The Cover of Night — Bar Scene, Philippines
This is one of the initial scenes from a story I’m writing based on events my dad relayed to me regarding his time in the U.S. Navy aboard LSD-28 Thomaston during the Vietnam War. Hope you guys enjoy.
“Hang me out to dry; I’m spent, gents,” says Ken, loudly, sauntering back to his seat. He seems to have emerged from the back of the bar near the restroom.
“Get that shit eating grin off your face, sailor,” I say. He’s got a smile on his face a country mile wide, the sly devil. A little obvious, but what’s the harm in bragging about a conquest? It’s the little victories that make our time here worthwhile. Ken takes a long pull off his beer and slams it down on the table.
“God damn that felt good. You guys should really jump on that.” He’s not kidding; a five dollar blow is a pretty good deal pretty much any way you slice it. Unfortunately for Ken, he jumped on the wrong bandwagon this time. I look at Jerry to confirm my suspicions. Jerry just tosses back a wink and a chuckle. He sits back in his chair and picks his beer up from the table, takes a swig, then shoots Ken a glance.
“Did you have time to check the undercarriage on that one, buddy?,” snarks Jerry.
“Bullshit! Ain’t no way with lips like that, man. No way,” replies Ken. He has a confused look on his face, though. It’s as if he’s recalling every second. Suddenly he turns pale—quite a feat in this sweltering heat. “Really?”
“Yeah, brother. She was a he,” I say.
“Well fuck you and your high horse, Tom. Still better than a Black and Decker pecker wrecker!” With that we all burst into laughter. To each his own, right?
We do what we can, when we can, to stay happy while riding the big blue dick. To be honest, ship life is a good way to lose one’s mind. We take to shore leave like crazy folks to lobotomies.
“Hey big boy,” says a seductive voice in a high stone. Fingers run smoothly along my jacket until a palm lands on the back of my neck. Turning my head, I find the voice belongs to the ‘girl’ who dragged Ken away about 10 minutes ago. “You wan’ good deal, baby? Five dollar, I suck you.”
For all intents and purposes this person is beautiful. The music in the bar seems to soften at the sight of this doll; her sparkling green eyes back-lit by a predominantly red floral dress and those tight lips coated in a fresh application of the same lipstick dragged across Ken’s jawline. It’s not fooling me, though.
“Just five dollars, huh?”
“Yes, baby. You wan’ go?” My arm is being pulled, so I stand up.
“Sure thing, doll. But, let me make it clear.” I hold her upper arms tight in both of my hands to get attention. “Should we get back there…” I start running my hands slowly down her arms. “…and I find anything between your legs…” I’ve moved to her hips now. “…that doesn’t belong there…” Her eyes open wide as I draw my right hand just to the inside of her thigh. “…I promise you, you won’t be walking out of here with it tonight.” Before I can get any further, my hand is batted away and a scowl emerges on her face.
“You miss out, sailor boy,” says the hooker in a distinctively male tone. He turns and storms away to the bar to compose himself. We’re not the only business to be had tonight.
“Nearly balls o’clock, Tom,” says Jerry. “We’d better skedaddle.” He’s right. We ship out at o’ four hundred—all we know is we’re floating a bunch of jarheads right up the big river. Goodbye Subic Bay, hello Da Nang. We’ve had enough fun for tonight.