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

The Thunder-Bolt:

“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.”

“Doan worry none,” Rog replied. “He’ll snap outta it.”

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.

Thunderbolt!

Boom!

I just had to have some ‘chat’ with her.

And By God, I would.

Or die.

I became useless for the rest of the evening.

***

I have spent far too much time in the Far East.

This will be continued…

Right here:

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

Happy Talk

From the 1958 film version of SOUTH PACIFIC

***

Previously:

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

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.

Again.

Happy?

Guess where I ended up?

Disneyland!

(‘Ornamental Version’)

***

Liberty Call!

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.

The officer of the deck and the messenger of the watch stand by on the quarterdeck.

“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.

Shit River

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.

Magsaysay

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.

Nor cared.

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:

His wife.

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:

Me.

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.

Yep.

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.”

Stay tuned… it gets better.

Here Comes a Rant: Stand By For Heavy Rolls As The Ship Comes About

(Yup. I changed the Title. It’s My Blog After All,  Ain’t It?)

The Eighties SUCKED Music-Wise

(And Other-Wise)

Wow! What a Bold Statement!

“Yes, and I stand by it.”

Now… Y’all, fess up! The Eighties were devoid of decent music, save a few, (Damn few) exceptions.

Hey! We are talking ‘bout the decade of want here! The Decade of “We want shoes! Therefore we am!” Ya know what? Fuck The Eighties! I was still a young man during them yet, even I, even I… scratched my head and pondered The End of Western Civilization.

maddie

(But Damn! How I did love Madonna!)

I served my country during The Eighties.

I loved Reagan during The Eighties.

I grew prematurely old during the Eighties.

What the hell was there not to love?

About The Eighties?

Well…

For Starters,

The Eighties were not The Sixties, nor The Seventies.

The Eighties Had NO Moral Compass.

The Eighties had NO WAR to protest.

The Eighties had Nothing, save for ‘Michael Jackson’ and ‘Rambo’ and such jokes make not a decade to be proud of.

OK: Bet Yer Boots

There is more to come.

And Comments along the way: Encouraged

This Post Will Be Heavily slightly  Not Edited, but you will see all the edits (of which there will be none), as per my wont, and my promise in a  previous post. (Yeah: work in progress…)

Stay Tuned

Y’all

(Then again, I may probably won’t just delete this and move on)

So read fast; leisurely if you’re of a mind to…

And, if you have come this far:

I actually want  really desire this to be a ‘community post’. Now, what I mean by that is this: Throw in your comments/musings/rants/raves/loves/hates about The Eighties. I will mesh them into the post. (with credits to authors) This could be fun (if we allow it)

(And if y’all believe that shit, I have a bridge for sale–just kidding–I swear! I will fold any comments into the post)

Come on now! You know you have an opinion!

Cheers and Beers!

–Lancers

 

The eighties? what were we thinking????

Generally, I do not like to step on my dick

(Would love to, but he  has left the building)

However,

I will make an exception (in this case)

I love Blondie (Debbie Harry)

Yep

Do

Now… this post will knock my previous posts off your hit parade.

I know this

And I care not

(‘actuarily’ I do)

But who cares?

Watch the video, and take a trip back to the Eighties

Why not?

Call me:

lancemarcom781@hotmail.com

(I lied: it is GMail)

And… if you figg3r that out… Here’s to Texas!

P.S.

I Heart 🙂 Madonna too:

“Last night I dreamt of some bagels

Go Figure