He walks once more toward her, with jaunty steps through the moist night air. Condensing moisture sheaths her with a shine to her black hull. It runs in small rivulets down her superstructure across the numbers painted there. After crossing the brow and saluting the quarterdeck, he then walks forward on her slotted deck. He goes to the bear trap and drops down through the escape trunk into the forward room.
To the TM there concentrating with a frown intent on fixing some small part, he says, "Hey Magoo how goes it?"
"Red, we got a full load of fish aboard and are ready to go."
"Great. I'm ready to go again too."
"Well Red, we dont have much choice do we?"
"Nope. Im going aft for a bit, you want a cup?"
"No thanks... Gonna sack out after this is finished."
"Okay, give me a growl if you change you mind."
Going aft, he speaks to those still up and about, jokes with a couple and says something serious to another.
Later in the mess hall after drawing a cup he sits down, swallows some coffee and bitches to the mess cook, "Jeez Boozy, when did you make this shit, last week?"
"Stewburner, when you gonna get this guy to make decent coffee?"
Sitting there, he shoots the breeze with those that come and go in the mess hall. He is a well liked third class now and with time aboard he knows the boat and the crew.
When a mate from the engineroom gang comes in, they go over what needs to be done before pulling out on patrol again.
"Red, we got to get number two still putting out like it should, it aint right yet."
"Yeah Charlie, I know. It can do better... All of us would like a shower now and then at sea."
"We only got a couple more days before pulling out now."
"And the chief is gonna be up both our asses if it dont work right this time."
Finally enough time killed, he rises to go aft to rack out before morning, while brushing his teeth a face appears in the mirror.
"Whats up Yeo?"
" Pack your shit, your going to new construction."
"Whatcha mean, Im transferred?"
"Aw shit, not me! Pick somebody else".
"Sorry Red, you're going".
Standing there he watches his face in the mirror age, while the young smiling ones around him stay young...
"Red,,,,,,,,,,,, Red,,,,,,,,,,,, wake up your having that dream again."
"Yeah Billy... It's okay... Im awake now."
"Red, its the same one isn't it?"
Looking at Billy with old sad eyes, he says "Yeah."
"Why after all these years Red, it wasnt your fault?"
"Billy, it dont make no difference, I transferred and they were lost. I'm old now and they arent."
"But still Red, it should be over for you now."
"Billy, it aint never gonna be over until they plant me six feet under."
With a haunted look far off into space he says, "Same thing, every time, always the question, if I had been there could I have done something?"
Then looking fiercely into his young friends eyes, "Pray it dont happen to you Billy."
"Aw Red, that stuff doesnt happen no more... The war has been over for a long time"
"Yeah, it dont..." he says softly going back to a far off lonely stare.
Snapping back to the present after a few moments he asks, "Billy, what are you grinning about?"
"Red, I'm getting transferred back to my qual boat. Im gonna take leave while shes on sea trials after coming out of the yards."
"Good for you, Billy."
"Yeah its gonna be great to see my friends on the 593 again."
"Bill... Hey Billy... Hey wake up! Your having that dream again."