Part Five of a Sailor’s Scholarly Series on U.S. Naval History in The South Pacific: ‘The Beautiful Girl With The Red Balloon’

After a good night’s sleep and an uneventful day at ‘work’, Matt and I hit the beach at 1600hrs. Rog was not to accompany us because he had ‘The Duty’ and could not leave the ship.

That is the little part of The Naval Service Experience the recruiters never tell you about:

“The Duty”

No escaping

“The Duty”

Briefly explained:

A war ship must be ever-ready to put to sea.

Or put out a fire.

Or counter a terrorism threat.

Or clean the shitters.

Or Worst of All: Standing Watch!

Hence, a percentage of the Ship’s Crew must remain on board at-all-times.

AT ALL TIMES

Call it a ‘skeleton crew’ if you will.

This is fitting since while stuck on board, unable to leave, one feels as if better off dead than…

Suffer the dread

Of Duty.

Because Having The Duty Sucks!

AT ALL TIMES!

“Navy: It’s Not Just a Job. It’s A Pain-In-The-Ass.”

***

Magsaysay was a little more frenetic than usual for a hot, humid sunny day.

Or maybe it was my imagination.

“Matt,” I remarked as we sauntered down the street heading for Viva Young, “Seem a little busy today?”

“It’s a Filipino holiday,” he said.

“No shit? What’s the occasion?”

“Magellan Day.”

“I thought the Filipinos despised him.”

“They do. This holiday commemorates that poison arrow they embedded in his ass back in Fifteen Twenty-One.”

I laughed. “You’re bull-shittin’ me Matt!”

“Yeah, I am.” And he laughed. “I have no idea what, if anything special’s going on today.”

“How do you remember?”

“What? Remember what?” he said, while wistfully gazing at a Filipina standing in a barroom doorway.

Matt was easily distracted and had already lost the train of our conversation.

“The year of the untimely death of ‘Ferdinand-The-Fucked’”

(“Don’t know much about History. Don’t know much Biology. Don’t know much about a Science book. Don’t know much about the French I took …” But this sailor knows just enough to get him into trouble.)

“You remember who I married right?”

“Oh yeah. Of course. But I didn’t take Josie for a Philippines’ history buff.”

“I married her for her brain, not for her big tits and tight ass.”

“Now I KNOW you’re bull-shit.”

We laughed some more and continued down the street dodging the ubiquitous  Jeepneys and Trikes and street vendors and sailors and marines and… You get the picture.

As we were making our descent toward Viva Young, we passed a balloon vendor who was struggling with an armload of bright balloons.

A light-bulb idea lit up in my brain (This sometimes happens, not often, but sometimes)

and I stopped dead in my tracks. Matt did not notice and kept on walking.

 “Hey Matt!” I hollered, “Wait a sec. I wanna buy a balloon.”

Since Matt is a sentimental artist, he thought nothing of it.

Now if Rog had been with us, there probably definitely would have been some unhappy words exchanged.

But Rog was stuck on the Freddy. And I smiled inside, imagining him stewing over doing his ‘Duty.’

I walked over to the kid selling balloons. He must have had no less than a baker’s dozen and a-half all trying to escape into the sky. Since I am such a prince of a guy, I decided to relieve him of his burden so he could call it an early day.

“How much for all?” I asked.

“Whaaa?”

“How much for all?” I repeated. “I wanna buy all your balloons.”

“Uh, Pive Hundred Peso” (This is roughly ten dollars)

“Sold!”

I gave him the money.

He gave me the balloons.

Matt shook his head.

We walked into Viva Young.

And all Hell and Pandemonium broke loose.

The girls squealed with delight as they, en masse, stampeded over almost knocking us down in the doorway.

‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimmie Balloon!” fifteen voices yelled in unison as thirty arms reached out from bouncing girls.

“That’s what they’re for Little Darlings” I said as I untied the bundle and passed them out.

The girls dispersed back deep into the bar with their new prizes.

I felt some cold blue steel penetrating my head. I glanced in the direction of the source.

“Where MY Balloon? Goddam Chew!”

“Uh, Mama-San… You don’t want no balloon. I have something way more special for you that I picked up in Hong Kong.”

During our last Hong Kong port visit, anticipating such an emergency, I had purchased a semi-cheap but nice, lovely locket on a gold chain. I fished the little box out of my pocket and handed it to her.

She opened it, smiled a sweet smile at me, then caught herself and said, “Why you no gimme this before?”

“I was waiting for a ‘special’ occasion.”

“What special occasion?”

“I was waiting for the ‘special’ occasion of you being in a good mood.”

“I no in good mood now,” she said.

“Yeah, I know, but I got tired of waiting.”

“Well, ‘salamat’” (Filipino for ‘thank you’), she said. “It nice.”

“Walang anuman,” (You’re welcome) I said back. Two can play at this game.

Thinking this was the only opportune chance I would have, I broached the subject:

“I didn’t see New Girl. She here today?”

Instant frown: Just add Lance-the-Butterfly-Sailor and stir the shit.

“I told you! She off you limit!”

“Ah, come on Mama-San. I just want to talk to her. You know you have my heart.”

“Chew bull-chit-man! Yeah, she here. Go to look around you-self asshole.”

“What’s her name?”

“Lourdes.”

“Thanks.” And I went off on my quest before Mama could say anything else.

I discovered ‘Lourdes’ at the back of the bar. Why she had not claimed her balloon, I have no idea. But I theorized she was still very new to this ‘business’ and quite shy.

There was an extra balloon bouncing off one of the hanging light fixtures. I rescued it and walked up to Lourdes.

“Hi. My name’s Lance,” I said as I handed her the red balloon.

She looked up at me through beautiful dark Filipina eyes, took the balloon tether from my hand and said quietly, “Tank you por balloon. Red my pav’rit color. My namb ‘Lourdes’.”

“Yes, I know. Nice to meet you Lourdes.”

“How you know my namb?”

“Mama-San told me.”

The mention of ‘Mama-San’ seemed to make her nervous, so I quickly changed the subject.

“Come sit with me at the bar, okay?”

“Uh… Okay” she said as I led her to the part of the bar furthest away from the prying eyes of Mama.

We sat down and I must have gotten lost in her for a moment. She fidgeted a bit. I finally found my voice and asked,

“Aren’t you supposed to say it?”

“Say what?” she asked.

“Say, ‘You buy me drink’?”

“Oh yeah. I por’git. You buy me drink?”

“Of course I will.”

***

Some things are universal.

In these ‘types’ of establishments, no matter what town, city, county, country, or continent, the ‘game’ never waivers:

The girls hustle way over-priced drinks which more often than not, especially in Olongapo, consist of weak tea—no booze—but cost three times as much as top-shelf scotch.

It’s just the little dance we all must do and I have always been just fine with the arrangement, never being one intent on breaking the rules nor upsetting the balance of power in the universe.

***

We chatted for an hour or so over several beers for me and several ‘scotch’s’ for her.

Eventually, she began to relax having come to the conclusion, I surmised, that I was not a monster and actually a decent guy to hang out with.

Sad to have to say, but most sailors and marines have a ‘I buy you one drink baby, then it’s I-pay-your-bar-fine and we go to the show.’ standing policy.

Your humble sailor is not such a man.

Wasn’t then.

Isn’t now.

***

“’Lourdes’ is a lovely name.” I said, gently brushing her hair back from her cheek.

“Tank you. I like it.”

“Not your real name, is it Honey?”

“No,” she admitted. “I pic it outta book.”

“Kind of a ‘stage name’ eh?”

“’Stay… namb’?”

“At-work name.”

“Oh, yeah… Kinda. Yes.”

“Would you tell me your real name?”

“Mary-Lou. Mary-Lou Perucho.”

“I like that better,” I said. “May I call you ‘Mary-Lou’ from now on?”

“Yes, but not in pront of Mama-San.”

“Don’t worry. Your secret’s safe with me. Where you from Mary-Lou?”

“I prom da prob’ence.”

“Of course.”

***

To be continued…

***

Previously:

Tattoo (or ‘This is awkward,’ or ‘Open for Suggestion’)

Author’s Note:

Yes. I’ve done some incredibly stupid shit in my time.

Below is an actual-for-real email I sent to a soon-to-be former boss (an attractive lady-boss, of course.) and is sadly very close to the top of the Misfit Hit Parade of lame-ass-actions I have perpetrated on innocents.

***

I have swerved into the solution for Drunken Emails.

Who could’ve known it would be this simple?

Street Cred for Vid: Big Play Films

***

From: Moron <lance_moron@misfits.fubar> cc bcc:

To: Lady_Boss@job.yrfired

Subject: Tattoo

Dear Suki,

Yes, I am getting a tattoo (for my ‘mousing’ musing hand).

It will read simply, succinctly, in Big Bold Letters:

“No!”

Subtle Reminder:

“No! Don’t Go There Lance!”

Brevity? Yes. (‘That soul of wit.’)

“Words have meaning Son,” my father often told me.

And short words, I have discovered, oft hold the most meaningful meaning.

It has been ‘awkward’ (to say the very least) to face you of late.

After my ‘email shot-gunning’ you, off-the-chain escapade of recent shameful regret, but… I did it and today found the courage to read all of what I did send and happily discovered, most were not of the obnoxious caliber of my historical wont.

Thank God and Baby Hey Zeus!

Alas, I wish I had an excuse.

Yet, in searching, there is one to be discovered, but so probably painfully evident that it requires no verbalization:

Two times per year, I get to ‘explore’ my darker side.

Two times per year, I choose a ‘lucky’ recipient to ‘share’ in my darkness.

Two times per year someone gets to be ‘it’.

Guess what?!

Tag!

You won!

You’re the New ‘IT’ Girl!

Congratulations!

You’re in Good Company.

Clara Bow: The Original It Girl, 1927

***

The thing about writers (and those so-called writers who call themselves ‘writers’) is that they are so full of themselves, and vain by nature (it is requisite-with the breed), and every writer and so-called writer I have ever met, are… assholes. All.

Vain, pompous, drinks-too-much, full of sound and fury, and desperate.

“A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Desperate for…

Crying for…

Waiting for…

FEEDBACK

I am not (not really) stupid.

I know you cannot ‘comment’ nor even acknowledge, via email, all the posts I posted ‘at you.’

I dare say you would be wise to ignore me and my ramblings, given our professional relationship.

Yet, if you did read even one of the posts on my blog, (actually I think you read the first one I begged you to read—not the ‘best’ one, but one which apparently was on my mind–at the time)

It is a very simple thing to comment, ‘in disguise’ as

‘anonymous.’

Or ‘any-mouse.’

Or simply, “A Fan.” (tongue in cheek)

Too easy.

Do that once and I will be sated.

Do it twice and you get a Mickey Mouse Pencil Sharpener,

OR

An Autographed 8X10 Hollywood-Type-Glossy Photograph of Jesus Christ.

Sermon-on-the-mount, highly recommended, and our best-seller

But you cannot have both; there is a limited supply.

Do it thrice:  You should seek counsel.

Professional help.

Honestly.

Never mind…

“Writers are assholes.”

“Lance is a ‘writer’”

“Ergo, Lance is an asshole.”

***

Suki,

There is a point to this post, but most assuredly, I have forgotten my initial inclination in that regard.

***‘Jeopardy musical theme plays***

Oh yes!

Now I’ve got it!

This is my convoluted apology to you.

I am, and shall always remain, an Honorable Military Man.

I am cognizant of the duty (and the mission)

And, admitting I was wrong is something which seems to be easier (and more difficult—same time) to do lately.

My first wife once accused me of aspiring to be “King of the Idiots.”

(She was an idiot savant…well, you’d have to know her to get my meaning, yet, I think–know, that I have posted about her…ON-MY-BLOG)

Back to my point:

Suki,

I am beginning to grow bored with my job.

You are the best supervisor/boss I have had in recent memory. All, and I do mean ALL respect you.

This should be enough for me (and for the foreseeable future it shall be)

But…

I don’t like to shit where I eat, BUT (and this is a curse), I have a opinions and I need to get that tattoo—post haste—and with all due prejudice.

I like you Suki.

I respect you.

I am trying to help you professionally (in my way).

And NO!

I am not trying to ‘do’ anything other than ‘talk’ to you and ‘work’ for you.

To quote Nixon:

“Let me make one thing perfectly clear…”

I am a whore, but only when it comes to my writing.

Nothing else these days (aside from my computer addiction) means anything to me.

Rest easy.

I am not as bad as I may, at first glance, seem.

(Truth: I am worse, but I do not bring that to WORK)

Cheers,

Lance

(Yes: you may quote me. I’d be flattered…. Hahahahaaa)

See you on Friday.

And remember not to work too hard.

Life’s best moments can be fleeting.

Cherish Them

***

Number One

Beautiful Joni

More Dispatches From The Front Lines Of My Facebook Flame Wars

Author’s Notes:

  1. My ‘War’ With Kent was better-natured than it may at first appear.
  2. No Gods were harmed during this war.
  3. Some mortal egos may have been bruised however.
  4. This post is a chocolate mess.

***

I once knew a Theist named Kent

Who told me his Joy Heaven Sent

But his mind slipped a gear

His faith fled in fear

So I gave up on Kent for Lent

***

What do you call a ‘Facebooker’ who accuses another ‘Facebooker’ of hacking his own post and then reports said ‘hacker’ to Facebook for hacking his own post and then posts on his timeline, in excruciating detail how he, using his stellar sleuth skillset, figured all this out?

Take your time…

OK, time’s up.

“A Self-Made Fool, Devoid of Logic, who plays the ‘Pity Me’ card because he wants to become a laughing stock for anyone who knows how Facebook actually works.” (And for some who don’t)

Or succinctly put, you call him “Kent”

But don’t take MY word for it; you can read some samples of his ‘piercing eloquence’ below:

***

To let everyone get a little good news or good thought or just bring a little happiness on Facebook. I try to be positive and enjoy getting in contact with others old and new friends.

Check my profile I want to share and be friendly with all post and maybe make a positive difference in as many peoples’ lives as I can. Try and let the good things in the world come to light. Every now and then I may post something negative but it is trying to make a positive difference.

This is as good of a world as you want it to be. I choose to try and stay away from the bad things in the world. There really is a lot of good going on out there. I want to enjoy and be as happy as I can. While sharing my happiness with all I can. Happy,happy,happy

–Kent

***

Dear Kent,

“While sharing my happiness with all I can. Happy,happy,happy”

Classic case of ‘The lady doth protest too much, methinks.’

Who are you trying to convince of your “happy, happy, happy,” happiness?

You or ‘they’? All of ‘they’?

I think you, as do probably 99.99 percent of posters, just seek validation of your self-worth.

All are just ‘chasing likes’.

And this is fine—human nature, as it were.

I have read a lot of your posts on your timeline and your profile.

Sure.

And it seems to me your ‘happy happy happiness’ is primarily just a proselytizing form of sausage wrapped in a saccharine pancake smothered in syrup.

Once again, who are you trying to convince?

You?

Them?

Us?

Does your ‘faith’ require incessant posts requiring the great unwashed mass of the rest of us to “like, type ‘amen’, and share” if we too believe?

I’m actually not sure that I completely discount your sincerity, but it does tax credulity.

Marvelous much.

But you go Bro!

Keep posting your syrupy praises of God, Jesus, and whomever else gives you that happy,happy,happy.

Why the hell not?

Still a free country, eh?

Peace be unto you Kent.

Or perhaps that should have read,

‘Peace is onto you Kent.’

Cheers,     

Lance

***

My friend are you hell bent on trying to make people think you are an arrogant inconsiderate individual that places one under a microscope to disrespect their character coming to a narrow minded hypothesis attempting to destroy or manipulate their actions in such a manner that will somehow give you the feeling of superior intelligence that has no effect or the ability to change the individuals status or manner in which his goal to share and maybe bring a little faith and joy to their likes and beliefs.

Thank you.

I am only trying to stand strong by my spiritual beliefs. Sharing with those that I feel are doing the same. God bless you Lance. Thank you for two things. Bringing attention to others that my self worth and my ability to share my faith with others is of most importance to me.

I want nothing and I give God my Heavenly Father all the Praise and glory. For with out him I nor anyone or anything could be possible or exist. You should get what I have been blessed with.

Yes, you can be happy, happy,happy. Go for it it is a free Country. I truly believe you would have a different perspective on life in general and you can have topics that have a more sense of purpose. You are close what I think of my self is as important to me as what other think also.

I really appreciate your concern. At least you know the content of the majority of my post. This is my purpose to share with and post to my friends that enjoy and appreciate what I have to share. This is Facebook just as you shared your opinion you opened the door where I can share mine.

I hope you are not offended. This is not my intention and it will never be. God bless you Lance thank you for this humbling experience. Remember always give God all the praise and glory. Bless you once again.

–Kent

Dear Kent,

Your response is in serious need of an edit. Allow me to distill it down to the salient points:

  1. Lance is a pompous ass
  2. Lance believes (i.e., Lance has ‘Faith’—joke there for ya Kent) that he is the smartest person in the room.
  3. Kent is trying desperately to hang onto his faith by shit-posting endless memes over-expressing same, even though he freely admits that his intended audience already ‘believe’—preaching to the choir, as it were.
  4. Lance needs to ‘find’ God in order to be happy and have a sense of purpose.
  5. Lance needs to give an imaginary friend all the credit for everything Lance ever does. (I assume this includes both good and bad??)
  6. Lance needs to be blessed, and often, and by someone who knows how.
  7. That about cover it?
  8. You’re welcome

***

Dear Kent,

Lest I forget

I wrote these for you

Added a photo too

Share away!

Make someone’s day!

***

*Death Poetry Day*

He born

He torn

He die

He fry

*The End*

***

A post was once written

No one was smitten

I’d call that fittin’

Shit it was named

Its one claim to fame

Now that’s a damn shame

***

He once wrote a post

Lesser than most

Shit it was called

Comments were stalled

The content was trite

Just didn’t seem right

To waste all my time

Nor even a lime

To drop in my rum

Ho Hum! Ho Hum! Ho Hum!

(The lack of the lime was the least egregious of the sins)

***

A Cunt of a Man called Osteen

Built a Church so very Pristine

But he refused to let in

Those flooded in sin

“Fuck ‘em! They’re way too Unclean.”

“I know y’all love me. You need to get on social media. But First give Harvey-TheHurricane the ol’ heave-ho! God Blesses you, but I don’t. Move along. We’re closed.”
–Joel Osteen

“My God, they killed them all!”

Here comes the story of the Hurricane.

Bob Dylan

“WoW! Who would’ve ever thought they’d find me doing God’s work?”
–Lance

***

“Lil Kim’s got the hydrogen bomb”
His news bitch announced in singsong
“He’ll mount it one day
“And launch it your way
“Then smartly fuck off to Hong Kong”
So rong!”

***

There once was a boy name of Kim
Who decided to act on a whim
He launched a big bomb
In the direction of Guam
And that was the ending of him!

***

In a Loon we call Kim Jong-Un
The World sees a silly buffoon
But he put up his Dukes
Oh Fuck me; They’re Nukes!
And The World is now singing new tunes!
(So soon?)

Cheers Kent,

–Lance

***

‘A Celestial North Korea’

Credit: Christopher Hitchens

***

A full week has passed

Since Jon GOT that ass

Even Dany GOT pleased

By Crow’s bended knees

And now we must fast for Season The Last

(And That’s The GOTcha)

Bonus Content Below:

The Most Lovely and Captivating and Charmingly Endearing Emilia

***

The Iron Throne – Game of Thrones’ AWFUL final episode

Vid Content Cred: Critical Drinker

***

Part Two of a Sailor’s Scholarly Series on U.S. Naval History in The South Pacific

When last we left our Boys they had arrived at Viva Young not unlike victorious Roman Legionaries returning from Gaul—The Conquering Heroes—welcomed with gleeful squeals of joy and happiness by the Girls.

A little more detail on Viva Young The Establishment, and more than a little more detail on ‘Mama-San’ is in order here.

Upon first entering, immediately on the left was ‘Mama San’s ‘Office,’ which was simply an enclosed counter with an ancient cash register, a small table lamp, a perpetually over-flowing ashtray, and a counter sign which read: “No Credit.” Every bar or club had a ‘Mama San’—‘Manager’ to put it into Western Parlance. I had a bit of a history with this Mama San.

(Yes we were ‘Fuck Buddies’)

We were roughly the same age and found each other mutually attractive. She was tall for a Filipina, just a little bit chunky with shoulder length reddish brown hair which she kept in a semi-perm. Or perhaps it kept her; maybe that was its natural state. Dark brown eyes and the ‘Ornamental’ version of The ‘Shonnie’ Voice—semi-coarse and gruff.

She did volunteer work for the mayor of Olongapo and was quite well-read, savvy, and politically astute. She wanted a career in government. But first she had a bar to run and girls to manage. In this regard she was all cold business.

When on liberty in Olongapo I generally spent the night with Mama San. She lived with her mother and a sister and a brother and a few children in a fairly decent (though small) house about a mile from Viva Young. She was supporting the entire family and was never ‘hesitate’ to hit me up for contributions to her domicile.

“You gonna pay my bar fine?” Were some of the first ‘personal’ words she said to me on the night I ‘proposed’ to her, which was what seemed like eons before this particular port visit.

Some clarification: Subic Bay is a ‘working port’ not a ‘liberty port’. It is just like being in San Dog, only ‘with benefits.’

But still a working port.

Hence, during this particular Westpac deployment, we would find ourselves in Subic Bay every month or so ostensibly for resupply, but mainly because we were schlepping about six hundred US Marines around the South Pacific.

The Frederick LST 1184 is what is known as a ‘Gator Freighter.’ The ‘LST’ stands for ‘Tank Landing Ship.’ And yes I know the acronym is ass-backwards—‘Landing Ship, Tank’—My Navy is kind of Dyslexic.

Anyway, our primary purpose, our only purpose, our whole raison d’être is to ferry Marines about, dropping them and their AAV’s ‘Amphibious Assault Vehicles’ off at various beaches throughout the region.

“You call. We haul.”

That is the mantra of the Amphib Navy.

So we’d drop off the kids, head back out to sea and return a few days later to pick up all the ones who had not drown in the surf-zone. And sadly, I am not joking. We lost a half-dozen or so during that deployment.

Marines really cannot swim for shit and are not benefitted by the ‘Drown-Proofing’ training they teach at BUD/s (SEAL Boot-Camp, which if you recall, your humble author had been through.)

Twice.

“Drown Proofing”

It’s Great Fun!

***

Back to Mama:

Upon our first meeting, we were working on our mutual attraction. Using all my debonair wily Texan/Sailor charms, I broached the subject of “Let me take you away from all this.” (After closing time of course)

“You pay my bar fine. OK?”

“But you’re Mama-San. How can you have a bar fine?”

“You pay bar fine.”

I paid.

For the uninitiated, if one wishes the solitary company and undivided attention of a working bar girl, one must make payment to the Mama-San: the girl’s ‘bar fine.’ Call it a ‘handling fee’ if you must be so callous.

And while I am on THAT subject, allow me to inform you, I never paid any bar fines of any young girls for sex. I did not believe in it. There is much I will explain in future installments regarding this, but for now, suffice it to say that this sailor is an Honorable Man.

Fancy

Bobbie Gentry – (1969)

Street Cred for Vid: kelly heisler

***

But Mama-San is a different matter because she was a woman, not a girl.

I knew ‘the score’ and she kept the score. I happily donated to her cause to keep her score card to the positive and in the black.

What did I need money for anyway? We had a convenient relationship and we were genuinely fond of each other as far as it went. And to my mind, she was doing good work. She was ‘Mother’ to her girls and sincerely looked out for their wellbeing. She could spot a potentially abusive sailor or marine in an instant and would never allow same to leave the bar with one of her girls.

Ever.

And if by some chance she needed help with showing some asshole the door, there were the three of us Fast Freddy Sailors and the regular marines to provide assistance, not that Mama-San ever really needed it.

***

Running the length of the bar was the ‘stage’ or ‘cat walk’. Or picture a runway, similar to what one might find in a very low-rent fashion show.

***

Bordering this runway on three sides was a narrow counter top: narrow-minded and horse-shoe-shaped. The open end faced the door and Mama San’s watchful eye. Strings of lights hung precariously from the ceiling. Bar stools (ancient and uncomfortable) finished the Spartan scene.

The bar girls would line up on the runway and dance to the music from the equally ancient jukebox. Yes, this was best unflatteringly described as a ‘Meat Market’. But then, that was Olongapo in ‘89.

Matt, Rogers, and I knew all the girls. (Just not in the Biblical Sense). I suspect knew some were under age. If you’d ask one hundred bar girls in Olongapo where they were from, you’d get one hundred same pat answers:

“I from da Pra’bince (Province). I make money so go to college.”

I never met a single lil gal (see how easily I throw in some Texan Bullshit Vernacular to gloss over the horrible reality?) who told me she wasn’t actually from Olongapo. Nope, these were all ‘country gals’ with aspirations for higher education brought from ‘The Province’. Their true aspiration was to marry a U.S. Serviceman and get the hell out of the Philippines.

And who could blame them? Many a young Sailor or Marine, after having his first sexual encounter fell in love with a Filipina and did fulfill her dream. They would marry and the new bride would move to San Diego. Within a few months the rest of the family would be sent for: Mama, Daddy, Baby Sis, Baby Bro, Big Sis, Big Bro, real cousins, faux cousins, best friends, et cetera. This was known as the ‘Filipino Pipeline’.

Sadly, more often than not, once secured with U.S. Citizenship and the rescue of her family, the new bride would divorce her Sailor or Marine and make her way headlong into The American Dream, never once looking back and leaving the husband wondering what the hell had gone wrong.

I never felt sorry for the cuckolds. I was a cruel son of a bitch back then and secretly, as a perpetual con and huckster, I was always for the Filipinas anyway.

Actually everything always went wrong with such arrangements.

Well wrong for the sailor/marine.

But right for the ‘Girl-from-da-Pra’bince.’

The Girl from Ipanema

Artists: Astrud Gilberto, João Gilberto and Stan Getz

Street Cred for Vid: catman916

“If you hold sand too tightly in your hand it will run through your fingers.”

–Joni Mitchell (Telegram she sent from Crete to Graham Nash in CA, 1970)

***

Part One Here:

Part Three coming soon.

“Letter From a South Park Jail” Part One (Apology to MLK for appropriating a great title)

“Here, hold this!” said the Texan to his credulous girlfriend as he handed her his half-empty half-pint of Jim Beam, stomped the shit out of the accelerator on his pickup truck and flew headlong into oblivion…

“Roads?”

“I don’t need no stinkin’ roads. I’m going to Afghanistan!”

I need to be ‘institutionalized’ somewhere far far away.

In a place where life is tenuous at worst and exciting at best and the pay is good and booze is scarce and the women are… well, usually not to be found, except on the Internet.

That is how Lance stays out of trouble…

It works well-enough in theory anyway.

***

The following is Part One of a transcribed letter I wrote to a Significant Other while cooling my heels in Helmand Province and Kandahar, Afghanistan trying to get my CAC renewed (Common Access Card: An ID card for Civilians working with the U.S. Military).

‘South Park’ is, for lack of a better term, A Holding Facility ‘soullessly owned and operated’ by DynCorp International for transients, itinerants, illiterates, sycophants, miscreants, and other sad and lonely temporarily homeless people just trying to travel through, hoping to land somewhere else, anywhere else, and the sooner the better…  

South Park is understaffed, under-financed, under-achieving, under-esteeming, underwhelming, and sometimes underwater.

Airmen worked together to clean up after a flash flood that occurred on Kandahar Airfield Feb. 8. Airmen in South Park awoke in the middle of the night to flood waters reaching approximately knee-deep in height both inside and outside their tents. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nancy Hooks)

***

It is also overpopulated, misconceiving, deceiving and just plain infuriating.

Southpark will depress you, repress you, digress you, digest you, and shit you out if you allow it.

Writing saved me from insanity there.

“I’ve gotta go to South Park?”

“You’re shitting me, right?”

“RIGHT??”

***

Saturday 28 July 2012, Camp Dwyer PAX Terminal, Afghanistan 1218hrs

Dear Lady,

I’m sitting in the PAX terminal. We boarded the plane, (Sixties-Era, prop job) a couple of hours ago, but they were just kidding.

After sitting on the tarmac for about forty five minutes they brought us back here. Seems someone forgot to feed the hamsters which are actually responsible for propelling the plane and hence, they died.

We were told not to worry; they are flying in some fresh, well-fed hamsters from KAF (Kandahar Air Field) and once they get those settled into the plane’s power plant, we will be good to go: wheels up around 1430hrs.

So here I sit, thinking of you, Dubai, and Hamster Avionics.

This PAX terminal isn’t too bad, as these places go. (I have seen worse—and better). Like every other facility on Dwyer, it is a tent, but it is a rather enormous tent and they have provided the weary travelers with bottled water and MRE’s. So I am sated, as far as it goes. You see, I really am low maintenance.

Not being inclined to ignore any opportunity to ‘talk’ to you, I am using the tools (pen and paper) I thoughtfully provided myself in the event such opportunity did manifest itself. So here I sit, happily communicating to you using Nineteenth Century Technology. I do hope you are properly impressed.

Page From Original Document

“And what lovely penmanship!” She exclaimed.

“Thank you,” he said.

Looking about the terminal, I have pronounced us a motley crew: About a dozen or so Indians & Sri Lankans, some Filipinos, a smattering of American Expats, couple of Brits, and a few bored Marines scattered about and some behind the counter, whose job it is to search the TCN’s.

The counter has a sign which reads:

“TCN Search Area.”

TCN: ‘Third Country National.’ in case you didn’t know.

“What did you do in The War, Daddy?”

“Son, I put my hands all over aromatic TCN’s.”

“What’s a TCN Daddy?’

“Uh…That’s a very sophisticated weapons system Son.”

“Wow! Cool!”

1310hrs: PAX Terminal, Dwyer

Ok, for amusement, I took an inventory of the MRE’s stacked on pallets here in the terminal:

15 pallets

56 cases of MRE’s per pallet

12 MRE’s per case

Total MRE’s: 10,080 (assuming my arithmetic is correct, a rather liberal assumption)

Posted on each pallet are four signs which read:

DO NOT EAT!

Pending Inspection

MRE stands for “Meal, Ready to Eat,” in case you didn’t know, or in this case, “Meal, Not Ready to Eat.”

(“We done been eatin’ ‘em anyways. Hope we don’t die of ptomaine before the hamsters do, causing our Turbo Prop to morph into a glider…”)

1441hrs:  Still in PAX terminal

Announcement: “Listen up! We couldn’t get the hamsters here, but we’ve drafted a couple of gerbils and they’re fit for duty.”

(‘Now there’s some happy news,’ I mused.)

He continued, “For all those going to KAF, this means now you’re flying non-stop…”

(Guess gerbils aren’t certified for multi-destination air duty.)

“…and your luggage is already back on the plane. As soon as we warm up the gerbils, you fly. Those of you who are going to FOB Shindan, you will follow me now.”

Someone pipes up, “Are we walking?”

There’s one in every crowd…

Having a few minutes to kill while the gerbils are doing their warm up exercises, I return to the MRE pile and rat-fuck a couple of the boxes.

Then I saw another sign which had previously gone unnoticed by me:

‘Rat-Fuck’ is a technical term which simply means, “To open several bags of MRE’s and take only the premium items, leaving the not premium items for the next schmuck attempting to do same.”

An example of this would be taking all the Reece’s Pieces and chocolate chip cookies, leaving only the cardboard crackers and synthetic peanut butter.

***

1600hrs: Airborne

Wheels up and airborne and the gerbils gerbilling their little asses off. Time to destination: thirty minutes.

1613hrs: Flying High (I wish)

I am seated in a window seat. Normally I would take the aisle, but I wanted to describe the spectacular view and with all the beautiful details of this rarified vista below:

BROWN

Perusing the in-flight movie list (from the one inside my head), I select Lawrence of Arabia (with subtitles in Pashtun). I estimate getting about half-way through the opening credits before we touch down. I listen to the wonderful Academy Award winning musical score.

The scenes of the burning desert are so real inside my head that I actually break a sweat. This Special Effect is helped along quite nicely by the fact that the air-conditioning on this aircraft in non-functional. I suppose one of the collateral duties of the deceased hamsters was operating the A/C unit.

1638hrs: Wheels Down

***

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Beautiful Kandahar.”

(I do not doubt his sincerity, but I did detect a bit of sarcasm in his voice.)

“For safety, you are required”, he continued, “to wear your full body armor with your helmet when exiting the aircraft. There really is no danger, but we want you to sweat just that much more. Thank you for flying Gryphon Airlines today and once again, we apologize for the teeny tiny delay we had in leaving Camp Dwyer and we do hope you will… uh, be flying with us again soon.”

(As if we will have a choice)

***

Please look for Part Two tomorrow.

******

Diego Garcia, or some could say “McHale’s Navy”

This was The Navy I found myself in… Really!

“Diego Garcia? Huh? Never heard of it.”

Lots of folks have not: Don’t despair. I spent thirty glorious days there back in ’86.

After my first failed attempt at BUD/s,

the Nav sentexiled, banished me to the USS Callaghan DDG 994, a Khomeini-Class Guided Missile Destroyer.

My new home was called a ‘Khomeini Class’ because along with her three sister-ships, she was built for the Iranian Navy (When The Shah was still the Big Man About Town).

The ships were not yet commissioned, not ever close when His Wonderfulness, The Ayatollah came back to hang up his shingle and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, His Shah-Ness had booked out on his World Tour to cure cancer (his).

And naturally, after the Birds Sang And Shah went away, we just had to keep these ships for our own self(s). Such is History…

My Belov’d USS Callaghan

(I truly did come to love her)

Anyway, that may be too much information for my purposes here.

After I had mustered onboard the Callaghan, I was informed that I was ‘One Lucky Squiddy Sonuvabitch’ (That’s ‘Naval’ parlance for ‘Sailor’.)

“Why? Why am I lucky?” I just had to ask, as I really wasn’t feeling all-that-lucky after having ‘rocked out’ of SEAL training only to wake up in ‘The Black Shoe, Haze Gray and Underway Gray-Hound’ Navy.

“You are lucky Son,” my Senior LPO informed me, “because we are going on a ‘World Cruise’. And most sailors spend an entire career without such an opportunity.”

“Oh Goody,” I thought, “I done been ‘round the whurl’. So what?”

“Six months away from the only pussy I had finally managed to find for me in San Dog (San Diego). Perfect.” 

I didn’t actually verbalize that, by the way. I probably said something like, “Gee Wally, I love the idea.” (Without the ‘Wally’ part—I ain’t stupid, ya know.)

Now, I would love to write about this entire cruise, and perhaps I may, but for the purposes of this post, I am gonna skip to the middle, as this is supposed to be about Diego Garcia.

About Month ‘two-and-a-half’, we were cut off,  severed, culled from our Battle Group and ordered to do some ‘Independent Steaming’ in the Northern ‘IO’ (That’s Navy vernacular for “Indian Ocean.”) We were to rendezvous with the rest of the Fleet at some later unspecified date.

(Presumably to us, after they had some proper ‘Liberty’ somewhere up in the Med… You know: Shit-Holes like Toulon France, or Athens, or Palma de Mallorca.)

Yeah, the rest of the Fleet had to suffer in that way while we were privileged to experience the magical wonders of the Indian Ocean.

Palma de Mallorca

(Fun Fact: The Justified Reason for Our Wonderful World Cruise: We were to escort The”Shitty Kitty,”–USS Kitty Hawk, an old ‘Bird Farm’, i.e., Aircraft Carrier, to ‘No-Fuck’, I mean ‘Norfolk’ Virginia Naval Base. You see, The ‘Shitty Kitty’ just could not fit through “The Ditch”, aka ‘The Panama Canal’. Hence, we had to take the long way to her new home.

For the sake of some brevity, I will merely recount here that we got ‘Stuck’ in the Northern IO. The Russians and the Iranians were acting ‘stupid’ and kept harassing us. (Fly-Overs by Ruskies, Iranians threatening to blockade the Straits of Hormuz. You know, typical Eighties’ shit and actually not unexpected.

Now like most U.S. Government Bureaucracies, The Department of the Navy had a budget. We spent so much time on ‘Picket Station’ (Making five knots up and down the North IO, ‘Patrolling’) that we had simply used up our fuel allotment.

(Fun Fact: In the U.S. Navy once ‘Squiddies’ have not seen land for forty-five days, they get to have a ‘Beer Day’. Yep. That’s right. They chopper in cases of beer, laced with formaldehyde as a preservative, don’cha know, and each Sailor gets two, count ‘em two beers. Gives a raging headache and ‘Old Salt’ Sailors would not even touch them. They would sell theirs to the neophytes. I was one such neophyte. And yes, I got the raging headache. Never again.)

So, what to do with us, since we were outta gas?

Send us to port!

Hallelujah! Port!

Guess what?

The ‘Port’ was Diego Garcia: A No-Where’s-Ville In the Middle of the Vast ‘Nowhere’ that is the Indian Ocean.

We were all so very fucking excited.

To Be Continued (I Promise)

Update:

***

Here is a good Sailor / Soldier Song (If ya like Kris that is)

And If ya don’t like Kris, well, you may have taken a wrong turn at ‘Albequerky’

***