Duty Calls

By JSRobertson


Lee Crane and Chip Morton were at the beach on Saturday morning watching Stu Riley one of the crewman on Seaview surfing the waves at a beach not to far from NIMR.  He was an excellent surfer and had entered a contest for the best surfer in the area and had asked Lee and Chip to come watch.  They didn’t mind going to the beach to watch him surf and check out the girls in their bikinis; neither one had a steady girlfriend right now so who knew who they might find.


They were joined there by Kowalski, Patterson and Chief Sharkey.  They had seen Riley surf before and knew he was very good.


“Wow, he really is good,” Lee said as Riley hanging ten rode the wave all the way to the shore.


“I’ve never tried it and even though it looks like fun, I think I’ll just stick to girl watching,” Chip replied looking over the top of his sunglasses at the beautiful blond walking by in the skimpiest bikini he’s ever seen.


She noticed him and Lee watching her and walked over to say hello. “Looking for some fun?” she said to Chip as she grabbed his hand.  “Don’t worry I’ve got a friend for you,” she said pointing to Lee and grabbed his hand too.


Lee and Chip looked at each other and decided she was trouble and removed their hands from hers.


“No sorry, I don’t think we’re ready for your kind of fun,” Lee told her.  They both enjoyed the intimate company of women but this one screamed trouble.


She walked away in a snit after being turned down by them. 


“I wonder what she had in store for us besides the obvious,” Chip pondered.


“Go find out if you want too, but you’re on your own buddy,” Lee snickered.


Nodding his head agreement, “No I see nothing but trouble with her.”


“Sir, who was the chick you were talking to?  She sure was a looker,” Kowalski asked Chip as he came up along side of him.


“Yes, she sure was a looker but she had trouble written all over her.”


“If you say so Mr. Morton,” Kowalski said as he watched her walk down the beach.


Kowalski, Riley, Patterson and Sharkey didn’t mind hanging out with their commanding officers.  The two of them were chick magnets and good judges of character.  So if Mr. Morton said she’s trouble then she probably was.


The afternoon passed quickly and soon they were assembled in front of the judging stand waiting for the results of the competition and for trophies to be passed out for the best surfer of the day.  After shredding every wave, no one was surprised when Riley won first place.




The six of them left the beach and went to Albert’s Hamburgers to celebrate; he had the best burgers around and Lee was treating them.  Sitting at a large round table, a young cute waitress came over to take their order.  The men checked her out but Lee, Chip and Sharkey decided she was a little too young for them.  Kowalski, Patterson and Riley had no problem getting her phone number.  She brought their order to the table a few minutes later and there was an extra-large helping of french fries on all their plates. 


“When’s your next competition?” Chip asked as he took a bite out his bacon cheeseburger.


“There’s a huge competition in Daytona Beach on the 25th and 26th of next month.  I’ve already turned an entry form in and reserved four rooms for the guys.  We’ve all got vacation that week provided Seaview doesn’t get any last minute missions,” Riley replied taking a swig of his beer.


“Well Riley so far we don’t have anything scheduled.  If we do get one, we might be able to spare you but I’m afraid the rest of the guys wouldn’t be able to go,” Lee told him.




“I’ll try and make sure nothing comes up,” Lee assured him as he finished his beer.  He asked the waitress for the check which she brought over and gave him her phone number too.  Smiling Lee paid the bill along with a generous tip and they left the restaurant.  Lee kept the phone number.  Who knows maybe I’ll give her call, he thought.


“Enjoy the rest of your weekend,” Patterson told Lee and Chip.


“You too,” Chip answered for them.


Chip and Lee got in Lee’s red cobra and drove out of the restaurant parking lot.  He sped along Highway 101 heading to Chip‘s condo.


“Chip, why don’t we see if we can get rooms in Daytona Beach for the surfing competition?  We both could use a vacation.  The admiral is always telling us to get away for a while, why not go to Daytona Beach.” 


“Do you think the admiral will let both of us go together?” Chip asked holding on as Lee took the turn a little too fast.


“We’ll just have to convince him that we need to watch over the other guys so they don’t get in trouble,” Lee told him as he pulled into Chip’s driveway.


“Sounds good.  I’ll check it out and see if we can get rooms.  Talk to you tomorrow.”  Chip crawled out of the car and waved to his friend.  Lee put his car in reverse backed out of Chip’s driveway, and sped away to his house.






Chip went in his house after checking his mailbox, nothing but bills.  He took a shower then booted up his computer and typed in Daytona Beach in the search line.  He found an article about the surfing competition and was impressed at how many people actually attend the competition.  He found the website for Perry’s Ocean Edge Resort.  They had a web cam that showed what the weather was and the beach. The resort had all the amenities they were looking for; two pools, putting green, volleyball court and an ocean view.  He tried to book rooms for them but they were booked solid because of the surfing competition.  He checked a few more hotels around the area and found they were totally booked also.




Lee pulled his car into the garage and went into his ocean front condo.  He grabbed a beer and went out on the balcony knowing Chip was probably already on his computer checking to see if he could get them rooms.  He sat outside for a couple of hours just enjoying the view and relaxing.  He nodded off while he sat outside but woke up when his cell phone rang.


“Crane,” Lee answered yawning.


“Lee, I’ve checked every hotel within a fifty mile radius of Daytona Beach, there’s nothing available, looks like we’re out of luck,” Chip said dejectedly.


“Umm.  I have an idea.  Let me check it out and call you tomorrow.”


“Okay.  I’ll wait for your call before I do anything more.”


Lee hung up then dialed Riley’s number.  He wasn’t home so Lee left him a message to call him. After getting up at 0500, running five miles, being in the sun all day and downing a few beers Lee was tired.  He got up and went to bed. 






Lee woke up next morning to the ringing of his cell phone.  Who calls at 0700 on a Sunday morning?


“Hello Riley,” Lee said recognizing his number when he picked up the phone.


“Hi Skipper.  You left a message for me last night.  Sorry I wasn’t home, I met a friend after we left the restaurant.  What can I help you with?”


Lee went downstairs to the kitchen, to make some toast and a pot of coffee as he talked to Riley, “Mr. Morton and I would like to go with you and the guys to the surfing competition in Daytona but there are no hotels rooms available. Didn’t you say you had reserved four rooms?”


“Yes Skipper.  We could double up so you and Mr. Morton could come with.  You and Mr. Morton could share a room.  Ski and Pat wouldn’t mind sharing one.  Chief and I will have our own rooms if that’s alright with you.”


Smiling broadly Lee replied, “That will be just fine Riley.  Thanks for suggesting it.  I’ll let Mr. Morton know.  How are you getting out there?”


“We haven’t booked our flights yet but we’re going to try and all get on the same flight.”


“Don’t book them just yet, there’s something I want to check out.”


“Thanks, Skipper.  Talk to you soon.”


“Far out,” Riley said out loud after hanging up with the skipper.


Lee hung up with Riley and called Chip.


“Chip, we’re going to Daytona,” Lee said before Chip could get a word out, “I remembered Riley said he had four rooms.  He thought we could double up and suggested we share a room.  I told him no problem.” 


Chip and Lee were roommates at Annapolis for four years.  They’d also shared a room on many occasions when they attended business meetings so that wasn’t an issue.


“I have no problem with that.  How are we getting out there?”


“Doesn’t the admiral have a friend who owns a small jet and didn’t the admiral tell us he could use it any time he wanted as long as it was available,” Lee asked as he sipped his coffee.


“Fred Blaine is his name.  Do you think maybe he would let us use it?”


“Let’s talk to the admiral tomorrow.” 


Lee was pretty proud of himself.  He got them rooms in Daytona and maybe a way out there plus he would get to fly a plane for a change instead of FS-1. He loved flying FS-l but it was too small to take all of them plus their gear. 


He didn’t do too much after his phone call with Chip.  He went for a run, took a shower and did some laundry. It was a beautiful day so he sat out on his balcony most of the day reading over some proposals the admiral asked him to look over but only got through a couple of them before he fell asleep.  Jamie would be proud; he’s taken two naps in the last two days.  When he woke up, he was hungry so he made himself a steak, baked potato and a salad.


He finished his dinner, made another pot of coffee after he cleaned up and went out on the balcony with a cup of coffee.  He noticed the couples walking hand in hand on the beach some of them stopping for a quick kiss before they continued on.  He thought about what it would be like to share his life with some one everyday.  He wondered if he would ever get married.  He knew it would take a special woman to handle his unusual life.  One who didn’t mind being second fiddle to his ‘gray lady’ or be alone for long periods of time when he was at sea or his ONI missions.  Sighing he went back into the house, got another cup of coffee and on to his office to finish looking over the proposals and do some reports.  He should have done the reports earlier but after his nap this afternoon he was still wide awake.  It was 2300 hours by the time he finished.




Lee was up at 0500 and got ready for work.  He made breakfast while he listened to the news on the television.  When he was finished, he cleaned up, grabbed his briefcase with the reports he completed and left for work.  When he got to NIMR he noticed that the admiral was already there so he headed towards his office to ask him about his friend’s jet.  Chip came in just as Lee walked into Angie’s office.


Before Lee could knock Chip entered and asked “Want company talking to the admiral?”


“Sure.  He can’t turn us down when we ask for a vacation together if both of us are there,” Lee replied as he knocked on the admiral’s door.


“Come in.”


“Good morning Admiral.  Did you have good weekend?” Lee asked as he and Chip sat down in the chairs in front of his desk. 


“Yes, how about yours?” he answered looking at the two of them and knew they were up to something. “Okay, what’s up?” he asked putting his pen down and leaning back in his chair with a smile.


“Lee and I would like to take a vacation next month to Daytona Beach,” Chip told him.


“Okay that’s no problem as long as Seaview doesn’t have a mission.  You both need to take a break and Daytona Beach is a nice place to visit.”


“Well sir, there’s more to it.  Chip and I along with Kowalski, Patterson, Riley, and Sharkey are going there to watch Riley in a surfing competition.  We watched him over the weekend and he’s very good.  We were wondering if your friend, Fred Blaine, would let us use his jet to fly back there?”  Lee asked hopefully.


“I can check with him and find out.  He did say I could use it whenever I wanted.  Give me the dates you’ll need it.”


Lee told him the dates they would need the jet.  “Thanks Admiral.”


Lee and Chip left his office with huge grins, so far so good.   Lee went to his office and got the reports out of his briefcase and put them on Angie’s desk.  He felt bad giving her more work.  He and Chip kept her busy as well as the admiral.  They might have to consider hiring another secretary.  If they did, they might want to consider having them work on Seaview too as it would reduce some of the paperwork they needed to do after they returned from a mission.  He would talk to the admiral about that sometime soon.




Harry leaned back in his chair thinking about what Lee had just asked him.  Maybe he’d go to Daytona Beach with the rest of them, he could use a vacation too.  He hadn’t seen his friend Carolyn, who lives there in quite a while.  He picked up the phone and dialed Fred’s number.


“Fred Blaine,” he answered on the first ring.


“Hi Fred.  It’s Harriman Nelson, how are you.”


“Just fine Harry.  It’s so nice to hear from you.  Everything okay with the institute and Seaview?”


“Yes Fred everything is good. I need a favor from you.”


“Name it. If I can’t do it I will find someone who can.”


The admiral grinned at his response, “Fred could I borrow your jet to fly to Daytona Beach next month?  Some of my crew is going down there for a surfing competition and I’m going to join them.  Commander Crane, Commander Morton and Seaman Kowalski all have pilot’s licenses to fly jets so I’m in search of a plane.”


“Harry, give me the dates and I’ll check for you right now.  If they can fly the little yellow sub of yours I’m sure they can fly my jet with no problem.”


The admiral gave Fred the dates and tapped his pen on the desk while he waited for an answer.


“Harry you’re in luck, she’s available and could use a good run as she hasn’t been out for awhile.  I’ll make sure the airport and my personnel know you will be taking her out on those dates. All you need to do is pay for the jet fuel and you can keep it as long as you need it.”

“Thanks Fred.  You want to come along?”


“No but thanks.  My wife and I are going to France that week.  Have a good time.”


Harry smiled as he hung up the phone deciding to go along with his men.    He was really looking forward to visiting his friend, Carolyn.


Hearing Angie rustling around in her office, Nelson buzzed her before she got a chance to get settled in for the day.

“Angie, would you please tell Lee and Chip I’d like to see them?”


“Yes sir, Angie replied and then called Lee’s office to pass on the summons.  Unable to reach him she headed out the door and down the hall to track him and Chip down.  As she strode down the hall she spotted him in an empty office looking out at Seaview.


“Lee, the admiral would like to see you and Chip.”


“Thanks Angie.  Oh, sorry about all the reports I put on your desk. I saw Chip had put some there too.  Maybe we need to hire another secretary; you and Wanda are always overloaded with work.”


“Sometimes it can be overwhelming but we get it all done eventually,” she answered him as they left the office.


 “I’ll get Chip,” Lee replied as he walked to Chip’s office and stuck his head in the door.


“The admiral wants to see us.”


Chip got up from his desk, “Let’s go.”


Lee knocked on the admiral’s door and went in before the Admiral could reply.


“You wanted to see us,” Chip asked.


The admiral was sitting at his desk with a smile on his face.  “Yes sit down.  I talked to Fred and his jet is available.  We can use it for as long as we need it, we just need to pay for the fuel.”


“We?” Lee inquired raising his eyebrows.


“Yes, I’ve decided to go with you.  I need a vacation too and I’ve never been to a surfing competition.  Is that a problem?”


“No sir not at all.  We’re happy you’re going with us.”


Lee and Chip left the admiral’s office in total shock that he was going with.  They really didn’t mind but hoped the rest of the men wouldn’t mind.  Lee headed back to his office and called Riley to give him the news.


“Hello,” Riley answered hurriedly as he was just walking out the door.


“Hi Riley. It’s the skipper.  We’ve got a way to Daytona Beach.  We’re going by private jet.  We just need to pay for the jet fuel and we’ll divide that cost by seven.”


“That’s great Skipper!  Uh seven of us...who’s the seventh person, sir?”


“The admiral has decided to join us.  I hope that’s not a problem.”


“Far out, the admiral’s going to a surfing competition.  I think it’s great.  Chief and I can share a room so the admiral can have his own.  I’ll tell the other guys.  Thanks for the ride too.”


“Okay Riley.  I’ll talk to you soon,” Lee said shaking his head as he hung up his phone.  Riley was on a permanent high.


Riley called the other men and they had no problem with the admiral going to Daytona with them.




Seaview had to leave on an emergency mission before they left for Daytona.  They had to check some sensors that weren’t working near Guam.  They would be gone about fifteen days but would still have plenty of time to get ready for their trip. 

The admiral called Lee into his office one afternoon a few days before they were to leave with a perplexed look on his face.  “Lee what do you wear to a surfing competition?”


“I think just shorts, shirts and swim trunks.  I’m only bringing one pair of pants and collared shirt just in case we go to a nice restaurant.”


“Thanks,” the admiral said him as he rubbed his forehead.  Now all he had to do was get some shorts. He hadn’t worn shorts in years.


The next couple of weeks went by pretty fast; they had a lot of work to do after they got back from the last mission.  They received quite a few proposals and they needed to be reviewed by the admiral, Lee and Chip.  They got most of them done but the rest would have to wait until they got back.



Since the surfing competition started on Friday afternoon, Lee decided they would leave early Thursday morning to give Riley a chance to adjust to the local time before the event.  Riley had reserved the rooms for Thursday night through Tuesday morning. They could wait at the pool or on the beach if their rooms weren’t ready when they got there.


Lee had arranged for the men to meet the Monday before they left at 1000.  He wanted to give them some last minute instructions.  Of course they all were on time as Lee hated when anybody was late.  He considered you late if you got there fifteen minutes before the meeting started.


Once everyone had arrived he got started. “We’re going to leave the Santa Barbara airport at 0600.  I’ve plotted our course and the whole trip should take us about seven hours.  We’ll be stopping at a small airport near Dallas to refuel and stretch our legs, then on to Daytona Beach.  I’ll be piloting us there and Kowalski will be the co-pilot on both legs of the trip.  Mr. Morton will fly us back home.  Any questions?”


“No sir,” they all replied.


“Good, see you on Thursday, bright and early.” Lee said smiling as the men got up walked out of his office.


They left the institute and went to the diner down the street for lunch.  None of them minded that the Seaview’s command staff was going with them.  With the skipper, Mr. Morton and even the admiral going they were sure to get some girls. 


After the men left, Chip stayed in Lee’s office while sitting on the edge of his desk he said, “Thanks for letting me fly home.  I need to log some hours in jet.  I haven’t flown one in awhile.  We seem to use FS-1 for everything.”


“I need the time too, so it will be good for both of us,” Lee replied looking forward to flying the jet.


Chip went back to his office to finish the inventory he started.  Some time soon they were going to have to inventory the whole boat. They seem to be ordering the same items all the time but not keeping track of what they are using.  It was time to design and implement a new system.


After Chip left, Lee returned to his reports.  He wanted to finish up the rest of his reports and logs so that he could give them to Angie before he left for Florida.  If he gave them to her now she would have plenty of time to complete them.  Since they would be gone for a few days he knew she would get the work done. 


Chip went to Lee’s office at 1930 to see if he was ready to leave for the day.  He was hungry and tired as he too was trying to get all his work done before he left.


He walked in Lee’s office at  1900 hours, “Up for some pizza and beer?”


“Sure your house or mine.”


“How about we just go out; no clean up on our part.”


“Give me a minute.  I’ll meet you by the elevators.”


Lee shut down his computer and put the work he had finished on Angie’s desk with a note. She had finally left for the day after staying an extra two hours.


Sorry for all the work. Only have a little more to do before I leave.  Lee.


He grabbed his coat and cover and headed out of his office.  Chip was already at the elevators waiting for him.  Lee followed Chip to their favorite pizza joint where they ordered a sausage pizza and beer. 


“I’m looking forward to lying on the beach and maybe finding a girl to take to dinner,” Chip told Lee as he took a bite of pizza.


“Relaxing on the beach sounds nice.  Hopefully you’ll find a girl,” Lee teased as he took a swig of beer.


Both of them enjoyed dating when they were home but neither one of them were fans of one night stands.  They rarely jumped in bed with a girl on the first date.  If they did, she would have to be someone very special. With their schedules they could be gone for a week to a month or more so it was hard for them to keep a steady girlfriend since most of them didn’t want to wait for them.


Chip paid for the pizza and beer tonight.  Lee would pay the next time they went out.


“Good night.  Thanks for dinner,” Lee told Chip as they left the restaurant.


“See you tomorrow.”


They went home, checked the mail and just relaxed after a long day.




The next two days flew by as the command team wanted to finish all their work before they left.  Wanda and Angie couldn’t wait for them to leave as they were driving the two of them nuts.  Finally on Wednesday, they left early to get ready for their trip to Daytona.  Angie and Wanda breathed a sigh of relief.  They were finally gone and now they could get their work done without being interrupted a dozen times. 




Lee and Chip were the first ones at the airport on Thursday morning. The jet was in a hangar at the Santa Barbara Airport.  They went in the office and over to the man at the counter.


“Could you please tell us where Mr. Fred Blaine’s jet is hangared?” Lee asked the man at the desk.


“Are you the group from the Nelson Institute taking her out for weekend?” he responded.  “I’m Justin.”


“Yes sir,” Lee replied as he and Chip showed him their pilot’s licenses and credentials.


As he checked out their information, Kowalski walked in and gave him his license also.


He wrote down their information. “Follow me,” he said as he led them to a hangar not too far from the taxiway and opened the hangar to reveal a sleek white and blue jet.  The three men looked at the plane and couldn’t wait to check her out.  Lee and Kowalski began the pre-flight check list while Chip went back to the office with Justin and filed the flight plan.


“The communications department at the Nelson Institute also has a copy of the flight plan,” Chip told him. “Here is that number in case you need to contact them.”


“Thanks and have a safe flight,” Justin said to Chip as he shook his hand.


By the time Chip was done, the rest of the men had arrived so Chip led them to the hangar.  Lee and Kowalski had finished the preflight check list and were in the cockpit familiarizing themselves with the controls.


“Holy cow,” Riley said as he looked at the jet.  “What a nice ride.”  The others men including the admiral shook their heads in agreement.


Everyone boarded the plane, stowed their gear and they took off a couple of minutes past 0600 after getting clearance from the tower for an easterly departure for the seven hour trip.  Lee let Kowalski fly the jet since they were having a smooth flight with no weather problems ahead.


“This plane handles like a dream,” Kowalski remarked to Lee.


“Yes, she sure is smooth, but I still like flying FS-1 better,” he said with a gleam in his eye.  FS-1 was his ‘baby’ and could do things with her that no one else would dare to try.


They landed at a small airport near Dallas for fuel and bathroom break. They were only on the ground for thirty minutes before they took off for the last leg of the trip.  The admiral was sitting next to Riley asking him all kinds of questions about surfing.  Chip, Patterson and Sharkey could hardly contain their smiles as he knew nothing about surfing.


After flying for nearly three hours, Lee contacted the tower at the Daytona Beach International Airport for landing instructions.  They gave him the runway number for landing.  He landed the plane with ease and contacted ground control for taxiway to use and parking instructions.  After he parked and shut down the engines, they got off the plane with their gear.  Lee told the lineman to have the jet refueled, tied down and that it would be there for four days. 


The seven men with their gear and one surfboard hailed a couple of taxis to take them to Perry’s Resort.  Everywhere they looked there were surfboards and girls.  The taxis dropped them at the resort where they checked into their rooms. Riley had booked the rooms as soon as he found out about the competition so all the rooms were on the same floor with ocean views and they all had kitchenettes.


Chip went out on the balcony.  He couldn’t believe there were cars actually parked on the beach.  As much as he wanted to go to the beach, he was starving.  They only had a light snack at the airport in Dallas.


“Lee let’s get some dinner. I’m starving.”


“Okay, let me call the others and see what and where they want to eat?”


Lee called the other men and they were all hungry too so they found a restaurant within walking distance of the resort.  It was hot and steamy in Florida so they changed into their shorts and t-shirts before they left.  Even the admiral had on a pair of shorts. 


“Man did you see all the women,” Kowalski asked as he took a long swig of his beer.


“All they have on are bikinis,” Patterson added.


The admiral, Lee, Chip and Sharkey looked at the three young men and smiled.  They were remembering what it was like to be that young.


They ordered their dinners and another round of drinks.  Riley was the only one who wasn’t drinking.  He wanted to be in top shape for tomorrow’s competition.


When the waitress brought their dinners, she had the help of two more waitresses who stared at the seven handsome men while they served them.


As they walked away after serving them, Lee heard one of them say, “That is the best looking table of men I’ve seen in a long time.  I’ll take anyone of them even the older gentlemen is easy on the eyes.”


Lee smiled at one of the waitresses as she turned around for another look.  She quickly looked away embarrassed that she got caught.


They all enjoyed their dinners and everyone was full except Chip who ordered dessert.

“Riley, what time is the first preliminary tomorrow,” Chip asked eating a piece of key lime pie.


“I have to check in by 0800 and the preliminaries start at 1000.”


After paying the bill, the group left the restaurant and walked back to the resort.  Chip and Lee wanted to take a walk on the beach while he admiral returned to his room to call Carolyn and make arrangements to visit her tomorrow after the surfing competition was over.  The other men were going to a bar not to far from the resort.


“Men, please don’t get into any trouble, Mr. Morton and I don’t want to have to bail you out of jail,” Lee told them with a smile.


“Aye sir.  We promise we’ll be good,” they replied smiling back.


Even at 1900 hours it was still hot and muggy.  Lee and Chip walked for about a mile down the beach looking at the different hotels and checking out the women too.  They went back to the room where Lee laid down on the bed.  He was beat.  The long flight and hot weather had done him in.  Chip wasn’t much better.  They crashed before 2000.  The rest of the men were back by that time too.  Riley wanted to get to bed early so he would be rested up for tomorrow’s competition.




As usual Lee was up at 0500 and made a pot of coffee.  That was one thing nice about this room since it was a kitchenette they could have coffee without going out for it.  Chip was still sleeping so he went out on the balcony and watched the sunrise.  It was beautiful and he knew they were in for another hot day.  Chip got up and poured himself a cup of coffee and joined Lee on the balcony. 


“Missed the sunrise,” Chip remarked as he drank his coffee.  “Bet it’s going to be a scorcher today.”


“We better get ready.  I’m sure you want breakfast and we have to find the hotel where Riley needs to report.  I’ll shower and get ready while you drink your coffee.”


Lee showered and put on a pair of shorts and t-shirt.  He called the admiral while Chip took a shower.


“We’re going down to the Mango Cafe for breakfast, would you like to join us?”


“Yes, I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”


“We should be there by then.”


After enjoying a delicious breakfast, the admiral, Lee and Chip were heading out the door just as the rest of the men came in. They would meet them at the beach in an hour so they could go with Riley to register and watch the competition.




The hotel where Riley had to register wasn’t too far from the resort.  He got there in plenty of time and watched some of the surfers practice their runs before the competition started. 


“Man, those guys are really good,” Riley said with a worried look on his face.


“You’re as good as they are,” Patterson reassured him.  “You’ll do fine.”


At 1000 the first surfers when out for their runs.  They were given points on each run and then totaled together for their final score.  The top fifteen in points would proceed to the next round later that afternoon.  The top ten would compete on Saturday morning with the top five competing on Saturday afternoon with the champion being crowned after everyone was finished.


As the men watched the surfers do their runs they were impressed on how good these people really were.  There were just as many women competing as there were men.  Some of the women were way better than the men.


Riley went out for his first run which didn’t turn out as well as he wanted, he was little disappointed in it.  But he nailed his next run. 


“I’ve never seen him surf that good,” Kowalski said.  “These waves are very hard to judge and are a lot smaller than at home.”


After all the surfers had completed the first set of runs, they announced the winners going to the next round.  They had announced thirteen names and so far Riley’s hadn’t been called.


“What a bummer if he doesn’t make it,” Chip said worriedly.


The rest of the man stood there with their mouths open stunned that those words actually came out of his mouth.  Even the admiral had a big grin on his face that his no nonsense executive officer could utter those words. 


“Sorry I got caught up in the moment,” he said sheepishly as they all stared at him.


“The last surfer to make it to the next round is Stu Riley from Santa Barbara,” the announcer said. 


The men were cheering and patting each other on the back.  They were proud of Riley.  He was waiting with the rest of the surfers so after his name was announced her ran over to his friends.


“Man I sure was worried.  I really messed up my first run.  I didn’t think I was going to make it.”


“Good job kid,” Sharkey told him. 


They all walked back to the resort and ordered lunch.  The next set of runs started at 1400 hours so they had just enough time to grab a quick bite to eat before they had to go back to the beach and watch the next round.




The fifteen surfers would get three runs this time and the scores would again be totaled to together.  Riley had made great runs and was doing his last run for the day.


As Lee and Chip cheered Riley on, they didn’t notice the two women standing next to them until the one closest to Chip asked, “Do you know him?”


Chip turned towards her, removed his sunglasses and replied, “Yes, he’s a friend of ours.”  She had on a pair of shorts and a tank top, had long dark hair and he could see she had a nice body.  “Hi, I’m Chip Morton and this is Lee Crane,” he said nudging Lee who also removed his sunglasses so he could get a better look at the women.


“I’m Theresa Stone and this is Tammy Watson.”


“Please to meet you,” Lee said to them as he looked at Tammy who had short blond hair.  She also had on shorts and a tank top but he could tell she worked out.


“Do you know much about surfing?” Chip asked.


“No, we just came to watch.  We’re bodybuilders,” Theresa told them.


“Bodybuilders?” Lee asked raising his eyebrows.


“Yes, we’re here for a contest at the blue and white hotel next to this one.  We finished our first round of competition and needed a break so we came out to watch the surfers,” Tammy said, “We need to go back in a few minutes for the next round.”


“Would you like to join us?  I know we just met but you might like it,” Theresa asked hopefully.


Lee looked at Chip and said, “Why not. But we’ll have to wait to see if our friend makes it to the next round.”


“No problem.  Just give them these tickets and they’ll let you in.  You can sit anywhere,” Tammy told them as she handed Lee two tickets.


“We’ll be there as soon as we can,” Chip replied eagerly.


As the two women walked away Lee and Chip looked at them.  They were both very nice looking women and they were curious about the bodybuilding contest.  Besides that they had nothing better to do.


The admiral was standing slightly away from his men.  He stood there with a smile on his face like a proud father.  Patterson and Kowalski both had tall leggy blonds with them.  He noticed a red head standing next to Patterson by herself, so he assumed she was Riley’s date.   Sharkey managed to find a nice looking brunette.  It looked like Lee and Chip had found a couple of very good looking and nicely built women too.  He also knew his men were gentlemen and wouldn’t worry about them.


They were half way through the next round of competitors when Lee and Chip joined the admiral as he stood watching the surfers do their runs.


“I see you found yourselves a couple of nice looking ladies,” the admiral commented with a grin.


“Yes sir and they’re bodybuilders.  As soon as they announce whose going on to the next round we’re going to watch them compete,” Chip said with a huge grin.


“Bodybuilders? That should be interesting.”


They watched as Riley completed his last round for the day.  He looked very good.  He had a big smile on his face when he walked over to the red head and gave her a kiss.  Kowalski, Patterson and Sharkey were patting him on the shoulder.  The admiral, Lee and Chip walked over to the group.


“Nice job,” the admiral said, “Too bad I’m too old to learn how to surf.  That looked like fun.”


“Sir, you’re not old.  When we get back home, I’ll take you out one day.”


“Admiral, you better not let Doc see you.  He’ll have your six,” Lee said laughing. 


The announcer started to give the names of the final competitors for Saturday morning.  This time Riley’s name was the first one announced.  He was jumping for joy.  All the men were high fiving and giving him their congratulations.  They were very proud of Riley.  As they were getting ready to leave Lee took the admiral aside.


“Admiral, we’re going to the bodybuilding contest.  We’ll see you later.”  Lee told him.


“Okay, son.  Have a good time,” the admiral told them with a grin on his face.  He was glad to see his ‘boys’ enjoying themselves.



Lee and Chip walked down the beach and up the stairs to the blue and white hotel where the bodybuilding contest was being held.  Even though they were hot and sweaty they still got plenty of stares from the women as they went in the hotel.  They found the room where the contest was being held and headed down the hall.  Lee gave the man at the door the tickets Tammy gave him and they found seats near the back.  There were quite a few women as well as men competing.  They didn’t have to wait long before Theresa and Tammy came out.


“Lee,” Chip said with his mouth wide open, “have you ever seen a body like that before?”


“No,” he stuttered, “I thought I was in good shape, those women put me to shame.”


Lee and Chip sat there and watched the rest of the competition amazed at what great bodies the women had as well as the men.


“Looks like we better hit the gym a little harder,” Chip snickered when the competition was finished.


Theresa and Tammy saw Lee and Chip and walked over to them.


“Ladies, you must have to work very hard to get a body like that,” Chip stated trying hard not to stare. 


“Yes we do work hard at it.  It’s our stress relief,” Tammy replied.


“Stress relief,” Lee asked.  We sure could use some of that, he thought.


“Yes, we’re emergency room nurses at a large hospital in South Dakota,” Theresa told them.  “We work long hours and that’s how we relax.  There are four of us that came down for the contest.”


“Nurses,” was all Chip could say.


“If you’re not busy tonight, they’re having a party later to announce the winners, would you like to go?  They have a buffet dinner, drinks and dancing.  It’s really a lot of fun.” Tammy said.


“Sure, we’d like to come,” Lee replied before even asking Chip.  He knew he would go with no problem. Lee could see he was already quite taken with Theresa.


“What time,” Lee continued.


“We’ll meet you here about 7:00, the party is held in this room.”


“We’ll be here,” Chip finally managed to say.


Since the competition was over, Theresa and Tammy left them to go change into their shorts and tank tops before they left.  Lee and Chip walked out the door into the lobby.


“Why can’t Jamie hire some nurses that look like that?  I wouldn’t mind staying in Med Bay if they were going to take care of me,” Lee chuckled.


“I’m telling Nurse Betty on you.  Wait till you need a shot, she’ll use a dull needle on you,” Chip chortled.


They walked back to the hotel so they could get ready for their dates and ran into the admiral just entering his room.


“Well you two sure look happy.  What’s up?”


“Sir the two women we met, well, Lee and I are going to have to work out a hell of a lot more to look half as good as they do,” Chip smirked.

“That good?”


“Better than good,” Lee replied, “They’ve invited us to a party at the hotel.  You do have plans for tonight?”

Lee asked not wanting to leave him alone.


“Yes, I do. I’m going to visit my friend Carolyn that lives here in Daytona.  Don’t worry about me or the others. I checked with them and they all have plans for the evening too.  Enjoy yourselves,” the admiral told them as he went into his room.




Lee and Chip got ready for their date and were walking out of the resort when they spotted Riley waxing his surfboard with the cute little red head standing there watching him.


“Great job today,” Lee told him patting him on the back.


“Thanks Skipper. I was surprised I made the final cut.  There’s a lot a fantastic surfers out there.  I’ve got be on my game tomorrow.  It’s going to be windier tomorrow so the waves will be bigger which is what I like.”


“We’ll see you tomorrow.  Have good evening and don’t get into trouble,” Chip reminded him.


“No problem, Mr. Morton, We’ll be on our best behavior.  You two are sure dressed up, you must have dates.”


“Yes dates that can take us down in a minute,” Lee muttered.


“What’s that Skipper,” Riley asked not hearing what Lee said.


“Never mind, see you later.” Lee said as he and Chip walked towards the hotel where the party was.




Lee and Chip arrived at the hotel a few minutes before 7:00.  Their dates had not arrived and they were looking around the lobby of the hotel at the photos of the different winners from previous year’s contests.


“I sure wouldn’t want to get on the bad side of these women,” Chip said softly, “some of them actually scare me.”


Lee laughed out loud, “Chip Morton afraid of a woman.  I’ll have to remember that next time I need some ammunition to use against you.”


They finished looking at the pictures when they saw Theresa and Tammy enter the lobby.  They walked over to them.  They looked very lovely in sun dresses which didn’t hide too much of their bodies.


“Hi Lee, Chip,” Theresa said with a smile.  “Glad you came.  Let’s go in and find a seat.”


She took Chip by the hand while Tammy took Lee’s and lead them into the banquet room. It had been transformed into a beach scene.  There was a huge picture board along the back wall with a scene from the beach complete with hobie cats and cars parked on the beach. You could even see the people in the water and on the beach sunbathing. There was a picture of a very hunky man with six pack abs and a very developed upper body in a tight orange swim trunk with a blue and yellow design that left nothing to the imagination and he had a red surf board in front of him.  Only there was no face on top of the body.  It was one of those boards where you put your head in the hole and it makes you look like the person in the picture.  When they saw that, the four of them laughed. 


“Lee I think you should put your head in there while I take a picture. You could send it out as your Christmas card this year,” Chip taunted.


“Maybe later after I’ve had a couple of drinks,” Lee said laughing.


They found a table and sat down.  Lee took their drink orders and went to the bar.  As he waited at the bar, he looked at the beach scene again and shook his head.  I don’t think so, he thought.


As he waited for the drinks, four women bodybuilders came up to him and one put her hand on his arm. 


“Hey handsome, we’ve got room at our table, come join us,” she asked seductively.


“Sorry ladies, I already have a date.”


“Lucky her,” one woman said as they walked away.


Lee brought the drinks back to the table and sat down next Tammy.


“You know what we do for a living, so what does Lee Crane do when he’s not at surfing competitions?” Tammy asked smiling.


“I work for the Nelson Institute of Marine Research in Santa Barbara, California.  It is owned by Admiral Nelson who founded the institute.” Lee replied.


“You must work near the ocean then if you do marine research,” Tammy said.


“Yes, I’m captain of the submarine, Seaview, which is our research vessel. The institute is located right on the ocean.”


“Captain of a submarine.” Theresa repeated again.  “A real captain.”


“Yes, I’m a real captain,” Lee answered with a smile.


“How about you Chip, what do you do?” Tammy asked as she took a sip of her rum and coke.


“I work with Lee at the same place. I’m the executive officer on the submarine.”


“What does an executive officer do?” Theresa asked, “I’m really sorry to ask but I don’t know anything about submarines or boats for that matter.”


“It’s okay,” Chip told her patting her hand, “I take over for the captain if needed and give orders to the men on how deep to go, what direction to go and other various duties the captain doesn’t want to do.”


Lee gave him a dirty look and then smiled at him.


“They sound like important positions.” Tammy said.


“There are one hundred and twenty five men on Seaview and it takes all of them to make sure she runs smoothly,” Lee replied.


The servers had finished setting up the buffet when Lee suggested, “Why don’t we get something to eat?  I know Chip is probably famished by now.”


“Very funny,” Chip retorted as they got up and went to the buffet table.


There was quite an assortment of food, everything from steaks to fish along with rice, pasta, and vegetables.  There was also a dessert table with brownies, cake and fruit.


As they worked their way through the buffet line, Lee was surprised at the amount of food Theresa and Tammy took.  They had as much food on their plates as Chip had on his and his plate was heaping full. 


“Are you not hungry, Lee,” Tammy asked noticing how little food was on his plate.


“He eats like a bird,” Chip chimed in.


“Yes, I’m hungry.  I like to start out with a little at a time, I can always go back,” he replied giving Chip his I’ll get you later look. They sat down and ate their dinner.  When they were almost finished, Chip went to the bar to get some more drinks.  He too was hit on by a couple of bodybuilders.  He brought back the drinks, put them down on the table but before he could sit down the band started to play.


“Would you like to dance?” Theresa said to Chip with an eager look in her eye. 


“Sure why not,” Chip replied taking her hand and leading her to the dance floor wrapping his arms around her as they danced close together.


“Would you like to dance?” Lee asked Tammy as he took her hand and led her out to dance.  Lee also took Tammy in his arms holding her close to him.


They were having a very nice time with Tammy and Theresa. They were a lot of fun, nice looking, and didn’t ask too many questions about their line of work.  After they finished dancing the four of them sat down.  The ladies excused themselves to use the restroom.


“Lee, we sure got lucky tonight. I’m really enjoying their company.”


“Me too,” he replied taking a drink of his gin and tonic. 


The ladies came back and both of them stood up from the table and helped them to the chairs.


“I’ve never had a man do that for me,” Tammy said as she sat down.  “Thank you, Lee.”


As soon as they sat down the emcee went to the stage and announced who the winners were in the contest.  Tammy and Theresa didn’t win but did tie for third place.  They went up on stage and got their trophies.


“Congratulations,” Lee and Chip told them as they returned to the table and gave them each a congratulatory kiss and hug.


“Would anyone like another drink?” Lee asked.


“If you don’t mind I would like another rum and coke,” Theresa asked softly.


“Sure, Chip do you want another beer...how about you Tammy, another rum and coke?”


“I’ll have a beer, Lee,” Chip said but Tammy replied, “No more for me I’ve had my quota.”


Lee got the drinks for Chip and Theresa.  He also didn’t want any more.  He had enough to drink too.  He brought the drinks back to the table and Chip and Theresa were on the dance floor. 


“Would you like to dance again,” Lee asked Tammy as he reached for her hand.


“No I would just like to sit here,” Tammy replied holding on to his hand.


“You and Theresa are ER nurses that must be very challenging.”


“It can be.  You never know who’s going to come in your door at any time.  But all we want to do is help people to get well and on their way home. Are there challenges to your job?”


“There can be but just like you sometimes we never know what we’re going to get into either.”  You have no idea what we’ve run into, he thought.


“Have you and Chip known each long.  You seem to almost read each other’s minds.”


“We went to school together and have worked together for a few years.”


“How about you and Theresa?”


“No, we met at work about a year ago and just hit it off.”


“Do you come to these contests very often?”


“This is only our second one.  We enjoy working out together so we figured we might as well do the contest together too.  It’s easier to work out with someone than by yourself.”


“You and Chip look in good shape so you must work out,” Tammy continued as she looked Lee over.


“We do when we can but not as often as we would like. We’re at sea a lot so we don’t always have the time.”


Lee enjoyed talking with Tammy.  He could tell she was a bright and caring person.  Chip and Theresa finished their dance and returned to the table.  They looked like they were up to something when they returned to the table.  Lee saw them with their heads together talking and looking at him as they were dancing.


“Lee, I dare you to stand with your face in the picture board.  I’ll pay for dinner for the next three months if you do,” Chip challenged.  Tammy and Theresa were also encouraging him to do it.


Lee wasn’t surprised at Chip’s dare.  They’ve known each for so long he wondered why it took him so long to ask him.


“Chip, I’m going to hold you to that bet.  We’ll be going out every night when we get back home.”


Lee walked over to the picture board and put his face in the hole.  Chip took a couple of pictures with his cell phone.  Tammy and Theresa thought he looked pretty cute standing there in the skimpy orange, blue and yellow trunks with the red surf board in front of him. Only Chip knew it was totally out of his character to do something like that.


“I can’t wait to show this picture to the men,” Chip said laughing. “I’m going to have it framed and hang it in my office.”


Lee shook his head and wondered if it was worth the dinner bet.  He knew Chip would post that picture all over the office and Seaview. 


Tammy looked at her watch it was already midnight.  She pointed to her watch as she looked at Theresa.  She took her sweater off the back of the chair.


Before she got up Lee asked, “Could we take you and Theresa out to dinner tomorrow night?”


Tammy answered with disappointment in her voice, “Sorry but we’re leaving tomorrow.  Our flight leaves at 11:00.  We have to be on duty early Sunday morning.”


“We understand.  Duty calls,” Chip replied back sadly.  “We’ve been there too.”


They got up from the table and walked them back to their hotel which was about three hotels away from where the party was.  Lee held Tammy’s hand as they walked along the beach.


Tammy whispered to Lee as they walked, “We’d ask you back to our room but one of the girls we came with got sick and is in bed.”


Smiling he replied, “It’s okay.  I’ve really enjoyed spending the evening with you and Theresa.”  He bent down and gave her a kiss.


A little further back from Lee and Tammy were Chip and Theresa.  They had their arms wrapped around each other’s waist.


“Chip, I’d ask you back to the room but one of our room mates is sick and in bed, sorry.”


“No problem.  I understand.  It’s too bad you’re leaving tomorrow.  I was looking forward to spending some more time with you,” Chip said giving Theresa a kiss.


They walked the women to the lobby of their hotel and waited with them at the elevators.

”If you’re ever in Santa Barbara, please come and visit, we’d love to show you around the institute and Seaview,” Lee told them handing them one of his cards with the phone number and address of NIMR. 


“Same here, if you can get away from the ocean and research.  Please come and see us.  South Dakota is very beautiful especially in the fall,” Tammy said softly handing him a piece of paper with her phone number on it.


The elevator dinged signaling it was at their floor, but before the doors opened Tammy and Theresa gave Lee and Chip a kiss and then stepped in the elevator pushing the button to their floor.  Chip and Lee waited until the doors closed before leaving.


“Damn,” both Theresa and Tammy said out loud as they rode the elevator to their floor.  “Those two were the hottest men I’ve ever seen or dated.”


“Damn,” both Lee and Chip said as they walked out of the hotel lobby and onto the beach heading back to the resort.  “They were pretty, sexy and nice.”


“I need a nightcap,” Chip told Lee as they walked into the hotel and headed for the Tiki Bar at the resort. 


“Me too,” Lee agreed sadly.


They walked into the resort and sat down at the bar.  The woman bartender walked over to them and just stared at them before she asked them what they wanted.


Smiling his sunshine smile Lee ordered, “I’ll have a 7up and he’ll have a coke.” 


“Yes sir,” she stammered.


As they were waiting for their drinks, they both checked their cell phones for any messages from the men.  So far no one had called.  Chip found the pictures he took of Lee in the picture board.


“I can’t believe you actually took me up on my bet.”


“You didn’t leave me much choice.  I didn’t want to let down Tammy and Theresa who were waiting for one of us to pose there.”


After they finished their drinks, they went up to the room disappointed that Tammy and Theresa had to leave tomorrow.  Each of them was thinking they might have broken their one night stand rule as they really liked them. 




Lee and Chip were up early the next morning so they went for a run on the beach, before meeting the rest of men for breakfast at 0700.  The first round of competition started at 0900.  Riley was so nervous he had a hard time eating.


“Did everyone enjoy their evening last night,” the admiral asked as he took a sip of coffee.  He made a face after tasting it, not strong enough.  He was learning to appreciate Cookie’s coffee more and more.


Patterson spoke up, “Yes we did.  We found a bar with live music, good food and dancing.  I think we’d still be there if Riley didn’t need to get to bed so he could compete today.”


“Your next Lee, Chip,” the admiral said, “report on your evening.”


“We had a great time too.” Lee replied with a grin.


“Now Lee, please tell the men where you went,” the admiral insisted with a smile on his face.


Sighing Lee said, “We went to a bodybuilding contest and then to a party with two of the women who competed in the contest.  They didn’t win but tied for third place.”


“Far out,” Riley said.  “Bodybuilders.”


Kowalski whistled adding, “They must have had great looking bodies.”


“Yes Ski they did,” Chip answered giving him the Morton look not to ask anymore questions.


“Admiral, how was your evening” Lee wondered as he nibbled on a piece of toast.


“Just fine.  I had a wonderful dinner with Carolyn whom I haven’t seen in a long time.”


Riley looked at his watch and jumped up, “I gotta go. It’s already 0830.”


“Go ahead and go.  Mr. Morton will get the tab for breakfast,” Lee told the men, “We’ll meet you down there in a few minutes.”


“I’m paying for breakfast?” Chip asked Lee surprised,


“Consider it a dinner payment,” Lee responded with a huge grin on his face.


“Okay what’s going on,” the admiral inquired taking a drink of his coffee and frowned, “what have you two done?”


Lee explained to the admiral about the picture board and the bet Chip made. 


“Let’s see the picture.”


Chip showed the admiral the picture which made the admiral burst out laughing. 


“You actually did this and you let him take a picture?”


“Yes I did it.  Chip didn‘t leave me a choice with Tammy and Theresa standing there.  I didn‘t want to disappoint them,” Lee sighed, “but I get dinner free for the next three months.”


“I think we should blow it up and hang it right as you walk in your office,” the admiral teased.


“Okay enough.  Let’s go we don’t want to miss the first group of surfers,” Lee replied getting up from the table.


Chip signaled the waitress to bring the bill.  When she handed him the bill there was another sheet of paper with her phone number on it.  He paid the bill, left a tip on the table and took the phone number with him.




The admiral, Lee and Chip walked to the beach where the surfing competition was starting.  It was a lot windier today and the waves were a little bigger so this fit right into Riley’s plan.  They stood with the rest of the men and watched the first group of surfers go out.  A couple of them fell off their boards in the waves. 


“Do you have plans for tonight, Lee, Chip,” the admiral asked as he watched the surfers.


“No sir.  Tammy and Theresa are leaving today.  They are ER nurses from South Dakota and have to be on duty tomorrow morning,” Chip replied grimacing as another surfer fell of his board.


“Carolyn was hoping you and Lee would join us for dinner tonight.  She’s making ravioli casserole and promised to make ‘real’ coffee and not the instant she has most of the time.  She’s got some new Swedish coffee she says is fantastic.  She’s made brownies since she knows there Lee’s favorite.”


“Sure Admiral we’ll be happy to join you and Carolyn,” Lee replied as another surfer lost it in the waves.


Riley went out for the first of his runs and nailed it.  He caught every wave and brought it in all the way to the shore.  His next two runs were just as good.  There were a couple of other surfers that were just as good as Riley.  Everyone finished their runs and standing around waiting for them to announce the results for the final runs of the competition.  It seemed to take the judges forever to decide.


Finally after a fifteen minute wait they announced the results and Riley made it.  He ran over to the rest of his friends, they were slapping him on the back. They were almost as excited that he made it as he was. The admiral, Lee and Chip joined the rest of them in congratulating him.  The three officers noticed the men were with the same girls they were with yesterday; at least some of them were lucky.


The finals were scheduled to start at 1400 hours that afternoon.  The admiral, Chip and Lee decided to go back to the hotel and check in with Angie.  She told them to call her if Riley made it to the finals.


“Hi Angie,” the admiral said when she picked up the phone.


“If you’re calling me that means Riley made it to the finals.” Lee and Chip could hear her cheering in the phone.


Smiling as he told her, “Angie calm down, he hasn’t won it.”


“Sir, make sure you call when it’s over.  Even it he doesn’t win.”


“Yes I will.  Everything okay there?” the admiral asked.


“Yes sir.  Everything is just fine.  Don’t worry about a thing.  Wanda and I have taken care of everything.”


“That’s what I’m afraid of,” he muttered softly.


“What sir?”


“Nothing.  I’ll call you later,” the admiral disconnected the call and looked at Lee and Chip, “I think we’re in trouble.  Angie and Wanda have taken care of everything.”


“We’re definitely in trouble,” Lee sighed.  “I need a drink.”


The three men walked into the bar and ordered sodas. Chip was hungry so they ordered sandwiches and ate them at the bar while they drank their sodas.


“We better get going the last run is going to start in a few minutes,” Chip said.


Lee paid the bill and they walked back out into the heat and humidity.  They were sweating before they even got to the beach.




The wind had picked up a little more and the waves were a little bigger.  Riley was very excited at this turn of events.  He loved to surf in the larger waves.  Since there were only five finalists they would all do their runs at the same time.  The five finalists consisted of two women and three men.  Riley had met his match in these surfers.  All of them had no problems and made no errors.  They all finished their three runs and it was a very tight competition.  Now that the runs were over, it all rested in the hands of the judges.


Riley ran over to the men.  He was still excited.  The red headed girl he was with gave him a huge kiss in front of everyone.  Poor Riley was embarrassed to be kissed in front of his officers.  The admiral, Lee and Chip just smiled at him giving him the okay signal.


It took the judges over twenty minutes to decide the winners.  They announced the fifth and fourth places finishers and Riley’s name was not announced so that meant he finished in the top three.  Finally the last three places were announced.  Riley had won second place.   He stood there dumfounded.  He never expected to even make the semi finals let alone second place.  The group of men was cheering, slapping him on the back.  His red headed friend gave him a very long congratulatory kiss which he returned.  He went to the judge’s stand to pick up his trophy and a check.


The admiral, Lee and Chip were walking ahead of the men as they walked with their girls back to the resort.  They were going to a fancy restaurant for dinner and then to a bar for dancing.  No curfew for them tonight, no one had to get up early to be anywhere tomorrow morning.


“Skipper,” Kowalski said as he ran to catch up with Lee, “do you have any plans for tonight?  Please bring your girls and join us.”


“Thanks Ski, they left for home today.  They were ER nurses and have to be on duty tomorrow morning. Besides we’re joining the admiral and his friend for dinner tonight.  She’s looking forward to seeing us.”


“Okay but if you get back early and still feel like partying, give me a call and I’ll let you know where we are.”


“Will do,” Lee smiled as Kowalski went back with the rest of the men and the girls.


They all went back to their rooms to get ready for their evening out.  The admiral caught up with Lee before he went into his room.


“I’ll meet you out front at 1700 hours and we’ll take a taxi to Carolyn’s house.  I’ll have to find a store so I can buy a bottle of wine to bring her.”


“I’m sure there’s one on the way.  See you later. Admiral before we leave we should call Angie and tell her about Riley. But don‘t do it before Chip and I can hear her yell,” Lee laughed.


“Sure.” he replied with a huge grin.

Chip was already in the room and was ready to go when Lee got to the room.  He was munching on some pretzels he bought out of the vending machine.


“If you want to have a body like those bodybuilders, you’re going to have to lay off the junk food.  No more pizza, beer, chips, and whatever else you eat that’s bad.  From now on you eat only healthy foods like salads, tofu, vegetables and fruit,” Lee teased.


“Give up pizza and beer. Eat tofu,” Chip exclaimed, “no way.  I’ll keep my body just as it is if I have to give up that stuff.”


Laughing Lee replied, “I’m with you no tofu for me either.”




Chip and Lee met the Admiral in front of the resort.  Now that they were all together, he called Angie to let her know how Riley finished.




“Hi Angie.”


“Admiral, how did Riley finish?” she asked very excited.


“He finished second,” he told her then held the phone out at arm’s length at the resulting screams.


“Second,” she yelled, “Give him my congratulations.  I can’t wait to see him.  He must be thrilled.”


“Yes, he is.  We’ll see you sometime late on Monday.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend.”


“You too sir.”


The admiral disconnected the call.  “You heard she was happy,” he chuckled. 


“For such a little thing, she sure can yell,” Chip grinned.


Lee hailed a taxi and asked if there was a store they could stop at.  The taxi driver drove a little ways down the street and stopped in front of a store that sold beer and wine.  He went into the store and picked up a nice bottle of red wine and a bouquet of flowers that were for sale by the register.  They arrived at Carolyn’s house where she met them at the door.


She gave Lee and Chip a kiss hello along with the admiral and took the bouquet of flowers and put them in a vase.  They opened the bottle of wine and enjoyed it before dinner.  She asked how the surfing competition went and how Riley finished.


“He finished second,” the admiral told her.


“That’s great.  I bet he’s very excited.”


“Yes, he is. Chip why don’t you show her the picture you took of Lee,” the admiral suggested with a wicked grin on his face. 


“Sure,” Chip replied as he took out his phone and found the picture. 


She thought the picture was very funny and so unlike Lee.


“Why did you do it,” she asked smiling broadly.


“I was dared and there were two women there I didn’t want to disappoint.”


“Well you do look very handsome,” she snickered.


Changing the subject Lee asked, “When is dinner?  I’m a little hungry.”


“We can eat right now if you want.”


They sat down at the table and enjoyed the ravioli casserole with garlic bread and salad.  When they were finished Chip and Lee cleaned up the dishes while Carolyn made ‘real’ coffee and served dessert.


Since it was very hot and humid, they stayed in the house eating the dessert and talking about the institute and what was on the agenda for Seaview.  They were having a good time at Carolyn’s house but when Lee looked at his watch he couldn’t believe how late it was.  Lee called for a taxi which would take fifteen minutes to arrive. 


As Carolyn cleaned up the dessert dishes, she asked them about the coffee, “Well, my coffee connoisseurs how did you like the coffee?”


“You mean that wasn’t instant?” the admiral teased.


“It was very good.  Where did you say it was from?” Lee asked.


“It came from Sweden.  You can order it on the internet.  They have all different kinds of brews.”


“Good to know.  I might have to get some.”


They heard a horn outside and knew the taxi had arrived. 


Giving her a kiss good bye the admiral said, “Thank you for dinner it was delicious.  Come out and visit us so we can treat you dinner and a voyage on Seaview.”


Lee and Chip agreed with the admiral and gave her a kiss good bye.


“I’ll try but working at the college keeps me very busy.”


She waved good bye as the cab drove away.  Maybe I should go out there.  I would love to take a voyage on Seaview, she thought.




The cab driver left them off at the front of the resort.  While Chip paid the fare, they were deciding what to do.


“Let’s go in the bar for a nightcap,” the admiral suggested.


“Sure, it’s not that late,” Lee added.


They walked into the bar, and the same bartender that served them last night was there again tonight. She walked over to them as they sat down.


“One coke and 7up,” she said looking at Chip and Lee, “What can I get you sir?” she asked the admiral.


“I’ll have a scotch and water on the rocks,” the admiral said as Lee and Chip looked at him.  “I’m thirsty.”


The bartender brought over their drinks and started up a conversation with them.


“Where are you from?”


Santa Barbara, California,” Chip answered.  “We came for the surfing competition.”


“It’s been pretty busy here because of that competition. Now that the competition is over things will quiet down for awhile. When are you leaving?” she replied as she looked for rings on their fingers.


“Later on tomorrow,” Lee replied as he finished his drink.


A few more patrons entered the bar so she excused herself to take care of them.  When they finished their drinks, the admiral paid the tab and the walked out of the bar waving goodbye to the bartender.


“Come back again.” she told them.  The three of them were very easy on the eyes, she thought.  They can come back here any time and it didn’t look like they were married.


As they rode the elevator upstairs to their rooms, they were deciding on what to do tomorrow.


“I’m going to lie out on the beach and go swimming,” Chip told them yawning. 


“Sounds good,” Lee agreed.


“You can lay out all you want.  I’m going to look around but don’t forget we’re meeting the rest of the men for a celebration lunch at 1300 hours,” the admiral reminded them.


“Yes sir.  Good night admiral,” Chip said.


Lee and Chip went out on the balcony just to hear the waves.  Even though it was dark, you could hear people talking as the walked on the beach.  Lee yawned.


“I’m going to bed.  Want to run in the morning before we lay out?  We need to get into shape,” Lee teased.


“Sure, why not.” 


They came in from the balcony but left the door open.  There was a cool breeze coming off the ocean and they wanted to hear the waves.





The rest of the men were having a good time at a bar a few miles from the resort.  The bar had live music and dancing. While they were at the bar, a man started a fight with Kowalski over his date but Patterson and Chief Sharkey cooled him down before he got into trouble. The last thing they wanted to do was to wake the skipper and Mr. Morton to bail them out of jail.  After dropping off their girls who were staying a few resorts down from them, they got back very early in the morning and Riley and Kowalski were a little drunk.


Lee and Chip were going for their run when they saw the men coming into the resort.  Patterson had his arm around Kowalski while Sharkey was holding up Riley.


“Did you have a good time?” Chip asked looking at Kowalski who could hardly stand.


“Yes sir.  We had a wonderful time,” Kowalski replied swaying as he answered them, “but we didn’t get into trouble.”


“Well you all better get some sleep.  The admiral is expecting all of you for lunch at 1300 hours,” Lee told them.


“We’ll be there,” Sharkey assured them.


Sharkey and Patterson took Riley and Kowalski upstairs as the Lee and Chip left for their run with grins on their faces.


“Looks like they enjoyed themselves,” Lee smiled.


They ran down the beach for five miles before stopping at an outdoor café and grabbed a quick bite before running back to the resort.  It was already pretty crowded when they got back there.  They staked out a spot on the beach and were admiring the girls walking by in their bikinis.  When they got warm they walked into the ocean for a quick swim when they noticed a nice looking woman having trouble getting back to shore.  They could see she was starting to panic.  Lee and Chip swam over to her.


“Relax,” Lee told her calmly, “we’ll help you back to shore.”


“I’m so scared.  I got a cramp in my foot and I can’t walk on it,” she said hysterically.


“No problem,” Chip told her as he picked her up and carried her back to the beach.


He put her down on the beach and started rubbing her foot to get the cramp out.


“Thank you so much.  I don’t know what I would’ve have done if you hadn’t come along.  Let me buy you a drink.”


“No that’s okay,” Lee said to her as a large man walked over to them.


“Babe, what the hell’s going on here?  Who are these men?” he said loudly as he pushed Chip’s hand away from the woman’s foot. 


“Cool it, Otis.  These men just saved me from drowning.  I got a cramp in my foot and they brought me back to the beach.  If you have gone with me in the water, you could’ve have helped me back.”


“Keep your hands to yourself.  If there’s any rubbing to do, I’ll do it,” he snarled at Chip.


“No problem,” Chip said as he and Lee backed off and walked to their spot on the beach not wanting to upset Otis.


“She wasn’t bad looking. Too bad she’s with Otis,” Chip sighed.


“We better get going.  We don’t want to be late for lunch after telling the rest of them they better be on time.”


They walked back to the resort just as the admiral was coming up from the beach. 


“Where did you go, sir,” Chip inquired.


“Went for a walk on the beach...saw what happened...can’t you two stay out of trouble?”


“We didn’t know she was with Otis,” Lee said, “we saw her in trouble and went to help her.”


“I wouldn’t have expected you to do anything else,” he replied patting them on the shoulders.


The three of them took the elevators to their rooms to get ready for lunch.


Lee, Chip and the admiral were the first ones at the restaurant.  A few minutes later, Sharkey and Patterson came in followed by Riley and Kowalski who still looked a little hung-over. 


“Sorry sirs,” Riley said as he sat down holding his head, “I guess I celebrated a little too much.  I have a king size headache.”


“Me too,” Kowalski said as he sat down.


“When we’re done with lunch come to my room,” the Lee told them, “I have some acetaminophen.”


“Thank you skipper,” the both replied.


“Let’s order lunch.” Chip said sympathetically.  He felt sorry for Kowalski and Riley as he has been there before.


They ordered lunch and they were telling the admiral, Lee and Chip were they went and how a man tried to take Kowalski’s date away from him but Sharkey and Patterson calmed him down before he got into trouble when the admiral’s phone rang.  He excused himself and went to the corner of the restaurant where it was a little quieter.


“Hi Angie,” the admiral answered knowing who was calling.


“Hi Admiral, sorry to bother you but the Secretary of the Navy called the institute.  Peters called me and let me know he called.  I figured I better let you know.  They have an emergency mission for Seaview.  I explained to him that you were out of town but he insisted I call you.  You need to call him right away,” Angie told him.


“Damn,” the admiral said, “sorry Angie.  I’ll give him a call.  I’ll let you know what’s going on.”


“Yes sir.”


Lee and Chip could see that something must be wrong by the look on his face.  They excused themselves from the table and went over to him as he was calling the Secretary of the Navy.  The rest of the men also knew something was up by the look on his face.


“Bill, Nelson here.  What’s the problem?”


“Harry, sorry to interrupt your vacation but we need Seaview to leave immediately to help a ship in the Pacific.  She’s taking on water badly from an explosion.  She’s loaded with nuclear missiles.  Seaview’s the only one who can offload them, store them and get them back.”


“Bill, I’m in Florida right now and the soonest I could get Seaview ready to leave would be sometime on Monday,” he said looking at Lee for confirmation who nodded his head in agreement.


“According to the captain they might be able to stay afloat and are trying to make repairs.  We want to make sure nothing happens to those missiles.  Do what you can Harry.”


“We’ll leave as soon as we can for home,” the admiral told him running his hand through his hair.  “Give me the coordinates so I can have my men plot out a course.”


Bill gave the admiral coordinates.  They weren’t too far away from Santa Barbara.  It would only take them a day to get there.


“Problem sir?” Lee asked seeing the worried look in the admiral’s face.


“We need to leave right away.  There’s a ship in the Pacific that’s in danger of sinking and we need to offload her missiles unto Seaview. There’s no other ship’s out there that can do the job and store the missiles.  Lee, how soon can we take off?” he asked as he called Angie.




Pacing back and forth as he talked, “Angie, I need your help.  Please call Bobby O’Brien and have him come to the institute.  We need you and Bobby to recall the crew.  Would you mind going to the office and helping him out?”


“No sir, not at all.  Can I ask why so I can tell him?”


“Just tell him we need to leave by Monday afternoon and I’ll tell him when I call you back.  Thanks Angie.  I owe you.  I will call you as soon as we take off and give you our arrival time.”


“Yes sir.”


After the admiral got off the phone Lee told him, “We’re almost done with lunch, we pack up, get to the airport and do the pre-flight check list, maybe sixty to ninety minutes.  Admiral don‘t forget we’ll be heading into the wind, it‘s going to take us longer to get back.  I’m guessing an additional hour.”


“Okay, let’s finish up here and get going.”


Lee, Chip and the admiral went back to the table and the men could tell something was wrong.


“Admiral, what’s wrong?” Sharkey asked.


“Sorry men, we’re going to have to leave as soon as we’re done with lunch.  There’s a ship in trouble in the Pacific and we need to get to her,” Lee told them.


“Skipper, I won’t be able to co-pilot it hasn’t been eight hours since I stopped drinking.  I’m really sorry.”


“Ski, don’t worry about.  How did you know we would have to leave right away.  Mr. Morton will fly us home and I can co-pilot.  Neither one of us has been drinking.”


The men finished up lunch, the admiral paid the bill and they left the restaurant twenty minutes after he got the call.  They packed up their gear and checked out of the hotel and were in taxis to the airport thirty minutes later. Patterson, Riley, Sharkey and Kowalski stowed their gear on the plane while Lee and Chip did the pre-flight check list.  The admiral went to the office to pay the tie down fee along with the fuel bill.  He let them know they were leaving and gave them a copy of the flight plan Chip made out.  He also let them know that NIMR had one too.  He called the airport in Santa Barbara and spoke with a member of Mr. Blaine’s staff and told them they would be back later today.   While he waited for Lee and Chip to finish he called Angie.


“Nelson Institute,” Angie answered quickly.


“Hi Angie.  How are things going there?”


“Hello admiral.  Bobby is here and we’re recalling the crew.  We’ve gotten through to most of them.  We’re waiting for a couple of them to call back.  We know for sure that three men are out of town and will not be able to make it back in time to shove off.  Bobby says we can sail without them.”


“Good job Angie.  We’ll be taking off in the next thirty minutes.  We need to make one stop for fuel.  I’ll call you back and let you know when we will land at the Santa Barbara airport.”


“Okay Admiral.  Please be careful.”


“Don’t worry we have the best pilots around,” he said smiling at Lee and Chip as they came up next to him finishing the pre-flight check list and the walk around the plane to make the control surfaces were not damaged.


After checking the flaps, setting the altimeter, and making sure it was refueled Chip took off for the first stop on their way home.  They were in the air ninety minutes after Angie called the admiral. 


The winds aloft were stronger than Chip or Lee anticipated so it took them a little longer to get to the airport in Dallas.


“Chip, Lee, how long to you think it will take us to get to Santa Barbara?”


“If these winds stay as strong as it is now, probably another five hours,” Chip told the admiral and Lee nodded his head in agreement.


“Let me know if we can shave some time off.”


“Yes, sir,” Chip told him.


The admiral called Angie to give her an update before they took off from Dallas.


“Nelson Institute.”


“Hi Angie.  Looks like it will be at least another five hours.”


“Okay admiral.  Bobby and I finished recalling the crew.  They all should be on board by 0900 hours on Monday.”


“Angie, if Bobby is still there, please put him on the phone.”


She handed the phone to Bobby, “Yes sir.”


“Thanks for coming in Bobby.  There’s a ship in trouble not to far from Santa Barbara and we need to offload her missiles.  Please plot a course to these coordinates,” the admiral told him giving him coordinates.


“Aye sir.  We’ll be ready to shove off as soon as you arrive on Monday.


“Thanks, Bobby.”


The admiral hung up his phone and climbed aboard the plane.  Chip took off as soon as he was cleared by the tower for a westerly departure.  The winds aloft were still fairly strong and it took them five hours before they were cleared for landing at the Santa Barbara airport.  Chip taxied the jet to the hangar.  Mr. Blaine’s mechanic was waiting for them when they arrived. 


“Thanks for letting us use the jet,” Chip said as he and Lee deplaned, “she’s a dream to fly.”


“Yes sir she sure is. Glad you enjoyed flying her,” he replied with a grin.


“Please put fuel in her and let us know the cost so we can pay you,” Lee told the mechanic.


“Yes sir.”


The men unloaded their gear from the plane and made their way to their cars.  It was early evening when they returned to the institute.


“Please report to Seaview by 0600 tomorrow,” Lee told the men.


“Aye sir,” they replied.


“Thanks for letting us go with.  We had a great time,” Lee said grinning as the admiral and Chip nodded in agreement.


“We’re glad you came,” Riley said, “Maybe we should go again next year?”


“We’re game,” they all replied.




Lee and Chip were on board Seaview by 0500.  Bobby was checking in the crew as they came aboard.  By 0800 everyone had reported for duty.


“Prepare to shove off,” Lee told the dock hands from the bridge as they untied the ropes and pulled up the gangplank. He called to the engine room, “all back dead slow,” he said as he directed Seaview out of her berth and into the channel.


All he said to Chip who was on the bridge with him was, “Duty calls.”




The End.