Tales Of Cruise Ship Life, Part 5: Lights Out!
Monday 19, October 1998. Deck 3, Aft- Crew Mess
Dear David- as I looked down at the buffet station tray, it was filled with freshly fried fish heads which were all staring back up at me. Well, some of the heads still had their eyes in the right places. I stood for another second as a fish eyeball slowly rotated in the fish broth and stared accusingly at me.
“Oxtail stew, chicken parts, and fish heads Oh My”, I looked at Alan and he said, “Well Dorothy, at least Toto is not on the menu”.
Even Thom was at a loss of finding something to eat. We each grabbed a small box from the assorted collection of cereal and a liquid that could either pass as drinkable tar or very strong tea.
We all sat together and finally I asked Thom, “Is fried fish head soup the usual choice of food because of us being in dry dock, or is this our usual culinary enjoyment to look forward to?”
“Actually, I’ve never worked on a ship while it was in dry dock. I usually join the ship with the guests and only eat in the upstairs dining room”.
After lunch, we made our way back to Barry’s office, where we were greeted by a tiny girl that looked no older than 16 years old. “My name is Lady and I am from the Philippines”, she spoke in a kind of sing-song way that I found quite sweet. “I am Barry’s assistant and I will escort you to your staterooms that you will accommodate for the first few days of dry dock. Unfortunately, you will all have to move every few days because of the current maintenance schedule for the ship.”
As we made our way to our staterooms, she confirmed that the plumbing pipes are being replaced throughout the ship and that the water for your morning shower will be turned on in your area at 6:30 am and will only be active until 7:30 am. She did apologize that at the moment the water will only be cold.
“Camping on a cruise ship…this is going to be quite the adventure”, crowed Alan.
The lady led us to our rooms and we thanked her for her assistance. I walked into my room and instantly noticed that the air conditioning must be off for maintenance as well. There were no windows in the room to even open, let alone know whether it was night or day outside. The room felt like an oven so I opened the door leading back out to the hallway and called down the hall to Alan 3 doors down from me.
“Hey…Alan, is your room as hot as mine?”
“Yup, like a sauna without a towel boy. I do have a couple of travel sized bottles of vodka in my suitcase if you want a nightcap.”
I grabbed the 2 cans of warm Coke out of my carry-on bag and headed down the hallway to Alan’s room.
“Well, we have warm Coke, vodka, and no ice cubes, all we need now is pregnancy scare and I will be back in Junior High School”, I joked as we sat outside Alan’s room on the hallway floor. “You know, Alan you are the only person in the world I would want to be on this little adventure with.”
“Well thank you, my dear, I feel the same…Cheers”
We clinked our glasses together and slowly sipped our warm drinks. Alan sighed a bit and said, “So far this isn’t as glamorous as I thought it would be to work on a cruise ship.”
“Yes, I feel like we are on a busted non-union bus and truck tour.”
We clinked our glasses again and Alan toasted, “To new adventures and a sweet boy in every port…that Barry is quite a handsome man.”
I looked at him and said, “What happened to that young piece of veal you had bagged and tagged?”
“Well, he found another Sugar Daddy, which is why I decided to take this gig. I needed a new challenge and New York just seems a little boring for me right now.”
Joking with him I said, “Please tell me you have not worked your whole way through the phone book already…?” I eyed Alan with my question “have you?”
“No My Dear, and what about you…that Barry is quite a handsome man. And quite intelligent, I lost count how many languages he spoke as he was taking us to his office…you need to investigate that man. I remember your taste for tall men with special skills.”
“No Alan, I’m in no rush for that. I’m not sure I’m ready to start something now.”
“Now…Tony, listen to your Auntie Alan, it’s been 4 years since David died. I know I cannot begin to understand how it feels to have the love of my life killed on street by a bunch of assholes. To be gay bashed on the street and shot like that is unthinkable. But, you have to begin to open your heart again. David would want that for you and I want that for you.”
Before I could answer there was what sounded like a school bell that rang 3 times filling the hallway we were sitting in, then the power was shut off putting us in complete darkness.
“Well, My Dear…Not only are you saved by the bell…but, I believe it’s lights out.”
Tuesday 20, October 1998. Deck 5 – Stateroom 5230 – 3:00am
Alan was standing at the top of a huge golden staircase dressed as Peter Pan in a green sequined gown, crowing with the ocean crashing at the base of the staircase below. Thom was dressed as Captain Hook throwing fried fish heads at Alan, but he couldn’t quite get the fish heads high enough to actually hit him. I was standing behind Alan dressed as Tinkerbell drinking warm Coke and vodka out of a tiny box of cereal. Alan began descending the staircase as Bob Mackie kept yelling at him, “Head up Alan, I don’t want to see the top of your fuckin’ head…I want to see your beautiful face.” Just then, a school of Mermen swam up to the base of the staircase all waving to Alan shouting in very New York accents…”Alan, show us your tits!”
Bang, Crash, and Lights flashed on!
Don’t miss any Tales Of Cruise Ship Life excerpts from The Floating City of Misfit Toys by Tony Yamashiro:
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