Vol. I No. 27** 19 October 1945 U.S.S. DARKE APA 159** c/o FPO San Francisco, CA


At 1251 October 6, 1945, the shaft revolution counter of the DARKE turned over to 10,000,000. In sea miles that means approximately 41,000 miles. For a lot of us, that is a lot of traveling, although our brine-soaked brethren, the regulars, scoff at such "piddlin' figures". Now just let that ole shaft keep turning and keep the prow nosing east until we pound past the golden Gate; then let the steel wheels go clickity-clack, and let the Greyhound diesel roar and let the high-flying props whirr through the high-flying clouds . . . and that will be enough traveling. Yessir, enough traveling!


Davy Jones Piped Aboard

When all the fighting and sweating and waiting, the moments of triumph and hours of gloom are forgotten by the crew of the "Darke", one day will stand out bright and clear. Neptunus Rex and his briny Court left an indelible impression on our minds, Polliwog and Shellback alike. No one will forget the peculiar surge of the ship and the anxious moments of crossing the line. Only the powerful thrust of our screw and the combined efforts of all Polliwogs in blowing her over the hump, kept us from hanging suspended in mid Pacific for eternity. It will be easy to recall the terrifying spectacle of Neptunus Rex and his Court as they came down from the fo'c'sle that fateful day in March, 1945.

Old Neptunus himself shedding salt water and great crusts of brine, trailing long strings of seaweed. Davy Jones in true buccaneer spirit with his eye patch and long sward, heaving himself up out of the chairs and stumping his way on deck, that one burning eye flitting about in search of landlubberly Polliwogs. The Royal Devil in his red suit and sharp horns, bounding about the deck in fiendish glee, stabbing his pitchfork into quivering land sailors. The Royal Judge looking uncompromising and severe in his black robes and iron gray beard. The colorful and soul-chilling sight of all of Davy Jones's briny clan . . . small wonder scummy Polliwogs lay prostate on the steel deck, paralyzed with terror and despair!

*After the time-honored ceremonies between Neptune and the Captain had taken place, the business of the day was launched. Worthy Shellbacks took their stations, swinging clubs and cat-o-nine-tails in vicious circles at imaginary Polliwog rumps, roaring in anticipation for the blood that soon would flow; the Royal Court settled in their places, casting baleful eyes at cringing Polliwogs awaiting their due reward. In quick succession, sniffling, crawling landlubbers were dragged beneath the gavel of the Judge and sent on to the horrors of the initiation and retribution. With Sadistic and blood lusty glee did the Royal Dentist wave his bloody pliers and nauseating mouthwash. With demonic screams of hatred, the Royal Surgeon waved his wicked knife. The great switchboard arced and smoked as volt after volt of electricity jared into Polliwog tissue. The stocks became slimy with clotted blood and putrefied "face wash".

The Royal Barber snipped, gouged and shampooed with fetish delight. Screams and groans of agony came from the torture-tunnel (called "The Tunnel Of Love"). Everywhere lay sick and senseless Polliwogs, scummy, bruised, their clothes drenched with salt spray and all manner of foul liquids, their hair chopped off, their faces lined with exhaustion and fear. After what seemed like an eternity, the cries of bedlam ceased. Polliwogs, subdued and chastised in correct manner, lined up in ragged ranks before the Court. The great moment had arrived. With warm words of welcome into the briny brotherhood, and harsh admonition against ever committing landlubberly acts again, Davy Jones administered the solemn oath of the trusty Shellbacks to all neophytes. Shellbacks all, we retreated to our quarters, tired but happy.