Monday, January 16, 2012

‘Oh What A Heavenly Rack’

Back in the days of the ol’ Canoe Club it could get pretty mundane at times wait’n for the sum of noth’n to happen… And other times it could be hell on wheels, balls to the wall with Chief yell’n in one ear and some gaudamned butter bar yell’n in your other!

But there was always a place onboard the ol’ rust bucket you could find some serenity… a place for comfort and peace of mind!! Racked out in the middle of berthing, preferably a middle rack if your salty enough… riding the waves as the ship rocked & rolled from side to side, fore to aft… reading a nekkit girlie magazine and scratch’n your stinky feet upon the towel hinge nestled three blankets deep with the AC chilling the place out keep’n the odiferous fragrances of eighty snoring shipmates from mak’n the place uninhabitable!! Underway that’s as good as it gets... unless someone could figure out how to run aground a beach full of stark-naked beach bunnies!!!

There were nights standing aft look out where it was cold & miserable, encrusted in two layers of foul weather gear, long john undies and a watch cap doing not a gaudamn thing for you but mak’n your head itch like ya got the damn cooties… sneak’n a peek at the ol’ wrist watch wondering where the hell that son-of-a-bitch is at who was supposed to relieve you twenty minutes ago…

When you’ve got ice cycles grow’n on your nose and brow groveling over the wretched wind chill, feel’n nothing but the burning pain in your fingertips as the cold slices through the layers of clothing … gazing through a dark night see’n nothing but the white from crested waves… that’s when you learn to appreciate the haven you call your rack!!!

From the outside observer, the rack may seem like noth’n more than a casket with less foot room than a sardine can… hence the name coffin rack, and the smells of diesel fuel… two parts body odor one part ol’ spice… a stiff sock on deck, your guess is as good as mine… and smelly laundry bags with boondockers strewn across the deck at every turn…

But after a cold night on watch there was noth’n more rewarding than crawling into your bunk, burrito-wrapped in a wool blanket with your foul weather jacket and a boondocker tucked under the head of the mattress to give you that added extra comfort under that smelly down pillow…

You didn’t bother gett’n undressed. You just crawled in search’n for that perfect spot and cuddl’n up to the farthest corner being hypnotically tranquilized by the steady drip in the overhead from a leaky potable water pipe…

Every so often you could hear a shipmate foraging through his locker making sounds like he’s digg’n through a disorganized tool box... or the sporadic inane conversations through the false bulkhead into the head about Suzie Rotten Crotch and Seaman Sam in the back alley behind the bar…

Sometimes the deck watch might come in… flash the light in your eyes,

“Sorry, wrong rack…”

It was a gaudamn nocturnal Easter Egg Hunt try’n to find the son-of-a-bitch for the next watch relief... Seaman ass clown roaming around aimlessly shining a flashlight like a gaudamned floodlight in every rack down the aisle way.

Finally…

“Seaman Timmy, it’s time to get up!”

“Screw you and the horse you rode in on!”

I slammed a locker once on the ol’ Baglady… about got my underwear strap pulled over my scalp for that one…

“I’m up already!”

Then there was BM2 ‘Freddy Krueger’ Biddle com’n in stink’n drunk off liberty and pissed on STG3 ‘Bama’ in his rack… BM2 looked like the infamous Elm Street killer & I don’t remember STG3’s name… just that he was a good ol’ Southern boy from Alabama and he didn’t much like gett’n pissed on at 0300 hours of the morning sound asleep in his rack!!!

Just about had to call in the Master-At-Arms and Command Duty Officer to put that one to sleep… no pun intended…

There was a hierarchy to bunk reservation onboard Navy ships… as they were usually stacked three high…

Back in the day, the bottom rack was for the bottom feeders in the social pecking order of things… usually the rack was triced up on one end during the day and at night the curtains offer little to no privacy from looters and voyeurs during that midnight rendezvous with the ol’ sock… Besides, there ain’t nothing more humiliating than being triced up in the middle of the night with no one to offer a hand… only a snicker or two from a couple racks over!!!

The top rack was the next in line only because it had a bit more privacy and occasionally you’d get a little extra storage space between the upper angle irons and water pipes running fore and aft… but you got shit for locker space with an extra side locker to help with the lack of accommodations… unless you name was FC1 Needham…

Ol’ Needham had a middle rack with a big ol’ fat EEBD holder down on the foot end.  After standing a dreary 00-04 Keith would crawl deep into his warm rack all cozy and comfortable just about at rim sleep… That was before a wind up clock went clang’n away from within the EEBD holder and got him jump’n and holler’n all over the gaudamned place… Must’ve happened a dozen times before he knew what the hell was going on!!!

Like I said before… the middle rack was the best, unless you were an ol’ salt who’d been around these were usually taken by the most senior of the girls onboard!!!

The racks are small and don’t own up much to the king sized California you might brag about at home… unless you’re an anorexic midget swing’n the trapeze for Ringling Brothers… but they were heaven to a nineteen year old ‘Crackerjack’ spending long cold nights out at sea… 

And so it went falling fast asleep envisioning high school fantasies of young bosoms in your face doing the ‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’ in the backseat of Daddy’s car…

 "Reveille... Reveille... trice up and heave out... Smoking lamp is lit in all authorized smoking areas… now Reveille!”

Morning sunshine, time to drop your cocks and grab your socks...

“Chow is now being served on the Messdecks!”

“No shit Sherlock, where else are they gonna serve shit on a shingle… in the shitcan I suppose!?!?”

Hot coffee, Bacon & Eggs and a side of Orange Juice... with a slice of blackened toast!!!

Another day in ol’ Canoe Club... C'mon you slackers MOVE IT... MOVE IT!!"




3 comments:

  1. Life on an ammo ship off the coast of Viet Nam in the early 70s was difficult and sleepless. When you got to hit your rack after 24 hours or so of unwreps, you had a deep appreciation for how good it could feel in that little space on that thin mattress. Sometimes we'd just make it up to berthing and simply lie down on the deck and sleep where you dropped. A few hours later we were up and at it again. Good times.

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    1. you left out how the shipmate next to you could drown out the general alarm with those snore,s that sounded like a phalanx going off

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  2. Sounds like the Navy I was in! Keep up the good work Dan! HM1

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