Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Subron 8: Flaming The Brass

Another in the ongoing "Subron 8 Sea Stories" series.

I’m standing in the lobby of the base exchange at Submarine Base New London with my friend Tom, just hanging out and trying to decide what to do next before heading back to the ship. I’m admiring the new cigarette lighter I just bought, which has the insignia of Subron 8 on it, a pair of dolphins peering out from behind both sides of an eight ball.

An officer, seeing that I’m smoking a cigarette and holding a lighter, walks up to me and asks for a light. The fact that he’s a full commander doesn’t bother me much, I’ve been around for a while, but the fact that I have a brand new lighter which has a lot in common with a napalm-fueled flame thrower does.

So I hold it down at my waist to strike it, intending to let it calm down before I bring it up to light the commander’s smoke. Unfortunately, he’s the impatient type and bends down just as I strike the flint. My lighter does its imitation of the thing that Marines used to use for burning the Japanese out of bunkers, and the commander leaps back, dropping his hat and nearly falling on his ass.

Tom does a good imitation of someone who just happened to be passing by, may not even be in the Navy, and certainly is not acquainted with this dangerous pyromaniac Electrician’s Mate. The commander gets his shit together while I’m trying to decide whether running for my life is a good idea or not. I decide it’s probably not and ask the commander if he’s okay.

He doesn’t actually answer, just gives me a dirty look which momentarily makes me reconsider the running for my life thing, and then says, “You need to trim the wick on that damn thing, sailor,” and walks off. I don’t know if his cigarette is lit or not, but I’m not going to run him down and ask.

Tom decides he does know me after all, but can’t talk to me because he’s laughing too hard to speak. For months afterward he’s asking me about the length of my wick. No, moron, that's my "wick" he's asking about.

1 comment:

  1. bruce8:15 AM

    yeah that's a good one - you'll never hear the end of that.