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 sound of sunlight streaming through the window. On the other hand, maybe it was an un-muffled jeepney passing outside. I knew I wasn’t dead. If I were dead, I wouldn’t feel this bad. Where 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; said he had duty Saturday. He isn’t here. Must be Saturday.
I crawled off the Futon onto the cement floor and fumbled 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. I was bare ass naked. My dick 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 the assholes in Subic City had started doing skivvy checks. My denim shorts were in the corner. I stumbled to my feet and slipped into them and stumbled into the head.
Returning to the room and remembering that I had 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? I was pleasantly surprised. I had been afraid that I had shot all the ammunition in my peso gun last night. I checked the secret pocket sewn into the denim shorts to ensure that the three fifty dollar bills were still there.
I stumbled into the kitchen, looking for something to drink. There was a cooler in the corner. Inside was a single San Miguel beer submerged in the tepid water. The thought of warm beer made my gut turn over. Nevertheless, I was thirsty; my mouth was so dry that I would consider drinking a gallon of Shit River if it was served on the rocks. I grabbed the opener off the floor and popped the top. I drank about half the bottle, gagged and thought it was coming back up. At least there was something to puke. I held onto the table weaving back and forth for a moment and then forced down the rest of the beer.
I found my shirt, 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 sucking dick for a cold soda right now. I locked the house and stumbled that way. The girl behind the counter showed no surprise as this sick drunk made his way to the bar. I asked for a cold Coke or Pepsi. Then I told her to make it two. She set the first Pepsi on the bar. It was cover with ice flecks and streaming cold water. I picked it up and drank it down. Nectar. The cold and wet started the healing process. I sat the empty onto the bar, and 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, trying 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 yesterday at Cubi Point Naval Air Station, Republic of the Philippines. The ship had spent the last fifty-nine days in the Tonkin Gulf performing flight operations in support of ground forces fighting in the Republic of Viet Nam.
Once the ship moored, I was occupied getting food stores aboard, the underway watches secured, and the inport watch set. Everything was set; a two-day weekend awaited, nothing between Monday morning and me but forty-eight 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 Chief Petty Officer’s Club. I figured “Why not.” We walked into the main room of the club; the other two Chiefs spotted some of their friends and moved that way. I made my usual way to the stag bar. San Miguel beer was calling.
I saw the beginning of my downfall at the bar as I walked through the door. A Senior Chief Aviation Boatswains Mate known as “Smokey (he smoked four packs of Camels a day) was at the bar. Smokey drank beer with a shooter of rum on the side. He had the proverbial “Hollow Leg.” No one could recall ever seeing him drunk. He insisted on buying shooters for anyone he knew. He was aware that I drink Crown and immediately ordered a shooter for me. I asked for a beer; deciding that one and I was out of here. 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 loaded my “Peso Gun.” I intended to take a taxi to Barrio Barretto. 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 there 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.” I sat down and took a pull on the bottle. I finished the beer and bought a round. After that one, I left. Outside, I stopped a taxi and negotiated the fare to the Barrio. I told the driver to take me to 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 “Amarillo By Mornin’,” everyone’s favorite, the ceiling fans were slowly exercising the flies, and I was negotiating with one of the girls for a blowjob when I suddenly realized that it was dark. Where in 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 dick, drinking Mojo, another girl, more beer and going to my brother’s house with a girl.
I was sitting on Baloy Beach drinking Pepsi trying to sort out the events of the night before deciding whether I had a good liberty. I concluded that it was 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 good liberty. Only had a couple of days to do it. Wednesday it was back to Tonkin. Monday and Tuesday would be loading stores and trying to get some equipment repaired.
I finished the second Pepsi and signaled for another as a tricycle taxi pulled up with two people aboard. Jack Coates was a passenger. I didn’t know the other. They came 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 told him that I was drinking Pepsi. He grabbed my soda bottle, threw it across the street onto the beach and said, “When I’m drinking beer, everyone is drinking beer.”
Karma is karma. I thanked him and took a pull on the bottle. After the Pepsi, it went down much easier than the warm beer I had for breakfast. I thought that I still had two whole days of liberty to go.
Fuck, a sailor’s life is good….