By Garland Davis
It was either ’69 or ’70. I was serving in an oiler. The ship would load fuel in Subic and make the swing from Dixie Station in the South to Yankee Station in the North and then back South. Since we were the largest Oiler in the area, we would pump our remaining cargo (consolidate) to the two or three smaller Oilers and then run to Subic for three days to reload.
We pulled in the day before Thanksgiving. Being the Leading Commissarymen, my cooks and I were up late and back up early preparing for a Thanksgiving feast. Being in Subic, one wouldn’t think there would be much more than the duty section for dinner, but Thanksgiving this year was a working day for the crew. Those sailors involved with loading the liquid cargo were busy, the snipes were steaming the plant, the storekeepers were loading stores as were my cooks and I, and the Deck force was working on the running rust on the sides. The word was that maximum liberty was being permitted Friday and Saturday and underway at first light Sunday morning.
Thanksgiving Day came and went. The meal was remarkable. The Captain and XO rained Kudos on the Supply Officer which he casually mentioned to the cooks at Quarters Monday morning. I was finally able to get on Liberty about 1800 Thursday night and was free until midnight Saturday. I hit the CPO Club to prepare my drinking muscles for the night. A couple of San Miguels there and then through the gate. Of course, by the time I reached the Hole, I was overcome by a raging thirst. After sating the Thirst Monster within, I caught a Jeepney for a Special Run to the Barrio. The driver was an enterprising young man who had a cooler of San Miguel which he sold for an exorbitant price. The monster was growling again so I succumbed.
I arrived at the Irish Rose somewhere around 1930. As I walked in a Boatswains Mate whom I had served with on a Can yelled, “Hey Stewburner, where you been? I saw your ship pull in yesterday. I expected you last night.”
“Thanksgiving, a day of protracted slavery for Stewburners. You know Holiday for the crew, work your ass off for the cooks.” I quipped as the girl passed me an ice cold one across the bar.
A couple of other BM’s, whom I knew, were sitting beside us. One of them yelled, “Bird Day! Fuck, it’s bird day and we don’t have a fuckin’ bird.”
The other Bosun said, “Fuck it, let’s go get one!”
The two of them chugged their remaining beers and left. It was probably about two hours before they returned because one cannot go to the market in Olongapo and back without stopping at ‘Nasty Mac’s’ for a cool one each way. They brought with them the largest Rooster carcass I have ever seen. It had the head and feet on and had not been eviscerated, in other words, it still had its guts. The only thing it was missing was the feathers. They threw it on the bar and yelled, “It’s Bird Day, here is the fuckin’ bird.”
Hanson said, “Get that nasty thing off the bar, it stinks!”
Somebody yelled, “Damn that Mother Fucker’s got B.O. It needs a bath.”
It wasn’t long before someone paid a couple of the girls to give the “Bird” a bath. They washed him in a pan out the side door with a couple of drunk deck apes supervising. At one point I heard, “Honey, don’t forget to scrub his cock.”
Finally, they presented the bird, his beak and toenails (do you call what chicken’s have toenails?) painted with bright red fingernail polish. Somebody yelled, Jesus, that Goddamned thing still stinks, get that Motherfucker outta here!”
The bird was taken from the bar and forgotten.
My friend said, “I gotta go to Subic and pay Mama-san my rent and pay the girl who hoses my hooch out every few days. You wanna ride along.? I borrowed Eddie’s car.”
“Only if you are sure you’re drunk enough to drive.” I facetiously replied.
It was a Japanese sports car with two bucket seats and a shelf-like seat behind them where you could transport a couple of skinny LBFM’s. As we pulled onto the road, “I asked, what the fuck stinks?”
Looking in the back, there was the chicken on the LBFM seat. There was also a coil of line. I said, “I think the Bird wants to walk.” I took the line and put a couple of “Granny” half hitches or maybe they were “Granny’ bowlines, how the fuck am I supposed know knots, I can barely tie my shoes, around the drumsticks and threw the bird out the window.
We reached Subic City and had a cool one while he paid his debts. I turned down a half dozen offers of BJ’s while he did so, after all it was Subic City We started back to the Rose with the Bird running alongside. By the time we got back the bird was coming apart. As we pulled into the rose, I gave the line a strong tug. The Bird went airborne, came around a splattered on the windshield with guts and shit everywhere.
We walked into the bar and my friend handed the keys to Eddie and said, “Man, you ain’t gonna believe this shit, but the biggest fuckin’ bug I ever saw just splattered all over your windshield.”