Saturday Morning


By: Garland Davis


“Well, I woke up Sunday morning
With no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad,
So I had one more for dessert.
Then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes
And found my cleanest dirty shirt.
Then I washed my face and combed my hair
And stumbled down the stairs to meet the day”—
Kris Kristofferson

I woke to the thunderous roar of sunlight streaming through the window.  On the other hand, maybe it was an un-muffled jeepney passing outside.  I knew that I wasn’t dead.  I hurt too fucking much. A dead man would not feel this bad.  Where the hell am I?  I squinted at the room through aching eyes.  I think it is my brother’s house at Baloy Beach.  I vaguely remember stumbling in here with a girl sometime in the night.  He told me to stay, just lock up when I leave and drop the key with Hanson at the Rose.  He had to leave early; told me he had duty Saturday.  He isn’t here. Must be Saturday.  The girl isn’t here either.  Was she a figment of my alcohol riddled brain?

I fell off the Futon onto the cement floor fumbling around for my glasses.  It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how drunk I get, I always know where I leave my glasses. Of course, I was bare ass naked.  My crank was stuck to my leg with dried saliva and other body fluids. I hadn’t been wearing skivvy shorts.  I had thrown them away when a group of Airdale assholes, somewhere in Subic City, started doing skivvy checks.  I saw my denim shorts in the corner. I stumbled to my feet and slipped into them.

Somehow remembering that had I placed my wallet under the futon, I snaked my hand under and retrieved it.  I hesitated to look inside.  How much money had I spent or did the girl I was with rip me off before she left?  I was afraid that I had shot all the ammunition in my peso gun last night. Wow, I was pleasantly surprised. I hadn’t spent a lot at all. I checked the secret pocket sewn into the denim shorts to ensure that the three one hundred dollar bills were still there.

My mouth was as dry as the street outside. I stumbled into the kitchen, looking for something to drink. There was nothing in the reefer. A cooler sat by itself in the corner.  Looking inside the cooler, I found a single San Miguel beer submerged in tepid water.  The thought of warm beer made my gut turn over.  Nevertheless, I was so thirsty; my mouth was so dry that I would probably consider drinking a gallon of Shit River if it was served over ice.  I grabbed the opener off the floor and popped the top on that hot beer.  I drank about half the bottle, gagged and fought to keep it from coming back up.  If it did, at least, there was something in my stomach to puke up.  I held onto the table to prevent falling, weaving back and forth for a moment, and then forced down the rest of the beer.

I found my shirt in another corner, pulled it on and stumbled around looking for the athletic shoes that I usually wore out here.  I don’t have to worry about combing hair or grooming.  I keep it in a buzz cut.  I discovered long ago that a man’s wallet carried more weight than his hair when it came to female companionship in Olongapo.

I remembered that there was an outdoor bar thing just down the beach.  I would seriously consider performing a perverted sexual act for a cold soda right now.  I locked the house as the bright sunlight almost knocked me to the ground and stumbled toward salvation for my dehydrated condition.  The pretty young teenaged girl behind the counter showed no surprise as my sick drunk ass approached the bar.  I asked for a cold Coke or Pepsi.  Then I told her to make it two. She set the first one on the bar.  It was streaming water and ice chips.  I think I mumbled grace to some sailor’s deity as I clutched it with both hands and drank it down in an almost single gulp.  Nectar!  The cold and wet began the healing process.  I sat the empty onto the bar as she replaced it with the second one.  I threw some peso coins onto the bar and told her to keep them coming.

As I sat there drinking cold Pepsi in an attempt to repair the damage, I thought back over the previous day and the events that had led to my waking up wishing for death to help me feel better.

Midway had moored at Cubi Point, yesterday; Friday morning.  As usual, when entering port, I had been occupied getting stores aboard, the underway watches secured, and the inport watch set.  Finally, everything was done; a three-day weekend awaited, nothing between Tuesday morning and me but seventy-two hours of liberty.

I left the ship about fourteen hundred Friday afternoon.  I grabbed a cab with a couple of airdale Chiefs.  They were heading to the CPO Club.  I figured “Why not,” I would have a couple of San Miguels there and then head for my stomping grounds in the Barrio. We walked into the main room of the club; the two airdales spotted some of their friends and moved that way.  I told them to have a good liberty and made my usual way to the stag bar.  San Miguel was calling!

I saw the beginning of my downfall at the bar as I walked through the door.  A Senior Chief Aviation Boatswains Mate who we called “Smokey” (he smoked four packs of Camels a day) was at the bar.  Smokey drank beer with a shooter of rum on the side and he had the proverbial “Hollow Leg.”  No one could recall ever seeing him drunk.  He always insisted on buying shooters for anyone he knew.  He knew that I drink Crown and immediately ordered a shooter for me.  I asked for a beer; deciding that one and I would be out of there.  If I tried to drink with Smokey, I would be “knee walking drunk” by sixteen hundred.

I managed to get out of the club after drinking only one beer and two of Smokey’s shooters.  I headed through the gate, across Shit River, to the moneychanger and stocked up on ammunition for my “Peso Gun.”  I intended to take a taxi to the Barrio.  There wasn’t one around, so decided to walk down to a shit kicking joint on the right and have a Pepsi.  The beer and two shots were heavy in my stomach.  I didn’t want to get fucked up before dark.  Going in that joint was a mistake.  A half dozen of my cooks was there and called to me as I entered.  By the time, I made it to the table a frosty cold San Miguel was sitting before an empty chair.  I thought, “You can’t fight fate, fuck, it must be my karma.”  I sat down and took a pull on the bottle.  I finished the beer and bought a round of Magoos.  After that one, I left.  Outside, I stopped a taxi and negotiated the fare to the Barrio.  I told the driver to drop me at the Irish Rose.

Things went downhill from that point.  There were about a dozen people that I knew in the Rose.  The beer was flowing freely, the jukebox was playing, the overhead fans were exercising the flies, and I was negotiating with one of the girls for a blowjob when I suddenly realized that it was dark.  Where the hell had the day gone?  It seemed as if I had just left the ship.  The rest of the night became a kaleidoscope of bars, beer, and girls.  I remembered jeepney rides, a girl stroking my leg, drinking Mojo, another girl, more beer and going into my brother’s house with another girl.

Now here I am sitting on Baloy Beach drinking Pepsi trying to sort out the events of the night before to decide whether I had had a good liberty.  I concluded that had a hell of a time; it was all good.  I was hung over, sick, my dick was sore and I still had plenty of money.  That is all a sailor can ask of a liberty.

I finished the second Pepsi and signaled for another as a tricycle taxi came roaring down the beach road and stopped at the bar.  There were two passengers crammed into the passenger side car. I recognized one of them as Jack Coates, a Navy retiree, and ex-pat. I didn’t know the other fellow, but he and Jack were obviously about three sheets to the wind.  But then, I had never seen Jack in any other condition.

They stumbled to the bar and Jack ordered three beers.  The girl placed the beer on the bar and Jack handed one to his companion and slid the other in front of me.  I said, “Jack, I’m drinking Pepsi, it is too early for beer.”

Jack stumbled toward me, grabbed my fresh Pepsi and threw it across the road onto the beach and said, “Stewburner, When I’m drinking beer, ever fuckin’ body’s drinking beer.”

You can’t fight your fate. Karma is karma.  I thanked Jack lifted the bottle, hoping that I could keep it down, and took a pull.  After the Pepsi, it went down much easier than the warm beer I had had for breakfast.  Drinking the beer and laughing at one of Jack’s stories, I was thinking that I still had three days’ liberty to go.

Fuck, still three more days liberty.  I love it; a sailor’s life is good.


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A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.


A Seventh Fleet Legend –The Red Haired Chief

A Seventh Fleet Legend –The Red Haired Chief

By: Steve Hayes


It was May, 1984, USS Sterett, homeported in Subic Bay, was finishing a four-month deployment to the Persian Gulf with a Stateside carrier battle group. Our final port call before returning home to Subic was Pattaya Beach, Thailand.

I took leave while there and booked a room at the Royal Gardens, as was my usual practice when in Pattaya. There was another CG in port and, while visiting a few bars on the main drag, I bumped into a sailor from that ship, who had once worked for me in USS Worden a few years before. He quickly pointed out that my hair was considerably grayer than the last time he had seen me. I was somewhat insulted and in my buzzed condition, I said, “You have gotten considerably balder over the years, at least I have something to work with.”  After this exchange, we parted company and went our separate ways as I continued to test my capacity for Singha beer.  I actually spent the rest of the day and part of the night at this endeavor.

The following day, I again met the same sailor while running a verification test on my Singha capacity. Almost an identical conversation about my hair took place. This time I became somewhat indignant and reminded him that, unlike him, I still had hair to work with. With each beer, I drank, my thought processes began to eat away at me and I was determined to show him.

Now, to appreciate the remainder of this story you should know that I, a Senior Chief at the time, was the Sterett’s Senior Enlisted Advisor. No Command Master Chief had yet been assigned.  Another important fact is, that prior to arrival, The CO, Captain Sullivan, had announced that anyone getting into trouble on the beach would have their liberty suspended for the remainder of the trip. A sound policy, with which I agreed.

After the second meeting with my balding, former shipmate and taste testing about ten more Singha beers, I determined that I couldn’t let this hair thing pass without some resolution. I began a stumble through the side streets of Pattaya, way off the main drag, searching for a shop to rectify my gray hair situation.  I would show that baldheaded dude and prove my point that I still had hair to work with.

It wasn’t long until I found a beauty salon that would seem to satisfy my need to abolish the gray in my hair.  It quickly became apparent that there was a failure to communicate.  No one there could speak English and I couldn’t speak Thai.  Actually, after all the Singha, I had doubts about my ability to speak English.

The Sterett slogan of Dauntless encouraged me to press on. I searched through the various products on the shelves until I found a package of hair dye that to my bloodshot eyes and Singha addled brain to be a perfect match to my once dark brown hair.  By pointing to the box of dye and my hair and making many other hand gestures, I successfully conveyed to the beautician that I wanted my hair dyed.

Having quaffed a considerable number of Singhas earlier, I soon drifted off to sleep as the lady began washing my hair and preparing me for the dyeing procedure.

Quite a while later, I was nudged to consciousness. As I awakened and realized where I was and remembering, I lifted my head and looked in the mirror to see the new, younger looking me with no gray hair. There in the mirror was this American dude looking back at me with a head full of bright red hair. I realized it was me and screamed, “RED!” Oh my God, I thought, what the hell have I done. We were a few days from Subic. My new wife and 7-month old daughter would be waiting for me.  How would I ever explain this red hair.  Everyone would think I was nuts!

After thinking about it and realizing that we still had two days in port, I determined to find another beauty salon and get it re-dyed to brown the next day. The girl who had done this to me wasn’t at fault, so I paid her and went on my way. Knowing I would have a lot of explaining to do once I got back to the main drag and my shipmates, I found a nice straw hat that covered my bright red hair and went back to the beach road. Of course, after a couple of ice cold brews and feeling pretty mellow, I began to show everyone my new head of red hair. I got a lot of laughs. I wasn’t worried though, it would all be fixed the next day.

Continuing drinking Singha and other tropical concoctions, I became considerably more intoxicated as the evening wore on into the night. Of course, I had lost the straw hat, by this time, and had become rather proud of my bright red hair. Just as my Irish ancestors would have been. Then disaster struck.

I had begun a conversation with a young woman in one drinking establishment. And in my alcohol confused mind, I became convinced she was a spy or something otherwise devious. There had been a recent terrorist bombing in the news and, in my alcohol infused brain, I just knew she was part of the group and had the evidence to prove it in her purse. Being a proud defender of America, I grabbed her purse and headed down the street with her following closely and loudly behind.

After about half a block, I was abruptly accosted by the Shore Patrol. And they, apparently weren’t buying into my story about how I saved the liberty party from this dangerous terrorist following me. Despite my pleas, they returned the purse to the girl and escorted me to Shore Patrol headquarters.  As it happens, the Shore Patrol Officer was a LTJG from the carrier. I have always thought that had the Shore Patrol Officer been a WestPac veteran, we would have resolved this pretty quickly and I could have just gone to my hotel room. Unfortunately, he had little sympathy for me and ordered me back to the Sterett.

It was a courtesy ride, no charges other than securing my liberty for the night (that’s what he thought). Of course, being in Pattaya, a courtesy ride meant waiting for the liberty launch to come get me.

Well, that was not a good thing. Shore Patrol returning a sailor to the ship would likely be considered a liberty incident and I was looking at remaining on the ship for the next two days and having no way to resolve the problem of my red hair. I wasn’t feeling especially proud of myself at this point. It was too late to do anything right then so I just headed to my rack and passed out.

Early the next morning, after dodging multiple snickers and questions from my fellow Chiefs and crewmen, I went to the CDO, Lt. Ted Dill, and pleaded my case to return ashore. I promised not to drink, just to go get my hair fixed and come back to the ship. It took a while but fortunately, being a good and fair officer, he agreed to let me off the ship.

True to my word, I went ashore and immediately located another beauty salon. This one was operated by a woman who had lived in Los Angeles and spoke decent English. She re-dyed my red hair to a passable dark brown.  Although there were some red streaks and highlights, it was much better than the red.

Despite my promise to the CDO, being a WestPac steamer, I decided to have a few Singhas on the strip and show off my new hair color.  Of course, I remained ashore until we departed Pattaya for Subic and, other than a lot of jokes, the red hair faded into the background and was mentioned less and less.

And as things happen, when I lifted my daughter to say hello, she reached up and grabbed my cover exposing my odd looking hair color to my wife. She took one look and said, “why you put that paint in your hair”. I later explained the entire story to her while judiciously editing parts of it as a matter of self-preservation.

That should have been the end of the story but evidently, like so many of us who sailed in the Asia fleet, I was to become a 7th Fleet legend.  Two and a half years later, I returned to Sterett in Subic while attached to FCDSSA, Dam Neck. I was there to conduct a System Integration Test on the new SM-2 NTU Tactical Data Systems upgrade.

Most of the Sterett crew had turned over since my tour aboard, except for a few who were still there.

I was now an OSCM. I was sitting in the Chief’s Mess having coffee when a Chief, whom I didn’t know, sat down nearby. Exchanging pleasantries, he noticed my name tag and asked, “Master Chief, were you the Hayes who was stationed on here before?”.

“Yes, that was me”, I replied.

He said, “Were you the one with the red hair”?

My face must have gotten the same shade as my hair had been as I sheepishly admitted I was the guilty party.


Steve Hayes is a product of the Bronx, New York. In 1966, neither the street life of New York nor the prospect of being drafted for service in Vietnam seemed to present a promising future so he sought out the local US Navy recruiter. Over the next couple of years, each trip back home witnessed the same guys on the same street corners contrasted to opportunities to visit ports all over Westpac. Staying in the Navy was a no brainer.
Following a successful 21 year Navy career, he spent the next 24 years employed by defense contractors in Virginia and Mississippi while single-handedly raising three great daughters.
Now retired, he spends his time boating and spoiling six terrific grandkids.