Savages (parts 1, 2 and 3)

I. Rockmonkeys

Almost two years into the remodel of a 2,000 square foot, $3,000,000 house, and finally we were ready for the stonemasons to arrive and wrap the house with rock. From the beginning we could not stop laughing at them – coarse, foul mouthed and abusive to anyone in their sight. They were great guys, just not well socialized. We called them rockmonkeys, or The Savages. On the caveman scale, the stonemasons rate about an 8 out of 10. Ironworkers and piledrivers might score a 9.  Merchant shipping sailors often earn a 10/10, but more on that later.

One day, a skinny hippie mason named Todd was grouting rock pieces onto the second floor balcony, which we now know is twenty-two feet above the sloping dirt backyard. Todd swung out onto the scaffold…and then the scaffold swung away from the house. The stucco guys failed to wire the scaffold to the house before quitting time the previous day; they just set it up and left it there.  This is an epic failure.  Todd felt it the whole structure coming away from the house with him standing on top, all thirty feet and 1000 pounds of scaffold.   He quickly turned, jumped free, and run away before it came crashing down on top of him.  He almost made it cleanly, but there was a six-foot post firmly planted in the ground below. Todd landed within about eight inches of skewering himself right up the middle, instead catching it under his arm as he hit the ground running.

After we calmed him down and looked him over, it still took us five minutes to convince him to let us bring him in to the hospital.  He refused to consider an ambulance, though his upper arm was swelling rapidly.

Driving him down to the ER, I learned why this was no big deal to him. To paraphrase: “Man, this ain’t nothin. I’ll be back to work tomorrow….yeah, well let me start way back – I guess I’ve had over 100 stitches and staples in my head…..broken a dozen bones, mostly fingers and toes….I was shot through the leg with a .22 pistol, shot through the arm with a nailgun, set on fire twice, (once solo,) … the age of seven I got hungup by my ballsacks while climbing over a cyclone fence to get away from my brothers (7 stitches to his “ballsacks”), a shit-ton of concussions, I don’t know…” Last month he had seven teeth pulled because he had not visited a dentist in ten years.

Todd is 26.

Todd  is a Savage.

He was ok after a few weeks, having torn and separated part of his bicep, but was almost fired for not inspecting the scaffold first.  We fired the scaffold guys.

II.  X marks the spot

Our next Savage is a merchant sailor, one of those guys who  spend months and years out at sea, working on the cargo ships and oil tankers that run the world’s economies.  More importantly, shipping helps keep these guys out of circulation from humankind. Here we will see two examples of what happens when they escape from the isolation of the sea and reappear on land,  mixing with polite society.

Our man Brad M. bears a striking resemblance to the gentleman pictured above.  He considers anyone living north of I-10 a Yankee, but was invited to a fellow merchant’s wedding in Virginia.  It is worth noting that many of these rough guys have had a respectable upbringing and a solid education, but then veered off towards a rowdy, risky but high-paying lifestyle.  After much food and drink at the rehearsal dinner and before the all-night bar crawl/sailors’ reunion, Brad found himself in the elevator with none other than the bride’s grandmother, a couple of her female cousins and the bride’s aunt.

Brad was well turned out and polite-looking, until the grandmother turned to him and said “And where are you from, Bradley?”  Brad smiled  broadly and said “I’m from Alabama.  Here, let me show you…”  He swiftly set aside his beer, unzipped his pants, fully presented his ballsacks, pointed proudly, and said “You see this freckle right here?  That there is Mobile, Alabama.   You take this vein here, south on I-98, and then east on that vein there to Gulf Shores and that’s where I hail from.”  The poor captive women mashed the elevator buttons and erupted onto the very next floor whichever it was, leaving our man Brad beaming, fully exposed, and reaching for his beer.

His performance did not end there.  The next day at the church, right before the wedding ceremony began, the womenfolk were primping and arranging the bride and her maids, clucking, gushing and re-arranging the gown.  Brad and a  couple of other guys who had been out all night came rushing in to the church to get seated before the doors closed.  But first….the door to the henhouse was open a crack, and after all that time at sea, how could he resist?  Brad threw open the door, stepped in, and loudly offered his services: “Are any of you bitches ready to get your   %#*(#*%&#    *$&#(##$^*  tonight???  Cause I’m ready to oblige!!”

Then he went and calmly sat down in the church, as if all was well with the world.  A massive falling out between friends followed these events.

Brad is back out at sea.  Brad is a savage.

III.  Hot Sweet Vinyl Love

Not everyone who ships out is mentally stable.  On one particular voyage, delivering a shipload of coal from Capetown to Rotterdam, a crewman named Wayne lost his mind.

Wayne was a nasty little man who spent much of his off-duty time on shore chugging from the fountain of vermouth, and generally wenching his way around the world.  But on this night, he literally could not get laid in a whorehouse.  Each  brothel refused him service, maybe due to his poor hygiene or hostility.  Dejected, drunk on wine and cheap street drugs, Wayne decided to do things his way and to hell with everyone:  he went into a sex shop and plunked down a wad of cash on the best blow-up doll he could find.  Grinning, singing and chugging screw-top wine,  he carried his lovely young bride back to the ship.

With the glee of a kid on Christmas morning, he unwrapped his new lover, inflated her firmly and named her, cleverly, Layla.  But Wayne did not think that drugs, pot, booze and sex with a vinyl girlfriend might not mix.  He turned on the porn video, got to work with his girl, finished and immediately passed out cold.  What a man’s man.  This was all a fine romantic conquest, but when he awoke hours later, instead of a rosy afterglow, he found that he had dried into place inside his new bride.  Stuck, and painfully so. He could not withdraw without risking a skin-peel.  What to do, what to do?

Enraged, Wayne stood, stepped out of his spartan cabin and strode down the passageway wearing nothing but tattoos, a determined look and a smiling plastic girlfriend.

Poor Miss Layla did not have much say in the matter, fully impaled as she was.  Our maritime Manson burst into the empty galley, grabbed an 8″ chef’s knife, and pinned his once and former lover to the table.  He plunged the knife into Layla’s chest, just as the 2nd Engineer entered the galley for a cup of coffee.  Imagine walking in on a skinny white naked version of OJ, wild-eyed, slaughtering his lovely mistress.  The engineer thought the better of the coffee, wheeled and silently exited the area, as Wayne continued to plunge the knife again and again into Layla in a desperate bid to free his trapped part.

Wayne successfully freed his abused manhood and was promptly discharged from that ship at the next port of call.  Don’t worry, he is still out at sea, where he belongs.

Wayne is a Savage.



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