Spiders, Spiders Everywhere and all the Girls Did Shriek! Spiders, Spiders Everywhere, Even in the Sink!”

Sadie.jpg

A New Take On An Old Story

While suffering my enforced exile in California I could often be found searching for jumping spiders. One day I captured a particularly stunning one with black and white markings, dark black-green eyes and luminescent aquamarine fangs behind the feathery appendages which covered them.

Absolutely Beautiful Spider!

I gently herded her into a mason jar which contained several wood chips of varying shapes and sizes. Jumping spiders do not build webs; they live in caves made by little boys employing wood chips. (This is what my spidery experience had taught me through the years.)

Once I had done my time we moved back to Texas, but not before I was forced to abandon my Most Beautiful Spider, along with all the others I had collected, my mother announcing quite emphatically,

“I am NOT riding in a car all-the-way-home-to-Texas seated next to five jars full of damn spiders!”

Once back in Texas, for several weeks I suffered from PTSL: Post Traumatic Spider Loss. I missed my spiders, especially the beautiful one I had named ‘Sadie’.

Not that Texas has a spider shortage, mind you; I just did not immediately know where to look: “Looking for Spiders in all the wrong places.”

One day, lo’ and behold, I found a jumping spider which looked so very much familiar to me, (or perhaps she found me)

“Sadie! Sadie! Did you follow me all the way from California?” I asked breathlessly.

“Of course,” she said. “Why wouldn’t I?”

I happily gathered her up and placed her into my newest mason jar, assuming she still wanted to be my pet.

About a month later, I proudly announced to my Grandparents:

“My spider is gonna have babies.”

“Lance Son,” my Grandmother informed me rather condescendingly, “There is no daddy spider in there. Your spider cannot possibly have baby spiders.”

Not ill-mannered enough to say it, I thought it: “Of course she can have baby spiders ‘without a ‘daddy.’ Spiders are like guppies: they store sperm until the time is ‘just right.’ But how could this old Tennessee-Baptist-Dyed-In-The-Wool-God-is-Great woman even wrap her mind around such things Darwin?”

Absolutely Incomprehensible To Her.

About two weeks later, I was up to my ass in baby spiders. I did not show grandmother these offspring. She would have told me it was yet one more miraculous example of God’s Work:

“The Immaculate Spider Conception.”

All the baby spiders slowly disappeared over time, crawling through the ice-pick holes in the lid of the Mason Jar two-by-two, or however. Fine. Neither Sadie nor I were interested in raising a passel of little spider crumb snatchers.

My Lady Spider was a huntress and she complained daily regarding my neglect of her need. She ached for something more than the flies I would daily cast into her mason jar. They were just food. No thrills to be had in the hunt, merely a harvest. She was growing morose.

“You’re killing my Spider Soul with all these damn flies Lance,” she said.

“OK Sadie! I will give you something to satiate your arachnid need,” I told her one morning.

Under the eaves of my Grandfather’s shed lived a few Black Widow Spiders. They had established some manner of ‘Black Widow Sisterhood,’ (Not unlike similar ‘Sisterhoods’ to be found on Social Media these days.) Even though I am most definitely a spider geek, Black Widows never intrigued me as potential pets, mainly because they needed more than a Mason Jar Ecosystem for lodging and accoutrements and also because of their lethargic laisser-faire approach to acquiring sustenance:

“Sit in their parlor-web all day; wait for something hapless to happen by.”

No hunt in them whatsoever.
Boring.

Slightly peeved with Sadie, I decided to capture one of The Sisters. I took her to Sadie’s Mason jar and dropped her in.

“Happy now damn you?” I said.

Sadie looked about at her new roommate. Then looked up at me through multiple dark green eyes and said,

“I never thought we would come to this.”

“Sorry, ol’ Gal,” I giggled. “This is the part where the cowboy rides away. Catch ya laters. Good luck.”

I was curious and in fact, had nothing but time on my hands so I watched to see how she would deal with her new jar-mate, never really fearful for her safety.

But Black Widow was wily. She taunted Sadie, waving her long, spindly legs about in semaphore fashion, as if to say, “Come hither Little Jumper, let me demonstrate the technique that has given my kind our terrible dark name.”

Sadie began deliberately circling around Black Widow, sizing her up, her little Sadie neurons firing on and off, then seizing what I’m certain she perceived as perfect opportunity, jumped at her full force.

And missed!

Her momentum caused her to tumble onto her back.

Black Widow capitalized and deftly captured Sadie and began wrapping her in web, presumably to eat at her leisure. 
But Black Widow made one fatal mistake:

She bound Sadie’s hind legs (all four of them) first, leaving her front legs (all four of THEM) free. As Black Widow was casually wrapping her up, Sadie grabbed her with unencumbered front legs and planted a big wet French Kiss into Black Widow’s thorax. They remained locked in this embrace for thirty minutes. (I know; I was there, timing it–for ‘science’)

Black Widow now hoisted with her own petard and quite dead, was dropped by Sadie, who watched her tumble down and land with an inaudible (to me) thud on the Mason Jar floor.

“Sadie,” I said. “Your indentured servitude has ended. Here, allow me help you out of that.”

Fishing some tweezers that I had stolen from my Grandmother’s “Lady-Bag” bag from my jean’s pocket I gently and meticulously pulled all the Black Widow silk from Sadie, a tedious time consuming effort which took at least half an hour. Then I gingerly laid the Mason Jar on its side hiding it in a pile of kindling away from the prying eyes of opportunistic birds and went on about my business.

Returning the next day, I discovered no Sadie: just a note written in Spider’ease which read:

“Dear Lance,”

“Thank you for allowing me to save myself. 
I will always love you, but I’ve had quite enough of Texas and Texan ways. If you ever make it back to California, look me up. Here is my email addy: (Redacted)
Spider On! Y’all!”

And that was how she ended it.

Took me three days to get the webs out of my brain and a week to find another spider, but she was not the same. She was not MY Sadie, just an inadequately inept substitute, but I suppose that’s how it goes with First Loves lost.

“I miss you Sadie,” I caught myself saying to no one in particular few days later.

 

I’m The Reason God Made Oklahoma

When I was fourteen or fifteen and living in NE Texas, ‘Famine’ County to be more precise, I used to frequently cross the border. Not Mesico. No, Oklahoma. Yep. Go figger.

You see, back-in-the-day (Early Seventies), the drinking age got lowered to 18, mainly because it just was not fitting for a boy to go to Vietnam and not even be able to buy a beer ere he got there. Time enough for that once he got there, but you see, it became a matter of principle.

Well, my ‘group’ took advantage of that. You see, it was very difficult to tell a teenager’s age: I mean,

“How do you know he ain’t eighteen? He looks twelve, but hell! Ok, serve it up.”

And even better: In Oklahoma, well, they just did not give a shit. If you had money and could reach the bar, well, there you go.

OK, enough preamble and background. Early one morning (after about 0100hrs) my buddies and I, after having closed down the bars in Commerce (Texas), decided we were not drunk enough. So, natch, we drove to The Border, as I said: Oklahoma. Our mission: To hustle Pool and make the next day’s beer money.
Our favorite hang was a place just ‘cross da river. A place who’s name escapes me, but trust me: it was famous. There is a very long, very dark, very narrow bridge across the Red River. If one could successfully navigate that, being drunk… well, you needed a drink.

Now, do not mistake me, this establishment was always ‘closed’ by the time we usually arrived at thereabout 0200hrs, but I knew the guy behind the ‘Speak-Easy’ window and I knew the password: “Joe sent me.”

Good to go.

pool.jpg

They legally closed the bar at 0100hrs, but then remained open until first light. If one arrived around 0200hrs, one could shoot pool for four or five and then migrate to the back room where the crap tables were. I knew all the drills.

My gang and I sauntered in, bought some beers and Bob and I proceeded to ‘hustle’ pool. For beers. ONLY.

Shit!

We were already drunk; we did not need to hustle beers. We wanted money for the crap game. Bob and I spent the better part of two hours hustling beers, and had pretty much drained the joint, when this dude drops his quarter on the table. He was long and lankly and had his right hand missing. Yep. He was ‘handicapped” Errr… handless. I nudged Bob and said, “This chump cannot beat me. At pool.”

And, of course, I was right, but… damn! He was good. He used his ‘stub’ as a bridge and shot a mean Eight-Ball. I beat him outta bout a case of Coors. He got pissed and walked by me:

“You done stepped on my foot,” he said.

“No Sir, I did not, but if you think I did, well, I’m sorry…”

“YOU done STEPPED on my FOOT!”

“No Sir.”

Bob took me aside along with my other entourage; Peanut, Gene, and Jessie (a big black kid who had played star halfback for the Honey Grove Warriors back in the day—yes—he was older, and I did notice him putting razor blades between his fingers)

“Many-Feet” Peanut said, “That there one-armed man gonna beat you to some death with that nub.”

“Bullshit!” I said.

“No bullshit. Go ahead; hide an’ watch.”

To be continued….

Okay. Continued:

He beat me ’bout to death with that nub, just as Peanut foresaw.

Wish I had ‘foresaw’.
Dem Okies…well.. they some tough sons ah bitches, all I gotta say.

END

“Don’t Rain Rust on my Parade”*

“Petty Officer Marcom! Your fifty cals are rusty!”

I must admit; yes, they were. I tried so hard to keep ahead of the rust, but here I found myself between the second half of a six-month, round-the-whurl-WestPac deployment, and somewhere just off the coast of Somalia. Yes, rust was my enemy, and never my friend—the machine guns were always mounted while we (The USS Callaghan DDG 994, full cast and crew) were Haze-Gray and Underway. Yes, always mounted. And subject to rust. Rust Relentless. Relentless She Be: That Sea.

My professional life was to be found somewhere in those machine guns.

The Navy had a solution though. They provided canvas covers to cover those guns and make them safe from the rust. Alas, those canvas covers had seen better days, probably back when Pearl Harbor was just an ordinary Naval Base.

While scrubbing the Indian Ocean rust off’n the fifty-cals one morning I hatched a plan. Knowing full well we were soon to pull into Mombasa, Kenya, I saved my money. Once in Mombasa, I would smuggle one of the moth infected, jig saw, ‘holy’ canvas shards off the ship. I would rent a taxi and find a leather shop in Mombasa and commission new covers for my fifty caliber machine guns.

And This is exactly what I did, and to the amazement and astonishment of my Senior Chief Petty Officer and my Department Head (almost a Navy Commander… he kinda looked like JFK, now that I think on it—I did not like him, but he respected me—not sure why…)

The next time they inspected my Fifty Cals, they were pristine! (They did not take notice nor time to notice that the canvas covers were not exactly Haze-Gray Naval Gray–No, more like Third-World-Rustic.  And I was so desirous that they did NOT notice, but my Master Chief did notice, yet, never ever voicing his ‘inner thoughts’ in front of what he referred to as “Shit Birds” — ‘Officers’ — Never let on.

And I should have been cognizant of this, yet I was somewhat giddy after my .50 Cals had finally passed inspection, that I did not stop to think that anyone, not even Master Chief had seen through my ruse. I was drunk with my own cleverness and lying in my rack, congratulating me.

(Now, you must realize how the Military Mind works. I was my Ship’s Armor All–Armorer– IN Charge of All The Ship’s Small Arms! I was a Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class! Freshly rocked out of SEAL Training and trying to regain what little was left of my  pride.)

And I loved and Respected My Master Chief. Did not ever want to become an embarrassment to him, nor to my Fellow Gunner’s Mates who worked on the “Big Guns”.

And even more important, (anyone who has ever ‘Served’ will know this), the Military is Run on Fear: “Oh God, Please Don’t Let Me Fuck UP!”

That kind of fear.

Well, as I was lying in my rack just before Taps with my little blue ‘privacy’ curtain drawn, someone abruptly jerked back the curtain.

Yep.

Master Chief Anderson

“Son, tell me where you found those brand new gun covers.”

Trying to try to my side and find an elbow to lean to, I half-coughed out, “Master Chief, I had them made while we were in Mombasa.”

“I see”, was all he said, as he yanked my curtain back shut.

I did not sleep that night. For you see, I knew I had broken Naval Regs by doing something not-in-the Naval Seaman’s Bible–The Blue Book–The book I had been made to almost memorize while at Recruit Training Command, i.e. boot camp. I had broken the rules.

Sometime mid morning the next day, I was summoned to the berth/office of  The Department Head of my Division, Lt. Commander ‘Kennedy’. Shitting bricks is too trite.

I was nervous.

I gave a hearty rap on the bulkhead door as I was trained to do in bootcamp…

“Enter!”

“Petty Officer 3rd Class Marcom Sir!”

“I know who you are Lance; sit down.”

(What??? Lance??? Sit Down???)

Mouth agape I sad down, speechless

“Son, Master Chief Anderson tells me you went out on your own, commissioned and paid for, with your own money, those .50 Cal Gun Covers. Is this true?”

“Yes, uh, yessir,” I stammered.

“Well, that shows some fine initiative. How much did you pay Son?”

“Un Sir. Doesn’t matter…. I just, well, the .50 Cals cost ten-thousand dollars each, and I thought…rust….an…”

“How much did you pay?!”

“250 Dollars Sir.”

Without saying a word he opened a little three lock box (OK; I made that up. It was only a one-lock box) that he had in a drawer and handed me two-hundred and fifty bucks.

I sat there a moment too long, still in shock, looking the bills in my hand…

“Petty Officer Marcom! You’re dismissed!”

Jumping up, some tears welling in my eyes, “Yessir!” As I saluted him and abruptly left his quarters, knocking some books off a shelf as I tried to hustle out…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I may continue this story, (or not). My time in Kenya was rather interesting though.

(Those bits I remember anyhow)

 

The Happiest Year of My Life Remembered

The news of late from CNN foretells the fall of Anbar Province and of Baghdad. I spent one year working in Anbar Province. This was the happiest (on record) year of my life.

I am attaching a video and yes it is corny, and yes, the music is somewhat ‘gay’, and no, this was not a video that I made, or would have made.

It is a video made by the Filipinos who worked for/with me during this time. They made this vid as a ‘going away’ present for me when I decided to leave Anbar (Camp Wolfe) to work for an Iraqi company in Baghdad. Filipinos lean toward sentimental, hence their choice of music. To them it was fittin’. I loved them all.

I cherish this video and the sentiment behind it.

I do hope you will watch.

Cheers,

Lance

P.S. Hint: I am the guy in the black gimme cap and the black jacket. Bob The Mechanic is the guy with the beard, wearing the overalls.

080116 Wolf Looking Northeast 080116 Wolf Looking Northwest 080116 Wolf Looking Southeast LN LSA

 

I just had to attach this vid as it is so apropos:

Lenny on stage

 

Steinbeck

Edit That.

 As a “thinking” person, I do not believe in ‘Creation Science’. Nor do I believe in “God.”

But… I do believe in Magic!

That Magic which calls itself :”Jodi Foster.”

(Hahaha! I am sooo funny! And yep: I have seen the movie. Lighten up.)

And I love Science ‘Friction’

“Tired of being all alone here…late at night”

I am a Socialist!

“Socialist:” One who needs warm bodies akin… his skin.”

Tonight Tonight!

My Goal ‘Tonight’ is to catch up.

Yep

To catch up with my blogging friends.

I aim (good Texan verb, ‘aim’) to read and comment on one thousand! Posts! Shazam!! “Gall Eee Sargent Carter!”

Gomers found here

gomer-1-and-gomette-2

Amman Jordan, 2007 (I think) Me and Gommett

vid credit: Mark Ward

 

Now of course even y’all Yankees out there recognize that as hyperbole at best and bullshit at real.

Only people who use WP Reader can even ‘like’ a thousand posts a night with the simple-minded click of a simple-minded mouse. And Hell! It ain’t the mouse that is simple. It’s the mouse driver.

So, I just say: I will try (jes’ as soon as I post this here post) to get to readin’ ‘stead of writin’.

This is my goal and it is an honorable one. I may get to fifteen, but my likes and my comments are the real deal… so take that with some grain of… humble

And yes, I hope to prosper by my efforts (i.e.,  get more of y’all to read MY shit—tit for tat, eh? Yeah, that is what it is all about, ain’t it, Alfie?

Tits.

Yep

Tits and tats

Or, my personal favorite:

Tits and ass

It is always about tits yet, I am a ‘leg and ass man.’ Go figger her figure…

Cheers Y’all

And I will be seeing you in all the familiar places (That is a song! Get yer minds outta them gutters, fer fuck sake!)

Here Dear:

Vid credit:

warholsoup100

Cheers Again,

Lancers