Warship Games

By Mark Crantz
By Mark Crantz

It was a couple of Sundays ago. It was my seventh day of rest and I was minding my own business on my upper deck. My house looks like an ocean cruise liner. I’m not the original homeowner, but there’s definitely a nautical theme going on here. The house is battleship gray and the upper and lower decks have blue painted pipe rails. The home’s stairs look from the outside like a smoke stack. I even swab the decks after rainstorms singing my favorite sea shanty, “What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor.” My wife prefers the New England captain’s house architecture, with the widow’s walk on top, but has agreed to hold off purchasing one until I pass on.  But in the meantime, this home has grown on her, too, and she’s gotten into living the cruise liner life by cancelling my shore leave to the Marine Room Tavern over and over again.  “Thar she blows again,” I mumble under my breath.

Mad that I wasn’t allowed to see the Missiles of October band at the Marine Room, I pouted about being grounded on my ocean liner house. That’s when the warship popped up on my starboard side. It was close. About 750 yards close. The ship was huge and I wasn’t certain of its intentions. Now, I wasn’t the least bit happy to be living in a house that looked like an ocean vessel. If war is what they had in mind, I wasn’t prepared. My arsenal included a beer bottle opener, a wine opener, a cheese knife, and dental floss I’ve never used.  One thing for sure, I’ve never been the captain here and I wasn’t going down with the ship. I’d be the first rat off the ship.

That’s when my wife, the captain, said,  “Look at that.  What is it?”

“Oh that is the new SS SUP,” I answered.

The captain’s stony glare told me it was an inadequate answer and I was seconds away from being thrown in the brig, which is a surprise visit from my mother-in-law when I’ve been derelict in some duty that I was unaware of being derelict in. Whew. I know it was  confusing on board a house ocean cruise liner.  Trust me you get your sea legs as a matter of survival.

“SSSUP stands for Super Sonic Stand Up Paddleboard,” I quickly answered with a salute thrown in for good measure.  I was a mere petty officer and didn’t want to be demoted to seaman, the lowest ranking that required excessive shopping duty at Fashion Island.  “Are you suggesting to me that someone carried that SSSUP down the beach stairs?” queried my captain. “Well no. I can’t say for sure. I believe it was six Navy Seals.  They’re the strongest,” I elaborated while thinking to myself that Seals also leave no man behind and I hoped they could rescue me soon.  I was going down without a shot even being fired by the mammoth warship.

“Get rid of them. They’re blocking my view,” ordered my wife. “Aye, aye, captain,” I replied.

“Give me your makeup mirror and I’ll signal your request by Morse Code. SOS…T-A-K-E…M-Y…W-I-F-E…P-L-E-A-S-E…SOS…D-R-I-N-KS…ON…M-E.. R-E-N-D-E-V-O-U-S…M-A-R-I-N-E…R-O-O-M.  R-O-G-E-R…T-H-A-T…O-V-E-R…


“Well, it looks like they’re turning around. What did they say?” asked my wife. It appears that you’ve won seven free days and six nights, spa and salon amenities included at Guantanamo Bay Resort. Better pack your bags. Your flight takes off at 0600. Call me when you get there.  Love ya.”

Mark is a transplant to Laguna from Chicago.  He occasionally writes the guest column “Pet Peeves.”  His recently deceased Border Collie, Pokey, is his muse and ghostwriter.

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