More to come Monday on the NSA and Patriot Act business. In the meantime, here's what happens at the Miramar Chiefs' Club.
The next thing Jack knows, he's at the Miramar Chiefs' Club, sitting on the bar stool next to Chief Snockerd's. Chief Snockerd has an old score to settle. Jack drank him under the table on liberty in the Philippines six years ago, and Chief Snockerd is out for revenge.
Chief Snockerd, he's a talkative guy. Gets a few beers in him and you better strap on your laugh belt, because once he gets going, there's no stopping him. His eyes bulge, and his knee starts shaking, and he starts tugging at the knot of a tie that's not really there. Jack and Chief Snockerd start talking about great chief petty officers of the Navy they have known, and Chief Kirk's name comes up.
"I worked with him on Connie
," Jack says.
"I've known him since he was just a sty in his father's eye," Chief Snockerd says. "We went to boot camp together. A great guy, Chief Kirk. Ran into him about a year ago, right here."
Seems after Connie
got back from NORPAC, Chief Kirk shows up at this very Chiefs' Club, wearing the flight jacket he wasn't supposed to have and smoking the pipe he shouldn't have brought with him, because they won't let him in the Chiefs' Club with the thing going like a class alpha fire.
Which was total bullshit, as far as Chief Snockerd was concerned. Chief Kirk's been at sea for the last twenty years, he doesn’t know anything about this politically correct "no pipe smoking in the club" bullshit.
But Chief Kirk's okay about it. He goes out on the back balcony, figures nobody will mind if he smokes out there.
Brother, has he been out to sea too long.
Forty feet away from where he's smoking his pipe is this table full of stiffs, hanging half out of their chairs, like they're waiting for some nice Roman boy to come along and nail them back up.
This old battle-axe with them--some crack officer's wife, out slumming at the Chiefs' Club, looking for somebody who wants to mingle the brains out a hoi polloi--she gets a whiff of Chief Kirk's pipe, and her nose starts twitching like a rabbit's, and her mouth starts moving like a carp's:
"Young man. Young man. Young man."
Chief Kirk goes over to the far, far corner of the deck and sits by himself: just a boy and his pipe. "Fuck 'em if they can't take a smoke," he says.
This hot babe who tends bar at the Miramar Chiefs' Club could have made her living working at the Officers' Club, except she was too classy. But not too, too, classy, you know? That type. Actually, she only works at the Chiefs' Club because the chiefs tip better than the officers do.
Anyway, she gets a whiff of Chief Kirk's pipe smoke wafting through the window, and something primal stirs in her. She throws her apron on the bar and goes out back to see if she can sniff out some pipe.
Chief Kirk sees her coming a mile away. Well, parts of her he sees from a mile away. Some parts of her are closer than a mile away. This broad, she's got parts galore. Good parts, great parts, incredible parts. But Chief Kirk, he's mostly interested in the first two parties of the rest of the parts, if you know what I mean.
He sees her walking his way, figures he's about to catch a pitcher of shit about his pipe. But that's not what happens.
This bar babe, she walks up to him, she says, "Hey, Chief, nice pipe. Mind if I join you?"
"Not at all, ma'am." Chief Kirk says. Nice boy, Chief Kirk. Has a nice set of manners on him. Plays a nice straight man too.
The bar babe says, "Ooh, did you carve that pipe all by yourself?"
"Yes, ma'am, with my trusty knife." Chief Kirk whips out his knife and shows it to her.
"Ooh," she says again, admiring the knife. "Is that scrimshaw on the handle?"
"Yes, ma'am. Made out of whale bone."
"I like bone," she says. "Whale or otherwise. Whale bone's nice."
"Well," Chief Kirk says, "it took me a year to carve this mermaid on the pipe."
"That's a nice mermaid you got there," she says. "I bet she keeps you good company on those cold nights in the North Atlantic, while you're trying to run away from all those U-Boats. I bet you have to be careful not to catch a torpedo in the shower stall."
"The mermaid's okay," Chief Kirk says. "This was my first try at carving a pipe. It's a little rough."
"I like it a little rough," she says. "Is this your first pipe ever?"
"No," he says. "My dad gave me my first pipe."
"Small world," she says. "Me too! That's how I got hooked on pipe. I come from a long line of pipe. My great, great, great grandfather was Sir Walter Raleigh."
"You don't say?"
"Oh yeah," she says. "Women in my family have been pipe aficionados for years. It's a tradition. All the girls get their first pipe from their fathers. Either that, or their uncles."
Chief Kirk's not sure what to make of that last remark.
"Looks like you take good care of that pipe," she says. "Do you keep it in your pocket when you're not smoking it, or do you shove it in a box every chance you get?"
Something starts to flicker in Chief Kirk's lighthouse. "So you like pipe?" he says.
"Like pipe?" she says. "I love pipe. I adore pipe. I can't live without it. A night without pipe is like a day without sunshine."
"Tell you what then," he says, "how soon can you get off?"
"Are you kidding?" she says. "I just got off ten minutes ago, and I'm ready to do it again. Let's go!"
I tell you, she could take a pipe all right. Very experienced. Suck pipe, blow pipe, lay pipe, thread pipe. She knew the whole repertory. A regular Sarah Bernhardt of pipe, she was.
Chief Kirk and the bar babe would have been perfect for each other, but things didn't work out. Come morning, they wake up, and she asks him if her butt looks big. Chief Kirk throws on his flight jacket and hauls ass back to his ship. He doesn't want to see a woman for another twenty years after he's had a pipe load of that "Does my butt look big" bullshit.
Unfortunately for Chief Kirk, by the time he gets back to his ship, a hundred female sailors have reported aboard for duty.
Jack's trashed, and thinking Chief Snockerd is starting to sound like Buzz Rucci with his cockamamie story. In fact, Chief Snockerd has turned into Buzz
"What are you doing here?" Jack says. "What happened to Chief Snockerd?"
"He got too snockered and they threw him out," Buzz says. "Your poodle Carly told me you were over here and might need help."
"Jenny have her baby?"
"Boy or girl?"
"I didn't look that close. C'mon, give me your keys, we'll hit the O' Club and celebrate."
Wednesday Night Live was getting old, as was the professional harlot who led Jack and Buzz to their table. She brought them a pitcher of beer. "Out late tonight, boys?"
"It's my fault," Buzz said. "My wife just had a kid. I wanted a puppy. But my wife said if we got a puppy, I'd have to take care of it. So I comprised."
"Poor baby," the harlot said, and disappeared.
Jack, drunk as a skunk, wondered where she disappeared to.
Buzz had a funny look on his face.
Jack tried to prop his elbow up to arm wrestle with Buzz, but his face hit the table instead.
Carly was curled up on a cot in the ready room, next to her semi-permanent duty desk.
Goober sat at home in his underwear, watching a rerun of The Porter Wagner Show
. (Featuring Dolly Parton!)