Chapter Three - Eternity
Bobbie and Ray tiptoed around each other, neither acknowledging what had happened on the beach near the pool. Ray maintained his same level of animosity towards her and Bobbie did her best to keep out of Ray's way.
Ray would turn up to her Wednesday night performances drunk and heckle her. The other crew members would try to settle him down.
"Get off now and show the movie!" Ray would call during her musical number.
"Go back to the kitchen and make me a fucking sandwich," was one his usual retorts.
Bobbie ignored him and played to John, Craig and Steve who appreciated her performances. Ray never came to her Saturday matinee and he claimed he only came on Wednesday nights to watch the movie.
"Chief, why don't you just come on over after Bobbie has sung her song?" John Fitzgibbons asked him.
"That bitch doesn't run my routine for me Petty Officer Fitzgibbons, I'll come and go as I please," Ray snarled drunkenly.
Ray was also the only one who bitched about her food and refused to let her make up his room. He ordered Bobbie to leave his sheets outside his quarters so he would make up his own rack.
Ray's drinking got worse. He had never drank during the day before the incident at the pool but he started to do so. He would go on benders, getting paralytically drunk, locking himself in the workshop cursing about his wife's infidelity. In his drunken reasoning, so long as he was at work, he wasn't shirking his duties, even though he was incapable of most tasks.
John Fitzgibbons took on most of Ray's leadership roles, organising the lookout routines, setting work details and managing the day to day activities at Harris Field.
Bobbie went to Ray's Quonset hut one day and found four piles of fresh bedding sitting outside his door. She went to see to John Fitzgibbons and told him her concerns.
"He won't let me clean his quarters but he's got two weeks of clean sheets piled up outside his Quonset. It's unhealthy John and if he gets sick he can pass it on to us," Bobbie explained.
"He's sleeping one off up at Lookout Hill. I'm giving you permission to enter the Chief's quarters and clean it and make his rack. I'm sorry to have to make you do this Bobbie, I can't imagine what it must be like in there," John shook his head solemnly.
Bobbie tentatively opened the door to Ray's quarters and was immediately assailed by the stench. It was booze, sweat, rotting food and she didn't know what else and didn't want to know. She had gone to Ray's quarters as soon as John gave her permission to do so but now she wished she had taken the time to change into fatigues but she knew time was critical. John would try to keep Ray away from his Quonset if he woke up but who knew what Ray would do when he was on a bender?
Bobbie was wearing the uniform she usually wore during the week: a white six-gored skirt, a white blouse, dark blue tie and white pumps. Her jacket was hanging up in her office in the Q store. Her makeup was perfect, her green eyes enhanced by dark eyeliner and mascara and her plump lips defined by bright red lipstick. She tied back her hair to keep it out of the way and went to work.
The first thing she did was open the blinds and open all of the windows to let in some fresh air. There was a seasonal sou'wester blowing and she was grateful for the breeze which began to displace the fetid air in the cabin. She gathered all the trash and bagged it and put it outside and went to work starting in the bathroom.
Like the other quarters, Ray's had been an officer's dorm and the bathroom was really just four shower stalls and as many sinks set into a long bench. She scrubbed the shower stall, cleaned the bench, sink and mirrors. She took a deep breath and went into the head and cleaned that next.
Harris Field had a septic tank system that worked by allowing waste to separate into three layers: solids, effluent and scum. Solid waste settles to the bottom where microorganisms decompose them and the middle layer of effluent exits the tank and travels through underground perforated pipes into the drainage field which provided fertiliser for the corn field.
The enlisted men had latrines which were no longer in use. The officers' quarters had their own head which fed into the septic system so they had the luxury of flushing toilets.
Bobbie took a break, cleaned up, and joined the others for coffee in the mess.
"Sorry to ask you to do this Bobbie," John said again as they sipped their brews.
"He's still dead to the world up there on that hill," John sighed.
"The Chief is dedicated I'll give him that. He still thinks we're going to be rescued someday," Craig smiled wanly.
Bobbie decided not to correct him. She knew that Ray had given up hope after the two search and rescue aircraft had failed to see their signals.
She went back to Ray's quarters and gave it a good dusting and mopped the deck having picked up his dirty laundry which she put aside to wash and iron later. She made his up his bunk with fresh sheets and as parting gesture she picked some flowers and put them in a vase on the coffee table.
Bobbie went back over to Ray's bunk and straightened a picture on the nightstand which must have been of Ray's wife Elaine. There was no doubt that she was a stunner. Bobbie's inquisitiveness got the better of her and she opened the drawer and found a bunch of letters inside a cigar box held together by an elastic band. The letters dated back to when PT 991 was still on active service.
Bobbie had never read anything so vitriolic and hateful. Elaine described in great detail how she was going out on the town almost every night and bringing home men to their married quarter outside the base in San Diego. Some of the men paid her and some gave her gifts. Some of the men were so-called friends of Ray's. She described in intimate detail what they did to her and the depraved things she did for them. In the final letter she told him that she was divorcing him.
Under the stack letters were two gold wedding rings. Elaine had sent Ray her wedding ring in the final letter, the other must be Ray's she reasoned.
Bobbie sat on Ray's bunk and sobbed. She couldn't imagine the heartache that Ray felt but she was witness to its effects.
"What are you doing here you bitch!" Ray hauled himself through the door and fell down.
Bobbie jumped up, shocked and surprised. She dropped the letters and ran over to Ray's prone body.
At first she thought he was drunk but then she saw that he was shaking and sweating profusely. He was delirious and mumbling incoherently.
Bobbie ran from the Quonset and called for help. The men lifted Ray onto his rack and stood around looking concerned and unsure what to do.
"What do we do Bobbie?" John asked, looking forlorn and confused.
"I'm not sure but I'm not leaving him like this. Craig, fill a basin with water and bring me a washcloth and soap. Steve, please help me undress him," Bobbie realised that she was now in charge of looking after Ray.
They pulled off Ray's boots and his rancid socks which Bobbie threw outside because of the stink, his fatigues followed. His underwear was also rank and it was consigned to a trash bag and thrown out as well.
Ray lay naked on the bed, his body bathed in a sheen of sweat. He was unconscious and every few minutes he convulsed. There was no time for prudishness and Bobbie took the washcloth and soap and cleaned Ray's body as best she could, getting Steve and Craig to roll him over so she could do both sides of his body. Craig had to replace the water in the bowl twice because Ray was so filthy.
Once they had him clean, Bobbie put a cool compress on his head using ice water that Craig brought over from the mess.
"Try to give him some water if he wakes up, just little sips. I'm going over to sickbay to find the field medical journal and see what else I can find," Bobbie ordered.
The men kept the sickbay in a good state of repair and Bobbie kept it clean, it was on her cleaning detail. The men had rudimentary first aid training, mainly how to deal with battle wounds and basic life support but primary medical support for PT Boat crews was provided at their home base.
Bobbie found the field medical journal and flicked to the section on tropical ailments. Most of the drugs had been cleaned out when Mirrocau Island was abandoned but some rudimentary supplies remained. Bobbie brought some aspirin and basics back to Ray's quarters.
"I don't know what exactly is wrong with him so all I can do is treat the fever," Bobbie said, looking concernedly at a rash that had developed on Ray's chest.
"What can we do?" John asked.
"Should we move him to sickbay?" Craig interjected.
"No. Let's not move him now, besides there isn't much in sickbay we can use to treat what's wrong with him. John you have to step up and take charge. I'll look after Ray; you keep the camp running as usual. Ray will be pissed if he wakes up and finds things not running shipshape or the lookout unmanned," Bobbie tried to make light of the situation.
Bobbie checked Ray's vitals. His temperature and blood pressure were extremely elevated and his pulse was erratic.
She shooed the men out of Ray's quarters and tended to him. She wiped away his sweat, put cold compresses on his body and tried to get him to drink water. She ground down two of the aspirin and put them in a glass of water and cradled Ray's head and got him to drink them.
"Elaine? Elaine? Is that you?" Ray was delirious.
"Shh Ray. Drink some water and lie still," Bobbie cooed.
"Thanks honey. I'll fix that faucet tomorrow right after I mow the lawn," Ray mumbled.
Ray was babbling and feverish. Every now and then he would convulse which really worried Bobbie. The sheet covering him was soaked with sweat and she finally ripped it off him and bathed him continually with a cool washcloth. She couldn't help notice his large appendage and she grimaced when she had to move it to wipe around it.
"Not tonight Elaine, I'm too drunk," Ray mumbled incoherently.
"Sure Ray, not tonight," Bobbie snickered sarcastically.
Afternoon became evening and the other men dropped in sporadically during Bobbie's vigil to see if they could help. She allowed them to visit for a while and then shooed them away. As early evening became night the men eventually went to bed and around that time Ray's fever broke and he fell into a fitful sleep.
Bobbie was exhausted and filthy. Her uniform was already dirty from cleaning Ray's quarters but it had become squalid during her nursing duties. Checking that Ray was comfortable she went over to the mess and poured herself coffee which she sipped gratefully. They she went to her quarters and took a long shower. She fixed her makeup and put on clean underwear. She dressed only in a négligée as the evening was still balmy and walked barefoot back to Ray's cabin via the mess where she collected more coffee.
Ray had stopped sweating but he was still restless. He complained when she bathed him again but he was still incoherent and unaware of surroundings.
"Leave me alone Elaine, I just wanna sleep," he mumbled.
Bobbie turned down the lamp beside his bed and sat in a chair reading the field medical journal and she was nearly asleep herself when Ray became restless again. She sat on the side of the bed and got him to sip some water. She put down the glass and was about to get off the bed when Ray's hand clamped down on her wrist.
"Don't go Elaine. Don't leave me alone again," Ray was crying in his sleep.
Bobbie tried to remove his fingers from her wrist but his grip was tight. She looked down at him, fast asleep but tears streaming down his cheeks.
"Ok Ray. I won't leave," Bobbie whispered.
She climbed on the bed and Ray circled his arms around her and held her tight. They were spooning; Bobbie's back to him.
"You smell nice Elaine," Ray whimpered.
"Shh, go to sleep," Bobbie whispered and stroked his arm.
She could feel his breath on the back of her neck, his breathing deep and steady. He was finally sleeping soundly. When she tried to move he held her tight and mumbled something incoherent. She lay still and was soon asleep herself.
Bobbie woke up with a start and then she realised where she was. She was still in Ray's bed and he was cuddled up to her, clinging to her while he slept. She was almost asleep again when she realised that Ray's penis was turgid and nestled in her buttocks.
"Shit," she hissed.
Ray's cock lay burrowed between the cheeks of her soft bottom pressing the silky négligée against her satin panties. There was no danger of him putting his phallus inside her panties but it was inappropriate. She reached behind herself and tried to extricate it. It felt huge in her slim fingers. It was sleek, and she could feel his pulse through the translucent trunk. It throbbed in her hand when she encircled it with her fingers and Ray groaned in his sleep.
Bobbie decided to leave well enough alone. It was doing no harm where it was and she would never admit it to anyone but it felt kind of comforting. Ray was just experiencing nocturnal penile tumescence like all men did; it was nothing to worry about.
She was nearly asleep when she felt the warm wetness on her bottom. Ray's penis was pressed hard against her, driving the silky material of her négligée into her intergluteal cleft. It was spasming and she could feel the warm secretions soaking into her négligée and panties and the musky piquant smell of his spend. Ray was holding her tight, his breathing deep and steady. He was still in a deep sleep. He was having a nocturnal emission.
"Jesus!" she whispered.
She fell asleep and didn't wake up from the deep slumber when she flooded her panties with her own semen. She was unconsciously pressing her buttocks back against Ray's erection and dreaming a dream that she would immediately forget when she awoke. She was back on the beach at the freshwater pool and a faceless stranger was lying on top of her.
"Rise and shine nurse," John Fitzgibbons gently shook Bobbie awake, careful not wake Ray Millward who was still fast asleep.
Bobbie blushed as she extricated herself from Ray's embrace. Craig Bowen stood in the doorway and watched. He looked quite shocked.
"In his delirium the Chief thought I was his wife. He wouldn't let go of me," Bobbie stammered climbing off the bed.
"No need to explain yourself to me," John held up his hands.
"He looks a lot better," John approached Ray's bunk.
"The fever broke," Bobby took a washcloth and patted Ray's brow.
Bending over the bed like that Craig could see the stain on the back of Bobbie's petticoat. He was no fool and knew what it was. It sickened him and a jealous rage surged through his brain.
John turned to see a look of intense anger cross Craig's face.
"Bobbie, go and get cleaned up then go to the mess and get some breakfast. Craig and I will tend to Ray," John eased Bobbie away from the bed.
Bobbie was confused by John's knowing look and then she saw the tell-tale stain on the front of her négligée and knew that there would be a matching stain on the back.
"Go now Bobbie, we've got this," John gave her another meaningful stare and nodded at Craig.
Bobbie nervously pulled at her négligée and backed out of the room then she ran to her quarters.
"Oh my!" she cried and then broke into uncontrollable laughter.
She showered, fixed her makeup and put on a fresh uniform. She went over to the mess and found Steve Ford busy in the kitchen. When she tried to take over he ushered her out of the kitchen and made her sit at the table.
"John tells me you nursed our illustrious Chief back to good health," Steve said putting a plate of fried pork and vegetables in front of her.
Bobbie would normally never eat anything this hearty for breakfast but she was ravenous. She realised that she hadn't eaten anything since breakfast the day before.
"Quite the Florence Nightingale John tells me," he gave Bobby a knowing look and Bobbie blushed.
"Look... I..." Bobbie stammered.
"You don't have to explain yourself to me missy," Steve grinned.
"I know about you and John!" Bobbie burst out defensively and immediately regretted it.
"Oh my god Steve I'm so sorry I said that," Bobbie hated herself at that moment.
"We know you know. You're not a very a good spy. It was obvious that you saw us at the radio shack and we were pragmatic about it. You were bound to find out sometime, this island is too small to keep secrets," Steve winked at her.
Bobby was amazed at Steve's demeanour. His behaviour and gesture was almost feminine; like some of the gay actors she had met in the theatre.
"Ray knows and Craig knows and we all pretend like we don't. We're so good at acting that you should put us in one of your USO shows," Steve smiled as he filled Bobbie's cup with coffee.
"So what was it like sleeping with the enemy?" Steve teased her.
"Shut up! I was just comforting him. He was delirious and he thought I was Elaine," Bobbie blurted out, blushing even redder.
"John talks too much!" Bobbie pouted and then burst out laughing.
"Hey look who I found," John announced as he entered the mess with Ray ambling along supported by he and Craig who was also carrying the field medical kit around his shoulder.
They helped Ray into a chair and Steve poured coffee.
"That smells damn good," Ray grunted.
Bobbie leapt from her chair and went over to Ray and stopped him from picking up the steaming brew.
"Not until I check you out first," Bobbie started to examine Ray thoroughly.
"Get off me you harridan," Ray pushed her away.
"Let her examine you Chief or you're getting nothing," Steve snatched the coffee off the table.
"This bitch really is running this place now isn't she?" Ray growled but he let Bobbie take his pulse, blood pressure and his temperature.
"Temperature is normal and your pulse and blood pressure are fine," Bobby completed her examination.
"Good. Then go back to washing clothes and scrubbing floors where you can make yourself useful," Ray dismissed her.
Bobbie packed up the medical kit and handed it Craig and left the mess without another word.
"Asshole!" John and Steve said in symphony and left Ray to his breakfast.
Craig looked at the Chief with jealous hatred.
"What's wrong with those two? They having a lovers tiff?" Ray was snooping around the servery seeing what was on for breakfast.
"Bobbie nursed you last Chief. She's the one who saw you through your fever. She spent all night tending to you," Craig explained.
Ray stopped what he was doing, put down his plate and looked carefully at Craig.
"Bobbie did?" Ray tried to recall his memories from last night but they were confused; his dreams, his delirium and the facts were all mixed together and bewildering.
"She probably saved your life or it might have just been some passing malaise. Doesn't matter. The rest of us faffed around and Bobbie took charge," Craig said bitterly.
"She spent all night nursing me?" Ray shrugged his shoulders and shook his head, surprised.
Ray was too interested in himself to notice the jealous rage that simmered on Craig's face as he nodded his head.
"Well she's good for something besides cooking, cleaning, storekeeping and wailing on that guitar," Ray filled his plate and sat down.
"The others are right Chief. You are an asshole," Craig muttered and left Ray alone.
Bobbie was in her office reading the field medical journal. She realised after recent events that they were ill prepared for a medical emergency. Someone needed a better understanding of first aid and rudimentary medicine and she guessed that would have to be her.
Bobbie looked up surprised to see Craig Bowen standing in the doorway. He was wearing his dress whites and carrying a small bunch of tropical flowers. He'd slicked back his unkempt hair and she could smell his aftershave from across the room. Bobbie knew that Craig had a crush on her and he had made passes at her in the past but Craig was a simple man and took her rebuffs like a chastised child.