Harriman Nelson's Journal

My Friend Lee-page 38
The Creamsickle
The Invitation
Bike Week
The Java Connection
Lee's Tattoo
My Friend Lee-page 33
My Friend Lee-page 34
My Friend Lee-page 35
My Friend Lee-Page 36
My Friend Lee-page 37
My Friend Lee-page 38
My Friend Lee-page 39
My Friend Lee-page 40
My Friend Lee-page 41
My Friend Lee page 42
My Friend Lee-page 43
My Friend Lee -page 44
My Friend Lee-page 25
My Friend Lee-Page 26
My Friend Lee-Page 27
My Friend Lee-Page 28
My Friend Lee -page 29
My Friend Lee -page 30
My Friend Lee-page 31
My Friend Lee-page 32
My Friend Lee-page 24
My Friend Lee-page 23
My Friend Lee- page22
My Friend Lee-page 21
My Friend Lee-page 20
My Friend Lee- Page 19
My Friend Lee-page 18
My Friend Lee page 17
My Friend Lee-page 16
A Short Story
A 'Harry Halloween'
My Friend Lee-page 15
My Friend Lee-page 14
My Friend Lee-page 13
My Friend Lee-page 12
My Friend Lee-page 11
My Friend Lee-page 10
My Friend Lee-page 9
My Friend Lee-Page 8
My Friend Lee-page 7
My Friend Lee-page 6
My Friend Lee-Page 5
Life With Lee-page 4
Life with Lee- page 2
Life with Lee-page 3
Reflections-the 'In Between Years'
My photo-scrapbook album
About Me

Lost -4

Seaview had returned home a few days ago and Jiggs Starke had decided to beard the old goat (me) in his den, so to speak.

“You shouldn’t still be feeling this way, Harriman,” he leaned back on my brand new sofa in my apartment ‘above the shop’, “Crane’s going to be fine. All the shrinks and medical tests say so.”

“I know, I know, but I still have nightmares about the whole thing. Especially  how I should have trusted Lee. I can still see and hear him telling me that he hated me,” I squished my spent cigarette into the ash tray with unaccustomed violence and some of the ashes spilled out. I’d really have to get around to cleaning it out.

“He said those things with a child’s mind. He didn’t mean it. He just couldn’t get you, me, anyone, to believe him.  So, what is it, Harriman, this psychic connection he has to the damn boat? Morton calls it ‘one of those unexplained phenomenon’s. What do you think?”

“As a scientist, I shouldn’t accept phenomenon’s at all,” I said, shaking my head, “but where Lee’s concerned I suppose I should give up trying to understand them at all.”

“Still, you did put the boat through some diagnostics for him. You tried Harry. Don’t hit yourself over the head with a shovel that it turned out the ballast tests weakened the joins in the same  area Lee said Seaview was hurting.”

“I’m not sure I can put it behind me.”

A knock on the door interrupted.

“Yes?” Jiggs answered.

“Excuse me, sir,” Kowalski said, “Admiral Starke’s ride is here.”

“Thank you Kolowski,  ” Jiggs collected his cover.

“Kowalski, sir,” the crewman stressed.

“Ah yes, whatever. By the way, Harriman, I still think ‘Skipper’ is a term that should only be used for a boat’s active master.”

“Jiggs,” I warned.

“Okay, okay. Your boat, your rules.”

“Take care, old friend,” I shook his hand.

“You too Harry,” Jiggs grinned and departed.


I sat down wearily and had to chuckle. Jiggs might not like it, but Lee was going to be ‘Skipper’ to this crew no matter how many times Chip would have to take the reigns as Acting Captain. It was a Seaview thing. And for the life of me I didn’t have a clue as to why Jiggs never got Ski’s name right. Or was it an act? To  make a man ill at ease? I wouldn’t put it past him. When it came to life aboard a sub, he was brass tacks, through and through. 


I cleaned out the ash tray and dusted the small picture next to it. I’d framed it myself; even ironed the crinkled picture so I could get it to lay flat behind the mat. It was pretty incongruous, the color pencil drawing of Lee’s ‘Chameleon Spider’ in a sterling silver frame. It was Chip’s spider actually when you got right down to it; after all, the  flesh eating spider was Chip’s invention.  Conceived in a moment of ingenuity  in the effort to get the hiding Lee out of the ventilation system. The entire episode of the child minded Lee hiding in the vent and Chip to the rescue, and being ‘rescued’ himself by Lee, was becoming the  stuff of NIMR legend, especially the picture afterwards. The smiling hairy spider with blood dripping from its fangs was said to have just finished an appetizing lunch of Admiral Starke.  But Lee’s regained adult memory didn’t include any of his time as our child-like amnesiac. So just what Lee had had in mind for the spider to have had bitten and/or eaten was anyone’s guess.


In a way I was glad Lee didn’t remember any of his amnesiac time. Especially the bedtime story he’d insisted I tell him. Jiggs, while in his ‘loco parentis’ mode, while I’d been in Washington, had taken on this task on full throttle, and Lee had apparently enjoyed it. It was just hard for me to do. In the end I’d settled on Stuart Little*.  Lee had surprised me by not having a  problem believing in a mouse that could talk (due in part, I think, to my taking on the part, and using a squeaky voice.)


I’m also glad he has no memory of those harsh words he used toward me when I’d ordered him from the Missile Room, not having found any basis for his hysterical belief that Seaview was in trouble. I know Lee well enough by now to know how he thinks. If he had a clue that he’d  hurt my feelings by such an outburst, well, he’d be devastated. And a guilty Lee is a difficult Lee to live with. He has this thing with his eyes and he can be awfully moody. Even Chip has a difficult time bringing him out of such broodiness.


Of course, there’s always Miss Hale. A few days in her presence can usually do the trick to bring him back to his normally cheerful self. Distraught when Lee had lost his memory, Miss Hale was literally pacing the deck when Seaview docked. I’m sure that Lee, the last person off the boat, would have swept her off her feet and carried her off somewhere private had he not still been a bit sore from his re injured ribs. He settled for a welcoming embrace and kiss. A rather long, rather passionate kiss that brought catcalls and wolf whistles from his crew.

 “Skipper…er…”Doc tapped him on the shoulder, “the medical team’s waiting.”

“Go away. I’m busy,” Lee managed as he took a breath, then continued his ministrations.

“I really must insist Captain…Miss Hale…we need to examine him.”

“I don’t think he needs no examining,” one of the deckhands chided to the guffaws of his companions.

“Admiral,” Doc said.

I simply spread my arms akimbo with a smirk.

“Chip?” Doc asked.

“He seems perfectly okay to me, Will.”

“Oh good grief!” Jiggs stomped over, “Stop that!” he separated the couple physically, “you, Miss, go back to your typing or whatever it is you do, and you Commander, to the Med Center! Now, get back to duty all of you that are still on duty and the rest of you, scram!”

In minutes the dock was all but deserted except for Jiggs and I.

“I could sure use a drink, Harriman.”


That was a few days ago and for all I know Lee and Miss Hale have resumed their interrupted acquaintance. I poured myself a drink and silently toasted them, laughing at Lee’s spider and pulling out some of the other drawings he’d made. I recognized some of the specimens from the lab right off, but others had taken on rather unusual appendages such as horns, claws, and other instruments of torment, but most were smiling as well. I reminded myself to show Lee his handiwork sometime. All but one, I quickly decided,  that is,  and quickly shoved it into one of the drawers I always kept locked for top secret documents.


I had to wonder what Jiggs and the Navy would think about insuring such  a secure state for it. After all it was only a drawing of a mouse. A  smiling mouse.


Wearing  a uniform and four stars.