Hope I didn’t disappoint. My entry titles are just songs that pop up on my iTunes.
Strange how memory works. It has to be 20 years ago.
I was relatively new to the battlegroup staff, and we still sorting out the order of battle so to speak.
The USS Constellation got tasked to do a CQ (carrier qual) evolution for the west coast RAGS (Replacement air groups) off the coast of southern California.
We were living in Tierrasanta, in base housing. I had actually started spending more time on board than at home. Or at the beach at North island. Our marriage had already unraveled.
So the staff was on board. We heard the shift colors as we headed out of San Diego Harbor. Some of us went topside to watch the intricate dance as we passed Loma Point.
Once at sea we were a bit on our own. Meetings, checking the message boards. Waiting for the birds to come aboard.
I didn’t get to fly at all during those two weeks. But I got a “most expenses paid” trip to Mazatlan.
The Magnicent Seven had already formed among the younger members of the battlegroup staff. Basically the guys who were up for anything.
After a few days of CQ, the jets flew off and the boat steamed right down to Mazatlan. For a week.
One of the Magnificent Seven had a contact and we rented a house. At an unreasonably reasonable price.
Our benefactor was “The Mayor of Mazatlan,” who was an American Expat. He liked us. He put out the word “You fuck with my sailors, you are fucking with me.”
I was safer in Mazatlan than I am in my own home town.
As long as we were willing to sit around and shoot the shit, he was fine.
We got complimentary way too much shit. Restaurants wouldn’t take our money.
The last day in port I was heading back to fleet landing. I had about $300 worth of pesos in my pocket.
The ship will convert dollars to local currency when you pull into port. But they are prohibited from converting the other way. Rumor being that sailors back in the 70s fucked around in currency trading.
Riding on the back of a big golf cart heading toward fleet landing I realized I was about 8 hours early.
So I had the driver pull in and drop me off at a strip joint on the waterfront about a mile from fleet landing.
I went in and had a few beers. Finally I decided who was getting all my pesos.
I got one private dance after another. All from Anna.
She was young. Perfect. Maybe all of 20.
After the fifth private dance she abruptly stopped. Held my face in her hands and said “You like me.”
It wasn’t accusatory, and it wasn’t a question. It was a statement of fact.
And I will be damned but she was right.
In 1998, I don’t know if 300 bucks worth of Pesos was a lot for her. But her looking right through me was a lot for me. I can still see her eyes.
But fantasies are much easier to hold onto than real life.
I worshipped at the Temple of Anna until I ran out of pesos. Then I road a golf cart back to the boat.
I have a lot more sympathy for that 36 year old kid now. I didn’t know how lost he was. But of my angels, Anna was one.