A Story by Eagle Cruagh

Lieut.  Florin was a loathsome, egotistical, smirking,
 Greek god type.  A typical ladies man, bronzed,
tall, flat belly`d and more than adept at hitting a silly punching bag.
On a crowded troop-ship, near the equator and in the
middle of the South Pacific, we sailors stood in each
other`s shade in a futile attempt to stay out of the
scorching, blistering sun --------- and we listened to
the unending rattle of the punching bag.
The boat deck, not sure why it was called that, but it
was, was officer country, all enlisted men were banned from officer country.   "They were special".
Day after breathless, stink`n day we would stand in
the sun and hate those b******s.
Unaware that the Marine Corps officers aboard ship
were planning a boxing tournament, the bag bounced
and rattled it`s annoying chatter. 
God, I hated that b*****d---- then the break came.
Charlie the steward remarked, "Why don`t you go down to the Marine`s newspaper office and challenge
that s.o.b. to fight you in the tournament.
No sooner had the idea germinated than I was in the
Marine`s  office volunteering to fight the
officer who kept pounding that idiot bag.
The very next day the paper appeared with the by-line , Lieut. Florin has graciously condescended to
fight a young hospital apprentice (me) in the coming
boxing tournament.    "Graciously condescended !"
What a lot of gall.
The officer and I were both over six feet tall, but where
he was lean, muscular and tanned, I was skinny and
Coming out of the chow line Chief Smith grinned at
me and commented, " You`re going to fight in the
tournament I see".   Yeah, guess so, Chief.
"Have you ever fought on a ship before ?"  No.
"Well, there are just a couple of things to remember.
Keep your back to the sun and when the ship rolls from side to side, you always stay on the upper side"
that way when he tries to hit you he has to swing up
at you and the sun will always be in his eyes."
Under my breath, I`m thinking , he`s gonna die.
After day after day of insufferable punching bag racket
and seeing this Greek god strutting about the boat deck the day of the big fight arrived.
Before we were called to the ring, Lieut Florin came
down to peasant country and invited me to come up
to the boat deck and have a cold one.   I felt it coming.
The old psych game.  So I went up and sat in the cool
shade in officer`s country and enjoyed a cold beer
while the officer confessed that he had been Captain
of his boxing team at Yale.  After 29 fights he had been cited for superior sportsmanship and excellence
in athletic ability.
I hated him even more.  He was obviously trying to
con me into a loser state of mind.
We were called to the center of the ring, given instructions.  Retired to neutral corners and at the
bell we came out with blood in our eyes.   All the days
of suffering that annoying rattle of the punching bag,
the strutting god-like, superior officer--- it all came
out of my boxing gloves in rattling, hate filled punches.
Just like Chief Smith had said--- I rolled up with the
ship and kept the sun at my back and dared him to
fight .    In a short time it was over,   The Marine Capt.,referee
raised my arm as the victor and I felt nine feet tall.
The following day I spotted Lieut. Florin at a distance
both eyes were swollen and black,  his face was red
with angry red marks .   Somehow I did not feel that
The next day Lieut . Florin  was to be assigned a fighter plane on the main island, then join his unit on
Guadal Canal.
As we stood on deck of the ship in the early morning
a lone plane came in to view.  He immediately started
dipping his wings in the traditional salute of "goodbye to my friends" as he passed over our heads.
Just then this plane struck the mast of a tanker anchored just behind us.  As the plane struck the mast it burst into fragments---- not a piece of the plane or the pilot were ever seen again.
The voice on the loud speaker announced, "that was
Lieut. Florin who just left this ship."
-----  Eagle Cruagh

© 2010 Eagle Cruagh

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Featured Review

It was hard for me to think of what to say about this one....
I really like it. Talk about the unforseen consiquences of ones actions.

I have two brothers one was in the Navy, the other a Marine... and they had very similar personalities as those in this story.

Posted 9 Years Ago

2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


Oh what an excellent story, sure wish I took the time to read before hand. And yes quite an interesting ending to this story, I guess his bragging days are long gone too.

Posted 6 Years Ago

you did a great job it was really good. (:

Posted 7 Years Ago

Good read. The moral is easy to understand. A well written if sad story.

Posted 8 Years Ago

Great read! I understand when a noise gets into your head. I understand hate too. But I do not understand, our higher powers ways. Fate happens it just does.

Posted 8 Years Ago

My father was a sailor during WW2. He spoke of ship board fights and why they were so important. It was a rare thing to see an Officer or a Chief in the fights. It did happen and when it did the higher ranking sailor would lose. This story is wonderfully told and from the correct point of view. I have often thought of your work as complete and this is no different. The story reminds me of the movie 'Ensign Pulver". I'm a retired military man myself and this is a work that I will post on my I Love Wall. Thanks Eagle.

Posted 9 Years Ago

I really enjoyed reading this one, but am finding it hard to make a comment. I love the ending though. Thanks for sharing.

Posted 9 Years Ago

One word. Amazing.

Posted 9 Years Ago

Hm... The abrupt ending really makes me think. How sad to learn that someone you hated was maybe never worthy of your disgust at all, and then being unable to correct yourself because of such tragic circumstances... I imagine the guilt would have been terrible.

Posted 9 Years Ago

There is no second to your writing. I always enjoy reading your work and as I begin I wonder what glorious twist there will be at the end. You are a master. Of that there is no doubt.

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

The abnormally large font agitated me, but the story was worth it. Short and to the point. However, I would have preferred more characterization. The lovely thing about short stories is that despite their brevity, they are a perfect stage for capturing a character in his entirety. There was a strong presence of your character, but also with wondrous brevity comes the challenge of leaving a lasting impression. Your character is strong. We get a clear sense of his voice, but not this moment in his life.
(Tangent, excuse me.)
It is my belief that our perceptions are so naturally skewed, and so we require certain conditions of exaggerations to truly capture reality as artists. Regarding your story, the character on his own is excellent, but reaching the story's conclusion, I would like a little more depth or backstory, something to give the character an environment I can understand. It's disheartening as a reader, not able to see this other place, even if there are people who know its ins-and-outs everyday. If I had understood the character's environment and been able to be with him those few moments depicted in the story, I would have appreciated this glimpse that much more.
Overall, aside from my tangent, wonderful story...I think I sound pretentious.

Posted 9 Years Ago

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24 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on December 18, 2010
Last Updated on December 18, 2010


Eagle Cruagh
Eagle Cruagh


-------It is your mind---- that creates this world--- -----Buddha ----------------------- .. more..


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