Down Three

by Bob 'Dex' Armstrong

We've all been there. The third week of providing ping time to folks who obviously couldn't find a hippo in the trunk of a VW. There comes a point where you want the blind bastards to find you so bad, you want to bang on some metal object until the deaf sonarmen will hear you… Find you… And tell you to go home. At this point, the wild bunch in the alley start trying to figure out how the midwatch can turn on the red eye during the 2300 snorkel charge.

Three weeks down is the point where you begin to think teaching a cockroach to tap-dance is actually possible.

Grown men find they can actually argue over what sounds the animals on old Macdonald's' farm made… Where people devote time to questions like, "Who the hell was Hogan and why did they name the after half of the after battery outboard passageway after the sonuvabitch?" Then you find that guys like Sid Harrison and RamJet were actually related to Hogan.

Last week they had disclosed their linear bloodline descendency resulting from a little known illicit relationship between Joan of Arc and the Emperor of Japan (We will not speak of week four… The point where you actually believe that Sid Harrison actually wrote musical stuff under the name Beethoven and RamJet holds all the patents on fresh air). Week three women that looked like Eleanor Roosevelt started looking desirable. Books titled Trucker's Babe are transformed into great literature… And movies titled Riders of the High Chapparal become theatrical achievements… And beginning week three, you start to smell yourself.

By week three, you have held the Great Master Acey-Ducey Tournament, determined who the Planetary Grand Champion is, and had the customary ceremony. No milk… Bread's stale… Gamey dungarees.

The after battery is beginning to look like homeless people have moved in… All that's missing are grocery carts and refrigerator crates.

In the middle of chow, you have to pry two shipmates apart because one makes the simple observation that it's damn near impossible to find a virgin in Rhode Island… In the process we learn that the brother of a nun in a convent just outside of Newport is an ET on board.

The motor burns out on the alley fan.

Exec decides that crew is ripe for a practical factors lecture on the care and cleaning of the 45 cal. pistol. Crew votes overwhelmingly for the Sailors Beware film… That VD film that was always a big after battery crowd pleaser… The one where everyone swore it was made in his hometown and he had dated most of the cast. The exec cast his vote for the .45 film… Exec won… We watched a .45 get totally nekkit… Down to her operating slide and main spring. What an exciting experience. Nobody recognized anything from his hometown.

Three weeks out. We get Radio Moscow on RBO… The lovely ladies of the Mikarovgod tractor factories had a record breaking week and turned out 85 tractors. Boy, were we impressed. Lad from Nebraska who has intimate knowledge of both tractors and Nebraska girls explains how important it is to select for your life partner, a girl who has 'tractor ass'… Meaning that crease and cheek size must conform to a John Deere or International Harvester seat. Most of us had never heard of tractor ass… A little known fact we would have missed if we had gone to Penn State or Columbia University instead of SUBLANT U.

Third week out. Two men get in heated debate over what day it is. Engineman confesses that he has no idea what year it is… Only that it is somewhere in his third enlistment.

Messcook cuts his hand on sharp edge of a canned ham can. Mob collects to watch Doc Rohr sew him up. This serves as entertainment for the better part of 45 minutes. The surgical thread is purple… Crew tries to talk Doc into embroidering little violets in with the stitches for a great future sea story. Doc tells onlookers to go to hell and find some other way to waste their useless time.

Someone steals officer's Playboy magazine out of the forward room head. Nothing happens… Crew had hoped that some Scotland Yard criminal investigation would be launched. No one cares… No fun in it. Magazine is returned.

We get WCKY out of Cincinnati, Ohio. Man selling baby chicks and marigold seeds… Song by Mother Maybell and June Carter… We lose signal… Shit-kickers are broken hearted.

Cook serves canned mystery meat… We've been out too long. We know that tuna noodles will show up any day, then Sloppy Joe on rice. The hydraulic oil film floating on the coffee seems to be getting more colors… A veritable rainbow.

No mail… Couldn't somebody arrange an Orphan Annie drop? Isn't there one sonuvabitch in VP 45 who could get hold of our gahdam mail and drop it to us? All naval aviators are lazy bastards… Discussion follows…

Enginemen making fresh water… Jeezus it gets hot. After battery fan still busted. Exterior noise level monitors picking up internal noise… Turns out to be a can of peaches rolling back and forth in the waterway. Trash building up… Need a one-way surface dump.

Show movie backwards… It's not funny. Someone returns to subject of lack of virgins in Rhode Island… Nobody takes bait. Discussion turns to how come you never know who's winning stock car races but any Annapolis man in the forward battery can tell you who won the gahdam Army-Navy game five minutes after the fourth quarter? Is it true, did Fireball Roberts get killed?

What day is it? Some quartermaster must know… We've been down three weeks…

When's FINEX?