Boy Howdy, Mess Crank Extraordinaire
By Garland Davis
BM1 Halberstam was the Mess Deck Master at Arms. This did not make him happy. He had been Deck Division Leading Petty Officer until BM1 (Pappy) Jones reported aboard. Pappy was older than dirt and senior to every BM1 in the whole Navy. It was Deck Department’s turn to provide the MDMAA. He ran the mess cooks and the Mess Decks with an iron fist. He was known to take a sailor jacking his jaws in the chow line, slowing it down and bounce him off a bulkhead a couple of times or grabbing a sailor by the ass of his pants and the collar of his shirt and scrub the deck with him for walking on his wet deck when the Mess Decks were secured.
Boy Jenkins went to his station in the Mess Decks. That was his name. His Mama passed away shortly after he and his twin sister were born. She hadn’t named them, and a county clerk entered “Boy” and “Girl” on their birth certificates. His Company Commander had started calling him Boy Howdy and it just stuck.
“Hey Boy, what did BM1 Halberstam have to say about you not emptying the Garbage cans last night. He was really pissed when he found out you went on the beach without doing it.” From his fellow mess cook.
Boy replied, “Yeah tell me about it. I tried to explain that the garbage barge hadn’t come, and the liberty boat was getting ready to leave. I told him I intended to dump the cans at midnight after liberty but when I went to do it somebody had already emptied them.”
“So, what did he do?”
“Chewed my ass out and ate my fuckin’ liberty card.” Boy said.
The other mess cook asked, “What, ate your liberty card?”
“He pulled my liberty card out of his pocket and asked if I knew what it was. I told him yes, it’s my liberty card. Then he fuckin’ ate it and told me if I wanted liberty for the next week, I could dig through his shit for the card.
BM1 came around the corner and said, “Knock off shootin’ the shit. Let’s get that mess gear put away and those pans back to the galley.”
Boy asked. “BM1, what time is sick call? I think I got the crabs.”
“You been using that after head? The snipes head?” Halberstam asked.
“Yeah, it’s the closest and half the time that passageway forward is secured.” Boy replied.
“Probably where you caught ‘em. The snipes on this ship either have the crabs, are getting over the crabs, or catching the fuckin crabs. I won’t even walk through their compartment let alone use their head. You either caught them from the snipes or some crabbed up skank on the beach. Well, you got a week to get over them before you get a chance to spread them around the Honch. Get that shit put away and back to the galley then go see the Dick Smith, go down and get creamed up, an’ be back here in an hour, I’ve got some shitcans that need scrubbing and they got your name on ‘em.”
Boy went up to sickbay and fell into the line waiting to see the Doc. From the talk of the others, it seemed they were here either for the clap or the crabs. The BM2 Hanson who slept in the rack above Boy came by and said, “You turned Sick Bay Commando since you went crankin’ Boy? Got the clap, huh?”
“No, I got the fuckin’ crabs.” Boy sheepishly replied.
“You been using the snipes head?”
Why hasn’t anyone ever told me this shit?”
The Corpsman checked Boy and verified that he was crabbed up, gave him a tube of Kwell Kream and instructed him in its use. Doc said, “You have a light case of the bugs. I had a Fireman in here that had one hanging on every hair.”
As he was leaving Sickbay the Doc said, “And watch that snipe’s head.”
“Why do I not know this shit?” Boy exclaimed.
Boy went to his berthing and lotioned his privates like Doc had instructed and headed back to scrub BM1’s shitcans. As he passed the entrance to the galley, BM2 Hanson was coming out carrying some of the metal disks that were cut from the ends of the large cans used by the cooks.
BM1 kept Boy busy all afternoon and made sure he emptied and cleaned out the shitcans after supper. He finally knocked Boy off about an hour later than usual. Boy was paying for not doing his job yesterday. Boy dropped down into berthing. He was going to shower, put some more of that Crab-Off cream on and hit his rack.
When he reached his rack, he saw something new. It looked as if someone had made miniature rat guards and put them on his bunk chains. “What’s this shit.” He asked to the compartment in general.
BM2 Hanson leaned out of his rack and said they are Crab Guards. “I made them from can lids. Since you are crabbed up, I don’t want to take any chances.”
Boy went off to the showers shaking his head.