The Skipper’s Tattoo
Will wonders never cease. There
I was in Buster’s Crab Shack last night, with my pals Pat and Riley, minding
our own business when the Skipper comes by and asked if he could speak me for a few minutes. What was I supposed to say, no?
I mean I had a lot on my mind and frankly I didn’t need any of my commander’s little talks. You’d have thought
Captain Crane could have waited until I reported back to duty if he was going to chew me out.
But he didn’t. He ordered drinks for us all and took me aside to the nearby bar. I was
surprised that my drink wasn’t coffee or something tame like a light beer. Double
Cranberry Vodka’s meant he was brooding about something. Something bad. For a
moment I thought he was going to ask me to go along on a camping trip aka ‘special assignment’ with him for ONI,
but it was taking a long time for him to say anything. His drink was halfway finished
before he looked up from it and asked me if I was going to go through with the removal of my tattoo.
“My tattoo, Skipper?”
“I know you requested
some time off for the treatments. I’m sorry the Admiral didn’t approve. But
at least you can fit them in on the weekends. If you still want to…”
going in tomorrow morning for the first one.”
“You do know what’s
involved don’t you?” he asked, his eyes almost pleading with me not to
go, or at least that’s what they looked like to me. At first.
“Yeah, but it
hurt when I got it in the first place.”
uh, tell me about it afterwards, won’t you?”
“Ski,” he ran
a hand through his hair. I was on instant alert. He does that when he’s frustrated, or worried about something. “I was thinking about having mine removed too,” he whispered.
“You got a tat?”
Riley popped out of the booth and lunged over to our bar stools, apparently having heard our private conversation despite the piped music. Or else he was sporting that newfangled sound
amplifier to spy on the waitress’s girl talk. Pat had stayed put, his eyebrow raised at the hoopla.
“I thought everyone
knew by now,” Crane said, surprised.
“Guess I missed
the scuttlebutt, Skipper,” Riley said, “you got another dame’s name on yours than Miss Hale’s?”
“Pipe down Stu,”
I ordered, “this is a private conversation.”
that, Riley,” the Skip said, “actually, no, there’s no name. Just something stupid I did a long time ago
and frankly I want to get rid of it but,” he hesitated, then looked at me, “the clinic tells me because of my
coloring and the location, there’s only a 60 percent chance of any removal technique working and…”
“I bet it’s a
tattoo of another sub, huh, Skipper?” Riley interrupted, “and you feel guilty that it isn’t Seaview, I bet
that’s it, right, sir?”
I took Riley's arm and
dragged him back to the booth, “for Pete’s sake, Stu, finish your drink
and keep out of it. The Skip’s talking to me, not you, okay?”
“Shit, Ski, you don’t
have to get all high and mighty…”Stu pouted and resumed his onion rings and vodka.
“I’m sorry, sir,” I said as I returned to the bar.
have interrupted your dinner…I’m the one who’s sorry, Ski,”
he got off the stool, “dinner’s on me,” he pulled out a wad of bills from his pocket and sat them on the
bar with a nod to the bartender. “Keep the change.”
said, trying to make things right, “maybe…um..another time?”
“No, it was foolish
of me to come here…good luck tomorrow, Ski.”
“Thank you sir.”
And with that he was gone.
Needless to say, my mind wasn’t
on dinner after that. If I didn’t know him better I’d have sworn he was scared. Nah, he’s fearless. He’d
never let a little thing like removing a tattoo get him all hot and bothered.
Then I remembered where his
tattoo was. After all, before we got our own Doc aboard Seaview, I’d been drafted on occasion to help out the Corpsmen.
Sworn to secrecy, I was, by them, the first time I saw the Skipper in the all together.
When I had talked to Doc about
removing my tat, he asked me if I really thought it was going to be worth the pain involved. After all, I wasn’t the only sailor in the world with an old girlfriend’s name on my arm. I considered
the options, and decided I wanted to be rid of it, no matter what.
But a tat on your dick like
the Skipper’s? He’d lived with it this long, why get it removed now? That would be about as painful as sliding
down a volcano barefoot!
After all it wasn’t
a name tattooed on it, hell, it wasn’t even offensive, not really. Just embarrassing.
I bet the whole idea was Miss Hale’s fault. I hear they had a rip snorting argument just recently and even called
it quits. So why go through with getting rid of something that’s not all that important? I mean nobody sees it, not
regularly that is, at least not out of the bedroom.
But his eyes had told me that removing it was worth it to him, even now. And he was scared. Just couldn’t admit to anyone. Must be an officer thing.
I asked for one of the Styrofoam
containers to pack up my dinner in, and left, telling my buds that I’d see them tomorrow afternoon for pizza.
Then I followed the
Skip’s little red car to his apartment and rang the doorbell.
“Um, Skipper? You want
to talk about it?”
That was last night. I was
shaking like a leaf in the waiting room this morning. Until the Skipper arrived and sat down beside me with a grin and a pat
on the arm.
right here for a little moral support, if you need me,” he said, “just
like you said you would be when and if I went through
my first treatment . I have an appointment next week. By the way, this is for when it’s all over,” he pulled out
a foil wrapped parcel, “some home made brownies for you. Lola brought them this
back together again?”
“Yes, no, maybe, maybe
not. We have a lot of things to sort out. These were a kind of peace offering.
I was going to tell him that
was a big step for any dame. Usually they like us to do any groveling. Maybe she is the right girl for him after all. But then, it really isn’t any of my business.
But the brownies sure