Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Those Who Go Down to the Sea in Ships Part II

  When last we left our hero....come to think of it, that 'hero' would be me.  My, don't we think a lot about ourselves?  Let's try this again.
  When last we left our hapless schmuck, he was onboard the aircraft carrier USS America as it headed towards the equator en route to military exercises with the Brazilian Navy.  You can read about it here if it's a slow day, you're bored, and you have nothing else to do.  If nothing else, you can go look at the pictures.  
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
It's all fun and games until parrots
and monkeys start shooting the joint up. 
Or you can just take my word that I was nervous...

17 JUN 1977
Latitude 00˚ 00’ N
Longitude 039˚ 00’ W
Hot, Frikkin’ Hot

"I'll never bitch about shoveling
the sidewalk ever again!"
    This morning we crossed the equator.

    After the morning rush, MS1 Abunzallah announced that we were to report to the ship's hangar deck with the rest of the pollywogs.

    “Ass-keecking for sure, boddy,” he cackled to nobody in particular before disappearing.

An A-7.
Next to two helicopters.
I'll leave it to you to figure out which is which.
After changing into our “Pollywog Uniform” of inside-out tee shirts, backwards trousers, and shoes on wrong feet, we joined several hundred other similarly miserable souls in the hangar.  As we carefully stepped around an 
A-7 bomber chained to a set of pad-eyes, we heard an ungodly shouting from one of the aircraft elevators.

    “All you ‘wogs, asses down!  Grab your ankles and duck-walk to elevator #4!”

"Ya know, if I cut this bastard into two foot lengths,
it'd be perfect to smack the hell out of someone.  

What are the odds of us actually catching fire?"  
    Another voice joined the fray.  As I squatted, I spotted two bearded sailors who I’m sure I’d seen before.  Except this time they wore eye-patches, dungaree jeans cut off at mid-shin, and blue aircraft cleaning cloths wrapped around their heads.  Plus, they waved two foot lengths of old fire hose as if they were swords.

    They looked like pirate trick-or-treaters.
Pirates who dug Harry Potter.
And were gay.

    “I want to hear everyone squawking ‘wog, wog, wog’!” the smaller (not to be confused with ‘nicer’) of the two hollered.

    Like cowed lemmings, we belted out “wog, wog, wog!” and hobbled to the elevator platform.

    Emerging into the bright tropical sunshine, we were greeted by a torrent of saltwater from a flight deck firehose.  The high-velocity spray cascaded over us, momentarily drowning out our pitiful cries of “wog.”  Its salt got into my eyes and coursed down the back of my pants, soaking my shorts.

    What I didn’t know at the time was that soggy skivvies were to be the least of my worries that morning.

NOTE:  Depiction of 'skivvies'
for entertainment use only

NOTE:  What we actually wore.

    I shook my head and tried to blink away the saltwater stinging my eyes.  No way was I going to remove my hands from my ankles to relieve the salty burn.  No sense giving Blackbeard or Captain Hook any excuse to belt me with what they called their “shillelaghs” (ohhhh, so they were Irish pirates).   

    With a jolt, the elevator quickly rose to the flight deck.  Primarily used to shuttle aircraft from hangar to flight deck (or vice-versa), it now carried several dozen miserable pollywogs in backwards clothing.  For a brief, crazy moment, I fantasized about duck-walking my way right off the edge into the Atlantic Ocean.

    Getting picked up by a helicopter had to be better than this.

    The elevator shuddered to a halt and we were ordered to hobble onto the flight deck.  Right into a direct hit from the firehose.  Several of those around me were knocked to the rough non-skid meant to aid a crewman’s footing and halt any sliding by aircraft or support equipment.

    All it did this morning was remove skin.

    We were quickly formed into a line and ordered to jump to our feet.  At the sound of “Go!”, we dashed between two lines of shellbacks (“pirates” is a much more accurate description), shouting obscenities and, most importantly, armed with firehose “shillelaghs.”

Why aren't they effin' with the dude
 that has a camera??
They wailed away at us as we dashed through their gauntlet.  We held our hands pitifully around our heads, but our backs were exposed to this modern-day flogging.  I was struck more than once between the shoulder blades and was even smacked right in the behind, the lip of the hose whipping up and catching a testicle for good measure.

    I reached the end and collapsed on the flight deck.  Trying to catch my breath and ease the burning on my back, I didn’t see a shellback sneak up behind until it was too late.  I turned my head to see Abunzallah leering over me.

To be continued....


  1. If I saw men grovelling like that I'd worry about them losing their butt virginity - those of them that were butt virgins, I mean.

  2. You are just teasing us. A firehose is not what you were actually assaulted by. That was just foreplay.

    1. Yep, for real. Not the nozzle part, though.

  3. Damn, you are going to have to rate this book Adult only hahaha must have hurt

    1. If for nothing else, language. There will be sailor hijinks but none of a "girl in every port" kind.

  4. Your experience crossing the equator reminds me of others I've heard. I always regretted my lack of military service. The Navy would have been my choice but reading your post makes me feel like I dodged a bullet.

  5. Whoa. What an experience! Pirates, indeed!

    1. And you thought it was all fun and games.

  6. Your writing is so damn good Al, seriously, I just know when you write a long post I can sit down to read it and prefer to laugh a lot! Pirate trick or treaters made me crack up specifically!

    1. Thanks! I'm so happy that the Navy gave me so much material.

  7. Great writing! This is really good.
    It sounds like the wogs are unwitting participants in some kind of institutionalized homo-erotic extravaganza...

    1. You would think so with all those pictures of the Village People.