It’s not that I don’t understand
women; that’s a given. But sometimes I’m just as bewildered by Lee.
Take yesterday. I was in my office signing off on one of my last reports before heading to lunch. I was late and Nelson
had wanted to go over some new articles with me. The cafeteria’s Homemade Cream of Broccoli soup was supposed
to be on the menu and I was looking forward to it, with toasted croutons and warm corn muffins to accompany it. The civilian
mess staff working for NIMR were really rather good at what they did, and most of the dishes were ‘from scratch’.
Not for Nelson’s boys (and girls) ready-made or canned goods. Except for
Tomato Basil soup. Which is just as well as I detest Tomato Basil no matter who
makes it. So you can see how I was distracted with lunch in mind, can’t you?
It all began when I heard a yelp. A female yelp. Lola Hale’s actually. Wondering what was going on I found she’d
already disappeared from her desk, (she’d been filling in for Angie,) and was being carried (yes, carried in a scoop
type fashion) off by Lee, her legs kicking and her arms flailing.
I was a bit further behind the retreating figures than I’d have liked when they passed by Kowalski.
“Kowalski! Help me!” she screamed.
“Carry on Ski,” Lee commanded,
daring the crewman to interfere. Ski quickly stepped aside. So much for the universally
held belief that the male of the species has an inbred protective instinct toward women, regardless the cost to life, liberty,
and irate Skippers.
“Lee Crane, you put me down!”
“No, I don’t think I will,”
he responded thoughtfully, and continued to head further away from the Admin building and toward the docks.
It took a moment for it to dawn on her, (and
me) that he wasn’t headed to the sub pen and Seaview.
“Lee, you…you- wouldn’t- dare…”she growled, livid.
Dare what? By then I’d caught up, with
several other interested parties.
“Chip! Chip! Make him stop!”
“Don’t even think it, Morton,”
Lee commanded me, and instantly that broccoli soup was looking better and better as I indicated
‘Who Me?’ my arms akimbo and headed off while he continued on his way, bumping into Nelson who’d just emerged
from the cafeteria. Swell, he’d given up on me ever showing.
“Admiral! Admiral!” I could see
and hear her scream, kicking her legs even more violently if that was possible, “Save me ! Save me!”
“Captain?” Nelson asked, “just
what are your intentions?” rather too calmly I thought. What was going on? Well it wasn’t any of my business.
Yes, that soup was even more appealing as I inched further away from the action toward my goal, well, sort of. I couldn’t
resist watching the scene unfold, Broccoli soup be damned.
“Completely honorable, sir,” was
Lee’s response and rounded the corner as Nelson and by now a small group followed Crane and his captive. I wasn’t
far behind as we came into view of the brackish water that was lapping up against the deep water dock, empty of any vessels.
“Lee Crane, you put me down!”
“Oh, I intend to,” he said dangerously
as he stopped at the edge of the dock.
“Lee Crane, you …you…you
Uh oh… surely Lee didn’t have
‘that’ in mind, did he? It didn’t matter what the cause was to make Lee loose his cool like this. Should I come to her rescue or not? Still, for a moment I wondered if there’d be any
soup left if I tarried.
“Lee,” I waylaid him just as Nelson did.
“Don’t do it, son.”
“Wasn’t going to,” Lee said
and was in the actual process of putting her down, when he slipped on one of
the puddles while she was still attached to him somewhat, and they waved their
arms helplessly as they tried to regain their balance. Tried being the operative word.
Our mouths agape, we were wondering if there
would be enough earplugs in storage. As her head emerged from the depths, there was green slime in her blonde hair and on
her formerly pink cashmere sweater.
But instead of a shrill tirade, while she
tread water, and Lee emerged, making sure she was okay, issuing a dozen or more, ‘I’m
sorry’s and stroking her face, she began to giggle, ‘Next time Lee, I’d prefer the swimming pool’.
Then they kissed then , followed by her “ I’m sorry too, Lee. It was a
pretty cheap shot saying Seaview was an unsatisfied whore.”
“Miss Hale!” Nelson fumed. Never
had anyone ever ever used that tone about his boat. No wonder Lee had been livid
enough to consider dumping her over the side. Or at least angry enough to make her think
that’s what he was going to do.
“Sorry sir. It’s just that she
takes so much of Lee’s time…Lee, sweetie, Your forehead’s bleeding.”
“Must have been a barnacle…”
“Look sharp,” I took over and
ordered the men standing on the dock to give them a hand up and to get the Captain to the Med Center.
“Miss Hale, Lee, ” Nelson said,
“as soon as you’re both cleaned up, my office. We’re going to have a little talk about taking things too
As the hastily summoned golf cart came and
took the soggy passengers back to Admin and the Med Center the multitude melted
away and Nelson came to stand by me.
“Chip, I thought you were supposed to
join me in the Cafeteria,” Nelson said.
“I was but…kind of got distracted.”
“Well never mind. I gave the articles to O’Brien to look over.”
“I’m sorry sir. I sure was looking forward it and to that Cream of Broccoli soup today, sir.”
“Er…that’s what I was coming to tell you. They ran out before I even got there. All they have left is Tomato Basil”
“Tomato Basil? ”I gulped.
“Sorry, Lad,” he patted my arm
sympathetically and departed.
It was with a heavy heart that I returned
to my office and satisfied myself with the break room’s vending machines.
A short while later, Admiral Nelson appeared
at my door and held up a red and white can with a microwavable lid and familiar label.
“Not as good as the cafeteria’s,
but…sometimes real life gets in the way of what we really want. Now, pull yourself away from those potato chips and
let’s heat this soup up in the break room’s microwave. I have some more articles I need your opinion of…”
That was yesterday, and today I was wondering
what was taking Lola so long to get those letters ready for my signature.
“Mr. Morton sir?” Sharkey interrupted
my thoughts, “the Skipper says one of the steno pool’s whipping your letters up and he and Miss Hale won’t
be available this afternoon. They’re going to be checking out the swimming pool… and after he left, well, sir… she showed me her new bikini and the swim trunks she got him…only…er…well…they’re
not exactly regulation, sir.”
“Well that’s not a problem, Chief.”
“No sir..not normally…it’s…er…it’s
a …a thong sir…a red one.”
“He’s going kill her,” I
But no, apparently he didn’t kill her
if the rumor of a little smoochy smooch time in the pool means anything. Any
wonder I don’t understand women, or a certain gentleman by the name of Lee Crane?