By: Carla Keehn
The first time Chief Sharkey heard the noise, he was alone in the Missile Room corridor.
“Goooooooowaynowmanzz!” Sharkey stopped dead in his tracks and listened for several minutes. “Goooooooowaynowmanzz!!”
Cautiously he continued on, expecting danger to be lurking around every corner. I’ve been stationed on this tin can for too long! Sharkey thought. I shouldn’t have
volunteered to work during my last shore leave - Now I’m hearing things!!
The Chief stopped in front of the Missile Room. Reaching for the hatch, he took a deep breath and straightened his back. Get a hold of yourself, Francis . . .
“GOOOOOOOOWAYNOWMANZZ!!” Sharkey felt a cold shiver travel up his spine as he cracked the hatch and stepped into the Missile Room. He looked around - the room was empty.
So that’s it . . . those goofballs are playing around again! Arms crossed, he stood in front of the hatch. “All right, you guys, the joke’s over!”
The few moments of silence weighed heavy on the Chief. He turned back towards the corridor.
“GOOOOOOOOWAYNOWMANZZ!!” Sharkey jumped. His heart started to pound. The ship must be haunted! He raced to the Control Room.
Lee Crane and his Executive Officer, Chip Morton, looked up from the charts on the Plotting Table when they saw the Chief heading towards them.
“Skipper!” Sharkey panted, “You’re never going to believe this, but...”
“Easy, Chief.” Crane said in a soothing tone
“Get a hold of yourself!” Morton added sharply.
Sharkey took a deep breath.
“Now what’s the problem?” Crane asked.
“The Seaview, sir, she’s . . . she’s haunted.” Sharkey saw Crane and Morton exchanged amused glances. “No, really, sir, I’m telling the truth! There’s something on board, I heard it when I was in the Missile Room corridor.”
“If this a joke, Chief, it’s a bad one.”
“That’s okay, Chip,” Crane said. “I’ll handle this.”
“Skipper, it’s no joke!”
Crane put a hand on Sharkey to steady him. “Okay, Chief. Take it easy.” He picked up the mike from the Plotting Table. “Missile Room, this is the Captain.”
“Missile Room, aye, sir,” came the quick reply.
“Kowalski, is everything okay down there? Have you heard or seen anything unusual?”
“Everything is fine, Skipper. What do you mean, heard or seen anything unusual?”
Crane looked at Sharkey skeptically. “Well, Chief?”
“Skipper, I swear, it’s true. I checked the Missile Room, there was no one there.”
“Very well, Kowalski, resume your station.” Crane said, then replaced the mike in its stand. He motioned to Morton.
Sharkey watched anxiously as the two men moved away from the Plotting Table.
“What do you think, Chip?”
“ I don’t know what to think, Lee. Maybe Doc should have a look at him.”
“That might not be a bad idea.” Crane turned back to Sharkey. “Chief, you’ve been
working pretty hard lately, I want you to report to Sick Bay and have Doc take a look at you.”
“Sick Bay! But, Skipper, I’m telling you the truth.”
“That’s an order, Chief.”
“Aye, sir.” Sharkey replied reluctantly.
Crane and Morton watched silently as Sharkey left the Control Room.
Morton shook his head in disgust. “A haunted submarine! Now I’ve heard everything!”
The two men turned their attention back to the charts.
Meanwhile, Sharkey paused outside the Sick Bay door. No! There’s something going on here, and I’m going to find out what it is!
He took off for the Missile Room.
In the corridor, Sharkey heard the noise again. “GOOOOOOOOWAYNOWMANZZ!”
He reached for the hatch, then stopped as his eyes rested on the panel to the ventilation system. The last time he used the hatch, the room was empty. This time, he would find another way. Seconds later, Sharkey dropped himself from the ventilation duct into the Missile Room. He saw Kowalski, Patterson and several other crewmen who were on duty there, huddled in a corner, having a good time. It looked like Kowalski had a small electronic device in his hand.
Kowalski laughed. “Man, did you see the expression on the Chief’s face when he came in here?”
One by one, The other men stopped laughing when they saw Sharkey.
Patterson poked Kowalski in the ribs. “Ski....” He said nervously.
Kowalski looked up. He stopped laughing.
“What’s that you have in your hand, kid?” The Chief asked with a murderous fury in his eyes.
Kowalski saw the look and thrust the device forward.
“Now take it easy, Chief, we . . . we were just having a little fun.”
Sharkey grabbed the device and looked at it. “ A video game! You guys are supposed to be on Missile Room watch and you’re in here playing with a video game!!”
Kowalski and the other men looked back at him with sheepish grins..
Later, Sharkey sat in his cabin, studying the confiscated video game. Crane had reprimanded Kowalski, Patterson and the two other crewmen and confined them to their quarters. Sharkey had also been confined to quarters - for disobeying the Captain’s order to report to Sick Bay.
The Chief stretched out on his bunk and switched on the video game. Kowalski was right, Sharkey thought with a smile, a guy does need to have some fun!
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