In the First Division berthing space, the eyes of the senior enlisted man, First Class Petty Officer Sampson, popped open. He didn’t need a watch or clock to tell him the time. He lay on his bunk and listened to the sounds of his sailors. There were a couple of snorers, there was a whimperer, and there were always a few turning over and rustling the sheets. And a moaner reliving the ecstasy of rented love ashore. Sampson smiled. His sailors called him a hard-ass. What would they say if they knew he woke early every morning to wallow for a moment or two in affection for his sailors? Of course, he also woke early to get in and out of the head before the pack of teenaged bodies jammed the small space for their ****, shower, and shave.
Sampson’s bunk was the center in a tier of three near the rear of the compartment. He swung out, and his feet splatted on the tile. He was wearing only white skivvy drawers, and his upper body was hard muscled from the time he spent lifting weights. His legs, however, were spindly and didn’t appear to be up to the task of supporting the thick chest. Sampson grabbed his toiletries kit from his locker, dropped his skivvies, and tied a towel around his waist. As he did every morning, he took a moment to check the berthing space before going forward for his three Ss.
The space was crammed with bunks in tiers of three and stacks of three-foot-high aluminum lockers, these in tiers of two. There were three narrow aisles between the bunks and lockers. Dim red lights, which didn’t ruin night vision, gave off just enough illumination to distinguish the main features of the space’s layout. With everything in order, he went to claim sole possession of the head for seven minutes. He was at his bunk and dressed in clean skivvies at 0600.
The ship’s announcing system blared, “Reveille, reveille. All hands heave out and trice up. The smoking lamp is lit in all authorized spaces.”