Further Entries from My Journal - Harriman Nelson



I can’t believe I’m actually taking pen to paper again. I suppose boredom will do that to you. And  as it’s not for any class, there’s no time constraint to record what  I almost feel compelled to share, if only with myself,  while I’m thinking about it.

I have one of those late season  colds and it brought to mind another such cold, (not mine), that actually forged something rather special between Lee and I. At the time, however, that was the last thing on our minds.

In fact, at one point I overheard Kowalski saying that we were going to kill each other. But more of that later.


But I digress. It was years ago and NIMR  was pretty much shut down except for security, due to the first of the annual 2 week vacation I insisted on for all staff. Call it a kind of Spring Break, and as it was in synch with the local colleges and schools, most  staff employees could enjoy a little down time with family and friends.  Even  Seaview’s shore leave was in sync, if a bit late. We’d pulled into port about midnight in a party mood, despite torrential downpours, lightening,  and unseasonably cool temperatures. I think we set a record for disembarking the boat. At least I had the advantage of living on the NIMR ‘campus’ and didn’t have to brave the elements to drive home.

I had two places at NIMR actually. A modest bungalow I think you’d call the one, located in a  secluded and landscaped area that had  a spectacular view of the ocean. The other a very small, economical and convenient studio apartment ‘above the shop’, aka my office.

Like everyone else that night, I wanted nothing more to do with business, so I opted for the bungalow, a mere five minute run (by foot), even though my umbrella didn’t protect me much as the torrential rain as coming down sideways. Besides, I knew my ‘boys’ would take care of the final bits of business at the Administration Building for me. They always did.

I returned to the office late Sunday afternoon, the heaviest of the storms having abated somewhat, but still threatening to resume their former fury. I could have stayed home and put my feet up by the roaring fireplace (hey, it can cold in Santa Barbara at times)  but I had pressing business to attend to. Sort of. Well, okay it was only to  retrieve an old ship’s log that had  been found in the Boston Museum’s vaults. At their request, I was trying to figure out  if one, it was written by a relation (‘Nelson’ was embossed on the tattered cover), and two, just where the vessel had been.  Apparently nautical coordinates just weren’t the museum’s forte.

As I signed into the building, I wondered why Lee had returned as well, if his still dripping red Cobra meant anything. He’d planned on a camping trip when we’d returned, so I guessed those plans had been scrapped. Or he hadn’t felt like finalizing mission details when we’d returned either.

After a quick trip upstairs, when I  was just about to open the door of my office to collect  the log and go say hello to Lee, when a god awful ‘AAAACHHHOOOOOO!’ from down the hall nearly rattled the windows.

By now, of course, I could recognize Lee’s voice in all its’ timbre’s and that mega sneeze didn’t bode well at all.  Needless to say, I forgot all about the treasure inside and quickly headed down the corridor and around the corner. I still felt a bit guilty when I headed to Lee’s office. (It was a converted broom closet). He hadn’t minded though, understanding that some things take time. Like removing all of John’s personal belongings from what by rights should have been  the new Captain’s office. Lee had actually  suggested taking the converted office as his, saying that  the crew was still in mourning and this way, they could come and go and soak in what was left of Capt. Phillip’s presence  whenever the mood struck.

A very compassionate gesture of Lee’s, but it had been a few months now and I had just let things slide. I promised myself right then,  that by our next cruise Lee would be moved into the office befitting his position.

“Hi Admiraaaachoo!” he greeted me cheerfully as I knocked on the door’s frame, at complete odds with his bloodshot eyes, and runny nose. His hair was a tangled mess, his uniform crumpled and splotched, and he was in a bad need of a good shave.

His desk, wastebasket and floor were littered with spent tissues.  By the corner of the office was his duffle, the same one he’d left Seaview with. I couldn’t tell if it was the canvas bag  that smelled like wet dog, or Lee himself.

“Have you been here for two days?” I asked, aghast. “And when did you get that cold? You didn’t have it aboard Seaview.”

His answer, whatever it was going to be, was swallowed up in sneeze punctuated with a long hacking cough.

“All right,” I grabbed his arm, and pulled him up, then, “you’ve been in that damp uniform all this time? Do you want to catch pneumonia? If you haven’t already!”

“I’m fi..a.ccchhoo!” he sniffed, “um..I don’t suppose you have a sweater I can borrow? It’s freezing in here.”

“It’s not cold in here. You, however, are shivering. Upstairs,” I said, “Now.  The studio has a nice hot shower. You  taking anything?”

“Just aspirin and the green stuff,” his crackly voice barely managed and pointed to the green bottle of cold and flu remedy “Didn’t work very well, though.”

 “Well, of course it doesn’t,” I said after reading the label , “ it’s outdated by 4 years! Where did you get it from anyway?”

“File cabinet...” he blew his nose. “Found it when I... acchooo...was trying to file something.”

Guilt pricked at me again as I saw a tower of  file folders leaning beside it on the verge of collapse. I wasn’t sure if the empty pizza box was acting as a brace or if there just hadn’t been any other place to toss it.

I suppose I raised an eyebrow.

“I requested aaaachhhoo! I asked,” he began again, “ for another file cabinet before we left on the last cruise, but...”he opened the drawers, as if I’d requested it, to prove they were maxed out.

“Okay, I’ll take care of that. Come along now. Let’s get you warmed up and then to bed.”

“Bed? I don’t need to ah aha ahchoo! to go to bed.”


“Besides, I couldn’t sleep if I tried...as soon asaaaachhhoooo...can’t stop  sneezing and coughing,” he leaned wearily against his desk. “I feel...I feel...”

I could see him struggle to say the word. Finally, defeated, it came.

“I feel lousy, okay. And I can’t  trust myself to drive home. This green stuff might not work but it still makes me dizzy.”

“At last, the voice of reason. Come on Lad, Upstairs with you,” I grabbed his duffle and prodded him before me.

Normally Lee would always take the stairs. But right now he had no hesitation punching the elevator button and leaning on the wall, so I knew he had to be feeling worse than he let on.


While Lee showered in the studio apartment, I tried to find something clean and dry for him to change into. But everything in his duffle was damp and musty.

I scrounged through the small chest of drawers inside the closet but came up empty, then I suddenly remembered that my sister Edith had sent me a flannel nightshirt for ‘those rare cold nights’ a few years ago. I hadn’t been able to tell her that company had made a mistake and the item was, well, let’s just say ‘too cute’ for a guy. But it was warm. Lee needed warm. And right now. I placed the still sealed cellophane package on the edge of the sink so he’d get the idea.

I made a phone call, heated up some water on the stove and pulled out a box of  herbal teabags. Another present from Edith, ‘good for what ails you’ she’d insisted. Well, Lee was ailing, so the warm flannel nightshirt and some herbal tea were just the thing.

As his coughing became worse, I toyed with the idea of calling Frank (the Corpsman)  or maybe the last duty sawbones we’d had aboard Seaview, but they were both unavailable, Frank being on shore leave and the doctor, who’s name I couldn’t remember, was back  with his regular job in private practice. (We used a Reservist pool at the time) And  there was no Med Center yet. In fact I hadn’t even considered building one yet.  Doctors didn’t make house calls anymore either, so we were on our own.

“Whad’s this?” I heard Lee’s voice hacking, incredulous.

“Put it on,” I hollered. “It’s warm. Do it, or I’m taking you to the Emergency Room.” (Well, I had to threaten him with something.)

Just then the buzzer at the door sounded. Talk about being saved by the bell. Lee was muttering epithets when I answered it. Epithets I didn’t know he knew!. In fact, I could count on one hand the number of times I’d ever heard him use profanity. And usually only in the line of duty in reaction to some of my ‘egghead scientist’ buddies, as Lee called them.

“Excuse me sir,” Ski was saying  at the door, “but the guys said you were looking for some of the green stuff,” he raised the small unopened, and un expired bottle.

“Kowalski! You’re just the man I need! I’m glad you’re on the duty roster,” I clapped the crewman on the shoulders as the sound of Lee’s sneezing and coughing punctuated my conversation.

“Admiral, I can’t wear dis!” Lee said, or tried to say, stuffed up, tissue in one nostril. Then he spotted Kowalski. “Don’t say one word, Ski,” he said dangerously. “Besides, he made me!” Lee pointed at me as if I were a villain!

“You will wear it!” I ordered. “I don’t care if it does have little fluffy  kittens playing with balls of yarn on it! You admitted you were freezing and miserable less than a half hour ago. It’s providential that  it would be Kowalski security sent to deliver new green stuff. He’s had some corpsman training. You know that. What I need from you Kowalski is to know if Captain Crane will be okay without us having to take him to the E.R.”

“Uh, I’ll need to get a few things from Sick Bay, sir,” he managed, all business, but I knew and Lee knew that the crewman was on the verge of a laughing fit over those damn kitties.


As soon as Ski left, Lee sat down on the lumpy excuse of my sofa. (It was actually a sofa bed, but had never been used as one. Too much trouble to pull it in and out.)

“Did you know Ski had the security watch?” Lee asked, accusation in his eyes.

“I don’t actually know that he does! I called security to see if there was any of the green stuff available anywhere, that’s all. And you shouldn’t complain. Think of the money you’ll save from having to go to the hospital.”

“I don’t need ah ah aaachhoo! A hospital!”

“Let’s let Kowalski make that decision. Now, let me get that cup of tea for you,” I poured the boiling water over the teabag in the mug, and pressed the greenish ooze from the mesh into the liquid.

“I don’t drink tea!” Lee pouted, as if the very term was effeminate or offensive.

“Well, you do now. Good for what ails you,” I handed it to him, “go on, drink it.”

He took a hesitant sip. “Agghh, this is worse than camel pee!”

“I’m not even going to ask,” I sighed. I was still trying to get used  to the idea of his continuing affiliation with O.N.I. “Well, if you’re not going to drink it, get up and let me open up the sofa bed.”

“I’m not an invalid.”

“No, but you’re certainly going to be if you don’t cooperate. Move your keester and help me.”

After it was set up, I found some sheets, blankets, and a pillow that had been stored underneath one of the cushions and soon the bed was made. I could see that Lee was already exhausted from helping.

Kowalski arrived a few minutes later, with a medical kit in hand. That was bad enough as far as Lee was concerned. But we could see some of the non essential security staff hovering behind Kowalski, all apparently wanting a glimpse of ‘Captain Kitty’.

“All right, that’s enough!” Lee managed to hack as he headed toward the door. “It’s warm! I’m freezing and it’s warm! It belongs to acchoooo! To the Admiral. If he doesn’t mind wearing it when he gets too cold,” Lee lied knowing full well it had never been worn before, “ there shouldn’t be a problem with me wearing it, is there. I’ll ask you again, is there?”

Nodding heads and ‘yes sir’s in agreement followed.

“Then we understand one another. Ski? What areaaachhooo! What are you waiting for. Over here,” he sat on the edge of the lumpy mattress.

Kowalski dutifully took Lee’s pulse, blood pressure, and temperature and closed up the bag.

“Well, his temperature’s a degree low,” Ski said as Lee tried very hard not to sneeze or cough in his face, managing to turn and use his free arm over his mouth as a barrier, “but I remember Frank saying that’s normal for the Skipper. He might feel like his freezing but he’s not hypothermic or anything like that. So there’s no problem there. Also his blood pressure’s just fine. And his pulse is okay. Has a minor sore throat but that could be from all the coughing and post nasal drip. I’d say he’s just got a cold.”

“You didn’t listen to his heart or lungs with a stethoscope,” I raised an eyebrow.

“I um, well, I never got that far in the course sir.”

“What about pneumonia?”

“Oh for pete’s saaaaachhhooooooo!” Lee fumed, then, ‘dank you Ski. That will be all,” he began to cough some more.

“Um...maybe some more nice hot tea will help,” Ski tried. “ I saw the box on the counter.”

Lee groaned and got under the covers, pulling the thermal blanket over his head.

“We tried that,” I explained, “Captain Crane says it tastes worse than camel pee.”

For a moment Kowalski just stood there, trying very hard not to laugh or to imagine just how Crane would know that. “Maybe some hot chicken soup then?”

Lee just grunted as I began to scrounge in the cupboard, coming up empty.

“I don’t suppose you or one of the boys could go to the bungalow and bring back a few things? I’m sure I have some chicken soup in the cupboard. And whatever else you think might help.”

“No problem sir, but er...I’d sure feel better if you got Frank to look at  him. I mean...”

“Go away Ski,” Lee tried to say from under the covers, his voice beginning to give out.

“Laryngitis isn’t uncommon for a bad cold,” Ski added for my benefit.


 After making sure enough time had passed for Lee to be able to take the new green stuff, I headed downstairs to my office to make another phone call, and to  collect the log book I’d practically forgotten about. It might help to take Lee’s mind off his misery, I thought.

By the time I returned to the studio, Chip Morton was there, laughing uncontrollably, actually counting all of Lee’s ‘kitties’ as his captive tried to get away. Now, normally, Lee Crane would have been able to take Morton out with one punch or a kick to a, er, venerable area, but he was too busy sneezing, coughing, and just bone weary from  lack of sleep and the effects of the green stuff to be quite  his normal self.

“It’s  not funny Mr. Morton!”Lee’s voice crackled, “and it’s ah ah achooo! All his fault!” he pointed at me, glaring.

“It was logical,” I said in my own defense, “and it was the only warm thing I could find at the time. I suppose you heard about the Captain through the grapevine, Chip.”

“Sure did. I’m sorry you’re sick Skipper, but when I heard about Captain Kitty, I had to come down to see for myself. You owe me five bucks for betting that it was just a cock and bull story.”

“Hmph!”Lee padded to the bathroom and slammed the door.

“If I’d known he’d stay here all Friday night, and getting sick, ” Morton said, “I’d have stayed with him...he only had a little sniffle....”

“It’s all right, lad,” I sat the log on the kitchen counter. “Nobody knew he’d picked up a bug. I think perhaps getting soaked to the skin and sitting in damp clothes awhile just made it worse.”

“Anything I can do, sir? To help you with him? I could drive him to my place...”

“Thank you Chip, but I wouldn’t want us to impose on you. Besides, he’s going to bunk here where I can keep an eye on him. Isn’t that right Lee? You’re going to be a good boy and get back in that bed,” I added as Lee emerged from the bathroom with his shoes in his hands. He started to cough so hard I thought he was going to keel over.

“I’m going,” he straightened up, “it’s not in my aah aahh achooo! It’s not in my contract to put up with everyone laughing at me!”

“You’re not going anywhere!” I hollered, taking his shoes from his hands, “I’ll take care of it, Chip. You’d better warn everyone to grab some earplugs. This may not be pretty.”

“Skipper,” Chip said,  “I...really am sorry,” Chip tried to sound apologetic, he really did try. But in the end he just started giggling again. I had to push him gently out the door.

“You,” I turned to Lee, “get back in that bed. You’re not going anywhere in your condition. Besides, the green stuff says not to drive or operate heavy machinery of any kind.”

“I’ll get a cab.”

Before I could respond, however, Ski had returned with even more of the crew that was supposedly on shore leave, with bags of food and drink from both my bungalow and from various fast food establishments.

“Figured you’d both be kind of hungry,” Chief Jones said. “Want me to heat up the chicken noodle soup?” he held  up on of the premier brands that I’m partial to. And not just because it didn’t need any water added.

“Ah, that would be nice, thank you Curley. Lee, get back in that bed!”

“When hell freezes aaachoo! Freezes over! I’m going home!”

“We got some nice hot coffee too,” Ski ignored his outburst and held up a cardboard beverage container and Styrofoam cups  from a rather expensive coffee shop. “Not as good as Cookie’s but we figured the Skipper would like it better than camel pee tea.”

Lee groaned as everyone laughed, but poured himself a cup, took a few grateful slurps, then went back to hide under the covers, (thank God) setting the cup on the end table,  muttering about a crew made up of Florence Nightingales.

“Soup’s ready,” Curley handed me both mugs.

“This will make you feel even better Lee,” I sat down beside him, pulled the covers down and handed him the mug.

“This isn’t chicken nooaaachhoooo! Chicken  Noodle soup!”

“But Skipper,” Curley said, bringing over the empty can, “it’s says Chicken Noodle right on the label.”

“You can at least try it, Captain,” I urged, hoping the formality of using his title would indicate I wouldn’t accept no an answer. “Aggghh, it’s awful!” Lee almost spat the mouthful of soup out, “what happened to real kind? In  the red and white can? Like my aaachooo! Mom always made?”

“Well, for your information, I’m not your mother. Though damn it I’m beginning to feel like her! Drink it! Now!”

“It’s probably his taste buds, sir, ” Ski said. “When you’re all stuffed up you can’t taste things like you normally do.”

“Do as you’re told Captain,” I insisted, “besides, at least it’s not as bad as camel pee, is it?”

“Says you! Oh go awaaaahhhcooo!  Go away  and let me die in peace, you...you Captain Bligh, you!” he croaked,  but at least he curled back under the convers.

“They’re gonna’ end up killing each other,” Ski hissed to Curley.

“I’ll leave the soup here with the coffee, for later,” I seethed. Never in my career had I ever been equated with Captain Bligh! Rising,  I herded the crowd toward the door. “Thank you, gentlemen. I know most of you are anxious to get back to your shore leave and you other’s back to your posts. I’m sure the Captain will appreciate your efforts once he’s back to normal.”

Before they could leave, however, the  Ace Rental Company arrived, escorted by some of NIMR’s armed guards.
“We got a roll away bed here for an H. Nelson. You Nelson?”

“Me, Nelson, yes,” I couldn’t help being sarcastic as I was in a bad mood, and signed the form. “Just roll it in there anywhere.”

“I don’t need a ahh ahhhachhooo! A babysitter,” Lee whined as he peeked out from the blanket at the rollaway.

“Comes with two sheets, one pillow, blanket and bedspread,” the delivery man said. “You were lucky. Was the only set in stock. Hope you don’t mind the kiddie design.”

“Cripes,” Ski said, “I forgot something!” and dashed through the fast dispersing crowd.

Finally, Lee and I were alone.

“Well? Are you going to have that soup or not?” I asked.


“It’s for your own good!”

“Go away!”

Ski was right. We were going to end up killing each other. So I did the only thing I could at the time, and unfolded the rollaway bed, and began to place the bedding on it.

“Oh gawd,” I think I whispered.

“What?” Lee peeked out again. “What...ohmgoaaaachooo! Superman? They gave you a Superman bedspread?” he laughed, or would have if it hadn’t developed into a full blown five minute cough.

“Complete with Superman sheets and pillowcase,” I said calmly.

“Why couldn’t I be Superman, instead of Captain Kitty,” Lee said spitefully. “I wouldn’t have minded so much.”

“Oh,  blame it all on me! I didn’t  order the damn kittens, after all! It just...happened!”

“Excuse me, sir,” Ski’s voice came through the door as he buzzed hesitant. (The studio was not soundproofed.)

I opened the door with more than a little non enthusiasm.

“What now?” Lee managed, sitting up, grabbing the coffee, and scowling at the taste. Indeed, the coffee was not Cookie’s.

“I brought you your pillow from Seaview , Skipper. Put a fresh pillowcase on it too,” Ski took it to him proudly.

“His pillow? His pillow?” I asked, incredulous. “You’re done more than your share. You’re  supposed to be on shore leave or at your duty station, I don’t know which, but...”

“A pillow’s a real personal thing sir,” Ski said contrite.

“Thank you Ski,” Lee said gently as he stroked the squishy and probably ancient item, “it was very thoughtful of you even if some aa ahchoo! blowhards can’t see it.”

“Are you calling me a blowhard?” I demanded.

“Among other things. Sir!” he added.

“Oh for pete’s sake!” I yelled. “I’m out of here! And if you die from complications don’t come running to aaa aachoo! To me.”

“Ah, sweet sweet revenge,” Lee began to giggle then cough.

By now I was getting used to any kind of vocalization turning into coughing spasms so I hardly winced at all with the latest.

“Um,” Ski was aghast at the confrontation, “some meds have a few side effects...like um...euphoria...”

“It had better be that,” I warned Lee, “or I’ll be looking for a new Captain.”

“I’ll save you the trouble firing me. I quit, so there, Captain Bligh!”

“Get back under those covers, Mr. Christian! Right now!”

“Make me!” Lee stood but just as quickly wobbled, apparently dizzy,  and sat (well, actually fell, back down). “Oh God, that wasn’t too smart,” he grabbed his head.

 “No, Captain, it wasn’t. By the way,  your resignation is not accepted. Kowalski, please inform Frank that his presence is requested.”

“You can’t be serious,” Lee whispered, more apprehensive I thought, toward the coming medical exam than pulling the man away from shore leave.

“Tell the Corpsman,” I continued, “ that Captain Crane is in need of a sedative. Something strong. Something requiring  a big and very sharp needle. Something to knock him out for the duration.”

‘Um,” Ski said, really nervous now,  “ I don’t think you can treat a cold or flu like that sir. And..um..Frank has to follow the Hippocratic oath sir...”

“Oh, it’s not for his cold, Kowalski. It’s for his oversized pig headedness! Now get out of here and do as you’re told!”

“Hey!” Lee was immediately on his feet, “you can’t talk to my crew like that!”

Just as suddenly his eyes rolled back and he fell to the floor in a heap. Hard.

“Lee? Lee?” I knelt beside him, along with Kowalski, the cute kittens on Lee’s nightshirt at odds with his almost greenish complexion, and the pool of blood under his skull.

“Come on, son, wake up!” I demanded, little realizing then that I’d actually used that term of affection toward him. (He was Captain or Lee to me, and sometimes Lad, but never son-at least not yet.)


He woke up aboard Seaview, the closest medical facility at hand without having to wait for an ambulance. 

“Sickbay?” Lee asked and groaned feeling the bandage over the back of his head.

“Easy Skipper” Ski said, “Frank’s checking your x rays.”

“X Rays? Oh gawd. Did it come to fisticuffs? I deserved it I guess..”

“No,” I said as I approached. “You passed out and hit your head. Frank says it’s just a small scalp wound. No concussion. You fainted, that’s all.”

“Fainted?” he asked himself, furrowing his brows. “That’s what girls do! Girls with kitties!”

“Must we go over that again?”


“Now, we have aaachhooo! Two choices,” Lee.  You can rest here, aboard Seaview with Frank and Kowalski in residence....”

Lee groaned.

“Or, you can come back up to the studio with me in residence. Your choice. But you won’t get out of having as you put it, a babysitter. Not until you’re better. So, what’s it ah...ahachoo! What’s it  to be?”

I suppose it was the lesser of two evils that Lee chose as I soon found myself sneezing and coughing almost in sync with Lee in the studio while he improved and I grew worse.

Frank and Ski were regular visitors, as were several of the officers and crew. I think Lee could have embraced Curly when he brought over some real, dyed in the wool, Chicken Noodle Soup in the red and white cans that you did have to add water to.

I had to admit it tasted far better  than the gourmet stuff I was used to. At least while I was sick and my taste buds were ‘iffy’.

“Lee?” I croaked while he was in the kitchenette. “Lee? I want some aah aachoo! I want some more soup.”

“You’ve  gone through 3 mugs tonight, already. Ah achoo! You’ll be getting up all night to pee and wake me up like last night, and the night before!”

“I want some more, damn it,” I began to cough.

“Okay, okay, keep your pants on. At least you have pants, even if they’re pajamas,” he complained, again, about his nightshirt. Frank had insisted that it was indeed far warmer than sick bay scrubs or his own  PJ’s that had now been laundered, courtesy of some of the crew taking pity on his musty duffle. So my roomie was still stuck with playful kittens and their balls of yarn.

“And your sister called,” Lee continued as he headed over to the rollaway, mug in hand.

“That’s not soup!”

“She said to force fluids, especially the herbal tea. So I made you ah achoo! Made you some.”

I took a sip and almost spat it out.

“Good, no?”

“No! Um, Lee? How do you know what camel pee tastes like?”

“Too long a story...now, about that log...I have an idea who this Nelson is...it doesn’t read like ah achoo! Like a captain’s log. But he sure put a lot of botanical terms in it. In fact, I think he’s a botanist. And guess what? There was a botanist named Nelson on the Bounty. I think this is his. Any relation?”

“Not that I know accchoo! Know of.”

“Name’s David Nelson. He was a botanist with Cook, later with Bligh. He was one of the men cast adrift by the mutineers. Survived all the way back to England in that little boat, but died just a few days later,” Lee hesitated.

“Go on.”

“He went mountaineering, caught a cold...and died. I never knew you could die from a cold. I know those were the olden days but...Admiral? I’m sorry the way I behaved.  I know Frank said some of my irritability was due to my cold and the meds and that I was just feeling too awful to think clearly, but I know that you were only trying to help me and I treated you pretty badly. I can’t aaachooo! Can’t apologize enough...”

“I know, son. I feel pretty  ACCHHOOOO! rotten, myself. And I can’t get warm.”

“You won’t be cold for long. Edith sent another flannel nightshirt. It came express. Frank said for you to wear it, no matter what it looks like.”

“Oh gawd, they made another mistake?” I coughed.

“Don’t think so,” Lee brought over the cellophane package and opened it up to reveal...”Puppies?” I sputtered.

“Kind of cute.  Assorted puppies with little red balls to play fetch with.”

“Well, I won’t wear it! And don’t you smirk at me Captain Crane!”

Lee just raised his eyebrow at me.

In the end Captain Kitty and Admiral Dog face just had to grin and bear it.

As before, I was unable to tell Edith that she must have transposed the item numbers again, or that the company had goofed.  I could only say that it was warm and just what the doctor, well, okay, the Corpsman, and my roommate had ordered.


To this day I don’t know if Lee had a hand in that order. Wouldn’t  surprise me. But I do know that for about a week and a half, we were at each other’s throats one minute, and the next we were working together in companionable cooperation, even familial friendship, as we designed  some new modifications for the studio apartment, such expanding it to hold actual bedrooms, new accoutrements for Seaview including a novel concept of mine for a flying submersible, and we also transcribed the log for the museum. We even decided to go visit David Nelson’s grave in England the next time we were in the area.


Today, years later, while I’m still suffering with a bad cold (in my bungalow this time), Lee came over yesterday and made me some soup (from a red and white can), and filled me in about Seaview’s latest mission that I was too sick to go on.

While I enjoyed Lee’s company, and certainly the cruise details, I was even more impressed that not once did he smirk over Admiral Dog Face’s soft, flannel, and oh so warm nightshirt which was helping me to combat the shivering sniffles.

As I tried to sip some herbal tea (as a scientific study to see if it could actually help a cold) I had to wonder.

Did it really taste like camel pee?

~Harriman Nelson ~