Note: You do not need to have read Harvester: Ascension to enjoy the following scene.
Samuel Sewall was an unhappy, yet complex, man. Here is his story:
It was May 2006, six years before, Petty Officer Sam Sewall, United States Navy, woke with a start. The early morning sun burned his eyes. His mouth was dry and his head hurt. He attempted to stand, but a wave of nausea rushed over him as he suddenly realized he was wearing a gas mask. Doubling over he vomited. A mixture of stomach acid and Heineken from the night before filled his mask. Breathing in the noxious fumes, he had a moment of clarity in which he thought about the irony of choking to death on fumes because he was wearing a gas mask.
His hands slipped on the mud-covered straps as he tried to loosen them. As his vision was fading to black he pulled the mask off and breathed a breath of fresh air that had a hint of manure. He was standing in a cow pasture, and he had no idea how he’d gotten there.
His last memories took him back to the
better known as “The Four Floors of Whores,” containing four floors of various
bars and massage parlors. Other than looking like a second-rate shopping mall, it
was a great place to party. He and his buddies got smashed until late in the
evening. Orchard Tower
He was sitting at table in the middle of the room. A juke box, lined with neon blue and red tubing, blasted American heavy metal. The room was dimly lit, the only light coming from the juke box and the scattered overhead lamps. He just loved how all these countries they’d been to during this deployment seemed to want to be
Even America .
American music, American dress, American movies. It was almost like not really
leaving home. And he dug Asian women. Singapore
Eventually a woman in a purple dress that showcased her large bust stepped up behind Sam. Jose looked up as she put her hands on Sam’s shoulders and started rubbing.
“I can give massage. Hundred dollar massage?” the woman said in a thick Singaporean accent. She continued to rub Sam’s shoulders. “I can make real special. You like? I give hundred dollar massage.”
Sam said, “I could really use a massage. Hell, I have a hundred dollars.” He turned to the woman to ask her what makes it worth a hundred dollars and then he saw her face. “Ugh!”
“You no like?” she said, downtrodden.
“Dude, your face looks like ass. Where are your teeth?”
“Hundred dollar massage?” She gave his shoulders another strong rub.
“Get your hands off me and get out of here. I’ll need fifty more of these before I pay for you,” he said holding up his Heineken. The woman in the purple dress left and went back to the massage parlor that she operated across the floor from the bar. “Damn, a hundred dollars for a massage?”
“You do realize she’d be rubbing more than just your back.”
“Right, as if I hadn’t missed the obvious connection between scantily-clad Asian women and an outbreak of gonorrhea. But she’s as ugly as a…and you just sat there looking at her rubbing all on me. Bastard.”
Jose laughed and ordered another round of beers. “Shit, dude. That was hilarious. Did you see she had just one tooth?”
“To be fair, I counted three.”
“Either way, holy hell! Ha!” The beers were quickly delivered and Jose paid the waitress. Another example of Americanization of these small Asian countries: they accepted American currency. Five minutes later the woman came back into the bar. Jose said, “Oh look who’s back. And she changed her dress.”
Sam turned around and saw her approach. Instead of purple, she was now wearing red. She smiled, exposing the gaps between her remaining teeth. “Lady, you can put on as many dresses as you like, but no color’s going to change your face. No definitely means no tonight.”
“Hundred dollar massage? Also throw in blow job. No extra,” she said. Jose gave Sam a look that said “your choice, it’s your dick.”
“You know, I’m flattered, but do I look like someone who has to pay for a blow job from a toothless troll? If I was desperate enough to pay, my buddy Jose would just suck it for me. Save me a little cash.”
Jose said, “Yeah, just waiting for them to repeal ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’.”
“Wow, that’s not completely awkward,” Sam said and Jose responded with a wink.
“Hundred dollars?” she said again.
“Oh shit, we gotta get back to the ship,” Jose said.
“I’m too drunk to be going anywhere,” Sam said and slammed the Heineken on the table. “I want another one.”
“Too bad. We gotta get back to Vandy. It’s 0130. We gotta be back by 0200.” Looking at the woman in the red dress, he said, “Get lost, toots. We got another lady to ride.”
“Goddamit. Where is Vandy anyway? Can’t she come get us?” “Vandy” was their nickname for the USS Vandegrift, a Navy Frigate out of
. San Francisco
“Dude, I hate how stupid you get when you drink sometimes. Vandy isn’t your wife. And she ain’t coming to get your drunk ass.”
“No shit.” They stumbled their way out of the bar, leaning on each other for support. Unfortunately they were on the upper-most floor of the “Four Floors of Whores” so they both inevitably stumbled down each escalator on the way down. Sam was still swilling a bottle of Heineken as he did so. “Oh shit…” Sam said as they neared the first floor. The escalators were making the entire place spin before him, all the sights dissolving into a blurry mess. “One too many, man, one too many.” Sam had, in fact, drank over a dozen beers in the several hours they were out. “One too many” didn’t cover it.
They left the
and worked a slow,
meandering path back toward the ship. “Where are yoooou?” Sam howled as they
neared where they thought the port had been. Orchard
“You know, dude, I’m gonna look for Vandy over this way,” Sam said.
“Suit, yourself, but I’m sure the port’s over here,” Jose replied,
“Nah, me and Vandy’s tight. I’ll find her.” And Sam stumbled off in the darkness and somehow ended up in a cow pasture. At least he had had the presence of mind to wear a gas mask if he was going to sleep in manure.
Now he was awake, but still drunk and nauseas. Since he had never made it back to the ship he would be considered UA and would likely have to face the Disciplinary Review Board when he finally found the ship. That wouldn’t be good. This would be his second appearance before the Board. The last time had been an Unauthorized Absence due to the effects of alcohol as well. This wouldn’t be something they would take lightly, and probably would end up being a permanent mark on his service record.
But before dealing with the board he still had to find the ship. Sam managed to find a mashed down trail in the tall grass surrounding the pasture and worked his way back toward town. Soon a Frigate—the USS Vandegrift—appeared.
The next night, as he slept in his rack, a loud knocking rang throughout the chamber, woke him up, and (out of habit) brought him to attention. “Open the damn door, Sewall! Senior Chief needs to see you!” Without thinking, he opened the door and started rushing to get to the DRB. This was a make or break for him. He was either going to get a black mark on his record, half-pay for two months, and get demoted, or just a slap on the wrist. Either way, he was too focused on the pending review to realize he had just walked out completely naked. “Put some clothes on, Sailor! Don’t think you’re going to be able to impress anyone out of this shit with that thing.”
Senior Chief Annie Peters walked around the sailor, sizing him up, studying his bearing, and his uniform when he entered the DRB room. “You are a fucking slob. You realize that? You think you can walk around this ship looking and smelling like shit? Do you take any pride in yourself? Do you think this is your mother’s house? And where the hell were you last night? You were UA! That is your second unauthorized absence. If we had a brig I’d throw you in it for the rest of the deployment. What have you got to say?”
“Senior Chief. My apologies, Senior Chief. I got drunk last night and then got lost while trying to find Vandy—”
“Stand at attention before you speak! You are one pathetic sailor! Just one of those screw ups that somehow flew under the radar. But you’ve been here before, and, what was it last time? Alcohol! Again! You wanna know what? I can have your ass kicked out of the Navy by the end of the week.”
Sam stood at attention to speak, looked up, and his eyes met the Senior Chief’s. “Really? That’s fantastic!”
“Excuse me? The United States Navy is the finest navy in the world. And you are a disgrace. I suggest the first thing you do when your ass lands on a street in
is find a street corner to beg on because that’s the only thing you will ever
amount to. Get out of my sight.” And that was the end of the DRB. Detroit
Sam went back to his quarters and dropped onto his narrow cot and reached into the footlocker beside it, drawing out a battered Captain
paperback. Sam used comics as a brief escape from the harshness and monotony of
military life, and admired the Captain for the wholesomeness and simplicity of
his character. Cap knew what was wrong and what was right and spent his life
defending the good things in life from the bad guys who would take them from
us. However, even if Captain America
screwed up, everyone thanked him and said he’d done his best. Oh, not in the
real military. America
The Senior Chief made good on her promise. Sam Sewall was out of the Navy. And a week after that he landed a job as an accountant for the City of
. Not too bad for
an alcoholic. Detroit