When First We Practice to Deceive

by no1inparticular

Tags: Ma/Fa, Fiction, Cheating, Cuckold, Revenge,

Desc: Fiction Story: It is a tangle web when a long term affair is uncovered

Joe Price sat at his desk and for the third time in a row tried to lift his coffee mug without spilling. The shaking of his right hand was almost unnoticeable until he had to grip the mug’s handle, then it was as if his mug had a vibrator attached. The coffee started to slosh around in the mug and once again threatened to come over the rim. With a clatter and a sigh, he put the mug back onto the now wet surface of his desk and sat back into his chair.

He closed his eyes and tried to relax. All that did was bring the memories back, like an old-style movie; sort of jerky, no color and with the sound out of sync.


“ ... Congratulations!” came the voice over the loudspeaker as the crowd broke into cheers and applause.

Joseph A. Price, LT(jg) stood at attention. He was now a fully qualified Engineering Duty Officer, an EDO, who was on his way to becoming Commander Philadelphia Ship Yard; at least at the end of the next twenty years. In the old days that slot would have carried the title of Shipwright but as with a lot of things in the Navy, traditions were lost along with old technologies. At his young age, Joe was the last EDO to qualify on steam, the next in precedence qualified on Jet Turbine. To Joe’s thinking a major step backward in reliability but who was asking his opinion anyway.


His LT Sea Duty tour was slotted for PHIBRON SIX embarked upon USS Saipan. He was assigned as the PHIBRON N4 (Logistics) but due to his 1440 Designator, he was being seconded to Saipan’s Engineering Department. Flying in the face of the perverse US Navy naming conventions, the ship’s Engineering Department actually operated the ship’s engines; in this case the two 600psi steam boiler / geared turbine sets that produced over 60,000 shaft horse power to propel the hull through the water. But in staying with tradition, the Boiler Tenders, the men and now women that stood watch and operated the demons known as boilers, were called the “Black Gang.” Not as a racist label but in acknowledgement to the old days when coal was king and everything, including the men, were ingrained with coal dust and soot. It was one of Joe’s proudest moments when the Department Chief asked if he wanted to “walk the tank.” This was Joe’s rite of passage and meant he was truly accepted by the “gang.” One of the deep well tanks of Bunker-C fuel oil was allowed to cool from its normal 200+F temperature to ambient. The oil assumed the texture of a tar roof in summer; you could walk on it, but if you stopped, you would sink. Joe entered the tank by climbing down one of the entry-well inspection ladders, walked across the surface of the oil, a distance of about sixty feet, and climbed out of the tank using a Jacob’s Ladder hanging down from the emergency inspection port. The entire evolution took place in a matter of minutes, but between the fumes, the lack of oxygen and the absence of a safety harness / rope it seemed to Joe that it was a journey of forever. Having performed the feat, Joe was now accepted as a peer, an equal within the brotherhood of the “Black Gang”. The fact that as an Officer it was almost unheard of to be invited made his acceptance even sweeter.


“At sea underway replenishment” or unrep in Navy jargon. A few simple words to describe one of the most dangerous and at the same time tedious evolutions ever practiced by the US Navy. Imagine, two or sometimes three vessels, each weighing tens of thousands of tons, running parallel to each other, a few dozen yards apart. Now imagine massive fuel lines stretching between one vessel and the next. Add to this, breeches buoy lines moving cargo and dry goods from the deck of one ship to the next. This organized chaos is underway replenishment.

Joe Price was standing as Deck Safety Officer during an underway replenishment evolution. Saipan was transferring jet fuel to USS Arleigh Burke. Normally, Burke would perform this function with one of the fleets AOE ships. It seemed however that the powers that be wanted to watch the fun of Saipan doing the work. As things were progressing smoothly, there wasn’t much for Joe to do, except be vigilant and to sense the things going on around him. It took about an hour for Joe’s subconscious to bring to his conscious mind something that he had been sensing all morning; Saipan was straining. Her normal vibration was off. As she had come up to speed for the unrep she seemed to stagger and strain. There was no easy way to explain what Joe was feeling through the soles of his shoes. She just was not right!


After the hot wash-up following the evolution, Price went down into Engine 1 before going back to his quarters for a shower. Looking around he saw where the duty section was clustered at the Steam Turbine Control Valve Station, traditionally known as the Steam Chest from days gone by, and walked over to Petty Officer Smith where she stood with her arms halfway inside one of the many outboard panels. “Hey, Smith,” he shouted to get her attention, “You need to look at the counter-balance valve on the Reversing Blades. It stutters when you’re ramping up the Forward set and you are losing power with the backpressure. I think the seat is shot and needs to be replaced.

“OK, Sir, I will give it a look-see just as soon as I get this Tacho sender replaced.”

With a grin and an “Okey dokey,” Price walked away from the sailor and took off for the Hollywood shower waiting for him up in Officers’ Berthing.

Later that night, Machinist Mate, First Class (MM1) Amanda Smith stood there shaking her head. How the fuck Mr. Price guessed the problem with the valve was beyond her. The rumors in the Division were that Mr. Price had some sort of voodoo hoodoo going on when it came to the steam plant. They say he could walk past a gaping hole in the hull and not notice it but if a boiler or turbine had even a little something off, he would fuss about it until the problem was resolved.


He heard the 1MC calling for the Flight Deck to be cleared, an F18C Hornet “plastic bug” was coming in with damage. It had been recommended to the pilot to ditch but he was determined to save his ship. Joe left his office on 3 Deck and quickly went up the outside ladder-way to the Flight Deck. Joe watched the F18 on final approach; it was coming in low, trailing smoke and it looked like the portside engine was on fire. The firefighting team was assembled and crouching down in the ‘pit’, waiting to be called but hoping they would not be needed.

The F18 missed the first two wires but the tail hook bit onto the third and the bug hit the deck hard. Suddenly, the fuselage broke and burning fuel along with pieces of the jet were flung everywhere. Joe heard screams as a piece of the port wing along with a large amount of burning jet fuel, landed on the firefighting team hunkering down in the ‘pit’. At the same time, Joe saw the cockpit with the pilot still inside had skittered across the steel deck and come to a stop almost right in front of him. He ignored the flames as he jumped up and pulled the Emergency Trip on the fuselage under the canopy.


Joe woke up disoriented and hurting. It took him some time to realize he was in Sickbay. His return to consciousness was noticed and a Corpsman was at his side asking the usual bullshit and making notes. The Corpsman adjusted the morphine drip going into Joe’s IV and he drifted off to sleepy time again.


“Mr. Price,” his secretary Joan Wentworth said, “Mr. Price, a delivery is here for you and he requires a signature.”

Joe stood up.; at least the shakes didn’t affect his walking. As he left his office and entered that of his secretary, he paused for a moment to touch the ragged, burnt piece of metal affixed to his “Me” wall. It was a habit, but one that gave him a modicum of peace. His eyes scanned the other, familiar, things on the wall; his “Shellback” certificate, his sidearm sword, the photographs of the PIBRON Staff and the entire “Black Gang” on the Saipan, signed by every single one, from unrated Seaman to Master Chief Boiler Technician (MCBT) Humphries and many more exhibits from his past life. The photo from Saipan was both his most cherished memento as well as the one that brought back the shakes the fastest. It was a “get well” card from the time he was in Sickbay after the fire. The Captain himself brought it in and presented it to him, along with the Navy Commendation and Purple Heart, just before he was sent off to Bethesda for further surgeries and rehabilitation.

Joe shook his head to clear his mind and continued out into his outer office. Joan was standing by the outer door with a youngish man who was holding one of those metal clipboard boxes that seemed to be standard issue to all couriers.

“J. Price?” the man asked as he pushed the clip-box forward to Joe, “Please sign on line four.”

“What am I signing for?” Joe asked as he absentmindedly took the proffered device.

“I’m not sure,” the deliveryman said, “All I know is I have had one hell of a time getting this delivered today. It has put me a couple of hours behind already.”

“How so?” Joe asked as he signed his name on the line indicated, “I’ve been in this office at this plant for years.”

“Well, the original shipping document said it was to go to J. Price at 352 Eagle Street in Albany but when I got there it was a parking lot. I had to call my dispatcher and wasted a lot of time before we found you were over here on Eagle Street in Schenectady. Believe me, driving across both cities, against the lunch crowd traffic, was no picnic!” said the deliveryman as he took back his clip-box and turned out into the hall.

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Fiction / Cheating / Cuckold / Revenge /