Our Lady Of The Blues:
From Gaia To Maia
‘No.’ Deasy said. ‘I won’t go in there.’
‘Why not, Mike? You’re one of those guys who want to have it all. Carpe diem and all that. C’mon, they probably have windows in back with a terrific view.’
‘Can’t be much of a bar.’ Parsons Volunteered. ‘There isn’t any neon.’
Deasy had started back down the hill. Parsons followed after, leaving Trueman no choice but to accede.
Turning a corner at the bottom of the hill they ran into Vincent again coming out of the boot shop.
‘Ha. I got me a perfect pair of boots. They’re going to make them just for me. I pick them up Friday before we leave. You guys had anything to eat?’
They entered a restaurant close by. The Chinese were not as pleasant a people as the Japanese. They were surly and suspicious acting. Dewey felt like he was imposing on them so he had only a cup of coffee. He had to conserve his money anyway.
As they left Vincent took half a sandwich with him. No sooner were they on the street than they were surrounded by half a dozen street Arabs clamoring for the sandwich. Vincent, who had a pathological desire to counter the Captain’s instructions divided the sandwich up between the six. Immediately two dozen appeared out of the woodwork. The other sailors pulled free leaving Vincent to his fate.
‘I know where there’s a bar.’ Deasy said.
The time was now six o’clock. The street they were moving down was a solid stream of people from wall to wall. Thousands of Chinese in tradional garb shuffled slowly along. They were all uniformly short. Deasy the tallest of the sailors stood head and shoulders above the entire throng. Dewey was a mere head and neck, Parsons a head. Captured by this immense tide of humanity Dewey could do nothing but shuffle along at the same pace. Looking back he saw the same sea of humanity as he did looking ahead. Here and there the blue uniform and white face of a sailor bobbed above the crowd like an iceberg in a surging sea.
Deasy and Parsons looked at him helplessly. They were entombed in a moving flow of flesh. The press moved very slowly. Mandarin types studied them with ill concealed disgust as they trudged along. Dewey recognized the racism. Still the time passed. As if at a signal the press began to thin. Then Chinese who had been shuffling along with their possessions on their backs unstrapped the packs unrolling pads along the walls on either side where they squatted or lay down to spend the night.
And then as if by magic the walls were lined with vagrants and the great press of humanity had dispersed.
‘This is it.’ Deasy said pointing to a door as if by coincidence all had been leading to this. ‘Upstairs.’
‘You ever been here before.’ Dewey asked amazed that Deasy should know the place.
”No. The Chief told me about it.’ By Chief he meant Chief Sparks the Electronics Technician Chief. But as Dieter was the only one who had ever been to Hong Kong how did Sparks know about it? An unanswered question.
‘Hey. Hold on you guys. Wait.’ Came the cry of Vincent from down the street. He had been struggling to catch up. ‘Gosh, I thought I’d never get away. Tenacious little devils.’
The sailors entered, climbing the stairs to a regular sailor dive. This was Deasy’s idea of a bar; there was plenty of neon for Parsons. The place was a combination bar and whore house.
The bar on the top of the hill had been more Dewey’s style while this was more popular with the hoi paloi. They found a table where they were quickly surrounded by bar girls.
One attached herself to each sailor. One sat on Dewey’s lap trying to arouse him. But there was something coarse and calculating about the Chinese. Pearl had been a sweet thing as well as Violet if either were compared to these bar girls. Dewey didn’t want his woman besides the fact that he didn’t want to waste his limited resources on some whore.
‘You come up stairs, hey, big boy.’ She half asked, half commanded.
‘No. That’s all right.’
‘What matter? You funny boy?’
‘No. No. I’m straight as they come but I just don’t have any money.’
‘Go ahead, Trueman.’ Vincent urged.
‘No. You guys go ahead. I’ll wait for you here.’
‘We’ll follow you.’ Deasy added.
‘Then we might as well go back. I don’t drink and I don’t have any money.’
‘I’ll loan you some, Trueman.’ Parsons ventured.
‘Then you’ll have to give it to me because I won’t pay it back.’
‘Nuts to that.’
‘We might as well go back then. I don’t like it here.’
‘What a spoil sport.’
Back they went.
Alone Again Naturally
It’s Tommy this
And Tommy that,
And Tommy wait outside.
The next day Trueman managed to get away alone. When they had been at the top of the hill he had spotted the Government district to the North. Fascinated by the apparent contrast between Chinatown and the Anglo-Saxon sector he wanted to investigate himself.
There is no greater sin than for a tourist to look like a tourist. Gawking brings all kinds of derision down on your head from the locals.
The jumbled stacked architecture and narrow dirty streets of the Chinese sector was now replaced by the austere, stately architecture of England. The streets were broad and clean. In 1958 there were few if any cars so the noise levels were low. It was a pedestrian paradise.
Unlike Chinatown however with its streets jammed with humanity Englishtown was almost deserted. Dewey could wander the streets almost alone. He came upon wonderful bookshops stuffed to the rafters with titles he had never seen in the United States. He might have bought some if he had known what he was buying.
Sometime after five the government offices let out. Crowds of gigantic Englishwomen issued forth, six footers of girth. Dewey gawked with extreme impoliteness amazed at their uniform dimensions. There in Englishtown in the heart of China it was as if Salvador Dali had surrealistically painted him in. Except that instead of melted watches it was as though Dewey’s brain was melted and draped over the branch of a tree.
Then as the evening shades deepened and the lights came on Dewey’s attention was drawn to the hotels and restaurants which he now noticed were fairly numerous. The wind came up and paper began blowing about the streets coming as though from nowhere.
Here in the heart of China all the guests and patrons were white Europeans and American Naval officers with a smattering of Army uniforms thrown in.
Individuals and groups of officers bustled self-importantly through the doors of hotels and restaurants. Dewey was the only enlisted man to be seen. He looked hungrily on this scene excluded, if not by color, by caste. He longed to be included, he yearned to be one of the happy few. He checked his pockets to see if he had enough money to buy dinner. It seemed as though he should have.
Moving closer in the deepening gloom he received a few disparaging glances from civilians who were used only to dealing with officers and from officers who were used to dealing with enlisted men only as cretins.
‘What the hell.’ Dewey thought to himself. ‘This is a democracy.’ Whatever a democracy might be.
‘What the hell is that swabbie doing hanging around here?’ He heard an officer say.
There was an arcade, greatly resembling the Burlington Arcade in London, adjoining a very impressive looking hotel which Dewey entered. Wandering wonderingly down the rows of shops he came to an inside entrance to the hotel. And just inside that entrance was the informal restaurant of the hotel.
‘Good enough.’ Thought Dewey. ‘The main restaurant is probably too expensive anyway.
Feeling small and insignificant but very satisfied Dewey was sitting at his table when he heard a faint Irish brogue chirp, ‘What’s that smell anyway?’
Used by now to being considered just another nigger of Uncle Sam’s fleet Dewey understood the jibe was directed at him and chose to ignore it.
Then this little, 5’6″ Irish Catholic Lieutenant (JG) came over and contemptuously putting a foot on Dewey’s chair seat smilingly looked into his face saying: ‘Aren’t you in the wrong place, Laddy?’
It was 19 to 23 with brass. If Dewey showed any resistance he would be thrown out on his ear. He humbly said: I’ve got a right to be here.’
‘We’re not talking about rights, Laddy, we’re talking about facts. Chinatown is over there, that’s where the enlisted belong.’
Dewey shrugged as the JG went to speak to the Maitre d’.
The JG had offended Dewey. Trueman had no knowledge of the Irish implications to the JG’s attitude or how it applied to him. Just as Trueman had writ his name large on his dungarees he had written it large on the inside of his hat. Thus the JG read TRUEMAN and realized he had his English adversary in a disadvantageious position. He could pull rank. Thus the Anglo-Irish conflict begun hundreds of years before America even existed came to rest on Dewey’s innocent head in China.
The JG’s name was Patrick Joseph O’ Rourke but he went by, what else, PJ. O’ Rourke had come from the same social level as Trueman if not slightly worse in Boston. The Irish had for some time borne a grudge against the Puritan establishment of Boston because of the ‘No Irish Need Apply’ notices in want ads for employment. This hatred had been passed down to PJ. He had never actually seen such signs or been discriminated against but the mere mention of them made his blood boil. America is the land of boiling blood; it seems as though everyone’s blood is boiling at the same time. His hatred was also fueled by his old man’s IRA sympathies against the Queen’s Own.
Thus in Trueman he not only recognized the hated Anglo but someone of his own economic level above which he had risen ‘by his own unaided efforts.’ Unable to indulge his antipathies among his fellow officers, here in Englishtown in the heart of China he could turn his hatred on this enlisted man who was so out of place in the lair of the ‘upper’ class.
PJ sat at the bar among his officer friends smiling mockingly at Trueman as the waiter sidled up. There were only four items on the menu suited to Dewey’s taste and pocketbook.
‘I’ll have…’ Dewey began pointing to an item.
‘We’re out of that.’ The waiter replied disparagingly.
‘Well, then, I’ll have…’
‘We’re out of that too.’
And so through items three and four. Looking over at another table Dewey saw someone eating his second choice. Grasping at that straw he said: ‘Well, they got a serving.’
‘Last one.’ The waiter said coldly.
Dewey rubbed his nose. The obvious isn’t so obvious if you’re not looking for it and hoping it’s not there.
‘Well, what do you have?’
‘I’ll have to go into the kitchen and check.’
Now, full of satisfaction, P.J. O’ Rourke sauntered over to the table. ‘Take a hint, swabbie, you’re out of place, take a look around.
Not for the first or last time Dewey tried the line: ‘The Navy told me that this uniform was as good as a tuxedo.’
O’ Rourke laughed fingering his own lapel: ‘This is a tuxedo, Swabbie, that is a busboy’s outfit. We’re officers and gentlemen here. Got it?’
Dewey saw past PJ’s unifrom into his accent and origins. Dewey too could recognize a guy from the old neighborhood. ‘It’s going to take more than that uniform to make a gentleman out of you Paddy.’
‘Well, me lad, if the Navy says it’s so it’s good enough for the likes of me.’
‘Yeah? You already said the Navy lied when they said my uniform was as good as a tuxedo; I know they lied when they called you a gentleman. I’ve dug some potatoes in my time too, Paddy.’
PJ flushed a little but he knew he had the upper hand.
‘Be that as it may, little man, you’re in the wrong place.’
O’ Rourke was joined by a couple other officers.
‘Come on, Sailor.’ Growled Lt. Blackthorn genially. ‘Listen to the officer. Chinatown is thataway. Go hang out with the rest of the swabbies.
‘I’m afraid the kitchen is out of just about everything, sir.’ The waiter said with a knowing glance at the officers.
Dewey heaved a sigh then got up. His only other recourse was cause a scene humiliating only himself. He wasn’t up for that.
As he passed thrugh the door PJ hissed in his ear: No Anglos Need Apply.
Dewey missed the reference but he received the injury. Injured deeply in his soul he headed toward the embankment and the Teufelsdreck. His mind numbed in his anguish and humiliation he stumbled along as though drunk unable to pick his feet up high enough to level out the streets. Angered to his soul but unable to do a thing about it a cyst formed around the incident in his subconscious clustering with a few earlier ones.
If he hadn’t before he now loathed his uniform and he loathed his Uncle Sam whose funny little busboy outfit made him a ‘nigger’ wherever he went even in old Chinatown. The uniform he was wearing was not a badge of honor but an emblem of disgrace.
One Toke Over The Line
Kayo Kreskin had a problem. When he learned that the Asian tour would include Hong Kong he had excitedly notified his father, Soter Kreskin. The elder Kreskin had found the Marijuana imported from Mexico so profitable that he had explored the possibility of an opium or heroin trade.
San Francisco was a very advantageous place from which to develop that line of business. The City has a very large Chinatown, the first in the US.
It will be remembered that in the nineteenth century Britain fought a couple wars with China to compel it to accept the Opium grown by them in India that Britain wished them to buy. This had some long range effects.
The money from the Opium trade went directly into the pockets of the Kings and Queens of England augmenting their income greatly. Nor were the wars and their results forgiven by the Chinese. Over in mainland China Mao was still greatly incensed at the thought of the Chinese being corrupted by the British. During the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76 the Opium Wars would again be a bone of contention.
The English were most active in the area around Hong Kong. The Chinese immigrants to the US passed through the port from the surrounding provinces. Hence many of the Chinese coming to the US were opium smokers. A large importation of opium into the US was already currently being done for its Chinese. Soter Kreskin found it relatively easy to establish contacts in the British Crown (as being a private possession of the King and Queen) Colony.
As another interesting but irrelevant aside, the fortune of Franklin Delano Roosevelt was made by an ancestor who imported opium form China to New York in his Yankee Clippers.
Soter represented a Chinatown dealer, on other grounds, who upon learning of Soter’s interest, made contacts for him in the Colony.
Kayo Kreskin was to make contact with this man in Kowloon, acquire a supply substantial enough to make Soter’s fortune and bring it back aboard the Teufelsdreck thus bypassing the most dangerous risks.
At that time, at least, no one checked any packages brought aboard nor were any bags inspected in San Diego leaving the base so Kayo and Soter had a nearly foolproof, once in a lifetime opportunity.
The only danger lay in the acquisition in Hong Kong and the distribution in the Bay Area. It is not known whether Soter or Kayo were under suspicion at this time but as the suppliers might be and as an ounce of prevention is worth a kilo of cure, Kayo with sure intuition took all precautions.
Thus he had to reach his contact in Kowloon but didn’t want to call attention to himself by making an obvious solo trip. He was sitting pondering his dilemma as he watched Mike Deasy put a finishing lick to his shoes for liberty.
‘What are you going to do, Deasy?’ He asked idly.
‘Trueman wants to take the ferry to Kowloon like his idol William Holden did. I’m going with him.’
‘You’re hitting the beach with that clown?’
‘I think he’s alright; besides after that escapade in Y’kuska with Maclen I agree with him; we’d been better off to take the train to Tokyo.’
‘Man, that…’ He began as a criticism of Trueman but then the light flickered on in his head. ‘…doesn’t sound half bad. I’d like to go to Kowloon too. Mind if I come along?’
Deasy did mind. He didn’t like Kreskin. He and all of operations knew Kayo was into drugs. But not wishing to openly offend Kayo he passed the buck to Trueman who he thought would say no. ‘It’s alright with me but it’s up to Trueman. He has things he wants to do. I’m just going along.’
Kayo got quickly to his feet stepping down to First to find Trueman looping his scarf over his head.
‘Hey, Trueman, Deasy says you two are going over to Kowloon.’
‘Yeah. So what’s that got to do with you?’
‘How about I come along?’
‘Are you kidding? You remember Tokyo? How you’re better’n me, how your super whore wouldn’t have anything to do with the likes of me?’
‘Oh that. That was nothing. I’d been drinking, that was the liquor talking, not me.’
‘No, hmm? Nothing to you anyway. By the way Kreskin I heard that the most beautiful whore in Japan laid a dose on you. Any truth to that?’
Kreskin who apparently thought that secrets could be held in such a small closed society, was thunderstruck because Trueman knew and was taunting him about it. Had he been less interested he would have walked away but as a drug addict he was compelled to accept any humiliation to obtain his supply.
‘Yeah, she gave me a dose, damn whore. Taking Penicillin now.’ He said humbly. By taking Penicillin Kreskin meant that whenever the stash of tabs was on the Quarterdeck he popped one in coming back from liberty. The pills had done no good.
‘Really? Gee, the less beautiful girls I had didn’t give me anything but a good time. What do you think of that?’
‘I…I guess I didn’t have any reason to be so arrogant as I was. I’m the kind of guy who learns from my mistakes though.’
Kayo’s seeming humility which was only the duplicity of the addict placated Trueman who, since he planned to view the Red Chinese border, thought that three might be better than two.
‘This is my trip Kreskin. I’m going over to see what I want to see, so if you think you’re going to call the shots, forget it. If that’s agreed Deasy has the final say.’ Trueman said, passing the buck back to Deasy.
‘He says it’s OK with him if it’s OK with you.’
‘Better get dressed then. We’re leaving now whether you’re ready or not.’
Kreskin dressed, running up to the Quarterdeck throwing his scarf over his head just in time to board the boat to the beach. The boat ride to shore took fifteen minutes through the wonderful tropical Winter of Hong Kong.
Dropped off at the sea wall they climbed the steps to the Esplanade turning right to begin the walk along the bay to the ferry.
‘Man, this is even better than in ‘Love Is A Many Spendored Thing’. Did you guys see that?’
‘Yeah. It was pretty good.’ From Kreskin.
‘Didn’t see it.’ From Deasy.
‘Man, that was the most fantastic photography I’ve ever seen. My mind was stunned. Gosh, I watched that and thought I’d never get to see this place. William Holden was just incredible. We saw the hill Holden climbed in the rain storm to see his girl the other day from the Tiger Balm Gardens. Man, straight up and down just like in the movie. Hard to believe people could live on a slope like that.’ Trueman must not have paid attention to cliff houses in LA.
Trueman little knew how much that movie affected him. To some extent he assumed the character of William Holden while his own experience in Hong Kong was heightened by his memory of the movie.
The absence of cars in Hong Kong was taken for granted without notice or question. Without realizing it Trueman found the absence delightful. His enjoyment of the city was heightened by their absence.
The Kowloon Ferry made no provision for cars being solely for pedestrians. The great ferry with its broad decks slowly filled with the teeming mass of humanity that was Hong Kong.
The three sailors were the only Caucasians aboard. Dewey watched in amazement as every inch of space was taken up by the incredible variety of Chinese nationalties inhabiting the Crown Colony. He, Deasy and Kreskin found their way to the railing where they could watch the chaos of people as well as the receding and approaching shores.
Amidst the throbbing engines the big raft glided across the smooth bay almost without the sensation of movement. The twenty minute trip was breathtaking. Having boarded amongst the teeming hordes of Hong Kong Dewey was surprised to find the Kowloon side nearly desolate. They docked in a comparatively deserted field amid the ruined foundations of old buildings. Unlike Hong Kong where the buildings abutted being seemingly stacked on each other in Chinese style, Kowloon looked like a cross between the Occident and the Orient. The appearance was much more like South San Francisco or Daly City or the little boxes of Malvina Reynold’s song but twice as exotic and charming.
Deasy and Kreskin looked to Dewey for direction as he was the leader. Dewey had thought no further than getting to Kowloon. He neither knew where he was or how to get to anything else so he just followed the crowd walking down the road. The road was the main thoroughfare leading directly into Red China which is where most of the ferry riders were going. Apparently the boat load of Chinese were daily commutes from Red China to Hong Kong.
The sailors walked along, Dewey glorying in this many splendored thing while Deasy couldn’t imagine what he saw to rhapsodize so while Kreskin champed to get to his drug dealer.
They had gone a mile or so with Dewey babbling away in wonder when he looked down to see a white line painted across the road.
‘Hey, look at that, someone painted a white line across the road. Wonder what that means?’
As soon as they were across the line the surroundings changed. Instead of the clean open feel of European Kowloon the area switched to the dirty closed in stacked Chinese feel. The feeling of crowding was greater even than in Hong Kong.
Once again immigrants blamed America for traits inherent in their own culture. The Chinese of San Francisco crowded tens of thousands of people into just a few square blocks stacked on each other just like in their homeland. But in the US this became an indignity heaped on them by ‘prejudiced Whites.’
The attitude of the people changed to sulleness and suspicion. This was the real China.
Dewey handled the first hundred yards in China fairly well but the then the differences began to mount in sinister fashion.
‘Hey, look at that Mandarin type guy flattened against the wall.’ Dewey observed.
Indeed a Fu Manchu type in long red Mandarin dress was flattened against a wall around a corner watching them. Further, the attention of every single person on the street was riveted on them.
By this time they had penetrated Red China by six hundred feet. Another hundred yards and they wouldn’t get out again.
‘I can’t understand why things have changed so. Everything looks so different, more sinister. Boy, there’s red stars every where. Look it there; every magazine on that rack has a red star on it.’
‘Yeah, I noticed that.’ Deasy said without curiostity.
‘Oh god. You know what?’ Tureman said with a quaver in his voice. ‘You know what that white line meant?’
‘You remember when they gave that indoctrination speech they said that the only thing separating Red China from Kowloon was a white line in the road? No sentries, no guard houses? We’re in Red China. We gotta get out of this place.’
So saying Dewey turned on his heel without a moment to spare. Men under the direction of the Fu Manchu lookalike were already moving away from the stalls to fall in behind them.
‘Look sharp boys, and get prepared to make a run for it. We might have to fight our way out. Step smarly and with determination now.’
Dewey took his long thin Japanese pocket knife out of his pocket pretending to clean his nails on the run as the three moved back to the white line.
They were saved by their bravado and the fact that it would have been precarious for the Reds to have grabbed them so close to the line.
‘That was close.’ Dewey breathed as his right foot swung over the line.
At this stage in his life Dewey had great faith in the sanctity of lines drawn across streets. It would be only later in life that he would learn that lines were only psychic projections that are unaffected by morality. They only determine where the guilt lies if you fail to have to power or cleverness to enforce your will. That’s why Hitler is a bad guy; he couldn’t enforce his will.
‘Can’t you just see us on TV as apostates to Capitalism after brainwashing by the Reds?’
Brainwashing was a concept from the Korean War in which various captives had been persuaded by the Red Koreans to condemn American Capitalism. The great mystery of how red blooded American boys could be persuaded to reject an unlimited supply of washing machines and small home appliances was attributed to brainwashing.
This was a fearsome concept to Americans, especially for Dewey who frequently imagined himself heroically resisting attempts to brain wash him. No one had any understanding of what the term meant in practical terms although the book offering an explanation, The Manchurian Candidate, had recently been issued.
‘What does that mean? How is that done…brainwashing?’ Deasy asked. Deasy like Trueman had been twelve and thirteen during the Korean War but unlike Trueman he had paid little attention to it. Deasy had been a popular boy while Trueman had been isolated without friends. Hence Trueman had devoured newpaper and magazine accounts of the progress in Korea.
‘I don’t know. They probably got some special psychic detergent they make you drink. Probably just like JD only stronger, makes you forget anything you ever knew then they play records of Commie diatribe to fill in the empty spaces. After a couple days you come out spouting better than Marx or Lenin.
Wouldn’t work with us though, hey? They’d get us up there on TV just like they did with those guys in the Korean War who announced they liked Communism better than the US and then raising our right arms we’d shout: Screw Communism; we want a refrigerator and small electric appliances. What do you think?’
‘I can’t follow you Trueman. I mean, I think you’re OK but you say some of the strangest things.’ Deasy answered.
‘Yeah, I think half the things you say are beamed down from an alien UFO in space.’ Kreskin chipped in.
‘Why an alien UFO Kreskin? Did anyone ever hear of a domestic UFO?’
‘That’s it! That’s what I mean, Trueman. Hey, I know this is your trip but do you think we could take a little side trip? I’ve got to see a man about my crib.’
‘Yeah, sure, Kreskin. I’ve already been in Red China. I don’t have any other reason to be in Kowloon.’
‘Great.’ As though he had been there a hundred times Kreskin led them off the highway through the byways it seemed only an Old China Hand would know. The scenery was all too marvelous for Dewey to object. They came to a row house on the crest of the hill. To the left lay the maze 0f streets leading to Red China; to the right lay the magnificent panorama of Hong Kong and the blue water.
They followed Kayo up the steps where a middle aged European, looking quite Oriental, let them in the door. He was quite surprised that Kreskin was accompanied by two others. He looked at Kayo questioningly. Kreskin gestured hopelessly. At almost the same time that the European gestured to Kreskin to get rid of them, Mike Deasy who had scoped out the situation said to Trueman: ‘Let’s wait outside.’
Trueman’s mind was mind that had never been blown before so that the excitement of this extreme exoticism was quite transporting him. The house itself was conventional in the extreme by Western standards yet so informed by the East as to transfigure it completely. The spare decorations, the sparkling hardwood floors and the light of the tropics gave the place a sparkle that deluged Trueman’s senses. Without thinking, however, he recognized the meaning behind Deasy’s request. He followed the pressure of Deasy’s hand on the forearm of his dress blues. The two retreated into the street.
Dewey stood open mouthed; his attention was divided between the bay, Red China and what he imagined was going down in the house.
‘We should get out here. Kreskin can find his way back alone.’ Deasy said sullenly not sure of what was going down but knowing Kreskin was sure that it wasn’t legal.
‘No. It’s alright.’ Dewey said with the assurance of the innocent and the invulnurability of the just. ‘Besides we don’t know how to get back.’
‘Just walk downhill to the bay.’ Deasy said with simplicity. But he didn’t leave. Trueman remained dancing back and forth his mind boggled. The more stolid Deasy grew uncomfortable as he noticed a couple grown kids gathering near them and more mature eyes observing from a distance.
Inside the house Kreskin was learning some facts of life that he wished he had never had to learn. Others might have walked away but to the drug addict they merely represented what you had to do to get high.
The Eurasian drug dealer having confidence in his Chinese-American connection had no trouble completing the financial arrangements but then there was the lagniappe. The amazing thing about Liberals is that as Whites purporting to love freedom and liberty they encourage situations which deny both. Thus the Eurasian had a condition for completing the deal; he wanted to bugger Kreskin.
The Eurasian like all druggies wanted supreme power. He wanted control over the destinies of others. That control could only be realized in the negation of the will of others, at his express command. Now, Trueman had no father, which most people considered a severe deprivation, but here was Soter Kreskin, to all appearances a good and devoted father, who had commanded the sacrifice of his son’s virtue and integrity for a few paltry dollars. What had Trueman lost by not having a father?
Kreskin was a tall, slender, long legged apple of his mother’s eye; equally desirable in a faggot’s eye. Kayo was not homosexual nor would he ever become a compulsive one. But he would compulsively reenact this scene on his own drug buyers and even his sons. And now, given a choice between drugs and his integrity, drugs won hands down. A drug addict can have no pride, no will of his own. He must submit to the desires of others and so Kayo turned it up to sell his birthright for a little liquid spurting from a needle.
It is said most truly that virtue is its own reward. A clear conscience is of inestimable value. The negation of Kayo’s will by the Eurasian drug dealer cost him dearly, not consciously of course, consciously Kayo thought he could handle anything; he was a rough tough American gambling so-of-a-gun and consciously he could but as a submariner of the unconscious the price of the heroin was more than his market could bear. But then, what does it mean to a drug addict; he is already beyond redemption.
Unfortunately for the drug dealer his proclivities gained him a dose of the clap from the infected Kreskin; unfortunately for Kreskin the drug dealer added a dose of syphilis to his clap. Well, druggies can shrug that off too.
Kreskin was not aware of the psychological change he had experienced when he descended the steps into the street. To Deasy and Trueman they saw almost a different person come down the steps. Whatever innocence Kreskin had was gone.
And now, the cops is on their trail. The Eurasian drug dealer was under surveillance. Amusingly Opium and Heroin which had been forced on the Chineses will they nil they was now illegal in British eyes.
The cops always have a good general idea of what is going on but they’re usually short on details. The Eurasian kept no drugs beyond those for his personal use on the premises. The packages of heroin would be delivered to Kreskin on the streets of Hong Kong into his shopping bags with which he would carry them aboard the Teufelsdreck storing them in his locker.
The Chinese under Mao would gain a little revenge on the Westerners for the Opium Wars.
All three men realized they had picked up a tail at the dealer’s home. Now, through the arts of misdirection which every addict learns, Kreskin would cleverly direct the attention of the tail from himself to Deasy and Trueman. Deasy had been correct; they should have left Kreskin behind.
The sodomy Kreskin submitted to at the dealer’s hands had immediately been encysted in his subconscious as irreparable shame and self-condemnation. The change in his demeanor had been clearly apparent to Trueman and Deasy although they knew nothing to which to attribute it. Kreskin would now attempt to transfer his shame to Trueman.
The three wended their way downhill to the ferry terminal which after buying their tickets they had over an hour’s wait for the ferry. The scene was wildly picturesque. They moved off a few hundred yards up among the large boulders strewing the beach amid the remains of piers jutting up uselessly and the ruined foundations of some structures, possibly old warehouses, that studded the strand.
The skyline of Hong Kong lay before them while in the middle of the bay the tiny Teufelsdreck moored to the buoy in front and trailing its sea anchor behind bobbed placidly. Dewey’s wild imagination reconstructed the scene of the Teufelsdreck’s bearing down on him, thinking: ‘This is probably the spot I would have come ashore if I had fallen in.’ He gazed ecstatically at the scene.
Unable to comprehend the wonders that Dewey was seeing and experiencing Deasy muttered aloud: ‘I could be having a good time in a bar rather than standing here.
‘Bars are a dime a dozen anywhere in the world and they’re all alike. This is special.’ Dewey replied.
‘Huh. Sand, sea, sky.’ Was all that Deasy could say.
Kreskin stood apart as though contaminated by the presence of the other two for the benefit of the police tail. He watched Dewey enviously, amazed at someone who had his own, someone who didn’t have to get it from little packets that went into needles that went into your arm. Man with a golden arm my foot: a fool with collapsed veins avoiding the tracks of his tears is all. Why romanticize addiction.
‘You know who that guy is, Kreskin?’ Trueman asked indicating the tail.
Kreskin shrugged, but looking at the tail he then looked back at Trueman in an accusatory manner.
Trueman responded to his look. ‘He started following us at that house you went in back there. What was going on in there?’
A drug addict is only a drug addict because they feel inadequate. Their desire for a feeling of omnipotence is not reflected by their reality. Even though Kayo Kreskin professed a feeling of power and superiority he really felt like dirt. In his case his father loomed before him larger than life; a success of such huge proportions that Kayo would never be able to match or surpass him. Indeed, his father, fearing castration by his son like Cronos by Zeus, let Kayo know that he could never be the man Soter was. Unable to cut himself loose from Soter as Zeus was able to do from Cronos Kayo was himself castrated, after a fashion, turning to heroin for solace. The process might be called the Precession of the Pyschoses.
In this case the omnipotent father was using his son as a runner, as a mule, allowing him to play the catamite to augment his own wealth of which he would allow but a small portion to Kayo until his death at some very distant time. He fobbed the kid off with a little red TR. Nor thoroughly debased Kayo could not allow himself to articulate these facts which he subconsciusly wrestled with twenty-four hours a day so it was necessary to transfer his feeling of shame and inferiority to someone else.
While Freud put many of these concepts into scientific terms, Man has always been aware of their reality. The notion of transference has been best expressed by the tale from the Arabian Nights of the man with the Monkey on his back. In slang terms heroin addicts are said to have a monkey on their backs. This does not refer to the heroin habit alone. The monkey was there before they turned to heroin in a search to dislodge it by the drug. A result is seldom a cause.
Everyone is familiar witht he Arabian Nights story of the man who let a monkey persuade him to give him a ride on his back. Once on the only way the man could get the monkey off his back was to persuade someone else to take it from him. Naturally few people wished to volunteer. The carrier has to become very devious and deceitful so that he can trick someone into accepting it.
Certainly no one wanted Kreskin’s monkey. Kreskin himself though subliminally aware of the feeling of inadquacy and failure foisted on him by his father was not conscious of his attempted transference with those he considered lower than himself. He had already told Trueman bluntly in Yokosuka that he thought he was better than him.
Now, partially because he knew the tail was for himself and partially from the feeling of inadequacy and failure by letting himself by sodomized he attempted to shift his monkey to Trueman.
‘That guy’s trailing you if he’s trailing anybody.’
‘Think so? He wasn’t there until after we left that house you went into. What was it, Kayo?’
‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. Probably your Communist obsession following us from Red China. People think you’re a little bit balmy on the subject, Trueman, even crazy.’
‘Think what you like. Those Red Stars everywhere across the line were not my imagination. Reds are real Kreskin unlike your phony sense of superiority. You ain’t better than me; I got you down five to one.’ Trueman spoke from his subconscious welling up from Kreskin’s claim in Yokosuka.’
‘Dope?’ Deasy questioned a little savagely.
‘He sure is.’ Trueman retorted, misunderstanding.
‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ Kreskin denied Deasy.
‘You were buying dope back there.’ Deasy pursued.
‘Haugh! Nonsense. I don’t know what you’re talking about.’
The exchange was interrupted by the Kowloon ferry easing into the slip. Trueman moved off followed by Deasy as Kreskin bringing up the rear let the others get ahead trying to distance himself from the accusation.
The tail had not been close enough to hear but judging only from body language, the confident looking Kreskin had succeeded in transferring suspicion to the more tentative or guilty acting Trueman. The divided attention of the authorities gave Kreskin the space he needed.
Trueman was too absorbed in the wonders of William Holden’s Hong Kong to dwell on other considerations. Apart from the memory of the scenery the human details had vanished from his consciousness. Aboard the ferry he was once again lost in admiration and his good fortune to be there.
‘Hey, this is great. Not as many going back over. Room to move now.’
‘They probably work in Hong Kong. We caught ’em going home. Can we stop at a bar? I want a drink.’
‘Sure, Deasy. Whatever you want; I’ve done what I wanted to do. You want a drink there’s a bar right over there.’
‘A bar on the ferry? Where?’
‘In the center island there. Look at it.’
‘No kidding? Never seen a bar on a boat before.’
The ferry glided into the Hong Kong slip as the three stepped ashore.
The other two men had served their purpose for Kreskin. As the addict no longer had any use for them he signed off.
‘See you guys later. No offence, but I got some place to be that doesn’t include you.’
‘Gotta see a man about a monkey?’ Deasy asked insultingly.
Kreskin made no reply hurrying off into deepest Chinatown.
‘That guy’s a real prick.’ Deasy sneered as the two of them went off in search of an appropriate bar for Deasy.
The Badge Of Infamy
After Jim Sparks left the ship just prior to departure the leadership of the criminal element aboard was being assumed by the gold dust twins, Lawyer Screw and Judge Easy. As tattoos are a badge of the criminal class the men of that class had all been getting tattoos in the various ports of call. Kerry Maclen had yet to be tattooed as, quite frankly, he was afraid of needles.
Screw and Easy both remembered the accusation of cheating leveled at them by Trueman in the mess hall some seven months before. Nothing could be more appropriate than that Trueman should be induced to wear the badge of infamy; perhaps a heart with a dagger through it and the legend: Born To Lose.
A meeting of the cons was held where Maclen was given the address of a fraternity tattoo artist. Without further words Maclen l0oked up the address and understood.
‘Take Trueman with you and get him tattooed too.’ Easy smiled blandly.
Trueman and Maclen were in the boat going ashore. Maclen said as though the thought just hit him: ‘I’m going to get a tattoo.’
‘Why would you want to do that?’ Trueman asked. ‘Only low brow neanderthals get tattoos.’
‘Think so?’ Said Duber sitting near them who had four or five including a fly on the head of his penis.
‘Do you have any Duber?’ Trueman said as innocently as possible.
‘Yeh, I do.’ Duber replied expecting an apology.
‘Then it must be true. You look like a neanderthal to me.’ Trueman laughed.
Nevertheless Maclen persistd: ‘Why don’t you get one too?’
‘Because I’m not a slimeball, Maclen. Save your money. You don’t need a tattoo.’
‘I’m going to get one anyway.’ Maclen replied chastened by Trueman’s attitude. He filed away in his mind that Trueman thought him a low brow slimeball if he got one and Trueman didn’t. His future relationship with Trueman was conditioned at this moment.
‘Let’s get liquored up to make this easy.’
‘You know I don’t drink Kerry but if you want to go ahead.’
As usual Maclen knew all the criminal hangouts. They sat in a huge bar which was vacant but for themselves as Maclen recklessly poured drink after drink down.
‘C’mon, let’s go Kerry you’re drunk enough besides those guys behind the bar are getting pissed because I’m not drinking.’
Once out in the street Trueman tried to steer the staggering Maclen back to the ship but Kerry knew what was expected of him. He led the way to the tattoo parlor.
‘How do you know this place, Maclen?’
‘I just do.’ Maclen said mysteriously.
The Chinese tattoo artist had the look of the hardened criminal he was. He was thirty-five, a stocky well built muscular man with the air of malevolent corruption so common to the Chinese. To Trueman the Westernized ones all looked tough and hard while the Mandarin types all looked contemptuously sinister.
Maclen was really quite terrified of the needles. He had really needed to get drunk to do this. He was still so terrified that rather than get a tattoo solidly filled with color he chose to get a mere outline in blue on his right bicept.
Trueman sat against the wall to watch. He was aghast when his friend, a man for whom he had plans, chose to have a naked woman’s derriere half turned to display a breast and smile placed on his arm.
‘Oh no, no, Kerry. For Christ’s sake no, you aren’t that drunk. If you can’t think of anything else have a flag put on it.’
Maclen was not only that drunk but drunker still.
‘An American flag? Naw. I’ll never be without a woman with this tattoo.’ He said as the needles chattered.
Trueman groaned inwardly at his friend’s gaucheness but his jaw dropped when Maclen instructed the tattoo artist to put three cheeks on the woman’s ass, two cleavages in other words.
‘O god no. Don’t do that!’ Trueman pleaded almost begging. ‘No, Kerry. Think of your reputation.’
‘Go ahead.’ Kerry said smugly as Trueman considered discarding the man as a friend.
‘Why don’t you get one now Trueman?’ Maclen smiled.
‘No. I’m not getting any tattoo.’ Dewey said in disgust.
‘You’re probably not man enough.’ The tattoo artist grunted hoping to intimidate him.
‘Got nothing to do with manhood, Jocko, it’s got to do with having brains. Lucky for you the world’s full of no brainers.’
‘I don’t like the way you talk.’ The tattoo artist said threateningly hoping to frighten the placid looking Trueman into the chair.
‘C’mon Dewey.’ Maclen coaxed.
‘I don’t care what you think, man. No, Kerry. Pay the guy and let’s get out of here.’
Maclen paid up. ‘You’ve got a bad mouth.’ The tattoo artist said stepping forward. The guy was built well enough to make mincemeat of Trueman not to mention that he was proficient in the martial arts.
‘Aw, keep it to yourself, you crook.’ Dewey snarled making sure however to discretely put some distance between himself and the artiste.
‘It isn’t worth the bother kicking the ass of a punk like you.’ The artiste jeered.
‘Yeah, and I wouldn’t dirty my hands on fecal matter like you.’ Trueman replied with a certain amount of elegance which he hoped the Chinese couldn’t understand.
Trueman walked off beside himself in disgust over the tattoo Maclen had gotten. Dewey well knew what the reaction aboard ship would be.
Maclen stumbled dumbly after him.
The Giant Rats Of Manila
‘Have you seen that tattoo Maclen got?’ Deasy asked Trueman as the ship was crossing over from Hong Kong to Manila.
‘Seen it, aw man, I was there when he got it, man. I tried to talk him out of it but he was so drunk he wouldn’t listen to reason.’
‘That is the most asinine tattoo I’ve ever seen. A woman with three asses. I don’t know how you can stand to hang around with that guy.’
Maclen’s tattoo had been met with universal revulsion aboard ship. Even Duber, Easy and Screw were revolted. Imagine a guy with a fly tattooed on the head of his deck being revolted by a guy with a woman with three asses tattooed on his arm. The reaction was such that Maclen became ashamed. Instead of wearing his shirt sleeves rolled up he now wore them down and buttoned. The revulsion against him was such that he was almost in shock.
The pleasures of Hong Kong behind them the men of the Teufelsdreck sailed the tropical seas back to the Philippines. This time they were to follow in the wake of Admiral Dewey into Manila Bay past Corregidor the place of MacArthur’s last stand and visit the capital of the island republic.
By 1958 the Communist insurrectionaries called the Huks had been brought under control although the sailors were still told to be on the alert.
Manila was the most slovenly port on the entire tour. Everything was decayed and rotting. The citizens showed no pride or self-respect at all.
Still in disgrace with the Commodore, the Teufelsdreck was sent to a pier that was so rotten it was barely standing. Large, even giant, rats scampered visibly across the deck of the pier in broad daylight. The pier itself was pockmarked with holes where the rotting boards had fallen through. The rats stared out hungrily from the rotting supports beneath the pier, something Dewey had never seen before. The only thing going for the docksite was that it allegedly had potable water.
‘Boy, we better get those rat guards on in a hurry.’ Dewey was saying to Frenchey when Dieter barked out an order to Trueman to affix the guards to the forward bow line, Frenchey to take the crossing line.
Trueman wasted no time shimmying down the line to put the guard in place.
‘Somebody give me a pistol in case I have to defend myself against these hungry monsters.’ He quipped.
Manila was to be the destruction of whatever remained of Maclen’s reputation. The criminal grapevine always tried to direct as many sailors as possible to its preferred brothels. The word came to Maclen who organized a party to visit one of these houses. It was always a mystery to Trueman how Maclen knew of these fronts in places he’d never been.
Maclen’s own reputation was too thin to command respect but using that of Trueman’s to bolster his own he managed to get a party of six together including Deasy, Parsons and Vincent.
Stepping ashore they made as much noise as possible to scare the scampering rats away. This was no easy chore as they were nearly evenly matched with them in size.
Picking their way carefully down the pier avoiding the gaping holes and testing each plank for solidity, Trueman looking back noticed the Electricians removing the cover from the cable reel on the boat deck.
“Hey, what’re they taking the cover off the cables for?’ He asked to all in general.
‘An exercise for the Electricians. They’re going to connect up to the Naval base and supply power to it.’ Parsons stated.
‘No kidding with the ship idle like that they can generate that much power?’
‘Sure. The Teufelsdreck could generate enough electricity to run Guantanamo Bay. That’s in Cuba.’
‘Yeah, well, the Commies are going to get that one.’
‘What Commies? Fidel Castro and his insurrectionaries, that’s what Commies.’
‘Fidel Castro isn’t a Communist. He’s an agrarian reformer. He just wants to get American mobsters out of Havana.’
‘Havana?’ Maclen said perking up. ‘Man, they got some real dog and pony shows there. I heard of a chick does it with a donkey.’
‘Aw baloney, that would kill her. ‘
‘Don’t neither. Women like it big.’ Maclen said patting his crotch. ‘Donkeys are big. Can’t be too big for ’em. I think they have that kind of thing here too. Maybe I can arrange it.’ Maclen glazed getting really enthusiastic.
‘You can count me out.’ Trueman replied laconically. ‘I don’t care if she gets screwed by a rhinoceros.’
The boys were not yet so jaded that they wanted that kind of entertainment.
‘By the way, Vincent, how come you’re not wearing your new boots?’
‘I guess you haven’t heard, Trueman. They cheated me. The boots looked good but you wouldn’t believe that the soles were made of Wheaties boxtops. The second day out of Hong Kong we had some heavy seas and my boots got wet. Soles came right apart.’
‘Aw, they weren’t really Wheaties box tops?’
‘Yeah, they were.’ Parsons confirmed excitedly. ‘Not the tops but cut from the sides. About four layers of Wheaties boxes painted to look like leather. Good job too.’
‘Yeah, the bastards.’ Vincent said. ‘Oh well, live and learn although I really wanted those boots.’
In fact Vincent had been so disappointed and shamed that he had broken down and cried.
Trueman was going to say something about how the Captain had warned them but then thought better of it and said nothing.
Nowhere in the East was American industry as prominent as it was in Manila. The place appeared to be a company town. As they turned the corner onto the main street they were greeted by a blaze of neon such as none of them had ever seen before.
Huge moving designs lit up the sky for several blocks. Most prominent among them was a gigantic Sherwin-Williams Paints Cover The World sign. The monster was literally as big as a football field in length and just as wide or wider at the point where the largest paint can in the world poured its flourescent paint down on a waiting earth beneath. The whole operation took five minutes to unfold as the neon paint cascaded from the can in waves of undulating color to make the splash as it hit the planet then rolling down over the earth until the sign lit up with its message: Sherwyn Williams Points Cover The Earth.
The effect was breathtaking. The sailors stood entranced through three cycles before they began jabbering.
‘Isn’t that amazing?’
‘Why don’t we have anything like that in the US?’
‘They got laws against it.’
‘Wow! I wonder if the Teufelsdreck could supply enough power for that?’
‘C’mon guys, let’s get going.’ Maclen interjected greedily figuring the kickbacks from negotiating such a large party.
As if by magic Maclen led them through back streets until they approached a large barn like structure on the edge of Manila.
‘Let me do the talking.’ Maclen enjoined. ‘I’ll get us a group discount.’
Deasy remembered Yokosuka and was none too keen on it but as none of the others relished negotiating Deasy was compelled to go along.
The barn was a large structure but it was nearly empty as a large number of houses competed for a limited number of sailors. Without its criminal contacts this house would have gotten very very few.
Using the technique of one large price Maclen collected the money from each before anyone had a chance to object although all of them grumbled inwardly at what seemed like a high price. As usual Maclen chose the best for himself. Trueman got an amazon of large proportions but as she had huge breasts that stood straight out he didn’t complain, but he had little enthusiasm for the place.
The house was dirty and unkempt like the rest of Manila with very little attempt made for privacy. The girls neither took pride in their profession as in Japan or were crudely pert as in Hong Kong. They went about it as blue collar drudgery.
The house was indeed a barn. The public area occupied the ground floor while lofts on either side contained the cubicles. Everything was jerry built. You could see between the boards into the adjoining cubicle; you could see between the floor boards to the main floor. The noises of lovemaking passed through the walls in raucous orgy.
Trueman wished he wasn’t there but as he was he had to go through with it. His whore stripped to the waist then flopped down pulling up her slip.
‘Aren’t you going to take off your slip?’ Dewey asked.
‘No. You can get in.’ She said lighting a cigarette.
Dewey looked at her huge cans which had not receded at all when she flopped down. The large brown nipples were enticing. He put out his hand.
‘Don’t touch my tits.’ She said coldly. ‘I don’t allow it.’
Thoroughly put out Dewey just unzipped his fly, pulled it out and jumped on, hat and all.
The waman was so repellent to him as she smoked and insulted him that he lost his desire and very nearly lost his erection. He worked away mechanically without enthusiasm.
‘What’s taking you so long?’ She asked blowing a billow of smoke in his face.
At that point Dewey alm0st lost it for good. He went half flaccid in disgust.
‘Oh my god.’ He thought. ‘That can’t happen. If that got out I’d be a laughing stock.’
He redoubled his efforts succeeding by dint of will in finishing her off. Relieved at not embarrassing himself he rolled off pulling her slip down.
‘Where’s the toilet.’ He asked emotionessly.
‘What do you want that for?’ She asked stupidly.
‘Aw, they told us to always take a piss after to reduce the chances of VD.’ He said aiming at her heart.
‘Go over in the closet.’ She said. ‘While I wash up.’
Trueman opened the door to find an empty closet.
‘Hey, there’s no toilet in here.’
‘Just piss on the floor.’
‘Wha? It’ll run down onto the main floor.’
‘So what.’ She said walking out without dressing.
‘What a place.’ Dewey said to himself in a rage projecting his anger on Maclen as the urine ran through the boards down to the main floor.
‘Glad I’m not walking down there.’ He thought.
Going back out into the room he watched as the whore returned from the restroom. Still half naked he watchd her in disgust as she nonchalantly lurched back upstairs.
‘I was hired to give you two. Let’s go.’
‘Aw, that’s alright. I don’t want to wear it out.’ Dewey said revolted by the woman.
‘No. No. I always keep my end of the bargain. Let’s go.’
But Dewey was disgusted his sexual drive had completely vanished. Try as she might there was nothing she could do to arouse his hidden desire and she did try.
‘Aw, enough of this. I’m going downstairs.’ Dewey said zipping up and walking out.
As he was first out he went over to the juke box to check out the tunes. ‘Well, they got better songs on the jukebox than pussy in the beds.’ He said to himself.
The juke box was not so much behind in time as fixed in time. Certain sounds and artists were selected to the exclusion of everything else. The Platters of Great Pretender and Only You fame were represented with six sides but none of their US hits. Apparently records reflected Filipino tastes of the establishment and not the patrons.
Dewey was selecting a few tunes as the pimps, obnoxious subhumans in any country, hovered around trying to suck respectability and genuine manhood off him. As will all losers they feel that if they insult or abuse a superior man they will somehow reduce him and elevate themselves.
Dewey was too naive to understand the dynamics of the situation but his indifference to their presence served very well to repudiate their insolence.
Gradually his shipmates drifted down as a few Filipino gangsters drifted in to swap tales and out tough each other.
With the exception of Deasy and Maclen the rest of the sailors were callow eighteen and nineteen year olds. They scarcely realized what environment they were in. Maclen, of course, was in his milieu while Deasy who was fairly savvy and distrustful of Maclen understood completely where they had all been brought.
The whores were now expected to entertain the boys to run up a bar bill. The sailors sat around a long table with their whores on their laps. At this point Trueman woudn’t have fucked his whore with Maclen’s dick. His rage at the filthy beast was intense. He wanted nothing more to do with her. He was ready to leave.
The girls all sat on the laps of their men where they allowed themselves to be fondled as they drank.
The affection shown to the women was at this point a matter of pride to the whores. The cooing of their men demonstrated the pleasure their man had taken in their company. There was general surprise that Trueman had come down so early. His whore who had treated him so badly was now subject to condemnation by the others at his rejection of her.
She rushed to sit on his lap but Dewey pushed her away considering her vile. His action drew titters and smiles from the other girls. As Dewey’s whore would have been left standing around uselessly like a fifth wheel she desperately forced herself onto Dewey’s lap attempting to caress him in the same manner in which the other girls were caressing their men. Dewey would have none of her; he only wanted to get away.
‘How come you aren’t playing with my little bird?’ She cooed trying to elicit a demonstration of lust.
‘Doesn’t sing a tune I like.’ Dewey sullenly stated.
His reply got more titters from the other whores who had now scored off Trueman’s ox.
Trueman’s resentment kept the hilarity down, so much so that the drinking was minimal. A few more gangsters drifted in which aroused Deasy’s suspicions further.
Thus he joined Trueman in wishing to leave. Instead of five sailors getting up ripe for rolling, Maclen the sixth excepted, six sober mean looking men got up to leave. A couple gangsters drifted across the floor in front of them but Deasy who was a husky guy made moves to indicate that they inteferred with them at their own peril. Noticing Deasy’s moves Trueman casually hauled his long thin Japanese stiletto cum pocket knife out to pretend to clean his nails. The sharp clasp knife was more dangerous looking than it really was, especially in Dewey’s hand who had neither the expertise or will to use it.
Nevertheless the gangsters not caring for an even fight of uncertain determination let them out without incident.
On the way back to the ship there was no chatter as Deasy sullenly eyed Maclen while Trueman still enraged at his treatment by the whore strode angrily along. Maclen wisely kept his mouth shut fearful that he had been discovered.
On To Greener Pastures
The Electricians having illuminated the Naval Base for twenty-four hours to show what the litle sub killer cum power plant could do wrapped up their gear the next day. The Teufelsdreck steamed out of Manila the day after leaving the Giant Rats of Manila to other prey.
‘What did you think of Manila, Trueman?’ Deasy asked.
‘I have no regrets at leaving it behind. If the Filipinos set up a cry of the Philippines for Filipinos I say let ’em have it.’
‘I hear ya. Why do you hang around with Maclen, Trueman?’
‘Oh, I don’t know. Kerry’s alright.’
‘He’s a crook Trueman. You should avoid him. Ask yourself what kind of guy gets a tattoo like he did.’
‘Or a tattoo period. Yeah, I know but I still think he’ll come out OK.’
‘Only if OK means at your expense.’ Deasy siad with more prescience than he knew.
‘Yeah, sure. OK, Deasy, but you know, I think he’s OK.’
Deasy turned in disgust not sure of Trueman’s intellegence in befriending such a character.
Men At Play
The main thrust of the cruise was now over. All the delicacies and rarebits the Navy had to offer were left behind. The platter was empty. The tremendous rush of events and novelties that had been as a racing mountain cascade now debouched in the more placid slow moving waters of the plains.
The next couple months would be ones of aimless wandering. The ship sailed out of the Philippines on its way to Guam which would be its home base for the duration of the tour.
The lazy hot days of the tropic of Cancer as the sun eased its way back North would be ones in which the hostilities and enmities created in the heady first months would be continued. The mind of Kanary which had suffered major traumas would be directed to exorcising its demons. The exploit with his homosexuals in Brisbane weighed heavily on his subconscious even though he had consciously projected his act on Trueman. His Captain’s Mast and demotion in Subic had gravely compromised his self-respect. He had already removed the entry from his file so there was no record. For the rest he was struggling to transfer the transgression to some other explanation. He had not written his folks about it. He denied the incident to himself but not successfully. Thus he was in a restless rage. He wanted Trueman to pay for his crimes as his negative alter ego.
Another whose self-conception had been all but destroyed was Proud Costello.
The memory of his performance on the Jacob’s Chair on the way to Brisbane was a livid scar in his memory.
It had gone unnoticed but he had been involved in the riot at the bar in Subic. Realizing the direction of things just before the constables burst in the door he had hidden himself in a broom closet. He emerged only much later when the Wild Bunch was back on ship. Thus, unknown to everyone but himself, he had escaped a Captain’s Mast although equally guilty. He considered his expedient cowardly. He lived in fear that someone might remember he should have been number twenty-six of the Teufelsdreck Twenty-Five.
Then too his performance at the Sheridan Le Fanu when he had been too cowardly to use the cargo net after noisily projecting cowardice on Trueman weighed equally heavily on his mind. He knew that Trueman had shown better than himself. That, added to his purchase of the shoddy goods from the Whore Of The World in Kaosiung for which Trueman had castigated him disturbed his equilibrium.
Plus there was lingering resentment aboard ship for his role in the initiation crossing the equator. He knew that his manhood and acumen was less than Trueman’s but his self-conception placed him way above Trueman. Thus it was imperative for him to get some objective proof of his superiority over the Deckhand. To do so he would have to manufacture incidents or force conclusions against the facts. The need was so imperative that his character was in a virtual state of disintegration. His physiognomy was distraught, his appearance was unkempt; he no longer wore his clothes with the same calm assurance of the natural gentleman.
Both Kanary and Costello would direct their efforts to revive their characters against Trueman on whom they projected their inner failings.
One of the great faults of the personal psychology of Freud is that it ignores the influence of the outside world on the individual. The individual is made responsible for acts beyond his control. The ‘paranoid’ personality becomes responsible for the actions of society. Paranoid was not a commonly used term at the time. The term ‘persecution complex’ was much more common but it meant the same thing. It was used as a term to discredit someone who was being persecuted.
In point of fact it is a very rare person who isn’t being interfered with by someone. Most people are busy projecting their fears and inadequacies on other people. Envy and hatred are staples of the human mind. As with Proud Costello the justification of one’s own high opinion of oneself requires some more or less objective proof that others are inferior to you. In the daily struggle most people do not appear as a threat to one’s self-conception or are acknowledged as superior for one reason or another. But any who are threats must be brought down. Thus the threatened will sabotage this person in many ways in an attempt to reduce him to what they consider his proper level.
Anyone who minds their own business and is not involved in this dog eat dog struggle is a susceptible target.
Thus while Kanary would accuse Trueman of have a ‘persecution complex’ even though Trueman had never complained of being persecuted the truth was that both Teal and Costello suffered from inferiority complexes which they projected on others. In all such cases it is necessary to get the accusation in first so that it must be defended or reacted to in such a way that indicates a ‘persecution complex.’
In addition to Kanary and Costello a long simmering problem rose to plague Trueman’s existence. Trueman had served mess cooking in the first and second quarters of ’57. At the end of the third quarter the Blacks had come aboard. They constituted themselves a caucus not dissimilar to a Department. They acted as a corporate body. Thus rather than be selected for mess cooking as a member of their Departments they chose to supply a mess cook from the Black caucus. A way was found for them to do this without violating the Deparmental organization of the ship. There were in essence two nations aboard ship. However the Blacks were not successful in creating two autonomous bodies but they came close.
In the fourth quarter a Black by the name of Clemons Hardee had served for the Blacks. In the first quarter of ’58 his place was taken by Tyrone Jackson. Trueman had forgotten about the incident in the Laundry Room; indeed, if he thought about it at all he recalled with pride how he had stood up for himself.
The incident had been festering in Tyrone’s soul since it happened. He had never reflected on the incident or tried to understand it; he just assumed that Trueman was a Negro hater. The three or four months may seem recent to the reader as it did to Tyrone who had sat steaming in Supply constantly hashing the incident over with his fellows. But the intervening months to Trueman had been so crowded with events that it seemed a millennium for each month. Indeed, the States were only a dim memory, his home was wherever the Teufelsdreck happened to be.
The Blacks had now been aboard ship continuously for the past four months. They had not gone ashore since Honolulu. They merely sat in the steaming supply compartment rehashing their grievances against the perfidious Peckerwoods. Thus when Tyrone replaced Hardee in mess cooking his resentment against Trueman had reached gigantic proportions. Just the sight of Trueman threw him into a rage. He saw his man now three times a day while Tyrone was in the capacity of a servant in his mind. The notion of serving Trueman enraged him further, although now he was in a position to interfere with Trueman directly and forcefully. As a food server he began by placing the servings in the wrong compartments of Trueman’s tray. Then he began giving dried out portions or some such thing ending by spitting on a portion and keeping it aside until Trueman appeared. When he tried to give Trueman this portion which had obviously been set aside on purpose Trueman who had endured the indignities to this point, especially as he seldom ate all the mess, objected fearing that Tyrone had doctored it in some way.