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

“I Yam Wot I Yam”

***

Let’s Review:

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:

Mama-San

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 over by 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 of Peanut.

***

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.”

“Wanna beer?”

“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,

Being same.

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)

***

To be continued…

Previously:

Shonnie: The Biker’s Wife

Not Shonnie, But Pretty Close (and almost) Beautiful Enough to be a Reasonable Facsimile

***

In Nineteen-Eighty-Seven San Diego County there was only one Country & Western Bar/Dance Hall (that I knew of). I was sorely missing Texas and even though I was never what one might call ‘A Hardcore Country Music Fan’, I was feeling nostalgic. So I bought me a pair of Nocona’s, and no, I did not varnish them,

a Stetson, couple pair of Wrangler’s, some shirts with snaps, a string tie, and off I went, ‘Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.

But in this case, I had found ‘The Right Place’. Even though I didn’t realize it at the time.

***

(This One below is Personal and for Shonnie. Wherever she may be.

No need to watch. My narrative would survive without it. But my heart would not.

If you do choose to watch/listen, keep in mind it sums up, and also foreshadows in a nutshell, a great deal of the content in the chapters to come.)

***

The name of joint escapes me. Not important. But it was along the lines of ‘Gilley’s’ in Pasadena, Texas, albeit much the lesser.

I mean, Gilley’s had five bars in their Bar and the largest dance floor in Texas, if not The World. (My apologies to ‘Billy Bob’s’ in Fort Worth.)

This ‘Honky-Tonk,’ and I use the term loosely, had but one bar and one medium-sized dance floor. And it didn’t even have chicken wire in front of the stage to protect the band from flying Lone Star long-neck beer bottles.

What a gyp!

Would serve my purposes however, or at least sate my low expectations. I mean, we are talking Southern California here folks, after all.

(According to Sir Willie Nelson in his first book, “Willie: An Autobiography,” The Good Folks who ran Gilley’s, Mickey Gilley et Al, during the Early Years (1971) were compelled to install the wire. Without it, no band would agree to perform there. Things could, and often did, get ‘Rowdy’ at Gilley’s.

By the Time Peanut and I were spending Quality Time in the place–Mid to Late Seventies–I saw no chicken wire. But the rowdy remained. More often than not with Peanut in the thick of it and too often the cause of it. “That Sonuvabitch done pissed me off!”

“Thanks for the memories, P’Nut–You fuckin’ Nut.”)

Credit: Channel Two Houston and devonhart,

June 26, 2014 in ‘Historic Houston’

***

So I began to frequent this establishment in earnest. The thing that stuck me upon my first visit was that all the ‘Cowboys’ and ‘Cowgirls’ looked like Yuppies. Not Dallas Yuppies, mind you: ‘Southern California Yuppies’.

The walls were adorned with all manner of Rodeo Scenes, all of which looked as if Norman Rockwell might have dragged his brush across them.

Yuk!

There were also some lariats, a few saddles strategically placed against a couple of walls, a few ‘decorative’ spittoons (nothing more useless in the world than a spittoon ‘what never dun been used’), and many more things I cannot find the stomach to recount.

Double Yuk!!

The lighting was, well, Too Light. Hopefully, this would be rectified later in the evening’s adventure as the ‘real’ Cowfolks came sauntering in.

One sustains hope in situations such as these. There really is no other choice.

“Good Godawmighty! Lance! Son, you were more ‘at home’ in the Titty-Bars downtown San Dog than this abhorrent lame excuse for a ‘Honky-Tonk’,” voice in my head said.

The other voice in my head (Probably Peanut’s) said, “Cowboy?! You know you ain’t no real Cowboy neither; jes’ go wid it.”

There was, as I said, one bar. And immediately to the right of this bar… 

(a respectable looking bar, if I do grudgingly admit, replete with no less than four barkeeps and many, many serving wenches scurrying back and forth not unlike so many dutiful worker ants—all very pretty—in that Southern California-Wanna-be-Urban-Cowgirl-Beach-Babe-Kinda-Style)

…was the stage with a Cowboy Band. Actually a damn good one. They even had a fiddle player (so at least they could play ‘Amardillo By Morning’  a song which always reminded me of ‘Monsieur Le Peanut’, and forever held a special place in my heart and in my ears.

Immediately in front of the Bar was that ‘dance floor’, (No sawdust, but that could be grudgingly forgiven, I suppose).

The rest was mainly four-seater tables and chairs (And Candles! Fer Christ’s Sake! Candles!)

For the life of me, I could not spy a single pool table nor a shuffle board nor even an air hockey table. Certainly no mechanical bull.

Honky-Tonk Travesty!

The bar itself drew me first (of course). I asked for a Lone Star and got a vacant look. “Ok, gimme a shot ah Beam and a… ah… a Heineken.” (‘Jerry Jeff, please forgive them; for they know not what they do’.)

Now properly attired and bona-fide in my two-fisted drinker status, I went searching for a table close to the dance floor. As it was relatively early, I had no difficulty finding same.

I sat and drank and wistfully, wishfully, sorta woefully…

‘Cowgirl’ Watched, as I drifted back into memories of ‘for real’ Cowgirls.

The place began to fill up along ‘bout 1900hrs. The joint was semi-jumping now. (For San Diego, I guess. By that time I suppose the surf was no longer ‘up’).

I studied the apparently single cowgirls and spied a rather lanky ‘tall drank ah water’, long-haired brunette with Sloe-Gin eyes and all that implies, just tearing things up with several different dance partners.

I made my move between songs. Sashayed over to her and asked for a ‘daince’, (actually tipping my hat! Yes! Yes! I know! Bullshit!) trying ever-so-hard to establish that I weren’t no ‘Coke-a-Cola Cowboy’, but a real ‘un. 

From Texas.

Lance as “Cowboy”

We danced the dance and I could sense I was not her cup of… whatever it is that they actually drink here.

She whispered in my ear, “Hey ‘Cowboy’ (rather mockingly, I perceived), “I have a friend you should meet. Her name’s ‘Shonnie’ and she is seated (seated?) just right over there. C’mon! I’ll introduce ‘Y’all’” (Yet another perceived slight?)

I glanced in the direction she was leading us and saw a rather diminutive dirty blond, absently stirring her drink as she casually watched the band while they began to belt out some Randy Travis monstrosity.

We waltzed up to the table and my escort announced quite cheerfully, “Hey Shonnie! I found you a ‘real’ Cowboy.” (She quickly whispered to me, “Hey Sugar Britches, what’s your name?”)

“Lance”

“Uh, Shonnie, Girlfriend, This here’s ‘Lance’. Say ‘Howdy.’”

“Hiya”

I shook the diminutive hand she offered and sat down.

“Uh, Howdy Shonnie, Little Lady; Nice to meet Y’all.” (Yes, I was really laying it on thick, but I was somewhere between buzzed  and drunk and starting to figure, ‘What the hell I got to lose’?)

She smiled wily, if not demurely, through semi-white teeth, Marlboro smoke, and Paul Newman Blue Eyes. I must admit: I was intrigued.

Thus began one of the most bizarre ‘flings’ I have ever had.

***

More to come… 

***

“And I’ll be lookin’ for eight when they pull that gate.”

“And I hope that judge ain’t blind…”

We all do”

Peanut.

“We all look for ‘eight’

And we all hope the judge IS blind (but you knew that, didn’t you? You asshole! You were not supposed to die first. We made a pact. Didn’t we?? Don’t you remember?”)

Rest, My Very Best Friend.

You are severely missed.

I’ll catch up to you.”

Someday soon…

Suzy Bogguss – Someday Soon

Vid Share Cred: Robert W. Roddis, Esq.

Below You Will Find Most Of The Original Posts. Once / If You Arrive At Thirteen There Are Links To The Final Few Chapters. Please keep in mind however, that each and every one of them is in the process of being rewritten: first to last. This will probably take at least two or three weeks.

Parts One  Two  Three  Four  Five  Six  Seven  Eight  Nine  Ten  Eleven  Twelve  Thirteen

My Friend Jimmy

Since I am in “Peanut Mode” tonight, I thought I would post this excerpt from a very ‘early-in-my-blogging days’ post regarding same, in the vain hope some would read the bits in their entirety: Sharking, Campin’, Bow-Fishin’.

peanut.jpg

Seems to me we sometimes realize far too late the true value of friends had and lost.

There is a scene in “Tombstone” where Wyatt Earp hands a smallish book over to a bed-ridden Doc Holiday, entitled:

“My Friend: Doc Holiday.”

Here is to wishing Peanut could receive same from me.

Alas, he cannot.

**************

Jimmy ‘Peanut’ Piland was a character like none other: Possessing a smallish frame, medium blond hair always askew and asunder, Paul Newman blue eyes, a perpetual boyish ‘possum’ grin, and a wiry build replete with a hard-wired energy. Yet looks can be somewhat deceiving: he was tough as nails and feared nothing, or no one.

There was no Brahma bull he wouldn’t attempt to ride, no man he wouldn’t attempt to fight (if provoked—him usually doing the ‘provokin’—“That sonuvabitch done pissed me off…”), no tractor, truck, nor heavy machinery he wouldn’t attempt to operate, instructed or not. Good that he never had access to an airplane, for he would have, no doubt, tried to fly it.

And actually, he did fly, by and by.

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