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Flashback to shrimp tales

I was 18 when I left Ohio, driving my 1959 Renault 4CV (cylinder vehicle}, with my friend chuck, sometimes know as Chucky. Chuck was a high school friend who made big bucks showing his parents porno movies at his house and charging admission. We were heading to
Miami by way of New Orleans.


Chuck was a good looking kid, with long blonde hair, greaser style with a "duck's ass hair style often referred to as a DA, I had a pomador with a DA but it was not as cool as Chuck's do. It was 1960. Both of us had just graduated from HS.


The Renault got about 40mpg and gas costs about 25 cents per gallon. They even had gas wars along the way where gas was even cheaper than that. It looked sort of like a VW and was air cooled. The engine was in the rear and the trunk in front.


Right outside of coming into New Orleans from the North we picked up a hitch hiker. His name was Joe. He was coming from California. He was 21 years old which was great for us because he could buy us beer. He was a Mexican from East LA and had a pachuco tattoo on his hand. He told us he had given up the gang life and was heading to Miami to start a new life. We became great friends along the way. The stories he told us about gang life were interesting and we loved listening to his stories.


When we arrived in Miami we started looking for jobs. Joe got hired right away because he spoke Spanish and knew how to cook. He went on to become successful as a cook.
Chuck and I found a job working on a 115' gaff rigged schooner, called the Southwind. It was about 40 years old and had once been a famous racing vessel. It's hull was planked with southern yellow pine A grade.
It had a 671 GM diesel engine for auxillary power. We were paid $125 per month plus room and board. I loved it.


The captain was a 21 year old graduate from some sailing academy and the Southwind was his first command. He was unbearingly hard on us at first but after a while he mellowed out after we learned what we doing.


The owner was a 60 year old alcoholic texan named Sam who had a 22 year old son with him on the vessel who was also an alcoholic. His name was Junior. Sam had a mistress named Miss Mary who was also an alcoholic. She was an aged drunkard with sagging breasts who did not say much because she was usually in a drunken stupor. Junior was an ugly bastard with a pock mocked baby face. He was on the brink of being fat. Both Sam and Juniour spoke in gruff voices. Junior used to talk about his girfriend who lived on the boat. He used to go around telling everybody, "
All she wants is that good old hard peter."

They used to make trips from Miami to Nassau in the Bahamas and charge people for the trip. It was mostly a floating whore house. One time we had a bunch of NFL players aboard with some fine looking hookers. I used to watch the hookes and I never saw so many beaver shots in my life. It was a hairy paradise to me.
The vessel had a 5 man crew not including the Captain. There was Leon, who spoke with an English accent and was born in Nassau. He and his mother had moved to Miami when he was 10 years old. He was about 40 years old then. He lived with his mother who owned a boarding house. He lived on the back porch which was inclosed. In his room he had a plastic monkey in a cage with a red penus doing the monkey arm. He was gay but we became great friends.

There was Lou, an ex tugboat captain, about 45, big frame and very manly looking.
In the sixties we always made **** "sucking jokes". One day I was joking around with him and I asked him if he wanted to go into the head and blow me. He said "sure". I was shocked. I had nothing against gay people but this dude was not hitting on all of his cylinders, gay or not gay. I ignored him from there on out.

Alex, who we called, "the Greek". The Greek was from Erie, PA; 25 years old, and was a former fisherman on Lake Erie. Pollution and the lamprays came in and killed the blue pike and white fish. He then worked in his families restaurant. He was married and had about three young kids. One day he got drunk in Erie and went up to this woman on the street, grabbed a hold of her ass and said, "Come on baby, get up off of those buns". The police who arrested him didn't think it was funny. He then came to
Miami, leaving his family behind.
He was very skillfull with his hands and soon became first mate.

My favorite one was Willie. When I first met him he looked like he stepped out of a John London novel. He was about 40 years old, tall, lanky, bearded, wearing a wool skull cap and navy pea coat. Willie was also from Erie, PA and a friend of the Greek. He was a former merchant marine. Willie had abandoned his family just like the Greek had done. Willie loved to drink. He would drink anything. In fact when people would call him a whino he would say, "I'm not a whino. I'll drink anything." I learned a lot from Willie, especilly about "bulling people around", as he used to say. He used to take me into the gays bars in skid row Miami and auction me off for money. I did not even know he was doing it until he said, "let's get the hell out of here, quick." He used to go up to a gay in a bar, grab him around the neck, squeeze it and ask them if they would like to have some polish sausage in a can. Them he would say, "come into the can and I'll give you a few pounds."
Nobody ever got hurt, though. Willie was actually a nice guy at heart.
 
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