Celtic Illumination, part 231, Karma’s a bitch.
A new fellow arrived from Germany, Tom Mc Cann. Thankfully Tom had a bit of life about him and was almost Irish, so at long last I had a decent partner in crime. Tom lived in Stowmarket so from a social aspect we couldn’t really meet up that often, which probably was a good thing. The occasional blow out would have been acceptable but anymore would be frowned on. As was the wife swapping. Somebody had snitched. It wasn’t me, I fact I probably wouldn’t know how to report such a thing or who to report it to. But somebody did and the Station Commander was most definitely not impressed. Vic and I were summoned to the Station Commanders office. It was a pleasant meeting, thankfully. He explained that he was worried that once the news of the wife swapping got out, the community would fracture. Our job was to strengthen the community, provide more functions and entertainment oh and by the way, I was now the bar manager.
Normally the committee would have elected the bar manager but in this situation the Station Commander was stepping in. No one was going to argue with the Station Commander, especially me. It certainly was a boost in my drive for promotion. The one thing I couldn’t control was the time limit; I would have to serve a minimum of three years at my present rank before I would be eligible for promotion, and then start all over again. The wife swapping air trafficker had got himself into a little trouble, on top of his sexual shenanigans, and I was giving him a lift in and out of work, when I was on duty. Whether his lifestyle was caused by certain events or whether the events caused his lifestyle I’ll never know. But it was interesting watching and listening to events as they unfolded.
He had one divorce under his belt, two suicide attempts, both failed by the way, and the air force had taken over his finances. Every Friday he would have to report to accounts where he would be given some cash. This would have to provide food for him and his two children for the following week. He had got himself in so much debt that the air force had taken over his bank account and was trying to dig him out of the hole he had dug himself in to. It was certainly a pretty poor career position to be in, so sometimes I would feel sorry for him, no matter what you lot think, I am human, almost. Now of course he was to be posted. This is where I could never understand the logic of the air force. You would think that a group of people being posted to break up a wife swapping ring would get the more undesirable postings. Maybe they would be posted to some remote Scottish Island where the cold air would dampen the ardour but no. This fellow was posted to Gibraltar, oh and by the way, why not have a little promotion on your way.
It certainly makes you think about what is going on, well it did me. Suddenly you wonder if it is all worth it. He was almost bragging to me that he was off to Gibraltar for three years, with promotion, and all his little misdemeanour’s would be forgotten about, he was being given a clean slate. The only reason I could think for this to happen would have been that the Station Commander had been involved in the wife swapping. On the one hand it was nice to think that the air force were not going to hold a grudge and that you could resurrect yourself, but I wasn’t sure, if you shoot yourself in the foot you should have the decency to limp. It certainly made me reconsider all my options and I reaffirmed to myself that I was on the right path which was to work harder than I had ever done before, and to get promoted faster than anyone had ever done in the past. And secretly wish that in some way or the other they would all get their comeuppance, because, in a way, their behaviour did reflect badly on the rest of us and I was no angel myself.
A month or two after he left for Gibraltar I met the fellow again and he told me that on arrival in Gibraltar he had been given an arrival brief. During this meet and greet chat, a file had been produced and he was told that despite the fact that the file existed, and that it contained every little detail about him and his past, it wouldn’t be mentioned or taken in to account again, if he stayed out of trouble and debt. I’m not sure if that’s torture or not but suddenly, to me at least, his get out of jail free card didn’t seem to be worth much, despite the sunshine. With the wife swappers going and me now holding the most powerful position in the families club I could now let my creative juices flow. I had noticed that there were very few Americans coming in to the club and decided to focus on finding out what they required from the club, after all it was their club too.
John Lanzafame was my main link into the American air force so he encouraged one or two of his buddies to come along. I managed to get two of them to volunteer to be bar staff. It was an interesting situation where I couldn’t pay my bar staff money and up until I had taken over, the only form of payment they would receive would be if someone bought them a drink or gave them a tip, a sort of keep the change type gesture. As I was a wizard with mathematics I was able to employ a little creative accounting and provided anyone working as bar staff, for the evening, a couple of free drinks. The first volunteer was a fellow called Craig Scritchfield; he was a firefighter and a great giggle. I think he would be classed as a red neck and he used to entertain us all with stories from the states.
I think he may have been suitable material to become a good ol boy. The bar had to close every evening at eleven o clock on the dot. For specific functions or parties I would have to apply to the Station Commander for permission to stay open later. Needless to say, sometimes this rule was ignored and the bar would stay open to dawn. We were not alcoholics, or addicted to drink, but sometimes the craic would be so good we just forgot about time. Of course it would mean that at breakfast time you were off your trolley and I do remember one such breakfast time. Craig had married a local English girl from Ipswich. She had a reputation for throwing things at him. He believed that staggering home at breakfast time might put him in the getting shouted at category so he came up with a brilliant idea, as most drunks do.
Craig had a huge minibus type vehicle which was always parked on his drive as it was too fecking big to go in to his garage. He decided that we would both sneak around to his house. He would grab a spanner and roll under his truck, pretending to be working on it, while I would arrive at the front door, knock and ask if he was coming out to play. This probably shows how drunk I was as I agreed to do it. Craig’s wife wasn’t so easily fooled and she demanded that he get into his house immediately before the neighbours saw the fool. As I walked away I began to try to identify the objects being thrown inside the house from the sound they made as they ricocheted off the walls.
The other fellow John Lanzafame had brought didn’t volunteer for bar duty but his wife did. Peggy Sue. Peggy Sue was great fun and was liked by most people and was a great little worker. Normally my bar staff would roll in on a Sunday evening and choose which shifts they would like to work during the following week. One Sunday evening Peggy Sue’s husband came in and came to the bar. He asked me for a pint of beer and I poured one, presented it to him and said that it was free, on the house, as a sort of thank you for all the hard work his wife had put in. He refused to accept the free beer and insisted that he would pay for it. Strange, but I followed the maxim that the customer was always right. “Where is Peggy Sue anyway?” I asked, as I hadn’t seen her for a few days.
“She’s fine,” he said, sipping at his beer. “She’s stateside.” “She’s in America?” I asked, thinking that it was strange she had never mentioned anything about going home. “Yeah,” says her husband. “I got a letter from her this morning and she says the syphilis has nearly cleared up!” This is where he took his beer and turned away, leaving the bar, to sit on his own. He finished the beer and left. I thought it the strangest thing to say and couldn’t work out why he would say such a thing, but the following day everything was explained to me. I was running the wife swopping air trafficker home after work when he asked if I could drop him at the special clinic in Ipswich. I didn’t know what a special clinic was and had to ask. It seems that one evening there was a small group in the bar and they had been talking about sexual preferences or specific turn-ons. Peggy Sue had said that her fantasy was to have sex with four men at once, on a pool table. I could never play on that pool table again, but I was content that if the air force didn’t provide karma, Mother Nature would step in instead.