EastPac 2004

Eastern Pacific runs, or EastPac’s are nowhere near the ass-ramming that is a WestPac.  WestPac stands for Western Pacific Deployment — I will expound upon these shenanigans later in this blog.  On this particular underway, the plan was to conduct sound trials in the freeze-your-nuggets-off waters of Alaska.  Basically, colder waters are better conductors of sound. This outfit called SEAFAC sets up a shit-load of hydrophones in a little “runway” configuration of sorts.  Our boat would then drive through the little runway and the SEAFAC geeks listen to our noise signature.

Entry for January 27, 2004: Sound Trials not as fun as expected 

I do, however, recall the day we were required to run the evaporator (the thing that turns seawater into drinking water) for an unusual length of time.   My Master Chief had passed me in the engineroom and asked me what I was doing after watch.

“Taking a shower, Master Chief.”

“Take two, that’s an order.”

I was elated; overjoyed.  Being a NUB (Non-Useful Body), I was thrilled with the fact that I could take a “Hollywood” shower and no one could say shit about it.

I missed the Alaska buffoonery, but I didn’t give a rip because I heard it was totally lame.  I think the name of the town was Ketchikan and it had one bar and four toothless bitches.  Lame…

On a submarine, things can kinda feel like Groundhog Day.

Entry for February 2, 2004:  Asked the EDMC if groundhog saw his shadow, EDMC not amused, Just stared at me.  

I thought I was being funny and clever by trying to make light of a shit situation.  I found out in a hurry what the remainder of my time on the boat was going to be like — a serious lack of joviality coupled with a generous helping of grim despair.  It may have  been that he simply didn’t hear me, but it was the kind of moment that would have been funny to an unsuspecting observer.  Little, nonsensical events such as this have driven their way into my memory like a Jihadi screaming “Allahu Akbar!”

The truly raucous behavior wasn’t displayed until the day that we pulled into Esquimalt, Canada.  It was a port just a stone’s throw from Victoria.  But more importantly, it was a quick ferry ride from the Seattle area, which is where Emily lived.  We pulled in on February 4th and somehow the Liberty Gods smiled upon The Taco and got me out of standing duty.  It was either because the older guys liked me or they felt bad that I got snubbed in Alaska.  They most likely realized that I would have been useless, since I was not qualified to stand watch for in-port duty.  It was odd, but I got both nights in Canada off…what-the-fuck-ever.

I met up with Emily and her friend at some shit-hole motel where the duty van dropped Rook and me off.  Thank whatever shit-God I believe in for cell phones and Emily’s inexplicable ability to find a random motel neither of us had ever heard of.  The night eventually led to us finding a liquor store, getting completely obliterated drunk and trashing two hotel rooms.

Your read that correctly:  TWO different hotel rooms.  One room was Emily’s for sure, but the other one?  I have no idea.  I can’t remember.  Don’t care…

Vodka is a hell of a drug.  It causes grown ups to behave like toddlers.  After about three stiff-ass vodka-and-somethings, Emily and I started behaving like a couple of fucking children and decided that jumping on the beds would be a good idea.  Since that wasn’t immature enough we then started bouncing from one bed to the other.  This escalated into kicking the phone repeatedly, knocking shit off the walls and spraying water all over the place.

We deemed that particular hotel room sufficiently destroyed and hoofed it from there all the way something like 15 blocks to Emily’s hotel.  Let me remind you that Victoria in February is not the warmest of places — Emily had no jacket.  I think I gave her my hoodie and we were smoking cigarettes the whole walk.  Why the two unrelated details?

These points will be made evident in the paragraphs to come.

We got to the other hotel, Rook and Emily’s friend in tow, have a little sex and pass out.  I woke up the next morning, hung-over to the bejeezus and tried to get cute by jumping from my bed to Rook’s bed to wake the other two up in only the fashion that I could think of — by annoying the piss out of them.  I didn’t see the light fixture hanging overhead, and before my feet could even hit the other bead, my head had smashed the orb and glass was falling all over the place.  The head hitting the glass impeded my flight and I came up a bit short, so my feet hit the edge of the bed and I counter-sprang back onto the shards of glass now strewn about the carpeted floor.  I was wearing little more than a pair of boxer shorts and one solitary piece of glass punctured the upper portion of my right ass-cheek.  I didn’t even notice until Emily screamed…

“Omigod, Dude!  You’re bleeding.”

I looked back and felt a huge gouge in my ass-cheek and felt blood on my fingers and now running down my leg.  I looked over at Rook and he was laughing hysterically. The useless piece of shit could have gone to the bathroom to get a towel or something…

In what resembled a coordinated hospital drill, the following events occur simultaneously.  Emily jumped up, ran into the bathroom and grabbed a pristine white towel. Her friend darted out the room.  I remember thinking, ‘Where the fuck is she going?!’ but I was working on stopping the blood flow.  Remember, I still had a BAC higher than my college GPA and had the thinnest blood imaginable.  I was hemorrhaging like a gunshot wound victim…

Rook:  “You fuckin’ asshole!  You got glass all over my bed.”

(The next night, they were still complaining about finding shards of glass.  Apparently the light fixture wasn’t made of Pyrex.)

….

Thankfully, Emily’s friend came back with a band-aid!  I mean, where the hell does one find a band-aid at 10 am?  I think she said she ran to the front desk, or asked a maid or some shit.  We managed to patch my ass up and the day had begun…

…with hotel room number two adequately destroyed.

The day itself was mostly uneventful.  We walked around, found a movie theater, watched The Butterfly Effect (starring Ass-ton Kooch-face — as Guido used to call him).  It was the second time I’d seen it and it was the first for Emily.  We had a nice romantic dinner alone and a few drinks at some kick-ass pub downtown.  It was at this pub, I had the feel-good moment of the trip.  Emily and I walked into the place together, just the two of us.  As soon as we make the corner to head to the bar, I saw a group of Junior Officers from my boat.  They were all together, five or six dudes, no chicks — what a circle-jerk!  I thought…

*Ha!  I’m getting some action in Canada and you losers spent 4+ years in college learning how to stroke each others’ ding-dongs*

We went to the bar, ordered a couple of Jack & Cokes [my drink of choice at the time].  Before I could finish my first cocktail, Emily had whipped out of her purse the four-page, hand-written  letter I had sent her after the BSA underway.  She had circled certain words, underlined a few phrases and basically read everything I had written back to me.  It was a bit embarrassing to hear my own words catapulted back into my face.  It was very sappy shit but it was true to how I felt about her at the time.  It was at that bar, in those few moments, that Emily and I were officially a couple.

I fake-told her that I loved her once before because I wanted to get laid — she made me say it.  It doesn’t count when you’re under duress.  I think from that time forward we both knew that we had something, whether or not we were willing to admit that anything meaningful would actually come out of it.  We both knew that we had recognized something in each other that doesn’t come around very often in life, if ever.

We stayed up all night in the hotel with the TV on, trying to watch our step for fear of puncturing our feet on shards of glass.  I don’t think we said much — just laid there.  If anything was said, it was ‘I don’t want to go back to the boat.’  or ‘I wish you could come home with me,’ etc.  We left at the ass-crack.  The goodbye was less tearful than the previous one.

Rook and I caught the duty van back to the boat and started up the lower level of the engineroom (both still a little drunk) Newt as my under-instruction.

….

Hysterical Side Story:  Quite a few guys stayed at that shit-hole motel that the duty van dropped off/picked us up at.  We met Assassin outside, just as we were all piling into the duty van.  I can’t recall if I saw the chick leave, but here’s what I know.  Assassin had ordered a hooker out of the yellow pages at about 3 a.m. and had spent his remaining few hours talking to her.  I don’t think he was able to “perform” so they just talked.  He paid her with a personal check, yes, a fucking check!  His address on the check was Pearl Harbor, and we were in Victoria, Canada.  I can’t believe she took it.  I guess if she were smarter she wouldn’t be giving blowjobs for grocery money and would be working as an accountant or some shit.  Anyways, the point is that Assassin hadn’t slept in like forever and was insanely tired.  The kind of tired where you fall asleep while walking…

We were standing in the passageway waiting to get chow.  (An important note: Submarine p-ways are just wide enough for two supermodels to traverse in opposite directions.  Two fat-assed American sailors have to turn pole-to-pole or hole-to-hole just to get by one another)

Assassin was so tired he fell asleep standing in the chow line and face-planted into the opposite bulkhead!  Everyone, kind of off in their own world, just snapped their gazes over at Assassin.  Once everyone had realized what had happened, uproarious laughter ensued.  So loud that officers came pouring out of the Wardroom expecting to see a midget doing cartwheels to the Sanford & Son theme song.  They were pleasantly surprised to find out what really happened was funnier…  Hysterical!

….

We pulled back into Pearl Harbor on February 11th.  It felt orgasmic to be back home because this had been my longest trip yet.  We had been out for roughly three weeks.  I had lost somewhere in the vicinity of 15 pounds.  I was a bit of a fat-ass after Prototype and was up to about 190.  I actually failed a Physical Readiness Test in New York, but lied about my 1.5-mile run time so I didn’t have to do the remedial workouts.  I was now back down to a lean 175 and it showed.  I looked like a stud.

Romy:  “Whoa!  Fish, did you lose weight?!”

I had no clue that it was noticeable.  I chalked it up to a) the irregular schedule of a submariner  b) my diet  c) the lack of sleep and  d) the constant work, drills and steady stream of stress-inducing bullshit.

Before we left Victoria, Emily was complaining about her boobs hurting.  She kept saying…

“God.  I hope I’m not pregnant again.  Cuz last time my boobs hurt like this, it turned out I was fuckin’ pregnant.”

That was weighing heavily on my mind the whole trip back to Pearl.  I asked guys that I knew had kids about what it was like to have a wife and kid.  It was an awful feeling.  I was freaking the fuck out!

My monthly entry: Thinking your girlfriend is pregnant or that you have VD makes for a bad month.

First of all, it turned out that Emily wasn’t pregnant.  Her boobs were sore because she had a raging fever and the the onset of the flu from walking 15 blocks in 10 degree weather without a jacket and smoking like an old lady at a casino. (See, I told you I’d circle back to that one.)

The silver lining of the whole scare was that she went to her Crotch Doc to get checked out, and they found some abnormal polyps in her uterus, or some shit.  They removed them and she was fine.  I like to say that if I hadn’t fucked her, she might have died from cancer.  My penis saved her life!  That’s total bullshit, but kind of a funny way to look at it.  I also remember thinking, ‘If she is pregnant, I’m going to ask her to marry me.’  I actually told her this over the phone [after finding out she wasn’t pregnant] sitting on the pier in shipyard…

Emily:  “Well… I wouldn’t have said ‘yes’.  Having a baby with someone is no reason to get married.  It should be with someone you love…”

Dagger.  Hint taken…

I thought she was head over heels for me.  I called her repeatedly that weekend on my duty day and she wouldn’t answer her goddamned phone!  That pissed me off.  It was the unofficial end of our relationship, as short-lived as it was.  The brightest stars burn the hottest and burn out the quickest I guess…

Secondly, I didn’t contract VD.  I had these weird bumps above my pecker; in my FUPA area for the longest time after the “Emily Days.”  I honestly thought she gave me something — warts or some shit.  The ship’s corpsman was befuddled.  He even busted out this weird, combination black light and magnifying glass contraption.  We had no clue what was going on in my downtown bonanza.  He’s the worst corpsman ever because it turned out to be a whole bunch of ingrown pubes.  I mean, what the fuck!?  I’ve never had them before and have no clue what caused them this time around.  I’ve been shaving my shit since college and never had a problem.  They eventually went away completely.

Lesson learned:  Never shave your bush bald the day before a three-week underway no matter how much you want to be neat and trim for some broad at your destination port…

The Strathcona Hotel, Victoria, BC: The scene of too much vodka and bad decisions.
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