Boy Howdy and the Maid
By Garland Davis
The cruiser was in Subic for a final week before departing for the States. The shooting in Vietnam had ended and the stateside homeported ships were headed home. It was almost unheard of to end a WestPac cruise early,
Boy ‘Howdy’ Jenkins was taking a week’s leave. Yeah, his actual name is Boy. He is from either Alabama or Arkansas, you know, one of the states with A as the only vowel. His Mama died shortly after the birth of him and his twin sister. There was no one to name them so the County Clerk made the birth certificates out as Boy and Girl Jenkins.
Boy wasn’t sure when he would get back to WestPac. He decided to revel in as much San Miguel and debauchery as his body could stand while he was here. He was staying with an old shipmate who had lucked out and got a two-year tour at Service Craft as a Tug Master. BM1 Haskins rented a house at Baloy Beach and had let Boy stay there while his ship was in Subic. Three of the other sailors in Watercraft, BM1 Ort, BM2 Greeves, and EN1 Jacobs rented houses there also. They were all single and were known for serious partying. Four houses in a row on the beach, cheap beer and hot LBFM’s. What more could a sailor wish for?
Haskins had a maid, a pretty girl, who cleaned the house, did laundry and cooked when he remembered to buy stuff at the Commissary. Usually, she would go to the local market and prepare Philippine dishes. The maids of the other three and she would work together to cater the frequent parties. The maids were paid a salary and meals and had a small room in which to live. Haskins’ maid was named Lila. Boy agreed to pay her for taking cares of his clothes. She was happy with the arrangement.
The first thing Haskins told Boy was, “Don’t fuck the maid. If you start fucking them, they quit working and if you are not careful you will be shacked up and she will have a maid. There are enough women in the Barrio, so don’t fuck my maid. As a matter of fact, that applies to all the maids”
“Okay, hands off,” Boy agreed.
A couple of days into his leave, Boy woke up hungover and dry. He stumbled up off the mattress and started for the head when he heard Lila talking with someone. He stopped to listen. He looked through a crack and saw that she was talking with EN1 Jacobs. She said, “I don want anybody know about us. I am good girl and if anybody find I stay with you, I will have bad reputations.”
Jacobs assured her that no one knew and that he would see her tonight. He said, “my maid is going to the province for a funeral and you can sneak over to my house after dark. We can spend the whole night together.”
Boy mulled over telling Haskins but decided to let it slide. You know, young love and all that stuff.
The third day of his leave was payday. Boy was going to the ship, get paid, stop at the club for a decent meal and then head back to the Barrio to see how much WestPac liberty he could squeeze into the next three days. He grabbed a Jeepney for a special run to the main gate and roared away in a fog of low octane gas and burning oil from an engine that was on its last legs when it was removed from a WWII Jeep in ’49.
Boy was in Tropical Whites. The rumor was out that a message from the CNO was going to permit civilian clothing aboard ship. Hadn’t happened yet. Boy was ambivalent about it. He was happy with the uniform.
Boy went aboard, checked with his division, that all was running well in his absence, pulled a cup of coffee and waited for the word, “Payday for the crew.”
He collected his pay and walked over to the Sampaguita Club, ate a cheeseburger, and drank a couple of beers before heading for the gate. After he was given a once over by the Marine Lance Corporal, he crossed the bridge over Shit River and started toward the line of Jeepneys when he heard someone from behind yell, “Boy, Boy Howdy.” Turning he saw a fellow in civilian clothes running toward him.
“Hey, Boy. It’s me, Jack Purdy. I was a Seaman on the Chandler when you made Third. I see you are a Second now. I struck for Quartermaster and made third last exam period. Let’s duck into the Hole in the Wall and have a cool one.”
“Sounds like a plan, which ship are you on?”
“Oh, I’m stationed here at Port Operations. My primary duty is to keep the weatherboard up to date and make coffee for the office.” Purdy replied.
“Man, everybody I know get’s Subic but me. Whose dick do you have to suck?”
“What can I say. I just put it on my dream sheet and here I am.”
Boy and Jack Purdy drank a beer in the Hole and wandered down the street to a Shitkicking bar where they spent an hour talking about shipmates and where others were now. Boy spent part of the hour flirting with the hostess, thinking that it may be something to investigate later. He decided it was time to head for the Barrio.
“Jack, I am going to the Barrio, you are welcome to come along. It beats the hell out of this amateur scene on Magsaysay and it’s cheaper too.”
“No boy, I am steadied up with this chick that works at the Navy Exchange. She’ll be getting off in a little while. I am supposed to meet her at the Hole. Tell you the truth, I am probably going to put my marriage papers in. She is a really good girl.”
“Okay shipmate. Congratulations and all that happy horseshit. Have a good one, maybe I’ll see you again before we sail.” Cowboy said as he flagged a Jeepney. “Barrio, Irish Rose,” to the driver.
Halfway over the hill, Boy redirected the jeepney to Baloy Beach so he could get out of the white uniform and into some comfortable civvies. The jeep dropped him in front of Haskins’ place. Boy saw Haskins, Ort, Greeves, Jacobs and a couple fellows he didn’t know sitting on the front porch of Ort’s hooch drinking beer. Haskins yelled, “San Miguel Boy,” while reaching into a shitcan and waving an icy one.
“Wait until I shift colors and I’ll be right there.”
Boy entered the house and saw Lila, the maid, in the kitchen ironing clothes. He went into the bedroom and changed and brought the soiled whites to Lila. About that time the devil that caused Boy so much trouble rose up and said, “Lila will you do me a favor?”
‘Op course what do you need.”
Boy almost whispered, “Could you go to the pharmacy and get me some penicillin?”
Oh, what matter, you got the claps?”, from Mila.
“No, no, it not for me it’s for Jacobs.”
Mila let out a scream and started yelling in Tagalog. Boy assumed it was all the cuss words banned by the Catholic Church.
Boy left her there and strolled over and accepted an offered beer from Ort. He turned to Jacobs and said, “If I was you, Jake, I’d run.”
Not a second later Mila burst out of Haskins place waving a butcher knife and yelling, “Jake, you somamabitch. I kill you. Pucking, Somamabitch.”
She continued to rave repeating, “Pucking Somamabitch.” Waving the knife as Jake backed down the beach saying, “What did I do? what the fuck is wrong with you?”
Haskins, opening a fresh beer, looked over at Boy and asked, “You want to tell me about this?”
To make what should have been a short story longer. Haskins lost his maid. Jacobs and Mila shacked up and put in their marriage papers and lived Happily Ever After? Haskins hired Mila’s cousin as his new maid and Boy had to buy a new set of whites. Mila had shredded those he had given her to wash.
Another chapter in the sea story legend that was to become Boy Howdy.