

     ‘These are my friends from Operations, Deckhand.  I’m entitled.’

     ‘By all means.  Then why don’t you guys go off together.  Leave me alone.’

page 925.

     ‘You ain’t better than us, Trueman.’

     ‘Fine.  You guys are OK but Kanary isn’t.  The guy’s just a pain.’

     Kanary opted for another tack.  ‘Well, if he feels that way.  See you later.  I know when I’m not wanted.’

     ‘Not very well you don’t.’  Trueman jeered.

     ‘What’re we going to do?’  Parsons asked slapping his hands together.

     While Dewey had been in the restaurant he had noticed a few people leaving a department store with what looked like record bags.  ‘I’m going to go into that store and see if they have any Lonnie Donegan’s.

      ‘What do you want to do that for and who’s this Lonnie Donegan guy?  Why waste time.  Let’s find some girls.  They’re all real easy down here.  They think we’re going to marry them and take them back to the States.’

     ‘Why would they want to go to the US when this is better.’  Dewey reflected.

     ‘They just do.  The US is the best.’

     ‘Well, you guys do what you want to do.  I’m going to go look at records.’

     ‘Aw man.’  The others groaned but as they had no idea of what to do Trueman’s something was better than nothing so they followed him across the street.

     Standing on the corner were some Desade sailors who hailed them:  ‘Hey, you guys from the Teufelsdreck?  How come you got your hair.  We all had ours cut off at Shellback initiation when we crossed the line.’

page 926.

     ‘Oh yeah?  No, they didn’t cut ours they were too busy beating on our bodies with rubber hoses.  What else did they do to you guys?’

     ‘This is it.  We all just had our hair cut off.  There were only a dozen guys who’d been over the line before.’

     ‘Huh!.  Did they make you take your clothes off?’

     ‘Why would they do that?’

     ‘Well, so when they dunked you in the garbage you’d only get your shorts wet.’

     ‘Dunked us in the garbage?  Weird, man.  What’re you guys taking about?’

     ‘Aw, well.  We’ll see you guys around.’  Trueman said heading into the department store.

     ‘Man, all they did to them was cut their hair?  I’m beginning to feel had.’  Parsons said wonderingly.

     Kanary was watching from across the street.  Following them in he saw the group heading for the record department.

     With the three men hanging on his back Trueman quickly found the Lonnie Donegan section.  He was prepared for a better selection than in the States but he was amazed to find it so huge.  The store had it all- LPs, EPs, and singles.  There were over a dozen EPs which always fascinated Trueman although they were virtually useless except for the covers.  In those days a Long Player of twelve songs would be broken up into three extended play 45s of four songs each, thus they were not as rewarding as an LP and twice as annoying as singles.  Still, as they came with covers you could get three pictures of the artist for the price of an LP with only one picture.

page 927.

     Trueman was lost in wonder at this embarrassment of riches when Kanary stole up to the register leaning over confidentially to the salesgirls to say:  ‘See that guy with all the pimples on his face?  Watch him closely.  He’s the most notorious thief and shoplifter on our ship.’

      Not suprisingly we are always ready to believe the worst of anyone else without question.  After all, self-protection requires us to be on the alert for malefactors; as we consider strangers bad and our friends good we are only too willing to condemn people we don’t know.

     The three women immediately riveted their attention on Dewey.  He was debating another dilemma.  He wanted all the records but if he spent all his money on records he wouldn’t have money for anything else.  The only solution he could come up with was to buy nothing.

     While he was debating Parsons very alertly noticed four girls looking in their direction.  He moved right in on them chatting them up.  The girls in Brisbane were indeed on the alert for American sailors.  They all hoped to meet one who would marry them and take them to the States.  They were certainly willing to sleep with a guy to attain that end.

     In today’s sexual climate that might seem like nothing but in those days women did not dispense sex with the wild abandon they do today.  Sleeping with a guy was a great reward for him unless the couple were engaged or the woman loose, a term that has no meaning today.

page 928.

     Parsons called the other three over.  After a lively conversation of a few minutes the girls agreed to meet them later in the evening.  They first wished to make themselves presentable.  They even had a car.

     Overjoyed at their success the four sailors issued into the street to waste the three hours until the girls came back.

     ‘Whadya think of looking at records now, guys.’  Trueman grinned.

     ‘Hey, nice goin’ Trueman.  Good thing we went into that record shop.  Boy, that was easy.  I got that cute blonde one.’  Parsons enthused.

     Actually they had gone to the exact right place to pick up girls.  Record stores are filled with dreamy girls struggling with libidinal fantasies.  There they were amongst the photos of Fabian, Elvis, Ricky and all those other dream boats with whom they have formed the most intimate relations in their daydreams.  Already very nearly sexually aroused, chatting them up is the easiest thing in the world.

     Unfortunately for the girls most of the men in record stores are the inhibited types capable only of living out their fantasies in the dream world of records.  Life can be ridiculous. 

     Back out on the street the sailors encountered a couple irate Australian boys.

     ‘Why don’t you Yanks go home before we come over and kick your ass.’

     ‘Oh, oh.  Ass kicking time again.’  Thought Trueman.

     ‘What’s the problem?’  Parsons asked with mock curiosity.

page 929.

     ‘You Yanks think you can come down here and shag our birds then get on your ships and sail away leaving us with soiled merchandise.’

     ‘At home we only shag flies.’  Dewey said making a baseball allusion, puzzled by ‘shagging birds.’

     Parsons didn’t understand the term ‘shag our birds’ but he got the idea.  ‘If it’s offered mates we ain’t going to turn it down.’  He replied amiably.

     ‘You are warned ‘mates’.  If we catch you with any of our birds you are going to get your asses kicked.  We’re watching you.’

     ‘Boy, testy fellows.’  Trueman remarked as the Australians walked away shaking their fingers at them.

     ‘What say fellows, do we give up our ‘birds’ or do we risk getting our asses kicked by those angry Aussies.’

     A quick poll showed that all would rather risk an ass kicking than give up what appeared to be some easy ass.

     ‘Time for something to eat.’  Parsons yearned.  ‘And we’re not going to any hoity toity restaurant either, Trueman.  I don’t know who you think you are going into a place like that.  That’s not for people like us.  That’s for officers.’

     ‘Yeah?  Well, it’s for people like me, Parsons.  No officer’s got anything over me but a flat hat.  Those yo-yos like Morford ain’t any different than the guys we went to high school with.  They weren’t any better than us then and they ain’t any better now.  They’re just bozos in gold piping.  All the difference is they were rich enough to go to college out of high school.  I’m getting a college degree when I get out so that will make me even in four years.’

page 930.

      ‘You can’t go to college, Trueman.’  Parson said scornfully.

     ‘That’s what you think.  The only reason I didn’t go to college instead of joining the Navy is because my stepfather wouldn’t pay for it.’

     ‘Who you think you’re kidding, Trueman?  You’re in the Deck Force, you’re not even in Operations.  None of you guys got the smarts for college.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  I got a 62 on my General Intelligence test, Parsons.  That’s a lot more than you got.’

     ‘You don’t a 62.’  Parsons said with the greatest indignation.  He had himself had a 53.  Seventy-two was tops.

     ‘Check with your buddy Kanary when you get the chance Parsons.  I not only have a higher score than you but it shows.’

     Having finished eating at a five and dime counter the men headed back to the Department Store to meet the girls.

     The girls pulled up;  the sailors clambered in taking the seats designated by the girls.  They had alreday made the decision as to who got who.  They were sharp enough to keep the boys at a distance until they learned something about them.  After all, they were about to begin new lives in the States.

     As they pulled up to the first stop sign the two Aussies with three other friends pulled up alongside them.  ‘We warned you ‘mates.’  The Aussies shouted.

     ‘What did they warn you boys about?’  The girl driving asked.

      ‘Aw, they told us not to be seen with you girls or they were going to beat us up.’

page 931.

     ‘Oh, they did did they?  Well, we’ll see about that.  Anyway fellows what we thought was we would drive around and get to know each other a little for tonight then make dates for tomorrow.  How does that sound?’

     ‘Yeah.  Sounds great.’

     So they drove around chatting.

     In the division of the spoils the girls had given Dewey to the girl who was lowest in status among them named Stella.  They were all English girls while Stella was Italian.  Dewey had been selected for her mainly because his abundant pimples alienated the others. 

     Stella was nevertheless a nice looking girl.  She was dark while they were blonde, but compared to the two mountains on Stella’s chest the others were flat busted.  Dewey much preferred a big bust to blonde hair so he was delighted.

     His mind sort of shifted to the ozone as he sat with his arm around the joy of man’s desiring.  The implication was that the boys were going to get laid but it was unspoken.  Carried away by the implication and egged on by all the chat about how the Australian girls were eager for sailors Dewey’s spinning mind lost control.  He just glommed onto one of those spectacular protuberances on Stella’s chest.  It was like trying to hold on to the nose cone of an ICBM.  Dewey’s mind slid down the Milky Way and skied away to a distant galaxy.

     Stella didn’t get angry although she was just a little embarrassed as six wide eyes watched Dewey’s groping.

page 932.

     Stella gently removed his hand then said loudly enough for all to hear:  ‘No. No. Not tonight darling but tomorrow I’ll give you what you want.’

     Three men gasped as Dewey whirled head over heels through light years of unimpeded space.

     ‘Well, OK.  But I’ve got duty tomorrow and can’t leave the ship.’

     ‘Yeah, me too. ‘  Parsons added.

     ‘Well, the day after tomorrow then.  We’ll wait faithfully, won’t we girls?’

     They all agreed they would.  Shortly after they dropped the ecstatic men at the ship.

     ‘Boy, nice going, Trueman.’

     ‘Man, I’ll say so.’

Yes. Yes.  She Said.  No. No. They Said.

     ‘That guy’s one lucky guy.’  Parsons was saying:  I heard her, we all heard her say that she’s going to screw him tomorrow night.’

     ‘She said that?’  Kanary said belligerently.

     ‘Yeah.  I mean, right in front of us this guy’s got her left can in his hand.’

     ‘Oh god, and what knockers too.  He couldn’t even get his hand half around it, just huge.’

     ‘And she told Trueman he could have it?’  Craddock asked.

     ‘Yeah.  He’s got duty today, so tomorrow night.  He doesn’t even have to work for it.’

page 933.

     ‘That prick doesn’t deserve it.’  Kanary said with finality.

     ‘No. You’re right.  That’s too good for his kind.’  Craddock added.

     ‘What’re we going to do about it?’  From Kanary.

     ‘What’s to do about it?’  Mike Deasy asked.  ‘How is it any of our business?’

     ‘I’ve got an idea Craddock mused.  Me and Deasy and Vincent met these girls who are okay and they’ve got this fourth who’s really ugly, no teeth, four months pregnant but they won’t go out with us unless we find someone for her.’

     ‘Trueman!’

     ‘That’s what I was thinking.’

     ‘Great! How’s this?  You fob Trueman off on this pregnant broad and we send Roberts with Parsons to screw Trueman’s girl.  That way he’ll get fucked in more ways than one.  Ha he, he ha.’  Kanary exulted.

     ‘Oh sure, he’s going to give up a pair of monster jugs like that for a toothless pregnant chick.  I can see that.’  Deasy opined.

     ‘Just leave it to me.’  Craddock mused.  ‘What watch does he have Kanary?’

     ‘The twelve to fours.’

     ‘OK.  Set it up with Roberts.  by four he’ll have a date with that toothless pregnant broad.  Trust me.’

     The confab broke up, most to get ready for liberty, a couple who had duty laid back on their bunks while Craddock began preparing his spiel and Kanary went up to the Yeoman’s shack to think things over.

page 934.

     Apparently ignoring the consequences which would have resulted from killing Trueman with the suicide nozzle Kanary still chrerished the notion of killing Trueman.  He was outraged at the notion that Trueman should enjoy this woman who appeared to be a knockout.  In his self-delusion he was enraged at Trueman for not doing ‘something nice’ for the toilet homos.

     ‘He could have helped those poor tormented fellows out.’  He thought, characteristically denying his own homosexuality.  ‘It wouldn’t have cost him anything to give them blow jobs.  Heck, he did it for those guys at the skating rink back home.  What would it have  cost him?  Nothing.’

     And then it hit him.  If Craddock did get him to go with him to Koalaville then Trueman would be very angry at missing his date.  So if Kanary got some of the queers to wait for Trueman somewhere Kanary could get a note purportedly coming from this Stella Maris chick asking him to meet her there.  Then the queers waiting for him could have their pleasure of him and kill him.  If they failed to kill him that wasn’t so bad either.  Trueman’s reputation would be shot on ship and he would have to live with all those memories for the rest of his life.  In any event he, Kanary, would get off scot free because no one would ever know he set it up.  Seemed like a perfect crime.  Might have been.

     Kanary went down to have lunch and think it over a little more.  Then he went back up to the Yeoman’s Shack.  On the way he noticed Trueman with the watch belt on standing around the Quarterdeck talking to the other two members of the watch.  His blood boiled.  Leaving the door open he sat brooding watching Trueman, slowly rubbing his penis through his pants.  Any other man would have been eager to get out on liberty but for Kanary his hatreds took precedence over his pleasure.  Or rather, he derived more pleasure from hating than indulging his other senses.

page 935

     Then he had another, interim, idea.  He waited until the watch got tired of talking to each other.  Trueman walked away toward the fantail to do an inspection tour of the ship.  Kanary headed for the fo’c’sle.  He was waiting in the vacant 20MM tub as Trueman came up the port side.

     Trueman froze at the sight of Kanary in almost the exact postion from which he had attacked him with the fire hose.

     ‘Hey, Trueman.’

     ‘Oh, you’re on watch up here, Kanary?  I’ll go back to the fantail.’  He said sarcastically.

     ‘Wait a minute.  I’ve got something to say.’

     ‘That doesn’t mean I want to listen.’

     ‘No, you probably won’t but I think you should know anyway.  People volunteered to take a sailor home for dinner.  We found families for all the sailors aboard.  Of course, the officers found families first, Lt. Morford was most in demand, then Operations.  We were the most in demand of enlisted men.  I found families for all the sailors except for the Black guys, of course, and…you.  There wasn’t one single family that wanted you.’  Kanary smiled maliciously.

     ‘What do you mean, me?  They objected to me personally?

page 936.

     ‘That’s right, Trueman.  How does it feel?’

     ‘You’re sick, Kanary.  How could anyone object to me personally when they don’t even know me?  What you mean is, you don’t like me.’

     Kanary realized his error in saying Trueman was objected to personally.

     ‘No.  I think you’re OK Trueman.  I don’t dislike you.  I mean they didn’t want anyone with all those pimples.  I know you can’t help it but…’

     ‘Oh right.  They were all down here looking us over and everyone said we don’t want the one with the pimples, right?  Yeah. I know.  I saw them all standing around and pointing.  You’re full of beans, Kanary.  Get out of here.  Better yet, I’ll leave before the smell suffocates me.’

     Trueman walked back down the port side where he found Dart Craddock waiting for him on the fantail.

     ‘Hey, Dewey.’

     ‘Hey, Dart.  What’s up?  Enjoying the easy virtue of Brisbane?’ Dewey joked.

     ‘Exactly what I wanted to talk to you about.  Me and Deasy and Vincent met these girls but they’ve got a friend so we need a fourth.  You game?’

     ‘Ordinarily I’d love to help, Dart, but I’ve found a honey of my own.  You got plenty of pals in Operations anyway, get one of them.’

     ‘I was counting on you.  I want somebody resourceful.  Come on, what do you say?’

page 937

     ‘Hey Dart, my girl’s got boobs out to here.  I like boobs a lot.  I probably won’t even get close enough to kiss her, know what I mean?  I mean, I’m set up buddy.’

     ‘Oh man, what difference does it make so long as you get laid.  I can guarantee this girl will lay you.’

     ‘You can guarantee?  Is that what I’m suppossed to tell her.  Hey, Dart said you were in the bag?  ‘Sides she’s probably a dog anyway.’

     ‘She’s no dog.’  Craddock replied speaking the literal truth.   ‘C’mon, buddy.  I’m counting on you.  What do you say?’

     Trueman said yes.  Why is not clear.  Perhaps it was his natural aversion to Italians; perhaps it was more important to keep a friend happy.  Dewey knew he wasn’t popular or well liked and Dart had always befriended him although the relationship was a little strained.  Perhaps he figured one sure thing was as good as another.  Perhaps there was something in Stella’s manner that lisped trouble.  The fact is, he said yes.

     ‘It’s in the bag.’  Craddock told Kanary.  ‘Tell Parsons to take Roberts along instead of Trueman.’

     Kanary smiled to himself.  The time had now come for him to go on liberty.  He headed downtown for the public toilet.

Koalaville

     ‘So where are these girls?’  Trueman asked Craddock, Vincent and Deasy the next morning.

     ‘We’re in luck.’  Craddock smiled.  ‘My girl’s got a house so we’ll have real comfort.’

     ‘Terrific.  Where’s the house?’

     ‘Koalaville.’

     ‘Koalaville?  You mean the zoo?’

     ‘No.  Koalaville is a suberb of Brisbane.  It’s a ways out?’

     ‘A ways out?  They have a car?’

     ‘No.  We have to get there ourselves.’

     ‘Mine had a car, Craddock.  How far is it?’

     ‘I got a map right here.  See.  We have to take a trolley out to the end of the line, then we catch a bus that goes out to the end of the bus line here.  Then we catch another bus that goes out to the end of that line.  Then we take a taxi into Koalaville.  We get out downtown and then walk the rest of the way because she doesn’t want us to call attention to her by having a cab stop in front of her house.’

     ‘No.  She’d rather have us call attention to her by traipsing through town in our uniforms.  You worked this out Craddock?  How far is that?  About fifty miles?’

     ‘No, I don’t think it’s that far.  Maybe closer to twenty.’

     ‘Twenty my foot.  There’s a mileage guage at the bottom of the map.  Measure it out.’

     ‘Hm.’  Craddock said making a base measurement.  ‘Looks like it might be, oh, maybe, fifty-sixty miles.’

     ‘How did you meet these girls, Craddock?  I can’t believe you were out there.’

     ‘No.  We met them downtown.’

939.

     ‘Well, couldn’t they come back downtown?  I mean, they live here.’

     ‘This is the way it is, Dewey.’

     ‘Well, hell, let’s get started then.’

     As was said Brisbane was one of the most extensive cities in the world.  Koalaville was out on the South edge.  The North edge was another sixty miles or so on the other side of downtown.  Unlike LA which is a cluster of cities Brisbane’s neighborhoods or towns radiated from the center in classic style.

     ‘How much is this going to cost anyway, Craddock?’  Trueman asked thinking of those Lonnie Donegan records he had passed up.

     ‘I don’t really know.  I hope we’ve got enough.’

     Trueman’s confidence in Craddock’s Wobbly sagacity began to dissipate.

     ‘Man, look at those houses.’  Deasy said as the trolley clanked through neighborhood after neighborhood.

     ‘Yeah, I wonder why they’re all built up on stilts like that?  Can’t flood this far from the river.’

     ‘Termites.  I heard this place is terrible for termites.  If they built the houses on the ground termites would eat ’em up right away.  But up on stilts like that the termites have to build columns like big sticks to get to the wood.  The owners can see them rise so they just go under and knock them down.’

     ‘Wow.  Really?  Leinengen vs. The Ants all over again huh?’

     They got off the trolley at the end of the line to wait for their first bus connection.

     ‘Good thing I’m the adventurous sort.’  Trueman told Craddock as they waited for the first bus line.  Getting off that they boarded a second bus line.  Off that line they had to call a taxi to take them into Koalaville.

page 940

     Seven hours after starting the taxi dropped them off in downtown Koalaville.  They trooped inconspicuously down the street to the woman’s house. 

     ‘Oh, my god.’  She exclaimed as she opened the door.  ‘You’re here in broad daylight.’  Gasping for air and holding her right hand to her breast she exclaimed:  ‘Oh my god, the neighbors will see.  I’ll die of shame.  I thought you would come under cover of darkness.’

     ‘We can come back after dark.’  Craddock stammered lamely.

     ‘No. No. People will know.  You must leave town.  Come back tomorrow night after dark.’

     ‘Oh well.  I’m sorry.’

     ‘Don’t be sorry Dart.  I want you, but please…’

     ‘Must have headaches tonight.’  Deasy said sarcastically as they walked back downtown.

     ‘I don’t see how it could be any more embarrassing for her than us to be seen traipsing all over town.’  Vincent said sourly.

     ‘I gave up a sure piece of ass just to be put on.  You know they’re putting us on Craddock.  This is just a joke.’

     ‘Nooo.   She wouldn’t do that to me.  It’s just like she says.’

     ‘Well, if she’s so damned ashamed of us, I don’t know why she asked us back.  Everyone knows now and they’ll know tomorrow too.’  Deasy added glumly.

page 941.

     ‘Yeah, imagine that, embarrassed to be seen with American sailors from the most powerful nation on wheels.’  Trueman wisecracked.  ‘Well, I’ll say one thing I really like the way they set up their towns.  We didn’t pass through one sleazy neighborhood and this place is beautiful.  Ordinary neighborhoods too.’

    ‘Yeah, you’re right Trueman.  I noticed that too.’  Came from Deasy.

     ‘Yeah.  Different than back home.  They don’t rape the land to build this stuff.  Follow the contours of the land.  Ya notice back when we started the stilts were cut at different lengths to follow the contours?  Back home they would have bulldozed it flat so all the supports were the same length.

     Look at that one over there.  See how they built the foundation in three steps so as not to disturb the land.  That’s what I call respect for Mother Earth.  Back home they would have stripped it, piled the earth on the sidewalk and put a sign on it that says:  Free Dirt.  Guess that’s where the term dirt cheap comes from.’

     The four reached the central area where surprisingly a cab was waiting.  They began the seven hour trip back to the ship where they arrived shortly after midnight.

     ‘We should probably leave right at liberty.  If we get there at six or seven we can catch a movie at that theater and then walk back to the house in the dark.’  Craddock said.

     ‘You’re kidding?’  Deasy queried.

page 942.

     ‘We aren’t going to get suckered twice in a row are we?’  Dewey added.

     ‘She was sincere.  She wouldn’t do that to me.’  Craddock replied puzzled that a working class hero had been stiffed once.

     ‘Why?  Because you’re a tribune of the people?’  Deasy asked sarcastically referring to Craddock’s Wobbly beliefs.

     ‘I am united with all the workmen of the world.’  Craddock said testily actually believing that all the workmen in the world recognized this.

     ‘Oh yeah?  Do they know or are you some kind of Clark Kent who only reveals his true identity in moments of danger.’

     ‘I’m going.’  Craddock said indignantly.  ‘Are you guys coming or not?’

     ‘Sure.’

     ‘Ya.’

     ‘Why not?  I already passed up a sure piece.  What do I have to lose now.’  Trueman jeered.

Good Thing The Boys Didn’t Get A Third Chance.

     Spirts were not so high on this second trip.  Deasy made flip comments; Vincent wondered out loud while Trueman began to gripe about the expense which was now beginning to mount.

     They arrived in Koalaville in time to catch the seven o’clock move at the local theatre.  Either it was a rerun or movies took a long time to reach the land of Under.  They sat through ‘From Here To Eternity.’

     ‘Seems like I’ve been here before.’  Deasy grumbled sitting down.

     ‘Took eternity to do it too.’  Trueman added.

     If these boys had been a little quicker they might have figured theings out.  As it was none of them ever caught on.

     ‘You Yanks think you can come here and screw us Aussie girls and just sail away do you?  Well, we’ll see.’

     ‘What’d she say?’

     ‘Didn’t catch it all.  Something about wanting to screw.’

     ‘I told you things would work out.’  Craddock sighed.

     Well, Frank died in the arms of Monty with whatever implications that had and the movie ended.

     As they moved toward the exits there was a chorus of hisses.

     ‘No kidding.  I thought it was a good movie.’

     ‘It’s not for the movie, it’s for us.’  Vincent intoned.

     ‘Oh hey, look at the big Yanks.’  Greeted them as they emerged from the theatre.

     ‘Sailors of the mightiest nation on wheels.’  Dewey smiled back hoping to win them over with sheer charm.  Charm works well in movies but doesn’t always do so well on the street.

     ‘Well, you four mighty Yanks are going to get your mighty asses kicked mighty well tonight.’

     ‘Aw hell, what did we ever do to you?’  Deazy oozed out a little charm.

     ‘You Yanks have got a lot of nerve thinking Aussie girls are just going to fall on their backs for you.  You’ve got a surprise coming.  the Budgie boys are gunning for you.’

page 944.

     ‘What’s a Budgie boy?’

     ‘You Yanks will learn soon enough.’

     ‘Do you think they mean it?’  Craddock asked nervously.

     ‘I told you we were being set up.’  Dewey came close to sobbing trying to figure out how they were going to fight their way sixty miles back to the ship.

     ‘Aw, they probably don’t mean it.’  Vincent said hopefully.

     ‘Watch yourselves.’  A girl’s voice called after them as they turned to walk down the green to Elyse’s house.

     About halfway down the beautiful little parklike green four young Aussie men strode puposefully across the green toward the four pillars of the fighting American Navy.

     ‘Hey you, Yanks, you just hold on a minute.  We want to speak to you.’

     ‘My god.  Look at all those zippers.  I’ve never seen the likes.  These must be the Budgie boys.’  Dewey said looking around for a big stick or a rock.

     ‘Why so many zippers?’  Deasy wondered.

     The four Aussies were indeed Budgie boys which was a kind of foppish Australian hoodlum.  They had zippers on their clothes where zippers had never been required before.  Their shoes had zippers.  The cuffs of their pants had zippers on both sides of the leg.  They had zippers on their knees, perhaps to facilitate scratching them.  They had zippers on the front pockets and zippers on their back ones.  They even had  a zipper where the zipper was supposed to be.

page 945.

     There were four zippers on each shirt cuff.  Zippers on all the pockets and zippers on their upper sleeves.  Their shirts were closed by zippers so that their open collars were zipper lined.

     Unlike in America where the odds would likely have been three to one the Aussies apparently followed Marquis of Queensberry rules pairing off one on one.

     Dewey didn’t like to fight but when it came time he saw no reason to talk.  He found a rotten old stick and was prepared to charge.  The other three bunched up waiting to see what would happen.

     Craddock was the tallest so ostensibly the leader, expecially as Vincent and Deasy stood behind him.  Trueman was off to the left side.

     The Chief Budgie of ferocious mien charged straight up to Craddock standing nose to nose.  There was what is known as a pregnant pause then the Budgie boy snapped:

     ‘Got a cigarette, Mate?’

     ‘Sure. Sure.  Craddock said pulling his pack from his pocket with a quick nervous gesture that sent the cancer sticks flying helter skelter.

     Everyone laughed as the tension dispersed.

     ‘Thanks, Mate.  You Yanks are a bit of alright.  Got a match?’

     Dewey threw his rotten stick down disgusted at himself for being uncool.

     ‘We’ll give you a kick in the chest to get you started, too.’  Dewey completed the triptych to nervous laughs.  Then the nervousness turning to aggressive insolence he demanded:  ‘Boy, you guys are all really zipped up.  Where’d you get all those zippers anyway?’

page 946.

     ‘Eh, zippers, Mate?  What do you mean zippers?  Oh, these.  Pretty stylish, hey?’  Then he added proudly.  ‘We’re Budgy boys.’

     ‘Oh, so you’re the Budgie boys.’  The sailors quipped in relieved unison.

     ‘Well, nice meeting you.’  Craddock said waving goodbye as the four walked warily away.

     ‘Good luck on your quest, Mates.’  The Budgies said with an irony that excaped the sailors.

     ‘Chee, some outfits.  Those guys should take sartorial lessons from the Hell’s Angels if they want to look fearsome.’

     ‘Looks like they scared you enough, Dewey.  I thought you’d lost it when you grabbed that rotten stick.’

     ‘Don’t deride me, Craddock.  I thought the way you sprayed cigarettes all over the landscape betrayed a certain lack of placidity.  I thought I saw a tremble to your hand.’

     ‘Ha ha.  Maybe you did.  Maybe we all were a little scared after all.’

     ‘I’m just darn glad we got out of it without a fight.’  Deasy said diplomatically as they approached Elyse’s house.

     ‘Five’ll get you ten she makes us go around to the back door.’  Dewey said who was none too pleased at last night’s reception.

     ‘No, she won’t.’  Craddock said knocking on the door.

     ‘Oh, hello Dart.  Say, you boys wouldn’t mind going around to the kitchen door would you.  Neighbors you know.’

page 947.

     ‘OK.  Be quiet you guys so we don’t alert the neighbors.’

     ‘Aw, for Christ’s sake, Craddock.  I don’t know why the neighbors wouldn’t know we’re here, the rest of the town does.’  Dewey groaned who now became resentful of Craddock’s assumed sense of Wobbly superiority which was not being realized in fact.

     The boys entered the kitchen where three women were gathered around the table.  The three couples who had already met reintroduced themselves to each other.  This left Dewey standing shifting from one foot to the other.  He looked from Dart to Elyse.

     Dart said:  ‘Elyse, this is Dewey Trueman.’

     ‘Hello, Dewey.  Maggie May is in the other room at just this moment.  She’ll be out soon.  Now, Dewey, Maggie is just the sweetest girl alive.’  Dewey’s heart ran cold.  ‘She’s just the kindest person.  So full of good works.  One mustn’t let appearance deceive you.  I’m sure she won’t.’

     Dewey turned and looked at the door as though seeking escape as Maggie May entered the room.

     Dewey had more cool from time to time than he realized.  He didn’t flinch as Maggie gaped a smile over toothless gums.  The front four were missing North and South.

     ‘That big brute Chinaman that got her pregnant knocked them out while beating her earlier this year.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  What happened to the baby?’

     ‘She still has it.  You’re what?  Four months gone now dear?’

page 948.

     ‘Four and a half.’

     ‘She wouldn’t have had anything to do with the Chinaman except that he flashed a big roll at her to get her attention…’

     ‘Which big roll was that?’

     ‘…money, and then he raped her.  Isn’t that right, Maggie?’

      ‘Yeth.  I don’t know what I’m going to do when I have the baby and everyone knowth I thlepth with a chink.’

     ‘Maybe it’ll be real pale.’  Dewey quipped crossing behind Craddock and thrusting a right chop to his kidney.

     Maggie came over and took his hand.

     First scared witless and now smoldering with resentment at Craddock Dewey slipped into a condition of semi-awareness.  Withut thinking about it he allowed himself to be half led and half dragged into an adjoining bedroom.

     The other tree couples chatted awkwardly, the boys wondering how they were going to get laid; the girls deftly putting them off with an anxious eye on the clock.

     Dewey was just fastening his belt when there was a horrendous crash as the kitchen door burst open.  The men scattered into rooms thinking the Budgie boys were back.  Dewey once again scared witless hid behind the door.

     It wasn’t the Budgie boys it was four grown men in civilian clothes claiming to be cops.

     ‘Come on out here you Yanks we know you’re here.  You’ll be lucky if you’re not taken to headquarters tonight.’

     The three returned to the kitchen with terrified expressions while Dewey remained pressed against the wall.

page 949.

     ‘There’s another one here, where is he?’

     Dewey didn’t answer.  He thought, ‘Let ’em come and get me.’

     ‘I know there’s another one here.’

     ‘And how do you know that?’  Dewey thought.

     ‘Come on out Dewey.’  Craddock said.  ‘You can’t hide.’

     Trueman was enraged at Craddock’s betrayal.  In the Orphanage you always waited for them to come and get you.  Five times out of ten they wouldn’t.  In his characteristic way of waiting to see what would happen he had begun to realize that these men weren’t cops and they wouldn’t come in any further.  He stepped out.  It took only one glance for him to realize that these were only neighbor men not cops.

     ‘We demand to know what’s going on here.’  The leader said.

     The sailors looked from each to the other:  ‘Nothing’s going on here.  We’re waiting.’  Craddock related shakily.

     ‘Something’s going on here.  We demand to know what.’

     ‘Aw, we were just screwing your Australian women.’  Dewey said sullenly angry and resentful.

     ‘Fornication  is against the law.  We can take you fellows in, unless…’

     ‘You guys ain’t cops.’  Dewey choked out ashamed of his cowardice.

     ‘No, You didn’t show us your badges.’  Craddock said  a light going on.

     ‘We don’t need no stinking badges.’  The leader said looking at his confederates in turn.

page 950.

End of V-3.  Proceed to V-4.