The Little Red Caboose on the outskirts of Honolulu was always a good place to meet women with a high sex drive. The bouncer stood at the entrance, checked my ID, then let me in.
A model train circled around the room about eight feet above the crowded floor. All the cargo cars carried bottles of the different brands of beer served in the bar. Other train memorabilia lay scattered around with flashing railroad lights and that damn train chugging out choo-choos on its way around the track combined with loud, shrill whistles.
Two dark-haired women sat at a table in the middle of the room. I guessed them to be in their early-twenties, like me. The balmy, slightly humid Pacific evening had lured one of them into wearing a plain teal tank top and she hadn’t bothered with a bra. Her brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail, keeping it out of the way of her large breasts. The other girl was kind of Eskimo-looking, perhaps escaping the Alaskan winter to spend January in the Hawaiian heat. She was cute in her own way.
I wore my white pants, a yellow t-shirt, and a white linen jacket like that Miami Vice guy, Don Johnson. The girl in the store said it suited my ‘petitely muscular frame.’
I straightened my jacket and walked up to their table. “Hi, can I buy you ladies a drink?”
The girls looked at each other. “A drink, huh? I can see you’re one of the original ones, aren’t you?” The big breasted one commented. She took a sip of her something and cola drink.
“No, that was your cue. I say, ‘would you like a drink?’ and you say, ‘Well, helloooo, sailor.’” I smiled.
The girl in the tank top rolled her eyes. The Eskimo nudged her friend and whispered something. Whatever she said, it was enough to turn the cards in my favor.
“Oh, go on then,” Busty said, batting her eyelashes. “Get us a couple of rum and cokes, Popeye.”
The girls giggled.
I went to the bar and got the drinks, although I didn’t really appreciate the Popeye crack.
When I returned, I sat down with the drinks and the braless one caught me admiring her thinly veiled breasts. She smiled and pulled her shirt tighter, making her nipples stand out more. That simple act alone was well worth the cost of a drink.
I introduced myself as John and they mumbled back their names, which didn’t really matter. I had already named them Betty Big Tits and Esther Eskimo. Having had my heart broken in the past, anonymity was a good way of protecting myself from further pain. They didn’t need to know my name was really Tyler Chambers.
It didn’t take a lot of persuading, but I talked the girls into doing shots of Jack Daniel’s. I took turns dancing with Betty and Esther and kept the Jack and beers flowing down their lovely gullets. Esther got better looking with each shot and Betty’s nipples got harder the more I stared at them.
After hours of drinking, they looked primed and ready for more than just dancing.
Then things went blurry and a little fuzzy. I think we had a good time, but I wasn’t entirely sure.
I was back onboard my ship, the USS Expectation, first thing Monday morning with just a few more days before I’d be transferred to my new ship. I was excited about that.
I loved being a sailor. Having just completed serving four years in the Navy, I signed up for another four. I was due for a ten thousand dollar reenlistment bonus and another cruise to the Far East. Where else could I get a job where they paid me to sail the world and have sex with women in foreign ports. It was almost like being a gigolo.
The man who persuaded me to re-enlist, Senior Chief White, summoned me to his office. He sat behind his desk sipping coffee when I entered. He pointed to a metal-framed chair across from him. “Sit down, Chambers.” His gravelly voice echoed off the steel walls.
I sat, wondering what I was doing there.
“I’m afraid there’s been a mistake. I read the figure wrong regarding your reenlistment bonus. You’re not getting ten thousand dollars… it’s only one thousand.”
“What? You can’t be serious. That would barely keep me drunk and in Waikiki whores for a week. You said ten grand, Senior Chief.”
“That was a mistake, son, but what you signed was correct.” He slid a piece of paper across the desk. At the bottom was my signature. Right above it was the figure, $1000.00.
“There’s no comma there, Senior Chief. I took your word for it. You said ten grand and it looked like ten grand.”
“Sorry, Chambers, but you signed it.”
Staring at him with a mild form of hatred, I realized that wouldn’t change anything. I couldn’t go through the next four years of my life filled with anger and bitterness. I took a deep breath. Okay, it would have been nice, but I didn’t have any real plans for the money anyway. A damn good drinking fund, but it wasn’t like I was going to buy a car or anything. I didn’t want to harbor resentment, so I shrugged it off. “Oh well, at least I’m going on WestPac. A grand will go a long way in the Philippines.” I was proud of my self-comforting logic.
“There’s been a change of plans, Chambers. You’re not going on WestPac.” He ran his finger and thumb down the sides of his moustache.
“What do you mean, Senior Chief? We had a deal. You said ten grand and a trip around the Orient for four years of my life. I’ve already signed on the dotted line. There’s no going back.” He must have meant I wouldn’t be reporting to the particular ship I signed up for, but surely I’d still be going on a deployment of the Western Pacific. “You’ve already screwed me out of nine grand, but don’t mess with my WestPac.”
“You’re going to Scotland. You’ll li—"
“Scotland! Whaddaya mean, Scotland?” I didn’t even ask, just pulled out a cigarette and lit up. “What am I supposed to do in Scotland, fuck sheep?”
“No, that’s Wales.” He remained straight faced. “They need a second class petty officer there within the next week, and you’re it.” He pulled a Swisher Sweet cigar out of the packet on his desk and lit it.
I shook my head. “No, we had a deal, Senior Chief. You set it up so I could go have sex with Filipino women. I can’t go to Scotland. Those guys wear skirts.”
Senior Chief chomped on the white plastic tip of his cigar. “It’s called a kilt, and tough shit. That’s Navy life, Chambers. It’s all mind over matter. They don’t mind, and you don’t matter.”
I folded my arms. “I’m not doing it.”
He leaned back in his chair. “I think you’ll find that you will.”
I stood up and shook my finger at him. “You tricked-fucked me, Senior Chief,” I yelled. “This isn’t what you promised me. I quit!”
Senior Chief shot out of his chair and banged his fist on the desk, his thick eyebrows knitted together. “Right. You had your little tantrum, Chambers, and I think you best remember who you’re talking to.” He grabbed his collar insignia of an anchor with a single star at the top. “I’m a goddamn Senior Chief, and you’re going to Scotland with a thousand dollars in your pocket. And if you don’t like the sound of bagpipes up your ass, yeah, you can quit, but quitters in this outfit spend a few years in the brig and then get a Big Chicken Dinner. Your choice.” His lip quivered like a snarling Rottweiler.
My anger boiled over and for a brief moment and I failed to remember his seniority outranked my own status and desires. Not wise.
Senior Chief was pretty high up the food chain rank-wise and the dinner he spoke of was actually code for a BCD: Bad Conduct Discharge. I dropped my gaze to the floor. “Sorry, Senior Chief. I’m just really disappointed. I was looking forward to going on WestPac.”
“I know you were, son, and I’m sorry.” There was a trace of sympathy in his voice, but also the harshness of non-compromise. “Scotland’s not bad. The ship’s a submarine tender and doesn’t go to sea much. The subs come alongside and you’ll be there to fix ’em.”
“But I want to go to sea.” I took a drag of my cigarette and blew the smoke toward the ceiling. “Holy shit. Wait a minute. Do you mean to tell me the ship is classed as non-combatant?”
“So there’re women onboard, right?”
“Yep.” He smacked his lips to enunciate the ‘P’.
“Oh, c’mon,” I groaned. “Chicks on a ship?” I preferred the ‘Wham, bam, thank you ma’am’ and then getting the hell out of port. I certainly didn’t want to sail the world with them in tow, nagging the crap out of me.
Senior Chief aimed his finger at me. “I’m telling you now, Chambers, leave the women on the ship alone. It always leads to trouble. Find yourself a nice Scottish lass and forget about women on the ship.”
I took a deep breath and looked at the floor. “I think I’d be better off with the sheep.”