Corpsman Second Class Chauncey Crumbett was the first to enter Captain Foaming’s office at 0600 hours on Sunday morning. He arrived at the outer office waiting room at 0545 hours. Crumbett looked at Foaming’s steward deciding whether to sit on one of the two maroon chairs or the matching sofa. He carried Marco’s poncho- wrapped bottle and looked at Jose Figueroa, who also had a package similar in size to the 32-ounce container from B-2, room 6-D. He sat next to Figueroa.
Figueroa was polishing the chrome arm on the sofa while balancing his heavy parcel on his lap. Stewards cleaned things. All Stewards in the Navy were from the Philippines. Ever since General Douglas Macarthur served in and liberated the Philippines from the Japanese in World War II, the goal of many male Philippine citizens was to become a U.S. citizen. This could become a realized dream if a Phillipino in good standing signed up for 20-years of servitude as a steward in the U.S. Navy. Stewards ran non-combat support activities and had maintenance assignments that would be considered menial and derogatory to regular U.S. Enlisted Navy personnel. Stewards became orderlies to tend to Senior Officers’ needs such as cleaning up and running errands. Jose Figueroa kept Slick Foaming’s office spotless and tended to similar activities at Foaming’s home located in a plush 4-bedroom colonial-style house. The all white-shingled manse within the hospital compound had a manicured lawn, which Jose also took care of.
Chauncey Crumbett and Jose Figueroa looked at each other but said nothing. Each was in the dark about why they bore their wrapped package. They were both fearful of what was to happen at 0600.
At precisely 0600, Captain Foaming opened his office door and beckoned Crumbett inside. Crumbett stood at attention and looked very clean and crisp in his fresh white work uniform.
“Crumbett.” Foaming paused and placed both hands on his desk blotter, leaning forward in his high-backed chair. “I’m ordering you to keep silent as to everything you saw and heard about the Marco incident on B-2 last night. Failure to do so will find you stationed for your remaining two-years in the Navy at the Navy Weather Research facility in the South Pole. After that assignment you’ll be dishonorably discharged for failure to prevent the debacle that occurred while you were on duty.” Slick waited 20 long seconds for his words to be digested. For Crumbett, standing at attention, it seemed like hours.
“On the other hand,” Foaming sat back and lifted his right hand and waved it in the air like a maestro orchestra leader. “If this situation is maintained classified and reports never reach any office other than mine, you may name your next duty station and qualify immediately for promotion to one grade advancement within the next week. You must decide right now.”
“Orlando Naval Hospital, sir.” Crumbett did not hesitate.
“You’ll have your orders in 7-days.” Foaming signed a form on his desk and slowly looked up at Crumbett with severity. “You’re on leave until Friday of next week. Give me the package and get out of my office. I never want to see you or hear of you again in my lifetime.”
“Yes, sir.” He handed the olive drab cloth-wrapped bottle to Foaming who placed it on the corner of his desk.
Foaming walked him to the door and looked at Jose Figueroa. “In here, Jose.” Foaming was non-threatening to his steward.
“Jess, sir.” Figueroa was clad in Navy denim. Stewards only wore their white Navy sailor suit for inspection unless specifically ordered to. Foaming had told Figueroa to appear in his work clothes.
“Is that the machine I told you to bring to me?” The C.O. suddenly became harsh.
“Jess, sir.” Jose Figueroa developed an adrenalin tremor.
“Give it to me and get out.” Slick reached for the 2-foot tall burlap-wrapped object. “Wait in the outer office.”
“Jess, sir.” Figueroa hunched his shoulders and left quietly.
Foaming unwrapped Jose’s package to reveal a large Waring blender. He next removed the olive drab poncho from around Marco’s 32-ounce container. At first he was startled by all the eyeballs suspended in their liquid environment. He knew what to expect but, he had to admit, the first look had definite shock value. He studied an eyeball and noticed it was identical to the others as a surgical specimen. The lens had clouded up as expected both because of whatever preservative was used and also from postmortem change. The small tentacle-like eye muscles above and below each globe were all the same length, probably a tribute to the sharpness of the cutting instrument. This eye, like the others, had a quarter-inch section of optic nerve remaining at the back, making it almost look like an eyeball Christmas tree ornament, he imagined. Enough of this, I’m starting to think like a fucking pathologist. Foaming plugged in the Waring blender and opened the eyeball bottle. There was a clean isopropyl alcohol odor to the preserved eyes and fluid. He emptied the container into the blender. He turned the machine on for a full 2-minutes until the contents were a smooth, gray, amorphous consistency. Foaming opened the door to his office.
“Figueroa.” Foaming stepped on the doorway entrance and stuck his head outside.
“Jess, sir.” Figueroa was almost jolted from his seat with the shout.
“Empty the blender into the toilet and keep flushing until the toilet is clear again. Is that understood?” It was an unusual direct order but an order nevertheless.
“Jess, sir.” He took the now much heavier blender into the room marked Head, Jose Figueroa flushed the gray chemical-smelling homogenized soup down the toilet. He wondered what it once was, but the thought left his nerve synapses as fast as it had been produced. He would take the blender apart and clean it as thoroughly as he could before returning it to the Officers Mess Hall in time for its use in preparing breakfast.
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