Bag of Tricks
Hong Kong 1982
USS Coral Sea
By Robert “Okie Bob” Layton
We were sitting in a corner outside café down the main gut of Hong Kong. George Scruggs, Jerry Baker, Doug Mattson, Red Jordan, and Myself. It was about 10 in the morning things were relatively quiet as we were having our morning coffee and cake.
Jerry speaks up “What’s that”
Everyone looks up and turns to see what he is pointing at.
Way on down the street, 200-300 yards, you could see some commotions going on. It looked like someone was being chased!
There was a guy hauling ass, coming toward us with what appeared to be several Hong Kong Constabularies in hot pursuit.
The guy was running past trash cans and boxes tipping them over behind his back in an attempt to slow down his pursuers.
George “Is that guy an American?”
Doug “Can’t tell”
Red “We will know in a moment he is headed right at us”
The guy was dodging vendors, foot traffic, and vehicles.
It was a sailors obstacle course!
It appeared he must have run it before, as he was pulling ahead of his chasers!
As he got closer we got a visual ID you could tell he was an American.
“Hell, guys that’s Joe Creapo!!!” I shrieked
“What the Fuck” Red exclaimed
As Joe got within vocal range he made us out and started yelling while on the run “Hey Okie help me out here”
Okie help me out here”
“What do you need us to do” I yelled back
He gave one quick request “Hide me, Fast”
I get up and tell everyone to remain seated. I walk nonchalantly to the corner behind us. As Joe streaks by the others I duck around the corner at the same time Joe turns the corner with me I start off running with Joe. Knowing he has Knowing he has a good 150 yards lead on the short legged Hong Kong cops, I start to remove my Jacket [a blue wind breaker with a coral sea logo on the front] hand it to Joe he puts it on never breaking stride.
We get to the next intersection and round another corner, I reach in my pocket pull out my hotel keys [the kind that had the hotel and room number on the oval plastic tag] and tell Joe “Make your way up to my room I’ll see you there”
I turn and head back to the rest of the guys. As I backtrack I was surprised to see no cops headed down our route. I get back to the corner Café and could see why. All my guys had taken the hint. When I told them to remain seated they did just that, until the Hong Kong Cops got close to them. Then they all jumped up and started pointing to the opposite direction that Joe and I took. You talk about a well-polished Det!! I was proud of them for they had totally stood up for a shipmate.
They were still miss-directing the backup cops as they arrived. We had those little blue blokes doing a classic “Chinese fire drill”
Things settled down, my Hotel was just a block or so away. We all made our way over to it in two separate groups. I get to my room and knock on the door. No answer! I knock again!
Still no answer I fear that Joe has been apprehended. I try again, this time, yelling out “Joe open up its Okie!” The door latches and locks start to click the door opens and there stands Joe grinning like a shit eating possum. I take and shove Joe with both my hands
“What the fuck was all that about, ” I ask
“Now wait a minute Okie” Joe replied
The rest of the group files in, all having had a part in the rescue of Joe, everyone wanted answers!
“Ok what happened?” I ask
“My hooker called the cops on me because I didn’t pay her”
“How and why did that happen?” I ask
“Well you know those little black 2 dollar AWOL bags they were selling on the ship”
“Well I bought a bunch, thought I might give them away as gifts back home”
“Well the first night in I got this really fine Russian/Chinese hooker I take her up to my room we have an all-nighter”
“Wel, I was low on money she wanted more.”
So I told her “Come on baby do it once more, and I’ll go back to the ship and get some more money”
I said to her “Look I’ll leave my bag here with all my stuff just stay here guard it and wait for me”
“Well did you go back?” I inquired
“Yeah back to the ship”
“Got me another Black AWOL bag, threw some cheap shit in it, came back into town.”
“I got to thinking hell I got a half dozen of them bags; I’ll just get me another hooker and bail out on her Too”
“It worked a second time– perfect”
“Okie it was a pretty good scam an over-nighter in exchange for a 2 dollar bag” Joe just beams!
“So what happened?”
“Well, this morning my hooker didn’t buy the bag trick. She wanted money now”
“I told her I had some buddies down the hall and I could get money from them”
“She still didn’t believe me so I faked a phone call to a room she started to listen in I said a quick good by then hung up”
“I got dressed real fast and run on down the hall”
“She was right on my heels, once downstairs she calls the cops—that’s when I took off– so here I am”
I proclaim “Joe looks like your liberty in Hong Kong Is up, It’s the Kowloon side for you buddy”
“Yeah I’ll leave my Bag of tricks on the ship this time,” He said