Matt, Rogers, and I were in Viva Young, Olongapo City. I had been struck by The Thunderbolt. Rog was buying the beer for the next ten years. Matt was drawing a charcoal portrait on a cocktail napkin of a sweet, young lovely Filipina with a glass eye. Mama-San was not happy.
My Primary Problem:
SNAFU (‘Situation Normal: All Fucked Up’)
My Secondary Problem:
‘Thunderbolt Smitten Status’
Breaks down like this:
The ‘Smite-he’—Me—couldn’t get close enough to the ‘Smite-er—Her—she proved elusive, un-approachable, un-attainable, closely watched overby Mama-the Big-She-San.
Yes. It was all very confounding, convoluted, and complicated.
Matt and I retired to the pool tables. Me hoping to fleece him outta some beer money—He hoping for good conversation, free billiard lessons, and some Lance Good-Natured Wolf-Ticket Talk.
(Rog had declined my offer of a double-or-nothing eight-ball re-match)
But Matt was willing and ‘free’, as the Filipina ‘model’ for his napkin art had been compelled (by Mama-San) to taxi onto the runway.
He also knew I would take it easy on him and his wallet. I only truly enjoyed taking Rog’s money, no one else’s. Well, except for the occasional Jar-Head’s, even though the fleecing of ‘Marine-Sheeps’ could, and often did prove somewhat problematical, health-wise—my health-wise.
Matt and I both were getting what we wanted until…
Until Pain walked in.
Pain (his real name) was my roommate back when I was in BUD/s Class 140, 1986.
Pain was a pain in the ass.
He was a tow-head boy, weighing in at about one-hundred and fifty. One-hundred-fifty pounds of attitude. Bad attitude.
He reminded me ofPeanut.
Peanut sans the good to outweigh the bad. I did not appreciate his style.
Nor his presence.
One of My Girls, (yes they were ‘mine’—this was My Bar, wasn’t it?) brought me a beer and said,
“Hey! Dat guy jus’ walk in, he Naa-bee-steeel.”
“Yes Honey. I know him.”
“He yor pren?”
(Filipinas have some difficulty pronouncing the letter ‘F’)
“Nope. He’s trouble, and thanks for the beer.”
Still holding my pool cue, I walked over to Pain.
“Hey Pain!” I said. “How’s it been hangin’?”
“Whaaa?? Hey. Uh…Oh, don’t I know you from somewhere? Oh yeah. Buds. Back in ’86.”
“Yeah,” I said. “Class One-Forty. You were my roommate for about a week until I got you kicked out of the room for smacking my other roommate upside the head.”
“Yeah, you were a little snitch-bitch. An’ your other roommate was an idiot.”
“Don’t think so. He was my Friend.”
“What was yer name? Mark… Clark… something or other… Mark..um…?”
“Yeah, that’s right. Marcom.”
“You rocked out didn’t ya?”
“Yeah, I rocked out. Got hurt. Apparently you made it. In SEALs.”
“Got ‘hurt’ eh? Whatever. Yeah, I didn’t rock out.”
“Good for you.”
“No Pain, I do not. What I want is for you to take your ass outta here. You see, this bar is for ‘Black Shoe Sailors’—Fleet Sailors—only. This is Our bar, and we don’t really want any prima-donnas hangin’ out here swillin’ beer and breathin’ air. This bar—MY Bar—is a private bar, so… mosey on The Fuck On.”
“I go where I please. Fuck you!”
“Excuse me, but this ain’t your kind of place. This joint’s not big e’nuff to house your inflated Navy Spec-War ego; I suggest you SEAL-Flop your fishy-smellin’ ass on down to The California Club. It’s close to Shit River on Magsaysay—can’t miss it—look for the neon that says, ‘Morons Welcome’. The ceilings have high enough clearance for your big head, and there’s lots of girls. You and your ego and your attitude and your money will be welcome there.”
“You’re pissing me off.”
By this point, I had unconsciously reversed my grip on the pool cue, turning it into a baseball bat. Matt came up to my shoulder and whispered,
“Uh… Lance, don’t do it.”
I had forty pounds on Pain. I could take him with or without the pool cue-turned-seal-smasher.
Mama-San, ever astute, came up to me and said,
“Sailor Man, you need sit down.”
I said, “Mama-San, Not until this asshole leaves.”
She said, “Okay, but you gonna pix the purniture.”
Standing two heads high over him, I turned back to Pain, “You need to leave Son.”
Apparently a light suddenly lit and he, making good use of his ‘situational awareness’ said, “Maybe I’ll check out that California Club after all.” And left.
The Jar Heads on the other side of the bar applauded. One said with a belly-laugh,
“Hoo-Ah Squiddy! That guy’s an asshole! Seen him around town.”
“Thanks,” I said, pitching my cue-stick to Matt, who clumsily failed to catch it, spilling his beer in the attempt as he watched the cue bounce off the deck.
I laughed at Matt then yelled, “Hey! Mama-San! Send me an’ Matt ah coupla beers! I just saw my life flash!”
(Not really. I fear no man, but it makes for good prose, eh?)
Pain was actually a decent enough guy.
In his way.
But still an asshole.
Certainly I can relate,
For the following night I vowed to focus on my ‘Thunderbolt/Mama-San Situation’.
We sucked down a few more beers.
Closed the bar.
The Marine Corps went to wherever it is that marines go (or belong)
Rog and Matt headed back to the ship. (Where sailors belong)
I went home with Mama-San. (Where I probably didn’t belong)
“You can’t hide the thunderbolt. When it hits you, everybody can see it. Christ Man! Don’t be ashamed of it, some men pray for the thunderbolt. You’re a very lucky fellow.”
– Calo (‘The Godfather’)
Matt, Rogers, and I settled into the bar–after I had paid my respects to Mama-San.
“Mama! Where you been all my life?” I yelled, pulling her up from her chair and kissing her hard on the lips.
She managed to untangle herself from my affections and pushed me away. “You go to sit down and spend some money Sailor-Man,” she said gruffly, trying to conceal the smile that was betraying her true feeling.
Since it was still relatively early and the joint pretty much dead, Rog and I decided to shoot some pool.
Now I must tell you, gentle readers, I am a pool hustler, and Rog was a gambler.
Good for me.
Bad for him.
After about an hour of eight ball, Rog owned me all the beer in Olongapo and his First Born. Wasn’t really interested in the First Born (I had seen the baby pictures and the baby dipped snuff just like his daddy)
So I told him to keep the First Born, but get busy with the beers. We sat back down at the bar next to Matt who was in some kind of deep philosophical discussion with a very petite young bar girl who appeared to have a glass eye.
Matt is a gentleman and this girl had warmed up to him.
Rog and I were not gentlemen so we interrupted their conversation.
“Hey Matt! Rog here’s buyin’ the beer for the next ten years. Name your poison.”
“I’d like a glass of wine,” Matt said softly.
“What?!” Rog and I both exclaimed in unison.
Matt was The Artist. So I suppose this was to be expected: This Un-Naval-Like Bullshit Talk would come out the side of his neck from time to time.
“Mama-San!” I yelled over my shoulder. “Ya got any Pinto Greegee-oh?”
“Goddamn chew!” she yelled back. “Go to fuck you!” I turned to Matt, “Sorry Buddy. Fresh out. How ‘bout a beer? On Rog here. He be buyin’”.
“Sure,” he said softly, not even looking at us.
“Oh shit Rog,” I said. “Matt here done gone off into ‘That Place’ again.”
I glanced over at Matt, now busily drawing on a cocktail napkin what appeared to be a rather flattering portrait of the girl. She had placed her head on his shoulder and her arm around his waist.
“Yeah, Rog. I suppose yer right.”
Rogers and I traded wolf tickets for an hour or so, and then aimed our affections at some Marines who had recently shown up. Things were about to grow unpleasant when the regular shift of girls came strolling in. This stopped the impending war between the Navy and the Marine Corps as the music got loud and the girls took to the runway.
I knew all the girls on the evening shift. They were my friends. But I spotted a girl I did not know. ‘Spotted’ is probably not the right word. ‘Witnessed’ (Think ‘Baptist Revival’ here) might be more appropriate. She was the spitting image of my high school sweetheart. (No, I wasn’t really that drunk).
OK, not exactly the spitting image but let us say the Ornamental Version of a spitting image.
I just had to have some ‘chat’ with her.
And By God, I would.
I became useless for the rest of the evening.
I have spent far too much time in the Far East.
This will be continued…
A girl walks into a bar.
I went over to Mama-San, “Hey who’s the new girl?”
“What new girl?”
“The one with the long brown hair,” I said.
“Goddam-chew! They all have long brown hair. Where you think you are Sailor-Boy, Malibu?”
“No. I mean that girl,” I said, pointing.
“Oh ‘That Girl’” she said. “She’s new, and don’t bother her.”
“Yes, I know she’s new. That’s my point, for fuck sake.”
“Leave her alone. She off-you-limits.”
“Bullshit off-limits. She reminds me of someone,” I said.
“Don’t we all? That’s what we do here. We sell the memories. We in the ‘She-reminds-me-of-someone’ sellin’ memory business. But she, that one, she off-you-limits. No for sale.”
“I don’t want to buy her; I just wanna talk to her.”
“Go-to-Fuk-Chew! You want talk? Talk me! You butterfly.” She huffed back toward her desk.
“Butterfly?” I yelled at her back.
She turned on her heel, “You butterfly. You float from flower to flower.”
I stared at ‘New Girl’ while wondering how I was going to get around Mama-San…So I could have my
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.)
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.”
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.
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.
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)
I slept through ‘Throw-Back Thursday’, so I jumped on my Dash Eight and headed West until I crossed The International Date Line.
OK, NOW it’s Thursday.
Guess where I ended up?
Dateline: 1989 Subic Bay Naval Base / Olongapo City, Philippines 1600hrs
“Knock Off Ship’s Work! Liberty Call! Liberty Call!” reverberated from the 1MC onboard the USS Frederick, LST 1184.
Simultaneously about a hundred sailors went into Fred Flintstone Mode:
“Yabba Dabba Dooo!!”
To beat the stampede off the ship, Matt, Rogers, and I were already in our berthing compartment donning our civvies. We were as always, five minutes ahead of the game. We double-timed up to the quarterdeck,
“Request permission to go ashore” we said in unison as we saluted the O.O.D, (Officer of the Deck) in front of us.
“Very well,” he replied, and then we faced astern and saluted the flag or ‘ensign’ in the proper vernacular.
“Salute the Fag, then the Flag”. (Helpful hint to remember the proper protocol for departing a U.S. Navy vessel.)
Scampering down the gangway to the pier we nearly knocked each other down in our haste.
Free at last!
We hustled down toward the Shit-River Bridge which connected Subic Bay Naval Base to Olongapo. Shit River was similar to the Poo Pond I wrote about in my Letter from a South Park Jail series. But the primary difference between the two was no one ever physically came in contact with the Poo Pond.
In Olongapo Filipino children would paddle small boats under the Shit River Bridge and wait for sailors to toss coins into the water.
These children would dive down into the ‘bio-hazardous’ searching for the coins.
To my knowledge no one from my ship ever tossed coins into the river. This was considered dishonorable behavior and rightly so. And for reasons so obvious that I won’t even list them here.
Once safely across the bridge we entered Magsaysay Blvd., AKA Magsaysay Drive. Strolling down Magsaysay requires a keen sense of situational awareness. Jeepneys, trikes, drunken sailors and marines, Shore Patrols, flying beer bottles… All of these while-on-liberty-occupational hazards must be recognized and avoided—at all costs.
Olongapo City was Sexual Disneyland for Sailors and Marines.
Up and down Magsaysay Boulevard, every other venue a bar, and every other—other venue was a massage parlor (“Hey Sailor! You want massage with sensation?”) and every other, other joint was what could best be described as a ‘Mega-Club’. These had no less than three to four hundred ‘working girls.’
These Mega-Clubs, (solely owned and operated by the Chinese Mafia) often three stories high, were death traps in the event of a fire, no matter how small. The din inside was cacophonous. Ear plugs were prudent. Cigarette smoke swirled up like the morning Mekong mist in Apocalypse Now.
Imagine a super-sized opium den with high-amp electronic music and strobe lights.
Den of Sin
If the place didn’t burn down during your sojourn, you could still get trampled to death in the stampede to get out the solitary door.
No one feared the danger.
This was not my first rodeo. I had been to Olongapo before (World Cruise deployment on the U.S.S Callaghan DDG 994 in 1986).
Ditto for my two compadres and we were all GM’s—Gunner’s mates–‘Old Salts’.
Matt was a thoughtful mild mannered, about six-foot tall perfect AJ-Squared-Away first class petty officer gunner but with one fatal flaw:
He loved Filipinas, and specifically one Filipina above all others:
Josie was a very beautiful, vivacious, vexatious, sexy, striking woman who was ‘seconded’ to San Dog (San Diego), happily fucking every Marine she could lay legs on while Matt was out to sea and some would also ungraciously add, ‘Out to Lunch’.
But this ‘TMI’ came directly to Rog and me from Matt himself and he knew it was common knowledge throughout The Fleet. (Okay, the entire Seventh Fleet did not know of Matt’s marriage troubles, but it sure did seem so at times)
He unashamedly admitted to being a cuckold, but was so blindly in love he was powerless to do anything about it.
Love has fucked up more lonely sailors and marines than I am able to count, although I really need only count to one:
Rogers was married as well, but cuckold, he was none. He was a little wiry Irish descendant, ‘bout five-foot and small change with reddish blond-hair and bluish blood-stained wild eyes.
He was one crazy little dynamo son of a bitch with a fair allotment of Napoleon overcompensation built in.
My persona was dark and foreboding and dangerous. I had ‘rocked out’ of SEAL training for the second time and had but one year left before I could turn in my Canoe Club Card and get the hell outta This Man’s Navy.
Having failed to make it in Naval Spec-Warfare, my Naval Career was over as far as I was able to give one shit.
This made me dangerous.
Rogers loved that about me. Matt was just generally apprehensive and leery.
The three of us were absolutely the very best of buddies and shipmates in every good sense of the term.
Yet, a more divergent trio of personalities could not be dreamed.
One thing in common though: we did not enjoy the Magsaysay Big-Bar scene. It was just too rowdy—too loud—too frenetic—too immature
(Yes. I said ‘immature’)
We were not looking for prostitutes.
Matt had his ‘loving’ wife. Rogers had his Trailer-Park-Shotgun-Bride with their four tow-headed kids, each born precisely nine months and twenty minutes after the preceding. And I had my transplanted Yankee Girlfriend waiting (?) back in San Dog.
We just wanted a joint which would have that “Cheers” ambiance. We found it at Viva Young, a little shit-hole-in-the-wall tucked in between more substantial and popular bars. For the most part, it went unnoticed, overlooked, and passed-on-by.
Viva Young Baby!
(And Viva Young was deemed ‘Off Limits’ by The Naval Command—never did understand why, but this made it even better: nothing more fun than jacking with the SP’s—Shore Patrol).
Viva Young had become Our Place and all the girls (and the Mama-San) knew our names. There was not much to it. It was a narrow long bar, perhaps 1500 square feet, dark and smoky and the music volume did not force us to shout. Not many even knew of it, and even if they did, they would not frequent the place.
It was too dark, too run down, not to mention the fact that the regulars (Matt, Lance, and Rog—plus a handful of Marines) did not cotton to stupid, young and green Sailors and Marines fresh out of boot camp or A-School wanting to suck up Our Air.
We ran all interlopers off with gusto and frequency, much to the chagrin of Mama-San, the manager.
We made it up to her though, always spending much more than expected and for shit-sure leaving huge tips all around, just like the drunken sailors/marines that you may have heard about.
We invented that cliché.
Upon entering Viva Young, we were instantly assaulted with an all-hands-on-deck ‘Welcome!’ from the girls.
“We love you here Sailor Man!”
“Take your shoes off! We love you!”
“We miss you!”
“We lub chew no chit!”
(Best rendition of a Filipina accent I can muster—ya kinda have to experience it for your-own-self to get the ‘full benefit’.)
Here is a song to prove I am not making this up:
I Love You No Shit
Buy Me Honda
Edmundo Olino Katuwaan Channel. Pinoy Country Singer
There was a long cat-walk. The cat-walk was the main attraction—taking up most of the square footage real estate. At the very back of the bar, just for fun, or an afterthought, were two pool tables. There may have been a rusty pinball machine as well, but I possibly have dreamed that.
The nubile Filipinas, fresh from Soccer Practice and still in their uniform until later in the evening were a joy to behold and to hold.
We always seemed to show up during the lax time—that time between the end of girls’ soccer and the Real Deal.
They would continuously shower us with their attentive affections:
“Hey Mista Rance! Hey Mista Matt! Hey Mista Rog! We love you! We love you no-shit! Buy me drink?! Buy me Honda?!”
“Sure on the drink Honey! The Honda… maybe later.”
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 sent, exiled, 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, TheAyatollah 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.”
Ididn’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!
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)
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’
The three Harleys were gaining on me as I sped southbound down Interstate Five. It was still dark and the traffic was light. I floored the pedal on the Toranado but I knew they would eventually catch up to me.
My speedometer redlined at one hundred and I took another hurried glance at the rearview: still gaining fast. Where the hell were the famous CHiPs? For the absolute first time in my life, I wanted to get busted.
One biker managed to pull up alongside me on the passenger side. I swerved to the right just a bit to try to spook him. No dice! He easily dodged my quarter panel and I caught a brief glimpse of his grinning face, mocking me. (bikers never wore helmets)
The two remaining bikes pulled up behind him. I was running out of options. Should I just continue on until I ran out of freeway or gas? Hope a highway patrol finally spotted us? Surrender?
I stole another glance in my side mirror and could just barely make out the third biker taking aim at my car with a handgun, rather unsteadily given our speed, but I braced for the worst, then BAM!
I awoke with a start and sat bolt upright in bed. The alarm was wailing away. Shonnie stirred and moaned, “What time…? uuugghhhhh.”
Ireached over Shonnie to kill the alarm and knocked it off the nightstand. “Shit!” Had to crawl over her to grab the damn thing and turn it off. “It’s five-thirty,” I said.
“Ohhh too early,” she moaned again, pulling the covers over her head.
“Go back to sleep.”
She sat up, stretching her arms upward and yawning. “No. I’ll make you some coffee,”
“Got no time for that. I gotta get back to my ship. Muster’s at zero-seven.”
“It’ll just take a minute,” she said as she extracted her naked body from the covers.
“Okay, but a minute is about all I have.”
I got out of bed and put on my jeans. Shonnie threw on her robe and disappeared downstairs. I went into the head and splashed some cold water on my face, trying to shock the dream out of my mind.
Just as I finished struggling to get into my too-tight boots, I heard the kettle whistling downstairs. Making sure I had my wallet and military ID, I descended to the kitchen to join Shonnie. She handed me a cup and I took a quick sip.
“Good coffee,” I said.
“You’re welcome Cowboy.”
“You sleep alright? I asked.
“Yeah, sorta, but you were snoring and moaning ‘till all hours.”
“Sorry ‘bout that. Look, I gotta split. I wanna beat the traffic. My Master Chief don’t have a sense of humor about being late for muster.” I handed her the still mostly full cup of coffee.
She set it on the counter, threw her arms around my neck clinging tight, pulling me down and kissing me passionately. She withdrew her lips but kept my neck locked tight. “Oh Rhett! When will Ah evah see you again?”
I reached up and gently pulled her hands free and said, “Very funny Scarlett. I’ll call you this evening, but now I gotta go.”
“Okay, Darlin’, lemme walk you out.”
We walked over to the front door holding hands. I opened it. Shonnie let out a gasp. “Oh no,” she said.
“What is it?”
“Look there,” she said pointing down at the deck.
There was a white sack about a yard from the front door. It had the unmistakable mark of McDonald’s on it. I took a step outside, picked it up, turned to Shonnie and said, “What the fuc…”
“Come back inside. Hurry up,” she said in a ‘loud’ whisper.
I went back in and she shut the door, locking it with a loud click. “It’s Billy.”
“My husband, you idiot.”
“Sorry. You never did tell me his name.”
“You never asked.”
Still clutching the sack in my hand, I opened it up and discovered two large coffees and two pastries.
“Give me that!” she said, almost shouting as she grabbed the sack out of my hand. “Look! This fuckin’ coffee’s still hot. He must’ve just been here.” She was visibly shaking.
“Quite the gentleman to deliver breakfast, doncha think?”
“Goddamn it Lance! This shit ain’t funny!”
“Well, what the hell do you expect from a smartass?”
“You can’t leave now,” she said as she walked over and slumped down into an overstuffed chair. She dropped the bag on the floor. The coffee almost tipped over onto the carpet.
“Seriously? Will he try to hurt you if I go?”
“No… not right away anyhow. It’s you… You! He’ll be after you! Dammit to Fuck!”
“Baby, I got no choice. I’d rather face ‘Billy’ than try to explain to Master Chief why I’m UA.”
She stared at me blankly for a moment as if I had just said something in Swahili. “Whaaat?”
“Uh ‘UA’. Unauthorized Absence. ‘Ay-Wall’. You know.”
“Fuck that! If you leave here now, you might be ‘A-WOLL’ permanent.”
“Well, I doubt it, but anyway I gotta go.” I turned and walked back toward the door. “I’ll call you this evening. Lock the door behind me.”
“Okay,” she sighed, getting up. As I was about to open the door she spun me around and hugged me, burying her face in my chest. “Be safe Lance.”
“You too Baby.”
I opened the door and walked out. Shonnie shut it behind me and I heard the click as she turned the deadbolt.
My car was parked almost a block away from the condo. It was still an hour before sunrise but the streetlights, though not bright, afforded enough light for me to make my way without any difficulty.
I slowly walked toward the Toranado. I was glancing left and right, trying to see into the shadows, hoping I would see no one. My shoulders were tight and I wondered if they would suddenly be pierced by a round from a hand gun.
I kept walking and looking. ‘Situational Awareness’. Almost there now. The Toranado was parked directly under a street light. Shit! I would have preferred a darker venue for getting into my car. Oh well. I fumbled around for my keys, unlocked the door and slid behind the wheel.
I twisted the key in the ignition and the engine turned over a few times more than normal, but finally caught hold. The cassette player was still cranked up and in the early morning quiet seemed extremely loud. I quickly reached over and shut down Rusty Wier in the middle of ‘The Devil Lives In Dallas.’
Proving once again that my life has a soundtrack…
Street Cred for Vid: Neil Wilkins
The car was facing the opposite direction I needed to go. I had to pull forward into an empty driveway, back up and get turned about. Back in the street and facing the right direction, I dropped the car into drive.
Then I heard the unmistakable sound of a Harley cranking up and the throttle revving.
This Is NOT The END
“Shonnie The Biker’s Wife: Denouement”
Update: Part XV is up.
If you are new here, or a long-lost returning Pilgrim, you may want to begin your Shonnie Journey Below
And then simply “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” i.e., The Lancelot Links:
Comments below from the original version of this post.
Please read from the bottom up for continuity.
36 THOUGHTS ON “SHONNIE THE BIKER’S WIFE: THIS IS THE (NOT) THE END”
LAMarcom July 21, 2014 at 18:10 Edit
All’s well that ends well…
NancyTex July 21, 2014 at 08:49 Edit
Scary shit. Almost afraid to click on the final installment.
LAMarcom July 16, 2014 at 16:13 Edit
artourway July 16, 2014 at 16:12 Edit
so glad to have you as my friend Lance
LAMarcom July 16, 2014 at 16:06 Edit
Toda rabah תודה רבה
That’s Hebrew for ‘Thank you!’
I did learn just enough to get me into trouble when I was working in that part of the world.
artourway July 16, 2014 at 15:57 Edit
I admire your writing Lance.
LAMarcom July 16, 2014 at 15:23 Edit
I really need to work on my French.
Thank you my friend.
artourway July 16, 2014 at 14:39 Edit
Vous rêves sont parfois si réels, cool Lance
LAMarcom July 16, 2014 at 13:06 Edit
The ‘really end of the end’ should go up late this evening.
I do appreciate your taking time to read this story and comment.
LVital7019 July 16, 2014 at 12:59 Edit
THAT was a shameless TEASE! “The End” but not really the end!?? Grrr… LOL
lauramacky July 16, 2014 at 11:54 Edit
Whew! You’re welcome 🙂
LAMarcom July 16, 2014 at 10:36 Edit
Denouement will be forthcoming.
This is why I love blogging: the feedback and great conversation.
Thanks so much Laura!
LAMarcom July 16, 2014 at 10:32 Edit
I must confess, I have never seen ‘Paris Texas.’ Although it has been on my ‘to watch’ list for some decades. After viewing the clip I have moved it way up that list and will watch it this weekend if not before. It definitely looks like a film I would love. So…thanks so much for provided the impetus to get me to it.
I took a peek at the USHypocrisy site and loved it. Now following. And I will show it to my English girlfriend. She will love it too, no doubt.
Win-Win all around!
lauramacky July 16, 2014 at 10:30 Edit
Exactly! It needs that good end. We are left to wodner although not too much since you’re still alive ‘n kicking! lol
LAMarcom July 16, 2014 at 10:20 Edit
Pretty sure you didn’t miss anything. It is most likely my failing. Perhaps I do need to provide the denouement?
lauramacky July 16, 2014 at 10:18 Edit
Well I for one would like to know what happened after the harley sound. 🙂
lauramacky July 16, 2014 at 10:17 Edit
That’s the end? Did I miss something??
LAMarcom July 16, 2014 at 10:14 Edit
Breathe Laura, just breathe.
That is the end of the story….
(Please see comments below)
Of course if blowback comes, I will post an addendum or ‘post a postscript,’ if you will….)
Thanks so much for reading along on this one and also for your comments.
LAMarcom July 16, 2014 at 10:10 Edit
Now that’s funny!
Perfect comment. Thanks for making me laugh out loud.
Cheers to you David!
LAMarcom July 16, 2014 at 10:08 Edit
Thanks so much Diana.
LAMarcom July 16, 2014 at 10:07 Edit
Actually Heathen, I had not planned to continue the story. This was to be The End, but rest assured, no harm came to Shonnie. If I get pushback to post a postscript, I will do that. However… I think it’s time for me to move on to other tales.
Thanks for riding along on this series. I do appreciate your time and as I have said before, your comments enrich my efforts.
lauramacky July 16, 2014 at 09:51 Edit
The suspense is killing me!
David Scott Moyer July 16, 2014 at 08:05 Edit
I wanted him to pull up along side you and say, “You forgot your hat, bro.”
Diana July 16, 2014 at 06:15 Edit
Great job Lance!
happierheathen July 16, 2014 at 05:35 Edit
I’m glad it came out in the comments that it was her decision that you’d never see her again, as otherwise I’d have to hire a guy to kick down your door and be only as nice as possible while extracting that bit of information. I hope the rest of the story doesn’t include her being harmed.
I’m just now thinking how lucky I am that the only woman I ever regretted losing eventually found her way back. Thanks for telling a story that catalyzed such a fine thought in this contraption I generously refer to as my brain, man.
Mélanie July 16, 2014 at 03:50 Edit
P.S. Lance, if you ever have some spare minutes, please take a look @ this interesting and realistic blog: http://ushypocrisy.com/
Mélanie July 16, 2014 at 03:26 Edit
I meant… amigo, Lance! 🙂 you must be proud and honored by your native American heritage/roots/origins…
@Paris, Texas and their fake and kitch Tour Eiffel: you have to see it, to believe it and I did! 😀 btw, have you watched this film-culte(here in “old Europe”!) with excellent actors:
LAMarcom July 16, 2014 at 00:40 Edit
Laughing my ass off.
(I invite you to know that I am part Comanche)
Just the best part…
P.S. I grew up twenty miles from Paris (Texas). I hated that town then; and still do.
Mélanie July 16, 2014 at 00:34 Edit
yesss! excellent job, Sir! last but not least: I love the Doors and I did see Jim Morrison’s tomb in “Père-Lachaise”, Paris, France(not Tejas!) – always with lots of flowers…
buenas noches, gringo! 🙂
LAMarcom July 15, 2014 at 23:31 Edit
We both may be slightly inebriated…
LAMarcom July 15, 2014 at 23:29 Edit
Tis okay. I got it.
LAMarcom July 15, 2014 at 23:28 Edit
To quote Joni at you Sadie:
“You are a woman of heart and mind.”
Thank you ever so much for all your wonderful comments.
Sincerely, they mean a lot to me.
Cheers, beers, and Tequila,
~ Sadie ~ July 15, 2014 at 23:26 Edit
Crap – that is not where that comment was supposed to go 🙂 It was in response to yours – I am tired. Obviously need to go to bed LOL!!
~ Sadie ~ July 15, 2014 at 23:25 Edit
Thanks for sharing – you wrote about your bittersweet memories in such a beautiful way – great writing, storytelling, dialogue & suspense-building! I love reading your true tales. Shit, I’d be too scared to write about some of mine . . . 😉
Tears and beers (though mine is always tears & tequila!!) – proof you are alive sometimes!!
Have a great evening, Lance!! ☮
LAMarcom July 15, 2014 at 22:40 Edit
My Good Friend,
I needed to end this. Yes there is more to the story, but it mostly involves tears and beers, and I do not think anyone would read that part.
I choose to end it here.
Obviously, I survived as did Shonnie and I never saw her again (her decision), but…hey! C’est La Vie, eh?
Thank you for reading this too long diatribe…er… history.
It is all truth, by the way.
~ Sadie ~ July 15, 2014 at 22:35 Edit
For some reason, I don’t get the impression that this was the end . . .
My best friend growing up was a Harley girl and as teenagers we hung out occasionally with a couple of Bandidos (well she did, I just tagged along) – bikers aint exactly of the ilk to be too kind about other men & their women – especially their wives.