William Starr Moake
a skillful combination of lies and begging, I managed to swindle
a week's leave during the Christmas holiday and I caught a hop
to Hawaii on a giant C-5 cargo jet. I was going crazy at Travis
Air Force base working 12-hour shifts and drinking myself into
a coma when I was off duty. A live-in love affair gone hinkey,
the grim return to barracks life, no way out except flight to
the palm-encrusted shores of the Aloha state, land of forgetfulness
and hula girls dancing in the balmy torch-lit nights.
I had been trying to get to Hawaii for ten long years -- even
longer if you counted a childhood of watching "Hawaiian Eye" and
"Adventures In Paradise" on television. As young and gullible
as I was, I thought those shows were filmed in Hawaii, but the
illusion worked its magic. The fake Hollywood sets defrosted my
spirit on many lonely winter nights in Michigan.
trying to wrangle a job on a Hawaii-bound ship in San Francisco
after high school. The Irish news stand owner had been a merchant
marine sailor in his younger days and he promised to help me.
Another lying Mick having fun with a wide-eyed boy. At least he
never wanted to slip it up my ass like the flamers on Eddy Street.
So I settled for South Florida, marriage and the 9 to 5 treadmill,
never suspecting that my wife was an evil slut. She looked so
wholesome with her clear blue eyes and round German face. At the
tender age of twenty how could I have known that she was Eva Braun
reincarnated directly from Hitler's bunker when the cyanide took
effect? After the divorce, a period of serious craziness fueled
by copious amounts of booze. Loneliness and despair annealed by
And then a light at the end of the burrow: a job offer from Honolulu!
Three days later I received my draft notice in the mail. You are
hereby ordered to report to Vietnam to get your fucking head blown
off. I bargained with the devil and traded two years in the Army
for four years in the Air Force. Some deal when I only wanted
to be left alone like the sons of the leisure class.
Now I was finally winging my way to Honolulu on the cusp of a
nervous breakdown. When the gods wish to punish you, they give
you what you want wrapped in barbed wire. I needed a drink to
calm my nerves on the C-5, but I chickened out at the last minute
and left the pint of whisky out of my duffel bag. Court-martial
offense and all that. A hideous cell in Levenworth prison. Not
couple hours after takeoff, I heard the unmistakable sounds of
drunken banter coming from the crew area at the rear of the plane.
I wandered back there and found the many-stripers passing around
a quart of bourbon.
"You want a drink, airman?" one of them asked me.
a bear shit in the woods?" the master sergeant cackled.
Things were definitely looking up. I took a swig out of the bottle
and slid down onto the bench seat.
"Aren't you guys afraid the pilot will stroll back here during
"He's got his own bottle in the cockpit," the master sergeant
All four of them stared at me as I blinked nervously. Then they
broke out in drunken laughter.
"Just kidding, airman."
you see Major Dickerson," the tech sergeant said, "hide the bottle
under your shirt."
They laughed again. I had always heard that flight crews were
pretty loose, but these guys were a riot. We passed the bottle
around and jawed for awhile.
"Your first time in Honolulu?" the master sergeant asked.
"You'll love it. Best pussy in the world on Hotel Street. You're
not a virgin, are you?"
"Me? I got laid when I was twelve."
"You sure you're not still spanking the monkey?" the tech sergeant
have to spank the little bastard once in awhile to keep him in
The master sergeant let out a horse laugh and slung his arm over
my shoulder. "I like this kid. What kind of work do you do at
"Weather observer. I tell you guys when the weather is safe to
"We don't pay much attention to weather reports," the tech sergeant
said. "One time we landed in fog so thick I couldn't see my hand
in front of my face."
It was nice to know that my efforts were well appreciated. "Meteorology
is more of an art than a science," I said to get even. "Sometimes
I invent a thunderstorm and add it to the weather report just
to liven up a boring shift."
"The only thing the pilot really cares about is the altimeter
"Now and then I screw with that, too. I figure it will make the
flight a lot more interesting if you don't know exactly where
the ground is in zero visibility."
master sergeant looked at me and chuckled. "He's messing with
your head, Larry."
"Jesus, I hope so."
Most lifers were easy to rattle because they were as dumb as fence
posts. They couldn't hack it in civilian life and the military
gave them a home so they wouldn't end up in jail or on welfare.
After the bourbon was gone, I went back to my regular seat and
fell asleep, dreaming of hula girls.
I was rudely awakened when the huge aircraft skidded to a stop
on the runway at Hickam Air Force base. I looked out the window
and noticed how little pavement remained ahead of us.
"What kind of landing was that?" I sputtered.
"Hell, we had at least twenty feet left before we hit the water,"
the tech sergeant smiled as he came down the aisle.
son of a bitch was still sore about the altimeter story. Screw
him if he can't take a joke. I hurried to the exit door and waited
for someone to open it. Hurry up and wait, the most common pathological
condition of military personnel. Eyes glaze over. Brain turns
to stone. Saliva dribbles from lower lip. No cure except time.
Eons later the door swung open and I got my first glimpse of Honolulu.
In the distance coconut palms sprouting like giant weeds between
gleaming skyscrapers, steep rainforest mountains rising behind
green hills carpeted with rows of houses, fluffy little clouds
sailing across the tradewind-blown cyan sky. The scented tropical
air caressed my face like the supple hands of a hula girl. Ah,
the fabled rainbow isles! Where have you been all my life?
After I retrieved my duffel bag, I asked for directions to the
weather barracks. I knew a guy who was stationed at Hickam, Jeff
Hilliard. He was from upstate New York and something of a geek,
but I couldn't afford to be choosey. I didn't have enough money
for a hotel if I wanted to stay twisted and Hilliard had promised
to find an empty bed for me in the weather barracks. It was probably
against regulations (since nearly everything was), but hopefully
I would only be there to sleep. As for food, I planned to eat
two breakfasts each day at the chow hall -- one right after I
woke up in the morning and one before I passed out in bed at night.
That would prevent starvation and leave me free to spend all my
money on various forms of depravity. My kind of vacation. Soothe
the nerves before I end up in a rubber room.
Luckily, Jeff was off-duty and in the barracks when I arrived.
He introduced me to his roommate, a rather odd-looking fellow
named Regis Sinclair. He was tall and thin, had a long nose and
freakishly large Adam's apple. He reminded me of a satyr. Mischief
lurking in the beady eyes. Invisible horns and hooves. The dreaded
goat dance. I had seen it all before. Incipient madness.
"Technically, I'm AWOL as of eight o'clock this morning," he said.
didn't go to work today," Jeff explained.
"Won't they come looking for you?" I asked.
"Let them look. I won't be here within a few short minutes. Care
for a tour of the island? I have a car at my disposal."
"Just don't wreck the goddamn thing," Jeff grumbled. "I'm still
paying for it."
change into civvies," I said.
"Good idea," Sinclair agreed. "The sight of a uniform is like
a red flag to these island waterheads."
"Aren't you coming with us?" I asked Jeff.
have to work the swing shift."
"Jeffrey is a devoted military man," Sinclair smiled. "He thinks
only of his duty."
"Make sure the gas tank is full when you return," Jeff said.
"Not to worry," Sinclair said. "Now run along before you're late
The car was an old Plymouth that burned oil and the back seat
was littered with empty beer cans. Sinclair drove like a maniac
through the front gate.
"I like to piss off the guards," he grinned. "Let them see me
out of control when they have to maintain military bearing. How
do you know Jeffrey?"
"He was my roommate for awhile at Travis."
"You have my deepest sympathies."
you from, Sinclair?"
"Rhode Island. I was flunking out of my second college when the
draft board decided to shanghai me."
"So you joined the Air Force like a good draft dodger. Same with
"I wonder how many men actually volunteer for the Air Force of
their own free will?"
"He doesn't count. His brain was addled at birth."
We were moving through heavy downtown traffic when Sinclair reached
over the seat with one hand to rummage through the beer cans.
I grabbed the steering wheel when we almost sideswiped another
"What are you doing?" I demanded.
if you can find a full one back there. I'm dying of thirst."
"Stop at a liquor store."
"I'm afraid I'm a little short on cash."
"You've made a friend for life," he said.
I bought two six-packs of beer, some ice and a styrofoam cooler.
Sinclair took the freeway on-ramp and we headed toward the North
Shore, land of surf bums and beach bunnies.
"The waves are up today," he said.
"Surely you jest. I wouldn't be caught dead on a surfboard, but
I like to watch the big waves roll in. A truly frightening spectacle
to behold. Gets my blood boiling to see the awesome power of the
ocean. If we're lucky, we might see a surf nazi go down for the
"You have a strange sense of humor. I like it."
Sinclair glanced over at me. "Keep the beer flowing and we'll
be as close as brothers."
was on his third beer when he stopped in front of an old house
in Wahiawa and honked the car horn. A moment later an attractive
young island girl came outside. She had straight black hair down
to her waist and looked to be in her late teens or early twenties.
A hula girl at last!
"We're going to the North Shore," Sinclair said. "Get in."
girl looked at me, then turned to Sinclair. "I can't go today.
I have to stay with my auntie."
"What kind of nonsense is this? She's probably faking."
"You won't help by feeding her hypochondria. Tell her to call
a doctor if she thinks she's sick."
"I can't do that."
"Don't be a trollop. I'm risking prison to spend the day with
The poor girl looked confused. "I have to tell auntie I'm leaving."
"Chop, chop," he told her.
He finished his beer in a single swallow and opened another one.
"You have to take a firm hand with these island girls. They're
raised to distrust haoles and they need discipline to behave like
try to remember that."
Once were were underway, Sinclair formally introduced me to Kim
a very mixed breed," he said. "Part Korean, Hawaiian, Portuguese,
Filipino, Japanese and Caucasian." He leaned over and kissed her
on the cheek. "I think of her as my sweet little poi girl."
"I wish you wouldn't say that," Kim objected. "It's embarrassing."
"Now, now, don't get moody. This is Captain Lawrence. His father
is a two-star general and I want you to show him some respect."
Kim's eyes grew wide when she looked at me. "Your dad is a general?"
"Retired," I said, playing along.
"Are you a pilot?"
"Jet fighters," Sinclair said. "Shot down two MIGs over Vietnam."
on R & R and I want you to get him a date for New Year's eve.
We'll all go to the rock music concert in Honolulu."
girlfriends already have dates that night."
one of them to break her date. This soldier needs warm female
companionship before he returns to the war."
"I'll see what I can do," Kim promised.
"No canine for the son of a general. She must be worthy of him."
"None of my girlfriends are dogs. What a thing to say."
isn't she? Must come from all that inter-racial breeding."
Kim punched him on the shoulder.
"A tomboy, too," he said, ducking.
take it back."
surprised she bothers to shave her legs. These wenches will turn
lesbo overnight if you let them."
folded her arms and glared at him. By the time we got to Waimea
Bay, she had stopped sulking. She jumped out of the car and ran
down to the beach like an excited little girl.
ocean always brings out the fish in her," Sinclair observed. "I
think she has gills hidden somewhere."
I was stunned by the size of the waves, the biggest I had ever
seen. They were mountains of surging blue water draped with white
foam and spray. One crazy bastard was actually trying to catch
a ride on his surfboard. He looked like an ant in a flushing toilet
"How big are the waves?" I asked.
"I'd say thirty feet. They only get this huge in the winter."
surfer stood up on his board, shot down the steep face of a wave
and then wiped out when the crest collapsed over him. His board
flew into the air and he remained underwater for a very long time
before popping up like a cork.
"Too bad," Sinclair said. "I thought he was a goner for sure."
He reached into the glove compartment and took out a plastic bag
of pot. "You smoke?"
"Once in awhile."
"This stuff will blow your head off. Homegrown Maui wowie."
He rolled a joint and lit it, taking a deep hit. When he passed
the joint to me, I took a small toke and coughed violently.
"Mustn't waste the sacred herb," he cautioned. "It's the one worthwhile
thing that comes from the neighbor islands. Honolulu is the the
only civilized place in Hawaii."
"I take it you don't care for the other islands?"
like Borneo with colored television. The natives are far too restless
for me. They'll eat your liver like they did to poor old Captain
We walked down to the beach to share the joint with Kim.
"Did you see that wipe-out?" she squealed.
"Calm down," Sinclair told her. "Too much excitement is bad for
your complexion." Then to me: "She breaks out in pimples at the
drop of a hat."
Kim ignored him and sucked on the joint. I must have been been
gawking when she stripped off her clothes to reveal a bathing
suit that barely covered her gorgeous body. Sinclair frowned and
said, "I wish you wouldn't drool. It inflates her ego and makes
her impossible to bear."
Kim smiled at me with flashing eyes and handed me the joint.
"You're not going in the water, are you?" Sinclair asked her.
"I don't want to have to call the paramedics."
"I just want to get some sun."
"Isn't she adorable? A precious little flower that only blooms
in the sunlight."
Sinclair kept rolling joints and I got so stoned the rest of the
day seemed to pass like a dream. At one point we were at Sunset
Beach, Sinclair climbing on top of Kim in the bushes, both of
them as naked as goats. Me sitting cross-legged in the sand watching
the giant waves break in a strange kind of slow motion. Or so
it appeared in my wooly-headed condition. One wave ran up the
beach and soaked me before I could rouse myself out of the stupor.
Dripping salt water, I fled to the safety of the car and another
beer. The last can.
Later more beer and more joints, crossing a rustic bridge into
the beach town of Haleiwa, little shops drifting by the car window,
Sinclair and Kim laughing in the front seat, shrill madhouse laughter,
the sun setting, people strolling along the waterfront, all like
a dream made of liquid cotton.
I didn't remember the drive back to Hickam. I woke up in the back
seat when Sinclair shook my arm. It was dark outside.
for beddie-bye," he said.
"Jesus, what was in that dope?"
"I dropped her off at home."
"It feels like rats are gnawing the inside of my stomach. Where's
the chow hall?"
pointed. "See that building over there all lit up?"
"Aren't you hungry?"
"Not for that slop." As
he walked toward the barracks, he added: "Don't forget you have
a date on New Year's eve."
was right. Greasy scrambled eggs, creamed chipped beef on toast
(appropriately known as shit on a shingle), burnt sausage, coffee
that tasted like dirty socks. I forced it all down, trying not
to gag. Sacrifices had to be made if I wanted to continue indulging
myself in island-style debauchery.
I watched TV in the barrack's day room until Jeff got off duty.
"Where do I sleep?"
I followed him to an empty room at the end of the hall. When he
turned on the light, I noticed the room was crammed full of beds
"We store extra stuff here," Jeff said. "Take your pick."
I sat down on the nearest bed and pulled the blanket back. No
sheet, but I was too tired to care.
"What did you think of Sinclair?"
"Very funny guy. Is he going to be arrested?"
"He'll talk his way out of it. He's done it before. You wanna
watch TV for awhile?"
"I'd rather get some sleep."
"Make sure you're out of the barracks by ten in the morning. The
barracks chief does a walk through inspection then."
"I'll be gone at the crack of dawn. Hit the light, will you?"
wouldn't loan his car to Sinclair again because he had returned
it with the gas tank nearly empty.
you put a lump of coal in his ass," Sinclair smirked, "it would
turn into a diamond in a single day."
He suggested that I rent a car since he had no money.
"I don't think I can afford it."
"Nonsense. They only cost eight dollars per day."
"Absolutely. You want to see the rest of the island, don't you?"
It turned out to be nine bucks per day for a compact car, but
that was still incredibly cheap. Sinclair started for the driver's
seat and I hooked his arm.
"If you insist."
seen you drive and I didn't buy any insurance."
"Mistrust between friends is a tragic error."
want to pick up Kim?"
"She can't come. It seems her aunt really was sick. In the hospital
today and Kim won't leave her side. Not to worry, we'll find some
attractive nymphs to keep us company. The island is rife with
In the car we wore only bathing suits and unbuttoned sport shirts.
I drove barefoot to the Waianae coast, letting the laid-back island
lifestyle seep into my pores. Sinclair warned me to watch out
for hostile locals in the area.
"Trecherous waterheads," he muttered. "Sometimes they throw rocks
at tour buses."
did we come here?"
"Look for yourself. Some of the most beautiful beaches on Oahu."
The surf was small enough to get into the water at a beach park
in Nanakuli. I swam out and caught a few waves body surfing. When
I looked to shore, I saw Sinclair surrounded by four young local
men. One of them pushed him and I swam to the beach.
"What's going on?" I asked Sinclair, trying to be nonchalant.
"Who are you?" the pusher said, glaring at me through bloodshot
"I merely asked that young lady over there if she would like to
dance," Sinclair smiled.
"I apologize for my friend," I said. "He gets a little crazy once
"I'd like to break his face," the pusher said.
"Let's go, Sinclair."
I grabbed my towel and led him by the arm. The four men followed
us to the parking lot and watched us get into the car. As I pulled
away, Sinclair poked his arm out the window and gave the finger
to the locals.
"Goddamn it, Sinclair. What are you doing?"
"Drive faster, please."
I looked in the rear view mirror and saw the four local men piling
into an old car.
The race was on. They followed us through two red lights and a
stop sign before we hit the main highway. I had my foot in the
carburetor, pushing the four-cylinder engine for all it was worth.
Sinclair had his head out the window screaming obscenities at
our pursuers. Lucky for us, their old car couldn't keep up with
a new rental car.
"Left them in the dust where they belong," Sinclair gloated.
crazy bastard. Are you trying to get us killed?"
"I thought I handled myself rather well, considering the odds."
"You asked his girlfriend to dance on the beach."
"Why not? There was music in my soul when I saw her."
"I can't understand how you've managed to survive in Hawaii."
"Live dangerously is my motto. Let's go to Waikiki and have a
few drinks with the touri."
I kept a wary eye on him the rest of the day. In Waikiki we went
to an open-air bar on the roof of a building overlooking the beach.
The cute waitress wore a sarong and a flower lei.
"Is hair pie on the menu?" Sinclair asked.
The waitress stared at him and tapped her foot.
"In that case, bring me an ale."
"No ale. Just American beer and Heineken."
"Uncivilized place, but I like the view. I'll have a double margarita
with no salt. Join me?"
"Draft beer," I told the waitress.
three double margaritas, Sinclair began expounding on his philosophy
of dealing with "the fascists," as he called our military supervisors.
"Never take any shit from them. Huge mistake to roll over and
play dead when they threaten you. In reality they need us far
more than we need them and they know it. After all, we didn't
ask to be in uniform, did we? If they want us to take part in
this ungodly war, they will simply have to tolerate a certain
degree of lassitude."
"What if they don't agree?" I inquired.
"Fuck with their heads. Pull the circuit breakers at work during
a heavy thunderstorm, then unplug the teletype machines. Nothing
goes out, nothing comes in. Drives them absolutely bananas with
all those planes lined up on the runway."
going to hate Leavenworth prison. It's like boot camp for ten
"Hogwash. We have the upper hand, Lawrence. Always remember that
and stick it to them. If you don't, they will have you licking
Later we drove to the windward side of the island and stopped
at Bellow's beach in an old Air Force base. The sand looked like
powdered sugar and Sinclair went swimming with the blond teenage
daughter of an Air Force major and his wife who sat in lawn chairs
under a tree. I offered the major a beer from our cooler to distract
him from watching Sinclair play octopus with his daughter.
"Where are you boys stationed?" he asked.
"My friend is a weather observer at Hickam. I'm on leave from
"How do you like the islands?" the wife asked.
"Very impressive. The climate is wonderful."
been here two years now," the major said. "Best duty I ever had."
"I wish I could get transferred."
had to continue this drivel for half an hour until Sinclair finally
waded out of the water. I strolled over to him as he toweled off.
"Her parents are right over there," I said, nodding my head in
Sinclair smiled and waved at them.
"He's a major, Sinclair."
"You practically raped their daughter in front of them."
"I did no such thing. We were simply frolicking in the surf. Quite
a looker, isn't she?"
"All fifteen years of her."
"I've noticed something about you," he said, opening a beer. "You
seem to lack a certain spirit of adventure. Need to buck up and
stop worrying so much. Only make you old before your time."
Maybe he was right. I had been hanging onto my sanity for far
too long. It was probably futile to keep clutching at the last
worn-out thread. I wondered if the mental institutions in Hawaii
were comfortable. Guarded walks through tropical gardens, poi
for lunch and basket weaving on cool rainy evenings. Didn't sound
so bad when I thought about it.
When Sinclair rolled a joint and lit it, I glanced toward the
major and smiled wanly. There was no going back now. All was lost.
I snatched the joint out of Sinclair's hand and toked on it ferociously.
New Year's eve we were sitting in bleacher seats at the Honolulu
Civic Center listening to Blood, Sweat and Tears wail away on
the stage. My date was a beautiful Japanese college girl named
Yoshi. Sinclair and Kim sat a few rows below us and the place
was packed to maximum capacity and filled with pakalolo smoke.
am stoned out of my mind. Floating in a kind of reverie, hardly
listening to the music, just feeling the pulse of it in my stomach.
Total strangers pass joint after joint to each other along the
bleacher seats like factory workers on an assembly line. Here
one comes again. Must take it to keep the line moving. I inhale
a hit and pass it to Yoshi, who smiles at me. Perfect white teeth.
Almond eyes. Long black hair. My hula girl.
Time stands still and I think, Here we are in the middle of the
Pacific ocean listening to a band with a strange name. No tears
here, much less blood or sweat. Just thousands of people wallowing
in a pleasant groove. Groovy, man. Did I say that out loud? Who
cares? Nothing matters except the music and the feel of Yoshi's
leg against mine. Such a sweet leg, long and smooth like ivory.
I want to kiss it, drape it over my shoulder, go exploring in
her netherlands. Oops, was that my hand? Naughty boy, Yoshi's
eyes seem to say.
the music ends and the band wanders off the stage. General pandemonium
as everyone makes for the exit doors. Pushing and shoving and
shouts. I grab Yoshi's hand and our group moves as one toward
the door. More shoving. Will we be trampled by this herd? I grip
Yoshi's hand so tight she lets out a yelp. Sorry, don't know my
Finally, we squirt out the door into the warm humid air. Sinclair
and Kim are waiting for us beside the concrete walkway. I look
up into the starry night sky and take a deep breath. At that very
moment the sky literally explodes.
"What the fuck?" I stammer, nearly falling down.
My heart is beating wildly. It has finally happened, I think.
I've lost my grip. Then all at once I recognize the explosion
"Happy New Year!" Sinclair shouts.
"What's with the fireworks?"
"Don't they have fireworks on the Mainland?" Yoshi asks me.
"Only on the fourth of July."
is in a lip lock with Kim, lifting her off the ground. I give
Yoshi a sheepish look and say, "Happy New Year."
leans over and kisses me on the mouth. "Happy New Year, Tom."
Oh what a fool I've been. Worrying too much again. Must learn
to ignore The Fear and plow ahead regardless of consequences.
Life can be an escapade if one has the balls for it.
All night long we had heard a rumor that Santana would appear
at the festival being held in Diamond Head crater. Sinclair was
convinced it was true.
"Meet you there in the wee hours," he said.
"You taking off?" I asked.
and I need a little privacy. We're going to a hotel."
"What a lecher."
"Don't forget Diamond Head," he said as they walked away.
"Looks like we've been abandoned," I said to Yoshi.
"You want to go to my apartment? It's not very far."
This night was unfolding like a rose petal. "Sure, sounds great."
A nice apartment with her roommate asleep in the other bedroom.
Glasses of wine and music turned low on the radio. A game of tonsil
hockey while I struggle to unhitch Yoshi's bra. Damn things should
be burned. Naked on her back in bed. Dainty breasts and very little
pubic hair. Visions of the Kama Sutra as she wraps those lovely
long legs around my waist. Home, James!
While Yoshi slept, I got dressed and slipped out of the apartment
like a thief in the night. Must avoid messy entanglements at all
costs. The ugliness of recrimination and guilt. As painful as
a boil on the ass.
It was nearly three in the morning and most of the bars were closed.
I didn't feel tired and the last thing I wanted to do was return
to Hickam, so I decided to drive to Diamond Head and see if anything
was happening that late. I parked my car on a side street and
started up the entrance road. As I got closer to the rim of the
crater, I could hear music and the drone of voices.
The inside of the crater was a swarm of people. My mouth dropped
open when I recognized Carlos Santana on the stage. As I made
my way through the crowd, a guy wearing a head-band handed me
a paper cup of something that looked like fruit juice.
man!" he shouted over the music.
smiled and emptied the contents on the ground when he wasn't looking.
I found an unguarded cooler and swiped a beer. Later someone passed
me a joint, which I bogarted until I felt the rush kick in. Stoned
I wandered around for awhile, looking at all the happy faces.
Then I spotted Sinclair bobbing up and down among a small group
of people. He was stark naked and doing a goat dance for the amusement
"If it isn't Pan from ancient Greece," I said.
hemorrhoids, you made it!" he shouted.
His eyes shone like crystals. "Lost in time, down the path to
eternity." He slung his arm around my neck and whispered: "Shhh.
Don't tell her I'm here if you see her. She's a puritanical witch
when it comes to spiritual matters."
you bring her with you?"
"Haven't the slightest idea," he laughed. "But she might sneak
in if we're not on our toes. Men must stick together against the
tide of female sorcery or we'll all be turned into frogs."
twisted on acid."
"Not a bit. Only had the tiniest taste, just to be sociable."
"You're naked, Sinclair."
He looked down at his dong. "The emperor wears no clothes! Don't
you get it?"
"Afraid not. What did you do with your clothes?"
"Gave them to the poor in spirit. It was only fair. I have to
set a good example in this wicked world."
Since I was wearing swim trunks under my pants, I slipped out
of the jeans and handed them to Sinclair. "Put them on, please."
He looked troubled as he climbed into the pants. "I'm very disappointed
in you, Lawrence. I want you to know that."
"You'll get over it," I said.
"Very disappointed. I expected better treatment from a comrade
"Blow it out your ass."
"I beg your pardon. Do you kiss your mother with that vulgar mouth?"
And so on until Sinclair came down a few hours later. Different
bands played, we wandered around looking for something to eat,
I shared a joint with a cute red-headed girl, Sinclair trotted
behind me babbling like a rabid monkey. The people who were still
awake watched the sun rise over the crater rim. Someone started
clapping as if God had staged a light show.
I fell asleep listening to a jazz band. When I woke up, the sun
was blazing hot and Sinclair was gone. I went to the rental car
and found him sleeping in the back seat. He jumped up when I poked
"How did you find the car?"
He looked around. "Is this your rental car?"
mind. Is your head straight enough to handle Hickam?"
He was staring at the pants he wore, my pants. "I should go look
for my clothes."
"You'll never find them."
wallet was in my pants pocket."
I started the engine. "You didn't have any money."
"Come to think of it, you're right. Screw the wallet."
"You remember the goat dance?"
He looked at me while I shifted into gear. "Of course. I don't
have amnesia, you nitwit."
"It was a very ugly. You didn't do it right."
"How would you know?"
"A satyr is supposed to make women swoon, not upchuck and tear
out their vaginas."
stupid grin spread across his face. "You have a shockingly depraved
sense of humor."
"Same to you, goatman."
I went out with Yoshi one more time. She was mad about me sneaking
out of her apartment, but I invented an desperate lie for an excuse
and she bought it. I loved trusting women and their empty little
heads. Leveled the battle ground since they had the ultimate weapon
between their legs.
I took Yoshi to see a movie and then to a restaurant in Waikiki.
Over drinks after we ate, she asked if I would write to her. Here
we go again. She just couldn't leave a good thing alone.
"I suppose I could write," I said, feeling cornered like a bug-eyed
"Liar," she smiled sadly.
"I like you, Yoshi."
"You won't write."
"Please don't be that way. We're young and insane on a beautiful
tropical island, aren't we? Let's enjoy the evening because tomorrow
I'm off to the war."
She giggled. "You're stationed in California. Regis told me."
"I'll cut his goddamn tongue out for deceiving you."
"Travis Air Force base," she insisted.
"Ton Son Nhut air base, just outside of Saigon. My orders are
"Will you stop? I won't write if you don't want me to."
Bleeding Christ, why was she doing this to me? All I wanted was
one last guilt-free romp with an attractive young woman I would
never see again. Was that too much to ask?
"All right, send me a postcard," I said.
I gave her a phony PO box number at Travis. What else could I
do? It was her own damn fault for trying to pin me down. Once
again we ended up in her bedroom, trying out a few more positions
from the Kama Sutra. A goodbye hump from my hula girl and then
a clean escape. She would remember me always, tell her grandchildren
about the love of her life who vanished into the mists of time.
I didn't have enough money left for a commercial flight and the
only Air Force hop I could get was on a KC-135 weather plane.
Sinclair showed up at the last minute as I was preparing to board
"Didn't want you to leave without a little souvenir from the islands,"
he said. He handed me a small hula girl doll with a battery-driven
motor that made her hips swivel. "I couldn't find a full sized
blow-up model, but with your tiny member I thought this might
I grinned at the homely SOB. "I only wish I had a gift for you.
Tell you what, I'll have this guy I know at personnel headquarters
arrange your assignment to Vietnam."
"I'd be most grateful if you would. I hear they have excellent
dope over there. Not to mention all that hairless gash."
"Well, it's been surreal. Don't let the waterheads eat your liver."
He saluted with his left hand. "Adieu, mon capiten."
The KC-135 flew all the way to Alaska, dropping weather instruments
out of its tail like a big bird taking a shit. Then southeast
toward California and hours later a landing at McClellan Air Force
base. I went to the motor pool and was lucky enough to catch a
ride with a major who had an appointment at Travis. I made it
to the weather office ten minutes before my shift started and
my CO looked rather disappointed to see me.
Close call, but the bastard would have to come up with another
reason to court martial me.
grew up in Michigan and worked as a journalist for several years
in South Florida. After majoring in anthropology in college, he
traveled extensively, freelancing as a travel writer/photographer.
Moake is the author of two published books of fiction, a novel
and a short story collection. His second novel, Terpsichore's
Children, was published in October. When he is not writing,
Moake works as a freelance web designer and software programmer
from his home in Hawaii, where he has lived since 1972. Website:
William Starr Moake
Nights © 2003 by William