Chip Morton's Journal

Bike Week
Bike Week
The Java Connection
Lee's Tattoo
The Love Plant
Skin Deep 4
Skin Deep 3
Skin Deep 2
Skin Deep
Gone Astray-4
Gone Astray-3
Gone Astray-2
Gone Astray 1
Twisted Tail
The Big Day
Bed Bugs
Running on Empty
My Runner's Keeper
Dress Whites and Other Plauges of Mankind
Motorcycle Rag
Hen Pecked
Call me Sherlock-page 1
Hail the Conquering Hero-Sort Of
The Mission
This and That
About Me
My photo album
When Fail Safe Wasn't
Contact Me

 “I still think you’re crazy, Lee!” I pounded my fist on his desk. The sunlight was streaming in through the small window in his office, (if you must know, actually a former broom closet), and illuminated a few stray cobwebs that the cleaning staff had missed. Of course, his office had been locked for the past three months while we’d been out charting methane vents, far far away and far far below.

I’d tried to get Seaview’s Captain to take Captain Phillip’s office as his own (when he’d first joined us), but for some reason he’d refused, even at Nelson’s request, and seemed to be quite content, even these years later,  in his crowded cubbyhole.

 I always felt a bit guilty when I met him there. Or maybe that was the reason he'd opted for it. It put him in a distinct advantage with his dealings from crewman to the Admiral himself. At least I’d  thought so, that is,  until I saw the view from his window. Ah, that was it. He had a uninterrupted view of the boat. At least when she wasn’t parked in her special (and bomb proof) underground cavern. In fact, we hardly ever used it now, reserving it for those special alerts from Washington, or in the case of one Commander Lee Crane, when the mood struck. Which it didn’t very often. He preferred to see her at the dock, glittering in the sunshine or dripping with water droplets during a thunderstorm...he just liked to look at her.

Lee and his boat...I’d never known anyone who’s relationship with his command bordered on the absurd. Or perhaps the paranormal. In any case, you’d have thought I’d have been glad when he told me that he’d be taking leave in Daytona Beach. (We have a mutual friend there, who just about always offers us a free place to stay and home cooked meals.) I suddenly asked if I could join him.

"Sure, if you like hogs," he smirked.

Now, there is really nothing finer to eat than pork and I licked my lips in anticipation.

“Hogs as in motorcycles...”Lee clarified.


 Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against motorcycles. It’s just that the only ones I’d seen Lee ride were a rusted model of questionable vintage, the red paint flaking off it, and an ancient model with a sidecar that reminded me of old war movies. Add to that any inclement weather...well, not a good idea to ride one cross country! Not by a long shot. And I was about to tell him so when he interrupted my thoughts.

“I’m already a couple of days late for Bike Week, too late to actually drive there. And the average airline cargo charge is more than four months pay, so, I, kind of volunteered for a little Reserve time, in exchange for a small favor. No problem with Joe and I taking my bikes along in a C-130.”

“C-130’s do not as a rule use the Daytona International Airport!”

“No, but they do when the local aeronautical university has requested it’s ROTC students get a bit up close and personal with one. Embry Riddle, I believe.”

“Okay, so you hitch a ride on a Hercules. What about the Reserve time?” I sputtered. He’d done that not too long ago and was badly hurt. I leaned over the desk and stabbed my finger into his chest. “You do enough of official time  aboard Seaview and with ONI. What the devil do they want you for now?”

“Well,” he grinned, “I’ll uh, be kind of helping out the Coast Guard. Flotilla #44.”

Coast Guard? The Captain of the Seaview is taking on a stint with the Coast Guard?” I had to scoff, incredulous.

“Chip, this isn’t like you. And what the blazes is wrong with the Coast Guard? They do a good job. On an average day they do over a hundred search and rescues, save numerous lives, intercept drug runners, and...”

“Drug runners. Oh swell, it’s going to be one of ‘those’ assignments. You’ll come back all beaten and battered and...shot or something!”

“Enough! I’ll do what I’m ordered to do! And it’s only for a few days. In the meantime I’ll be able to join in Bike Week’s fun and games when I’m off duty.  There are also a few new models I want to check out."

"I hope you're talking about the fashion model kind of models."

"Probably not, but then there may be a few wearing leathers with the new cycles."

I found it very hard not to groan and run my hand through my hair.

“Chip," Admiral Nelson suddenly stood in the doorway, " do you realize we can hear you all the way down to the water cooler? Besides, I’ve already tried to dissuade him from his little trip. To no avail,” he handed Lee his official orders. “As of two minutes ago, you’re on Reserve time, son.”

“I’ll just finish up some of these reports...”

“You’ll do no such thing. Shut down and lock up. Heavens, doesn’t the cleaning crew ever get in here?” he pulled a cobweb thread from the overhead light, and brushed it off his pants.

“Admiral,” I came to  a sudden decision. “I request  permission to take leave. Now.”

“I don’t need a babysitter, Chip,” Lee warned.

“Of course not,” I said, “I just have a sudden urge to learn how to ride a bike,” I pulled off an old picture on the wall of Lee in a green striped shirt leaning in front of his red ‘hog’. “But of course, should the Coast Guard need an additional helping hand...” I added sagely, realizing that it might be the only way to insure I could keep an eye on Lee the whole time.

And so I found myself assigned, as Lee, to Flotilla #44, puking my guts out aboard the small cutter in what our dispatcher told us were only light to moderate seas. It didn’t help that I’d already been slightly nauseous from my short ride from the airport in the sidecar to the beachside hotel Agent Catfish had arranged for us. For some reason, she'd felt a resort and spa would be nicer for us nice boys putting in a little extra  patriotic duty, as she'd put it.

As yet another wave splashed over the bow, I looked aft at the shoreline from our bouncing toy boat as we headed further out to sea. As the shoreline bobbed up and down, up and down, it was difficult to stay focused on the scantily clad girls sunning themselves or parasailing just offshore.

“Nice perk, being in the Coast Guard, ” the Chief joined me,  “you submariners sure don’t get to have that kind of scenery, do you.”

I would have answered in full agreement, really I  would, if I hadn’t puked again.

“Don’t worry about it Commander. It’s a bubblehead thing, the other weekend wonder said. Warned us that you might get a bit green around the gills. It’ll pass. Trust me.”

Then why wasn’t Lee here, I thought angrily. He should have been  suffering alongside me than shuffling papers and manning the phones at the station, no doubt calling in a take out order for some BBQ ribs he planned on enjoying before going to one of the bike races tonight. He was off duty in a couple of hours, as Joe would be at nearby Embry Riddle as an ROTC liason,  while I was stuck for the ‘duration’ on this heaving excuse of a boat until we found the call for help.

“I’ll get you for this Lee Crane,” I managed in between bouts of sickness, “I’ll get you for this or my name isn’t Chip Morton.”



Bike Week In order:

1: Chip Morton’s Blog

2. Doc’s Blog

3. Kowalski’s Blog

4.Nelson’s Blog

5. Crane’s Blog

6. Lola’s Blog