Passing the Time at Sea

The things that grown men will do to pass the long hours at sea! One afternoon the three B’s, as we were called, all happened to be in Lt. Rule’s stateroom. Lt. Rule was a mustang (someone who rises up from the ranks to officer); we called him “Chief” or “Snuffy.” He was a short, roly-poly, lovable guy—the senior officer of our group. The three B’s were Lt. Ferree (Tremendous-Butt), Lt. Landtroop (Tiger-Butt) and Lt. Jarvis (Tiny-Butt). Into this gathering came Ensign Hotchkiss; he never had a nickname other than “Hot Kiss,” a moniker he picked up in the Philippines.

Rule was lying in his bunk, trying to adjust to the bumpiness of the ship. When Hotchkiss walked in, Rule said,

“Hotchkiss, call the captain and tell him to get this boat back on the road, it’s disturbing my rest.”
Hotchkiss, without any hesitation, picked up the sound-powered voice phone, called the bridge, and gave a message to the captain, “Lt. Rule says to get this boat back on the road, it’s disturbing his rest.”

With scarcely a moment’s delay, the ship’s loudspeaker system sternly announced, “Now hear this, Lt. Rule, report to the bridge.” The message was repeated, “Lt. Rule, report to the bridge.” Rule looked up at Hotchkiss with a sickly smile on his face. Hotchkiss was his junior officer but was a full head taller than short “Snuffy” Rule.
Hotchkiss defensively said, “All I did was carry out your order.” Rule stuffed his khaki shirt in over his roly-poly stomach. Steadying himself against the roll of the ship, he smoothed his few strands of black hair over his round, balding head, put on his officer’s cap and made his way out of his cabin to the bridge. When he came back shortly thereafter, we heard all about his unpleasant conversation with the captain on the bridge. Finishing his story, he suddenly grabbed Ensign Hotchkiss, folded him and stuffed him bottom first into an oversized trash can. Ensign Hotchkiss had a time getting himself out of that trash can, but even at that he knew he had gotten off easy.

Hearing all the commotion, in came Willie Lump-Lump, the supply officer. He enjoyed the scene more than anyone. Willie Lump-Lump, 6 feet 4 inches, was always bumping his head on the hatchways of the ship. No one cared to pronounce his last name, Mullenmeister.


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