COOKíS MATE

Or

DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT THE SAILOR AND THE MERMAID?

By

Cindy Kimura

 

"Hey, over here. You know, Iím very important around here, but no one seems to know it. Sure, sure, thereís Captain Crane, Admiral Nelson and even Lt.Comander Morton. But itís me whoís more important than all of them combined."

"What? You think Iím joking, huh. Donít think I have a very important job just because Iím a cookís mate. Well, you got it all wrong. You think Crane and all them guys could make good decisions unless they had some decent food in their bellies? Huh, hey donít look at me that way. I feel I contribute to the crew's well being not to mention any V.I.Pís we get. I mean I could tell you stories, stories you wouldnít believe. Half the stuff Seaview does ends up being classified if you know what I mean. Donít get me wrong. I love being a submariner, you would be surprised on how many women I can get just when you say the word, but thatís another story. Anyway, the saying is true for both Army and Navy; I mean they live by their stomachs.

"Oh be right back, chow time."

"Thanks for waiting. Oh, that Sharkey, he cracks me up. He always as a good joke or something for me. See, on this boat I get to go between Officerís and the crewís mess. Which is nice and you know, you can tell if the crewís having a good day or not. See, Iím like a fly on the wall; no one pays attention to me so they talk their heads off. Now Ski heís a joker too. I swear heís always telling these wild stories. I mean even for Seaview. What do you mean, you donít know wild? Wild like in space aliens, phantoms. Oh those are nothing. Iím talking, I donít know. I canít think of one off hand but he tells some wild ones. I think maybe what he does on shore leave, mainly. Man, the sub jockeys are adrenaline junkies too. Besides the flying sub, which Iím sure you know about, they skin dive, go down in the bell and then I think they're still around the mini-sub."

"Anyway, itís my job to make sure the crew eats right. I mean if the Captain has to make a life and death decision, he sure as hell better do it on a full stomach if you know what I mean. And did you know heís a sweet junkie? Sure, I always have to stow away a few of the cookies and cupcakes just for him. But you see thatís my little secret. And Mr. Morton, well he has to put hot sauce on everything. I guess he spices his life up somehow. Me, I have no desire to go into the control room. When the ship gets tossed about I have a hard enough time keeping the dishes from getting smashed up. Yeah, we use real dishes. No plastic here, although I couldnít tell ya how many times we had to replace them. What with the ship, I mean boat, crashing into the bottom of the ocean and being attacked it gets to be quite a nightmare."

"Now the Admiral, he is one queer duck. I mean that in a good way, you see, if it wasnít for him, I wouldnít be on this boat in the first place. Anyway, the Admiral is really particular about his food, canít have other stuff touching other stuff and it has to be piping hot or he wonít eat it. Heís not one of the absent minded scientist Iíve ran across. Anyway, the cookís giving me looks. Time to get breakfast ready. Iíll be right back."

"Well looks like it going to be good day, just a routine charting mission. Yeah, I know what you're saying; nothing is routine on Seaview. Well, remember believe half of what you read, OK. So weíre in the news a lot. But man, the press exaggerates; they do anything to sell papers. What, you believed the story we had a mummy on board? Hey I guess it says stupid on your forehead, huh. What?What do you mean you know its true? Hey, you came to me. Are you going to believe me or not? Huh, mermaids? I donít know what youíre talking about? Are you a spy or something? I told you half the stuff in Seaview is classified and here you're telling tales. You been smoking something? Speaking of Crane, man, I donít know about him sometime. Heís so serious, except when heís talking with me, I mean. You would be surprised at the dirty jokes he tells me. Even makes this old salt, blush. What, you think Iíve seen everything? Well, pretty damn close I think and Iíve been around boats along time. What? You donít believe the Captain tells dirty jokes? Well, with those boyish good looks he gets away with it. Mr. Morton. Mr. Morton heís well, heís Mr. Morton. Out of all three of them he is the most levelheaded. I mean when I tell him we need to go into to port to restock supplies he always has a smile for me. Both the Admiral and Captain get way too emotional for me. Címon guys itís the 80ís, real men donít cry.

"Uh, oh. Got to go again, the Admiral has a special request. 20 pounds of sea urchin. Be right back, promise."

"Thanks for waiting again. I mean the Admiral heís always asking for special stuff. I can remember when we pulled into. . Oh sorry, classified. Like I was saying, never a dull moment here. Me, with this boat Iíve been everywhere around the world. Especially Venice, now Captain Crane, he really got himself in trouble there. And the first thing he wanted when he got on board was a hamburger and French fries. All-American, that guy.

Mr. Morton, me, I think Mortonís kinda dull. Donít get me wrong, heís the Exec and he keeps the boat on an even keel. I canít tell you how many times he kept the Admiral and Captain Crane talking to each other. Those guys seem to get in fist fights all the time. What? You say, Iím lying? Well, ask them yourselves if you want. Scratch that, theyíll deny it. Anyway itís getting late and I have to get dinner ready. Now the next time you want to talk just let me know."