C.W. and I were talking …
“I read in your bio file that you served in the United States Navy,” Left Head said.
Middle Head leaned forward to hear my answer.
Right Head giggled and said, “Avast there, Matey.”
I said, “Yes, that’s true.”
“You carried a rifle,” Left Head said.
“For a year.”
“Then what?” it continued.
“Then, I completed my enlistment on board the USS Hunley.”
“Ah,” said Middle Head, “that’s what we would like to converse about now.” For some reason that it never explained, it began talking with a heavy Irish accent.
“Carry on, lad,” Right Head said, though I wasn’t sure whether he was talking to me or Middle Head.
“So you served on the old girl for over two years, give or take?” said Middle Head.
“And her commanding officer?”
“Captain S. G. Anders.”
“A good man, was he?”
“A very good man, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Never quite made to the Board Room.”
“And why not, do you suppose now?”
The Irish bit was putting me off, but I played along. “It was a bit of a jump in the Navy, into the Board Room. They didn’t really use the equivalent rank of brigadier, so one had to jump from “Full-Bird” or “Captain” to two-star. Big jump, and Captain Anders never made it. They say that, when he retired, he put “Commander on his business card so people wouldn’t mistake him for an army captain.”
“Well shiver me timbers,” Right Head said. We all ignored it.
“Was he a good sailor now?” Middle Head asked.
“Yes,” I said. “All in a clove hitch. Now where, exactly is this going?”
“Under his command, did the grand ship ever sail in the wrong direction?”
“Was there ever a time at sea that the president of your country didn’t know where the grand girl was headed?”
“Are you crazy? Never.”
“And am I correct in supposing that she always went where she was supposed to?”
“Of course. If directed to Spain, she went to Spain, directed to Guam, she went to Guam, directed to Puerto Rico, that’s where she sailed to, directed to Fort Lauderdale …,” I stopped as a warm blanket of memories settled on me.
“Now,” Middle Head said, “would Herself be interested in what you might be thinking now, me lad?”
“Uh,” I said, “probably. But where are you headed with this?”
“How long was your grand vessel commissioned?” it said, ignoring my question.
“Over thirty years, I think.”
“And she never got lost, even a wee bit, in all that time?”
“Off course not.”
Right Head interrupted us. “And the wives of the crew members,” it said, “did any of them ever ‘drag their anchors’ so to speak, while the ship was at sea?”
“Shut your Stinkletingep,” Middle Head said, reverting to Falloonian in his anger. “You’re supposed to be ‘tinkin’ of a new slogan for the grand Navy this lad served in so proud-like.”
“Oh,” Right Head said, “I’ve got it, jack me off with a bilge pump and call me a snipe, if I don’t.”
“Then let’s hear it,” said Middle Head.
Right Head stared dramatically and said, “Today’s Navy, still honoring the proud tradition—give me a fast ship, for I intend to go somewhere.”
Left Head said, “I’ve got to get back to my database.”
Middle Head turned to Right Head and said, “By jove, lad, I be thinking you have it, now.”
Right Head did the equivalent of a smile, and said, “Anchors aweigh, we’ll let you know where to.”.
|USS Hunley - AS31|
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