BT2 and the Black Socks

By Garland Davis

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BT2 turned his fireroom over to the Cold Iron watch. The silence roared through the space almost as loud as the machinery noise that it replaced. He was for a long Hollywood shower and then off to 1622 where at least a sixpack of frosty San Miguels, right out of the freezer, awaited. And after the cold beers, he would find a warm LBFM.  Then all would be right with the world

Sixty-two days ago, they had sailed from Subic for a routine thirty-day Gunline period which, because some broke-dick stateside ship couldn’t make their commitments, they pulled a double tour.  During the last two weeks, the evaporators had worked sporadically, and the ship had been on water hours.

No showers, no laundry, and a lot of sandwich meals on paper plates!

When BT2 slid down the handrails into the berthing compartment, many of the snipes were sitting around looking despondent instead of getting ready to leave the ship.

“What’s up?” He asked. “I figured you guys would be gone already.”

“Ain’t nobody got any black socks, and they are checking on the Quarterdeck.  All the laundry bags are locked in the laundry.  We can’t even get to them to get some dirty ones. The deck apes are in the same boat we are.  It is Saturday and Clothing, and Small Stores is closed.  We thought to get some of the topsiders to make a run to the Exchange to buy black socks, but they were already gone on libs by the time we got secured in the hole.”

“A couple of guys tried to go ashore without socks, but that ancient, grouchy Snipe hating Chief Gunners Mate has the Quarterdeck and he is checking socks”

“We checked, and the only person who even has dirty socks is that Pipefitter they call ‘Turd Chaser’ and I would rather wear your hash marked skivvies than anything that has touched his body.”

You got to remember; this was in the days before a visionary named Zumwalt threw a fucking to many traditions of the old Navy.  Only Officers and Chiefs were permitted to have civilian clothes aboard ship. All other enlisted crew were required to wear the uniform ashore and were routinely inspected before permission was granted to leave the ship.

BT2 had a thought.  They had been stenciling piping in the Fire room.  They were using, the latest in paint technology, spray cans of black paint. He went to the fireroom, grabbed the can of black paint and went back to the compartment, grabbled his douche kit and went to the shower. After bathing, he lathered and shaved his legs below the knees.  Then he dressed in his whites, spread newspaper on the deck, pulled his pants leg up and sprayed his ankles and feet black.

After waiting a couple of minutes for the paint to dry, he slipped on his shoes and lowered his pants.  Then he was off to the Quarterdeck. A crowd of snipes followed him to the main deck to see if he could get away with it.

A snappy salute, a quick up and down of the trouser legs, and he was free of the ship.  Looking back to the ship he saw the crowd of snipes moving rapidly into the ship, probably to shave and spray their legs.

He was working on his third Frosty when they began showing up at 1622.  They sat around peeling paint off their legs and toasting the marvel of the spray can.

That night a number of LBFM’s were heard to mutter, “Shabed Legs, Crazy Pucking Americans!”