Boy Howdy and Little Sister
By Garland Davis
♪♫I used to pull down on your pigtails
Hey girl, and pinch your turned up nose
Oh, but baby you been growin’
And lately it’s been showin’
From your head down to your toes
Little sister don’t you, little sister don’t you
Little sister don’t you kiss me once or twice
Tell me that it’s nice and then you run
Yeah, little sister don’t do what your big sister done♪♫
Two years ago, the asshole detailer had shanghaied Boy’s ass to Charleston, South Carolina. Boy had offered everything short of performing indecent sex to stay on the West Coast or even better, a tour in Subic or Yokosuka. But South Carolina it was. The detailer acted as if he was doing Boy a favor stationing him near his home in Arkansas or Alabama (I can never remember which, I know it was one of the states with only A’s as vowels.) His Mama had died six days after his twin sister and he were born. She never named them, and some county clerk had entered Boy Jenkins and Girl Jenkins on their birth certificates. Two of their older brothers had taken them to raise.
Boy went to the Navy after graduating high school and Girl was the bride at a “shotgun wedding” shortly after her sixteenth birthday. He really didn’t know them and had no desire to visit. He worked his way through two years running line handling parties and the Boatswains Locker at the Charleston Naval Station. Boy had advanced to BM2 shortly after arriving in South Carolina.
A new detailer was more sympathetic. He didn’t have anything available homeported in Japan but offered the USS Chicago, a Light Guided Missile Cruiser. The Chicago was making a WestPac soon. Boy left Charleston for San Diego to catch the Cruiser. It took three days on the train. Boy was hoping he reached the ship before it left for WestPac.
Boy called an old shipmate who was stationed in San Diego from L.A. and asked him to pick Boy up at the station and take him to the Thirty-Second Street Naval station. It was about 2000 when the train got into San Diego His friend was waiting at the station. After shaking hands and saying their hellos. Boy told him that he had orders to Chicago at 32nd Street.
His old shipmate said, “The fucking Chicago is at the foot of Broadway. She was there for the open house yesterday. I can drop you there and save the trip to 32nd St,”
“These fucking orders say, ‘Report to Naval Station, San Diego for further transfer to USS Chicago.’ I guess I better do that or the assholes at 32nd St will have me U.A.”
They drove around the block and passed the Chicago sitting at the Broadway Pier and headed out to the Naval Station.
It was almost 2100 when they arrived at the gate. The Marine sentry directed them to the personnel building, telling him to check in there. After searching, they finally found the building. They figured that after the Naval Station stamped his orders, they would hit a couple of beer joints and he could check aboard shortly before midnight.
They entered the building and went to the lighted area where a PNSN was sitting at a desk reading a comic book. Boy presented his orders and said, how about stamp my orders so I can go report aboard.”
The SN read the orders, opened a drawer, pulled a sheath of messages from it and proceeded to thumb through them. He finally replaced them in the drawer and said, “Boatswains Mate, the Chicago left for WestPac this morning. You’ll have to check in to the transient barracks and come back tomorrow and we will arrange for transportation to their next port.”
Boy, incredulously said, “The Chicago is moored at the foot of Broadway. We just drove past there.”
“You are wrong Boatswain’s Mate. I’ve got a message that says she left this morning for WestPac.’ The PN said in a loud irritated voice as if he were speaking to an infant.
Boy said, as loudly, “Look, there is a fuckin’ Cruiser at Broadway with a big ass eleven painted on the bow. If that ain’t the Chicago, I’ll kiss your ass.”
A Master Chief PN came from an inner office and asked, “What’s all the commotion about?”
The SN said. “He has orders to the Chicago,” as he pulled the messages from the drawer to show the Chief.
The Chief looked over the orders and the message turned to Boy and said, “Petty Officer Jenkins. The Chicago left this morning.”
“Bullshit,” said Boy, “We just drove past the mother fucker.”
The Master Chief said, “God Damnit Boatswains Mate the subject is closed. One more word out of you and I’ll have you on the next flight out of the states for Subic Bay. You can sit on your ass there at the Transient Barracks and wait for the Chicago.”
Boy looked at him and said, “Throw me in that fuckin briar patch, Master Chief.”
The PNCM says, Oh, you think I am joking?”
He told the SN cut a set of orders and get the travel vouchers for the Boatswain’s Mate for an early flight to San Francisco, a bus to Travis and a flight to Clark in the Philippines.
Four days later Boy arrived at Cubi Point Naval Air Station. He had hitched a helicopter ride from Clark to Cubi. He reported to the base to learn that the Chicago was in Pearl and it would be at least thirty days before she arrived in Subic. They directed him to the Transient Barracks.
Boy checked in to Transient. As the PO3 was getting him checked in and assigning a bunk, Boy’s old Chief from his last destroyer walked in. He looked at Boy and said, “Well fuck me, BM2 Boy Howdy. The Boatswain’s Mate rate is going to hell. It’s almost time for knock-off, let me change clothes and we’ll go out to Magsaysay and have a couple of beers and shoot the shit.”
As it turned out, the Chief oversaw the Transient Barracks. He told Boy to check in every third day and to enjoy his return to Subic. They had a couple and the Chief left for home. His Filipino wife got pissed if the Bamboo Telegraph reported he was out in the bars without her.
After Chief left, Boy decided to go down to The Bar. It didn’t have a name that he knew. The sign just said The Bar. Perhaps his old girlfriend Mila still worked there. He had one more beer and then started down Magsaysay. The girls at the door to the bars called for him to come in. “I’m so lonely.” “I’m so horny.” “Come in, I love you long time.” Boy laughed, it was so fuckin’ good to be back in Subic and he had thirty days to enjoy it before Chicago arrived.
He turned left down the small dirt side street and saw The Bar on the left. He paused for a minute, lit a cigarette and pulled the door open. He was blind going from the bright sunlight to the dimly lighted bar. He stopped for a minute for his eyes to adjust. Someone took him by the arm and led him to a table. She asked, “You wan San Miguel, Boy Howdy?
“Yeah, do I know you?”
She walked to the bar for his beer. Pretty. Well, he wouldn’t be too disappointed if Mila wasn’t here. But why did she know his name? She walked back with his beer as he looked around the joint.
“You are looking for Mila, Boy Howdy?”
“Yeah, does she still work here?”
“Mila is in San Diego. She married Gunners Mate two years ago. Why? You no like me?”
“Why do you know my name? I don’t remember you.
“I am Mila’s little sister Maria. You remember. You used to buy me and my brother ice cream. I am growing up now. Can I be your girlfriend.?
For some reason, the lyrics of the Elvis song, “Little Sister” were running through Boy’s head.
He was back in WestPac, life was good and little Sister was going to make it an enjoyable wait for the Chicago!