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Skip and Go Naked
Gitmo, about 1970, well into the REFTRA training drudgery.
There's not much to do after work at Gitmo, except go to the club. That's why I found myself at the bar alongside Rabbit and Crisis, the ASWO and DCA respectively. As we sat down, Crisis asked the bartender "Do you know how to make a 'Skip and Go Naked'?". Without waiting for an answer, he launched into a detailed set of instructions for a bizarre concoction beginning with several types of booze and ending with a beer chaser. In the no-tax world of Gitmo those days, a typical drink cost a quarter. The "Skip and Go Naked" wound up with a full dollar price tag.
Rabbit and I went along with the drill, it seemed like a good idea at the time. The drink actually tasted rather mild, nor that much different from the bug juice we drank on the ship. Since we were taking turns buying rounds, it made things easier to stay with the same order as the evening wore on. Then came closing time, and the sudden realization that the simple act of walking out of the bar had become a significant task. Somehow we made it out to the street.
One of the ATF's based at Gitmo had a ship's vehicle, an old International Scout resplendent in Navy gray paint. The Scout had a nightly scheduled pickup of the tug's CO, and he offered to get us back to our ship. (This was before we put the 5" hole in his paint locker.) We fell into the back of the little truck, and the duty driver poured us out at the pier.
About halfway up the brow, Crisis realized he was still holding a glass with the remnants of the last "Skip and Go Naked". He quickly hurled it against the steel hull of our floating home, noisily alerting the Quarterdeck watch of our arrival. What happened next is a little blurry. I do recall one of us sitting on the fantail capstan pretending to be an antiaircraft gun, while somebody else operated the capstan control to spin him around for azimuth while he adjusted his outstretched arm for elevation. I don't remember who it was yelling "BOOM, BOOM, BOOM......."
About this time the OOD, who happened to be my Leading Chief, came over. He told us, in the nicest, most respectful way to GET THE *&@# OFF HIS *%@& QUARTERDECK! Using the few shreds of rationality we had left, we took his "advice" and shifted our attention to our sudden need for a sandwich. We happily trouped forward, announcing in unison "Horse cock in the wardroom!, Horse cock in the wardroom!,..."
Now that I have set the stage for our little drama, I have to give you some background. Rabbit and his wife had been trying to adopt a child for many months. While we were in Gitmo, an sudden opportunity arose to adopt a newborn baby girl. In the finest tradition of spouses left temporarily alone by the needs of the Navy, Mrs. Rabbit rose to the occasion and made all the arrangements herself. She then naturally activated the traditional, standard Red Cross notification plan for new fathers far from home. That's why a smiling Radioman knocked on Rabbit's door, thinking he was delivering expected good news.
Crisis had disappeared, but Rabbit and I were in his stateroom, discussing the state of the world in general and the Navy in particular, when the message arrived.
"Congratulations, Sir! We just got this message for you." said the Radioman as he handed it over. He didn't get quite the reaction he was looking for.
"What the Hell is this?! I don't know anything about this! This can't be for me! What are you trying to pull?" sputtered Rabbit, as the poor Radioman realized that he was probably not going to get a cigar out of this deal. After one more check of the address on the message, he quickly retreated to the safety of the radio shack.
Slowly, through the fog and haze of too many "Skip and Go Nakeds", the facts of what had happened penetrated Rabbit's brain. Then he looked again at the message and one detail leapt out at him. "It's a GIRL! - a GIRL! I didn't want a GIRL, I wanted a BOY!" He stormed around the stateroom for a while, then sat down, looked at me and asked "Do you think I'll like her?"
I was pretty sure of the answer to that one, but I was even more sure it was time to leave him alone with his thoughts. I stopped by the head on the way to my stateroom, and almost tripped over Crisis. He was on the deck wrapped around the central facility, fast asleep. I didn't wake him.
A few weeks later we made it back to home port. Rabbit was back to his old self, and we practically had to put him in irons during sea detail so he wouldn't swim to shore ahead of the ship. He was definitely the first man down the brow.
I saw him a few minutes later, as he was holding his new daughter in a big pink blanket. Ever the dedicated Chop, I made a mental note.
Certified physical inventory this date:
Grin, Shit-eating, 1 Each, Size Extra Extra Large.......
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