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The Moon Also Rises - The Midwatch
The Moon Also Rises The Midwatch Harry Mayer The X.O.’s in the shower and the Captain’s in his bed. The Chiefs’ are playin’ poker as we’re steamin’ to the Med. “I’ll take that bet and raise you” is what the Bo’sun says from the table in the Chiefs’ Mess as we steam full speed ahead. He says, “From the Seychelles to Mombasa I’ve sailed the seven seas. I tussled with the Tongan’s done what the Hell I pleased. I rumbled with the Russians and made war on Charlie Kong. Dumped some mines into his harbor the one they called Haiphong. I punched a bloke in Fiji then I whacked him with my fid. Fact the only thing that scares me . . . is when Ensign’s got the mid.” “The Ensign’s got the midwatch boys the Ensign’s got the mid. Yes only thing that scares me is when Ensign’s got the mid.” Relieve the watch is sounded he staggers from the head. His eyes are red and bloodshot they call him, Ensign Fred. Now Freddie is a rink knocker, Class of Oh Oh One Commanded Plebes one summer and thought that it was fun. A midshipman cruise in Naples made him wise beyond his years. But as the anyone will tell ya’ he’s still wet behind the ears. And to the bridge the he rises to conn the ship of steel. He tries to look his wisest yet exudes a youthful zeal. The Ensign’s got the midwatch boys the Ensign’s got the mid. Ain’t no need to worry cause the Ensign’s got the mid. He barks his orders smartly as he turns the ship to port. Rechecks his rudder angle then he yells at Seaman Schwartz. Now off the bow there shines The faintest light you’ll ever see. Perhaps a surface contact at bearing two two three. Combat . . .Conn he pages There’s a light that I now see. But I have no radar contact it’s bearing two two three. In Combat sailors snicker cause the bearing it is clear. The Ensign’s voice it quivers they detect a trace of fear. The Ensign’s got the midwatch boys The Ensign’s got the mid. Tonight, will be a long one cause the Ensign’s got the mid. The light is getting bigger and brighter as we speak. Freddie calls the Captain his voice begins to squeak. Oh Captain! Oh my Captain! There’s a light that’s off our bow! Oh Captain! My dear Captain! The bearing it is foul! Oh Captain! Oh my Captain! Please don’t think me rash! But Captain! Dear God! Captain! I fear we’re going to crash! General Quarters! General Quarters! is what the Captain screams. All hands to Battle Stations brace for shock off starboard beam. The Ensign’s got the midwatch boys Oh, the Ensign’s got the mid. Now’s it’s time to worry cause The Ensign’s got the mid. From the forecastle to the fantail decks become a blur of blue From their bunks the sailors scramble a trained and ready crew. The XO in the shower slips and bumps his head. The Captain in his stateroom stumbles out of bed. To the bridge the Captain races his face is filled with fear. He knows the next few minutes could mean the end of his career. Report the Captain orders, “Is the surface picture bleak?” The Captain’s in his boxer shorts with fuzzy slippers on his feet. The Captain’s got the midwatch now! Yes, the Captain’s got the mid. Things are looking brighter boys Cause Captain’s got the mid. As the Captain looks to sea his commanding presence looms. He sees no surface contact. . . . Just a bright and rising moon He says, “Oh Ensign, silly Ensign Just look what you have done. We’re now at general quarters Let’s talk one on one.” From the bridge our heroes exit, both the Captain and the kid. To discuss this revelation of what the Ensign did. The Captain says, “I don’t make idle prattle I’ve sailed through fierce typhoons. Commanded ships in battle launching lighting fast harpoons.” A courageous naval officer must have confidence and grit. Your word becomes your bond my boy don’t be a stupid twit! Be like the solid oak my lad cut and freshly hewn. And don’t sound General Quarters for a bright and rising moon! Now Secure from General Quarters sounds throughout the ship. “Go and stand your watch my son no more commotions on this trip.” The X.O.’s back in the shower And the captain’s back in bed The Chiefs’ are playing poker As we steam full speed ahead.
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