“I Yam Wot I Yam”
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 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.”
“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)
To be continued…