The Evil Men Do

by Mike Hemming

"The evil men do."

Caesar said that. If Shakespeare had been a bubblehead, he would have said,

"The stupidity men do, lives after them."

A Requin topside watch on the mid watch one summer night let brain-softening boredom overtake him and committed a sin that admirals John Paul and Dewey would have stood in line to spit on his grave for.

Watching a pier 22 rat go about his nocturnal business, he decided it would be a great trophy to add to his conquests. Leaving his post he followed the rat down the pier, stalking it so as not to scare it in to running away at full tilt. With care, he backed this large cat-sized rat into a corner behind the dumpster. Wisely deciding that his .45 would make too much noise to dispatch this monster rodent, he ops for the billy club... Not really the weapon of choice but what the heck, its 0200. Whereupon, in fierce battle to the death, the enemy is overcome... Truth, Justice and the American way triumph once again.

After seeing his bloody conquest in the light he decides that a stuffed rat, no matter how big would not win him any popularity contests aboard. So the carcass is disposed of in the dumpster, and our conquering hero returns to his post.

As we were moored at the end of the pier alone, no one is the wiser at this point.

It is at this point though, that late night idiocy totally overwhelms him and he details his actions in the Deck Log. If I remember correctly it went something like this,

0158 - Sighted Commie Rat on pier

0201 - Followed rat down pier to a restricted area

0206 - Cornered rat behind dumpster

0208 - Mounted attack on rat with billy club for spying

0210 - Killed rat with 10 blows to head and body

0211 - Estimated weight 3 Lbs., age and sex unknown

0213 - Disposed of body in dumpster

0214 - Cleaned weapon

0215 - Returned to post, conditions normal

Well as you can imagine every guy on watch read this over and laughed. Not long after this, a cartoon shows up in the mess hall showing him holding this tiny mouse up by the tail, while behind him looms this monster rat ready to smash him on the head with a billy club. The COB and the wardroom see it and want to know what in the hell it's all about.

"I dunno Chief, just a cartoon, I guess."

Time passes and the incident fades except for every new guy aboard reads the log, causing it to fall open to that page any time its opened. By this time our Rat Dispatcher RDSN(SS) has departed for civilian life once again, and a damn good thing too. For now its ORI time... You know, the USN's answer to the Spanish Inquisition, fingernails on the blackboard and the dunking stool combined, during which an inspector, a commander as I remember, decides to check the log book. Onlookers say near rage and mirth combined on his face, making him speechless for several minutes. There follows a parade of brass past the logbook that looked like the halls of the Pentagon at coffee time.

Needless to say Requin did not win the coveted E that year, or any other for the rest of her career.