The Siesta Nest

by Bob 'Dex' Armstrong

Up forward in the superstructure below the walking deck, there was a tiny independent kingom on Requin known as the 'siesta nest'. It was ruled by King Stukey and inhabited by a kind of moth-eaten raggety-ass population known as the deck force. Its independence was insured by its inaccessability. No one above E-3 would ever have a purpose to visit or any desire to do so... And I doubt any officer even knew it existed. We figured the siesta nest was safe unless in some moment of insane behavior we applied for membership in the United Nations or attempted to obtain foreign aid.

The kingdom was defined as the space between the bow planes bull gears and the port side limber holes, opposite the chain locker and forward of the impulse air flasks... No nuke could have found it unless God gave them three wise men, camels and floated a star forward of the first salvage air deck plate.

It wasn't very large... You could cover the entire area with a few foulweather jackets and a flattened accumulated lamination of corrogated Krispie Kreme doughnut cartons. Stocked with books, girlie and sports magazines, this became a fairly comfortable hidden Shangri-La. The freeflooding deck allowed light to penetrate through the slots with the intermittant decking providing shade. Air circulated freely through the limber holes providing enough cross-venilation to clear cigarette smoke.

If the National Association of Loafing, Lazy and Good-for-nothing Sonuvabitches had created plans and specifications for a damn near perfect place to goof off, they couldn't have come up with anything even remotely approaching the siesta nest.

All you had to do was a series of unevenly spaced taps on an air flask to convey the impression that the gang was engaged in productive work... There was only so much inanimate metal and superfluous crap that you could chip, scrape, wirebrush, slap zinc chromate on and paint... Outside of three or four areas that you would need a gynecologist for midgets to get into, we had covered it all. Besides, nobody ever went down there... The place was like a birthmark on Queen Elizabeth's butt... Why worry about it? Who's gonna see it?

We never thought about the boats becoming submarine memorials... We heard that Gillette got 'em all and whacked them up for 'Blue Blades'. We heard the girls at the razor blade factory didn't care about the number of layers of zinc chromate the inside of the superstructure came with... It all looked the same when the crane lifted, electromagnet-hauled it out of the crap compactor. Ethical behavior dictated that we should not waste taxpayer funds on unecessary zinc chromate and number seven gray.

So, we spent our productive time creating the National Seagoing Skinbook Library... A large collection of paperback novels containing erotic plots and a variety of interesting anatomically challenging acts few people in the world above the walking deck had ever heard of or could have envisioned without having been recently exposed to the literary world of non-qualified personnel.

Adrian Stuke, our supreme ruler, benevolent despot and master librarian, ran the nest. He owned most of the finer books... I Was Kidnapped by Biker Babes, Lust-Starved WACs at Fort Benning and The Land of Lesbian Love, just to name a few.

We spent hours professionally critiqueing this literature and ritualistically cussing anyone involved in the qualification process, all qualified old timers, lifers, the Chief of the Boat, the entire crew of the Orion, airdales, the tin can navy, shore patrol, the Secretary of the Navy, and everyone in France.

Most heavy duty E-3 thinking, griping and plotting was done in the siesta nest. We raised totally non-productive whining to an art form. The fuse to ninety percent of the explosive nonsense and grab-ass that went on, on Requin, was lit in the siesta nest.

In the annals of American history, the siesta nest ranks right up there with Butch Cassidy's 'Hole in the Wall', 'The Briar Patch', 'The Bat Cave', and the place where Jeezus rolled away the Rock.

The nest had a very select list of members... In 1961, we won the Academy Award for the best sound effects to imitate productive work. Some Hollywood star with a gigantic set of boobs had to accept it for us. We were engaged in national security work providing target time to deaf, dumb and blind naval pilots.