[DISCLAIMER: If you're not of legal age to read stories of male-to-male intimacy, or if it is illegal to do so where you are, right now, this very second ... then please ... leave, and return ONLY when and where it is legal for you to do so. If reading about sexual intimacy, feelings, yearnings and the like, between people of the same sex offends you, the author asks that you, too, leave and find expressions to your likings elsewhere. And remember ... "Judge not, that ye be not judged." Comments, both pro and con, including constructive criticism, are welcomed.]
Many thanks and much appreciation to Bill in Seattle for his time and attention in his beautiful editing of my writing. He has made it much, much easier to read and comprehend. Hugs and kisses, Bill. I love ya, guy.
A CIVILIAN ... ONCE AGAIN
By: ZEKE HOUSEMANN( email@example.com )
This is not a militaristic story, but one of a sailor, in a military environment, that finally experiences the fulfillment of his teen (and even pre-teen) years' sexual stirrings, and his young life's one goal. Then he is thrown into the terror of proceedings that lead to his embarrassing discharge from The United States Navy.
If you're looking for a story filled with sexual scenes, this one is not for you. Yes, there are those scenes here - some mildly graphic ones - but they're not the primary objective of the story. So enjoy, and understand.
Although the story is purely fictitious (with ideas for the storyline taken from tales of several of the author's acquaintances), the events describing the actions of the military reflect the policy and procedure of the time.If you recognize any personal similarities of people described, or names given to them by the author, it is entirely coincidental, except for details of the submarine, SEAHORSE, which details are historical and can easily be read on the Internet, though once it was decommissioned, it was NEVER recommissioned as a training vessel in Groton.
Note: Abbreviations used in this story:
BESS = Basic Enlisted Submarine School; BESSRECSTA = Basic Enlisted Submarine School Receiving Station; BUPERS = Bureau of Personnel; CO = Commanding Officer; CS = Culinary Specialist; EM = Enlisted Man/Men; ET = Electronics Technician; GQ = General Quarters; HM = Hospital Corpsman; I.O. = Interrogation Officer; K.P. = Kitchen Police; NEX = Navy Exchange -or- Commissary (similar to Army PX); OD = Officer of the Day/Officer on Deck; YN = Yeoman (similar to a secretarial clerk)
Part Three "C": SIX WEEKS LATER
(Recounting the past - "The REST of the Story")
(From Part Three "B")
... the Chief asked another question. "After that, did you and Brian ever have any kind of sexual relationship at all, if you don't mind my asking."
"No, Chief. Brian and I never had any physical contact other than shaking hands, a pat on the back, an arm around his shoulders, a friendly punch in the gut -- you know ... `good ol' boy', man-to-man stuff like that ... Oh, we did hug each other at the train station when I was leaving Great Lakes to come here to Groton."
"Yeah, we hugged each other good-bye, and he thanked me for being the only true friend he had ever had. But ..." Gerry leaned forward and looked the Chief square in the eyes as he continued, "... we ... didn't ... kiss ... O.K.?"
(And now ... Finally! ... Part Three "C")
Just then, the door at the back of the office opened, and the doctor walked in, carrying several file folders. The Chief remained seated at his small desk, but Gerry immediately stood to attention.
"As you were, sailor," the doctor said. Gerry sat back down. "No need for military formalities here -- I'm a civilian psychiatrist working for the Navy."
Gerry looked toward the Chief, then returned his attention to the doctor.
"Sorry I'm late, but I was unexpectedly detained."
"Yes, Doc," the Chief offered, "we were informed about an emergency. Gerry and I have just been talking, and I've been taking these notes," he said as he rose, walking over to the larger desk, and handing his notepad to the doctor.
"Thank you, Chief," he said. Then glancing at the two men, he continued, "Give me a few minutes to look these over, and then we can continue."
For about five minutes, there were those irritating little hums and vocal sounds that doctors and dentists make when examining patients or while reading reports.
Then the doctor looked up from the notes and continued. "Okay, I see that ... Chief, here, has just about covered everything we needed to know, Gerry ... may I call you 'Gerry'? Just call me 'Doc', everybody does."
"Yes, Sir ... uhhh ... sure, Doc."
"I have your release and discharge papers here," he indicated a folder on his desk, "and Frank's papers." Turning his attention to the Chief, he continued, "Would you go and make sure that Hadley ... Frank Hadley ... is given his discharge papers and transportation chit?" He held Frank's folder toward his Yeoman.
The Chief rose, took the papers, and left the room.
"Okay, Gerry, everything seems to be in order, but there are a couple more things we need ..."
"I don't wanna go through this, Sir." Gerry was starting to panic. He was realizing that these were the final moments of his Navy life, the life he had dreamed of, the life he had worked toward, the life he loved -- that of being a Hospital Corpsman in the Submarine Division of The United States Navy!
He jumped up and started pacing back and forth between the doctor and the water cooler, as he continued.
"I don't wanna go through this ... uhhh ... this ... getting kicked out, Sir." He was on the verge of tears, his voice was cracking, his breathing was quick and shallow. "I really don't. I want to stay. I want to belong! I have to belong!!!"
Regaining some emotional control, he went on. "I know the Navy has its regulations, but ..." he stopped his pacing right in front of the doctor's desk, calmly placed both palms on the top, front edge of the desk, leaned forward a bit, looked the doctor square in the eyes, and urgently pleaded, "What if I promise ... NEVER ... TO DO IT ... AGAIN ...?" Without blinking, tears welled in his eyes.
"I'm sorry, Gerry, but the Navy's regulations stipulate that homosexuals are by nature, subject to being blackmailed."
Gerry's voice rose a few decibels as he stood up straight and tall. "Subject to being blackmailed? The way I blurted it out to Interrogation? The way I've been blurting it out to the Chief just now? I don't care who knows. And if I don't care who knows, how can I be subject to blackmail? That's a bunch of bull-shit!"
He slammed his fist on the desk, spun around, and headed toward the door. A door. Any door! The doctor quickly rose from his chair. Abruptly Gerry stopped, then turned once again toward the doctor, and with controlled sarcasm in his now calmer voice, said, "Regulations! ... I mean, you've got guys who'd give their left nuts to get outta here. Guys who don't give a hill-of-beans for Patriotism or serving their country. Guys who go out and screw every broad they can get their hands on. Guys who enlisted in the Navy only to avoid Draft into the Army, or who weren't MAN enough to get into the Marines. And I make one li'l ol' goddamned regulatory mistake -- and you don't want me anymore!"
"Gerry ... it's not me, or the Chief, or even Interrogation ..."
"Oh, Doc," Gerry cut him off as he resigned himself to sit in the chair in front of Doc's desk; "I know it's not you personally ... or even the Chief or Interrogation ... but the Navy doesn't want me anymore! I'm not good enough! I'm undesirable! ... So they say!" he added with deep sarcasm.
"Okay, Gerry," the doctor said, as he once again sat at his desk, "you seem like a pretty decent sort of guy, and you seem like you really like military life."
"Oh, yes, sir! I love the military, Doc. I love everything about it."
"Maybe I'm out of line ..." Doc continued, "... but I'm going to tell you something that not many people know about, here in the States."
"Okay, Doc," Gerry narrowed his eyes, studying the sincerity in Doc's voice and on his face.
"What are you planning on doing with your life, after you get your release from the Navy?" He tapped Gerry's folder with his fingertips, gently letting him know that he had the papers there in front of him.
"I don't know for sure, Doc. Frank and I have been talking about going to San Francisco and starting new lives there, but I really don't look forward to it."
"Would you be willing to change your plans ... if you could ... uhhh ... get back into ... a uhhh ... a military life?"
"Yes! ... but how?" Gerry suddenly blurted out.
"Welllllllll, I don't know if it's true or not, but I hear tell, that the R.C.A.F., the Royal Canadian Air Force, will allow ... your ... so-inclined ... type of people, into its ranks."
Gerry's mouth fell open and his eyes got as big as saucers at the prospect.
"I think ..." Doc continued, "that all you would have to do is to move to Canada, assume residency for one year, and then apply for enlistment."
Gerry beamed! "I'm really gonna have to think about that, Doc," he said, grinning, eyes darting all over the place, grasping hold of mental images of what he would have to do in order to bring this wonderful HOPE into fruition. "I've gotta tell Frank!" he added as an after-thought.
"Now ... getting back to this ... necessary evil ..." Doc interrupted Gerry's excited day-dream, "... we need to talk a little about you and Frank Hadley."
Gerry's grin faded, and he gave a deep sigh as Doc continued.
"I have to ask you to tell me about your sexual experiences since coming to Groton. I know you've already told Interrogation, but I need to hear it, Gerry, for my records."
"Well, Sir ..." Gerry reverted to his formality, with another deep sigh, "... Frank wasn't the first."
Doc raised his eyebrows. "No?"
"No, Sir." He then proceeded to relate the events of his first day and evening at BESSRECSTA, "in this very same building," omitting no details.
When he was finished, Doc asked, "Did you ever get together after that?"
"No, Sir. Never. After I said 'good night' to Zed, he walked back to the corridor out there ..." he thumbed backwards over his right shoulder, "... and I never saw him until a little while ago."
"Here in this building?"
"Yes, Sir. Just down the hall polishing the floor with one of those electric buffers."
"Did he recognize you?
"Oh, no, Sir. At least I don't think he even saw me. I just saw him from the back, but I recognized his name, 'Zed," stenciled on the back of his fatigue shirt."
Doc scribbled a quick note, got up from his chair, and briefly went into another room.
Then, being alone, a thought suddenly struck Gerry ... right where it hurts ... in his heart. Oh, Shit! Me and my big fuckin' mouth! Now Zed's gonna get in trouble. Fuck! Why did I have to blab about that?
Doc returned to the room and his seat at the desk ... without the note in hand!.
"Is Zed gonna get in trouble now, because of me and my fuckin' mouth, Doc?"
"The Navy has its regulations, Gerry."
"Yeah, I know," he despondently commented, more to himself than to the doctor.
He then proceeded to tell Doc about his being transferred to The Seahorse, and his meeting with Frank, and their first evening together. "The next week began our submariners' training, and Frank and I grew closer and closer. We spent most of our free time together."
"When did you have time to get together ... uhhh ... sexually?"
"I already answered that in interrogation, Doc. Do I have to go through it again?"
"Yes, Gerry. I need it in my file."
Gerry got up, walked over to the cooler, and got himself a glass of water. He began pacing about the room as he started recounting their affair.
After a deep, long, drawn-out, remorseful sigh, he began. "One night -- I don't remember the exact date -- Frank and I were in the REC Room at the EM Club. We'd played a few games of pool, and decided to get out of there and walk down to the river.
"We found a sorta secluded spot with tall grass all around. We sat on the river-bank enjoying the cool and the quiet, and enjoyed the flickering lights of New London's night-time skyline.
"We were sitting there, next to each other ..."
"CLOSE ... to each other?" questioned the doc.
"Yes, Sir ... CLOSE ... to each other, getting very relaxed, ya know, laying back, propped up on our elbows, looking at the lights across the river.
"I don't know if my knee touched his, or if his touched mine. But I moved mine away. He moved his away. I relaxed a little more. He relaxed a little more. Our knees touched again, only this time we didn't move away from each other.
"After a little bit, his moved his knee up and down -- just once. Then I moved mine up and down -- just once.
"Soon, I noticed that he was ... uhhh ... ever-so-slightly, rubbing his ... uhhh ... crotch, and when he took his hand away, it was ... obvious ... he was ... uhhh ... excited!
"Trying not to be obvious, I had been watching his hand and then his bulge, and I felt my own growing excitement. I squirmed around, a little nervous ... shit ... a LOT nervous! I was remembering that first night right here, here in this building, across the hall -- how good it had felt, and wondering what it would be like to be on the other end. It hadn't killed Zed, at least not to my knowledge, and I really wanted to 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' " Gerry and the doc both laughed at his quoting of the Golden Rule.
"And then what happened?"
"Well, I leaned over and softly asked, "You want me to take care of that for you?"
"And what did he say?"
"He didn't say anything -- he just looked at me with a kinda shocked expression. I reached over and gave his bulge a little rub. He smiled, then looked down at himself, moved my hand away, and unzipped his pants.
"And that, Doc, was the REAL beginning of a wonderful friendship!" He sat back down in the chair in front of the desk.
"You ... uhhh ... went down on him?"
"Yeah, we did it. I mean, I did it. I went down on him. And you know something else? I really enjoyed it!"
The doc continued his questions. "You did it right there in the open, on the riverbank?"
"Yeah, Doc, that's right. Right there on the riverbank. Nobody else was around, and I ... I guess I ... uhhh ... just got caught up in the moment."
Doc put his pen down, put both his elbows on the desk with his forearms crossed against his chest, leaned forward a bit, glanced around the room to see that all the doors were closed, looked Gerry straight in the eyes, and asked, "Strictly off the record ... who gives the better blow job? You? Or Frank?"
"Who gives the better bl...?" Gerry asked, shocked at the question. Then with a sparkle in his eyes, he continued, "I don't know. He hasn't done it yet, but I think it's gonna be great when we can do it together at the same time!
Doc straightened back up, picked up his pen, and looked back at his pad of notes. Without looking up, he said, "Technically, that's called a soixante-neuf, French for sixty-nine. "
"Oh, is that what you call it? Do you and your wife ever do that together?" Gerry asked with a smirk.
Doc lowered his glasses to the end of his nose, looked over the top of them, and brusquely said, "That's none of your business, sailor!"
"Sorry, Sir. Just curious." He shrunk into himself, grimacing, sorry to have become so relaxed with the doc, that he had asked such a personal question.
"All right. Now, back to you ... and Frank ... was that the only time that you ... got ... that intimate with each other?" Doc asked with hesitation ... and necessity.
"No, Sir. There were lots of times ... let's see ... his rack aboard The Seahorse, the shower room there, down in the engine room, under the New London Bridge, the upstairs balcony in the movie house, the restroom there ..."
Doc's eyes bulged larger with each new place mentioned, then interrupted with ... "Did Frank ever reciprocate, Gerry?"
"Oh, no, Sir, not yet he hasn't, but he keeps telling me he's going to."
"And you believe him, son?" This was the first time the doc had used that particular familial, somewhat endearing, term with him.
Gerry liked the tone, smiled, and replied, "Oh, yes, Sir, Doc. I know he will ... someday. Why shouldn't I believe him?"
Alas, with an exaggerated sigh, Doc shrugged his shoulders, then went back to the notes he and the Chief had written, looking for something. A few moments later, he looked up at Gerry and said, "Alright now, moving right along ... there only seems to be one more thing we need to cover before I give you your discharge papers."
"What's that, Sir?"
"I need for you to tell me everything that you went through during the interrogation."
"Doc, Sir ... do I have to go through all that again?"
"I'm afraid so, son ... then we'll be through with all this."
"Alright, Sir." Gerry resigned himself to the inevitable. Looking down, dejectedly, while at the same time lightly scratching his forehead with his fingertips, he took a moment, trying to figure out where to begin. Then he began.
"One morning, about two weeks ago, while in class aboard The Seahorse, a Security Officer came in and called me out into the passageway and told me to come with him.
"When I asked if this was about my Security Clearance that I had applied for, all he said was that he couldn't answer that. I was so excited about the possibility of getting my clearance that no other reason came to mind.
"We left The Seahorse and walked to the parking lot and toward one of those gray military cars with the words "Shore Patrol" printed on its side. As we approached, two Shore Patrolmen got out. One stayed by the car, while the other came toward me and asked if I was Gerald Young.
"After I told him, 'Yes'," he said, 'Follow me." The Security Officer then left.
"The other Shore Patrolman opened the rear door. As I was about to get in, one of them pushed me against the car and said, 'Spread'em!'
"Then the other one frisked me from head to toe. I don't remember what I said, or what I asked. I was panicky. I was scared. I didn't know what was happening. I didn't know what was going on. All they said was that it was for security purposes.
"Then the other one grabbed my wrists and pulled them behind my back and put handcuffs on me. While he was doing that, the other one put a blindfold on me."
Remembering the events, Gerry was beginning to tremble. He went to get another cup of water.
"What happened next?" asked Doc.
"Then they both ushered me ... pushed me ... into the back seat of the car. I was firing questions, one after the other -- what was this all about? -- where were they taking me? -- was this about my getting my security clearance? -- what was going on?
"One of them told me to 'shut up,' to stop asking questions. He said that they couldn't answer them anyway, that they weren't permitted to answer any of my questions.
"Soon, the busy street noises were left behind, and we were on a smooth, straightaway, like a good country road. I could feel the sun coming in from the right side of the car, and it being early morning, I knew we were headed north.
"It felt like we were going pretty fast and I could hear the wind whistling past. God, where are they taking me? What are they going to do to me? What is this all about? I wondered to myself.
"Well, Doc ..." Gerry said as he returned to the chair after getting his water, "... after what seemed like an eternity ... though I guess it was about forty-five minutes or an hour ... I knew we had to be 'way out in the country by then! We pulled off the smooth road and turned left, heading west, as the sun was now warming the back of my neck. We were on a surface road -- it was bumpier and twistier.
"One of the Shore Patrolmen lit a cigarette -- I heard the click of the lighter and could smell the smoke. I asked if I could have a drag. He told me to open my mouth. I didn't know if he was going to put the lighted end inside my mouth or not, but I was willing to chance it. I took a deep drag, held it, then slowly exhaled. It seemed to relax me a little bit.
"After a few minutes, we turned right again, and then stopped. They turned off the ignition, got out, and one of them opened my door. They helped me out of the car -- not gently, not roughly -- just helped me out of the car. They led me a few steps away from the car and one of them said, 'Watch your step here,' as if I could 'watch' anything wearing a blindfold!
"I stepped onto a wooden surface, and from the sound of it, we had all three entered a very small enclosure.
"What's that? I thought to myself."
Gerry stood up, in front of Doc's desk, with eyes closed as if he couldn't see because of the blindfold. And as he related his thoughts, he blindly turned his head toward each of the other two, toward the floor, or toward the ceiling. He continued sharing his thoughts during the ordeal.
"Sounds like an electric door closing. Then a jerk. Must be in an elevator. Going down. Down. Down. What is this place? Where are they taking me? What are they gonna do to me?
"Down. Going down. Further. We're going down faster, now. How much farther? God, who are these people? They LOOKED like Shore Patrol. Why won't they talk to me?
"Ahhh ... slowing down. How far down have we come? Five hundred ... a thousand feet ... more? Another jerk. Stopped. Good. Finally. The door's opening. Ahhh ... it's cool down here. Wherever we are."
"Then what happened?"
"Then, Sir ... uhhh ... Doc ... they took me down a hallway ... at least it sounded like a hallway ... like a stone-cold corridor. Then I heard a door open and they forced me to stop walking. They took the handcuffs and the blindfold off. The light was so bright, my eyes hurt!
"Then they literally threw me into a chair..." Gerry then actually threw himself back into the chair he had been using, "... and fastened wrist and ankle restraints. 'What the fuck?' I asked, 'What is this - an electric chair?' Nobody answered or said anything."
No! It can't be! ... Damn! That's tight! ... I applied for my Security Clearance three weeks ago ... Is this what I have to go through to get it? ... No, no ... it can't be!
" 'Sir?' I asked ... just as somebody jerked my head back as another restraint was put across my forehead securing my head to the back of the chair. 'May I ask a question? ... What is this all about?' " Panic, fear, terror ... they all were in his voice.
"Come to find out, Doc, he was an Interrogation Officer, and he was going to give me a lie detector test. I mentioned my fingers were tingling and even starting to turn blue. Nobody bothered to loosen the wrist restraints. Nobody even said anything regarding the restraints.
"He said that, like you, Doc, I was not to call him 'Sir!' That he was not a Navy officer. He was a civilian psychiatrist."
The doc interjected, "What kind of questions did he ask, Gerry?"
"I gave him my name, rank, and serial number. Told him where I was from -- Virginia, originally, then Oklahoma and then Louisiana. That I have two brothers and a sister -- all younger than me. That I wanted to go to Annapolis, but my family didn't have the right connections."
"Pretty bland questions, I'd say," said the doc.
"That was just the beginning, Sir! ... Doc! ... uhhh ... I'm sorry."
Doc chuckled. "That's okay, Gerry. Just go on with what happened."
"Then he asked ... (ahem!) ... if I'd ever engaged in any homosexual activity!"
"... And you answered ...?"
"Well, Doc, I thought, Oh, shit! I knew I heard someone outside the Rec Room door that first night we did it there! Damn! He already knows, or I wouldn't be here. Oh, fuck! What have I done? I shoulda been more careful. Oh, well, Granddaddy always said the truth never hurt anybody ... but ... then I said, 'Before I answer that, Sir!, what is your definition of homosexual activity?
"He looked me straight in the eye and asked if I'd ever performed oral sex on another guy. At that question, I knew I'd been found out, so I gave a deep sigh in resignation and said, 'Yes, Sir ... I have.' "
"I guess the Interrogation Officer and his assistants knew that I was going to be up-front and honest with them, because somebody loosened and removed the head restraint, somebody else did the same to the wrist and ankle restraints on my right side, and somebody else on my left. I thanked them all for doing that."
"The I.O. then said, 'I'm sorry you had to go through all this, Gerry. We just had to make sure. You know ... the possibility of black-mail.' "
Then, as Gerry recalled the interrogation session deep underground about an hour north of Groton, he repeated the monologue, almost verbatim, to this doctor, that he had lambasted to that doctor on that horrifying, embarrassing day.
"You're sorry I had to go through that? You're not the only one! ... The possibility of blackmail? That's the only reason I'm being kicked out? ... What the hell? ... Here I am -- totally GUNG-HO about the military, and just because I like to have sex with another guy, the Navy wants to kick me out! How can I be subject to blackmail if I'm so willing to blurt it out, all over the place? I'm not ashamed of who I am or what I am, so how can I be subject to blackmail? It doesn't make any sense! I guess if I'd been a little more careful and secretive, the Navy would have preferred to have a liar in its ranks rather than someone dedicated to serving his country and willing to put up with all the bull-shit from Chief Petty Officers and Company Commanders who make an enlisted man feel lower than the scum of the earth. They'd rather have a lying son-of-a-bitch who goes home to beat up his wife and then go out and screw every whore he can get his grimy little hands on. They'd rather have a REAL MAN who goes out and re-populates the world with illegitimate kids popping up all over Europe and Asia and the South Pacific, and even right here in our own country. I'm mad! I'm mad as hell! And I was ready and willing to give my life for this country! This BIGOTED country of ours ... but you wanna hear something? ... I STILL love it! It's the best place on Earth."
At that point, after having shouted and screamed and stormed back and forth across the floor, after having fisted the air, after having slammed his fist onto the tops of the two desks, Gerry plopped back down, once again, into the chair in front of the doc's desk, tears welling in his eyes, and his voice cracking with emotion, his face buried in his hands.
The good doctor stood, grabbed a box of Kleenex from the top of a nearby file cabinet, walked over to Gerry, knelt beside him, and offered the tissues.
As Gerry dried his eyes and blew his nose, Doc placed his hands on Gerry's shoulders, indicating that he should stand. They both did.
"Son," Doc said with a fatherly type affection, "I am sorry that this has happened to you. Except for this one aspect of your life, you'd be an asset to the United States Navy."
Gerry looked at Doc and simply nodded. He knew the end was near.
Doc released Gerry's shoulders and reached for a folder on his desk. Retrieving a manila envelope, he handed it to Gerry. "Here are your discharge papers, Son. I guess you've already been told that you're not to take anything with you that was issued by the Navy -- no uniforms, no underwear, no shoes, not your seabag, not even your "dog tags;" nothing but your civilian clothes and these papers." Gerry nodded that he understood all that.
"Well, Mister Gerald Arthur Young ... I think we're finished here, but I want to tell you that I wish my own son were as dedicated as you. You're a helluva man!"
"Thank you, Doc. Thanks for saying that. And I sure wish I'd had a dad like you." After a pause, he continued. "Sir? ... Could I just hug you for a moment? I never got a hug from my father."
No sailor had ever asked that of Doc. For a brief second, he was shocked at the request, but then, as a gentle smile slowly crossed his lips, he opened his arms to the man who was no longer a Hospital Corpsman.
They hugged for several seconds. Doc's grip loosened, but Gerry's tightened as he buried his head into Doc's chest. Gerry's throat choked with emotion. Doc affectionately patted his back. Gerry squeezed a very strong hug, then released his hold, and stepped back a couple of steps.
"Take care of yourself, Gerry, and good luck to you. AND ... if you decide to follow through on the RCAF, when they ask for the reason for your early discharge from the Navy, just use the BUPERS Manual designation shown on the second page of your papers. That's ALL you'll need to tell them.
"Thank you, Sir!" Gerry turned and started to leave, but Doc said with firm voice,
Gerry's attention was jerked back as the doc slowly, deliberately, raised his right hand in sharp salute. Then the salute was returned and held for a long fifteen seconds, both men gazing into each other's eyes and souls, lids not blinking.
Simultaneously, both ended their salutes and snapped to Attention. A gentle smile appeared on each face, and each gave a slight nod to the other. Gerry did a sharp about-face, and marched out of the room forever.
A civilian, once again.
Gerry soon discovered that Frank had left for parts unknown. Without even saying a single word. Without leaving a note of explanation.
Years later, Gerry would come to the realization that Frank had used him. Used him for his own sexual gratification. Used him in order to get out of the Navy. There was no love there, from Frank. There was no reciprocation. There was only the opportunity of an early release (in more ways than one!) from the military, with no regard for any resulting outcome.
After Gerry signed-out his Navy issued clothes, etc., he received his travel chit to San Francisco and his final pay.
On the ride from BESSRECSTA to the train station in New London, he was thinking, Should I go on to Frisco and look for Frank? ... No. I'll never find him ... Maybe I should go back home to New Aw-lens and try to get my old job back ... No. Any explanations would be too embarrassing ... Maybe ... MAYBE ... I SHOULD go to Canada, assume residency, then pursue the RCAF ... No. I love the sea too much ... Yeah! I know what I'll do! ... I'll go to Maine and get a job on a lobster boat. Yeah. That's what I'll do ... become an old "Salt."
So ... Gerry cashed in his travel chit and had a little left over.
On the train ride to Rockland, Maine (which someday would become the lobster "capital" of the country), he was happy once again ... this time with a new prospect. His eyes twinkled, darting here and there, greedily absorbing everything within his vision as he neared his destination. His fingers were tapping his thighs as he gaily whistled an old swabby's frolicking tune that years later would become well known through the Walt Disney classic,
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.
(but with a few words changed here and there)
¯Got a whale of a tale to tell ya, lads ¯
Oh, yes! Another thing!
Remember the telephone conversation Gerry had with his grandmother that last day at BESSRECSTA? Sure you do.
You know what else she said to him? She said, "Honey ..." (she always called him 'Honey.') She said, "Honey ... No matter what you've done, no matter what you are or where you've gone or who you've loved, or will love ... I've always loved you. And just remember this ... I always will."
He knew he had to call her as soon as he got to Rockland!
The End of one life, and the Beginning of another.