Thursday, November 30, 2023

Tis The Season To Be Wary: My Philadelphia Weekly Crime Beat Column On The FBI Warning Of Holiday Scams

Note: You can click on the above to enlarge. 

Happy Birthday To The Late, Great American Humorist And Novelist Mark Twain

Happy birthday to one of my favorite writers, the late, great American humorist and novelist Mark Twain. 

Mark Twain, whose real name was Samuel Clemens, was born on this date in 1835.

You can read about Mark Twain's life and work via the below link to

Mark Twain - Quotes, Books & Real Name - Biography

And you can read my Philadelphia Inquirer review of Chasing the Last Laugh: Mark Twain's Raucous and Redemptive Round-the-World Comedy Tour below:

Note: You can click on the above to enlarge.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Chapter Five: Join the Navy And See Olongapo

As I’ve noted here in my previous posts, a fellow Navy veteran who visited Olongapo in the Philippines during the Vietnam War asked me to post some of the chapters from Olongapo, my crime novel that I hope to soon publish.

Below is chapter five of Olongapo, which was originally published in American Crime Magazine

Join The Navy and See Olongapo

By Paul Davis

The United States Navy back in my day advertised that one could “Join the Navy and see the World.” But for young sailors like me serving on a 7th Fleet aircraft carrier in the early 1970s, we thought the recruiting pitch should have been, “Join the Navy and see Olongapo.”

During the Vietnam War, the U.S. Navy assigned three aircraft carriers and their battle groups to the 7th Fleet’s Task Force 77. The carriers operated on “Yankee Station” in the Gulf of Tonkin in the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam. The USS Kitty Hawk, an 80,000-ton warship that measured 1,047 feet long, with a beam of 129 feet, and a 250-foot flight deck with 80 aircraft, was one of the three carriers that operated on Yankee Station in 1970 and 1971.  

Two of the three carriers were on Yankee Station continuously, launching aircraft that performed combat sorties against the Communist North Vietnamese and Viet Cong around the clock, as the third carrier rotated visits to port of calls to Sasebo, Japan or Hong Kong for much needed R&R. The carriers also rotated in and out of Subic Bay in the Philippines for “upkeep” and to let the sailors go crazy in Olongapo. 

I had been duly warned by older sailors that Olongapo was a dangerous and treacherous town. My older friends who had visited Olongapo on the previous combat cruise had warned me that it was so very easy to be robbed, cheated and even murdered in Olongapo. 

I recall a particularly shocking illustration of just how rough and heartless Olongapo could be. A shore patrol jeep pulled up to the carrier’s enlisted brow as I was departing the Kitty Hawk, and out stepped a young sailor who appeared to be naked under a gray blanket that was wrapped around his waist. 

He looked as if he were in shock as hundreds of American sailors and Filipino yard workers and vendors laughed wildly at him as he walked up the brow. To make matters even worse, a cruel sailor grabbed the tip of the blanket and yanked it off of him and tossed it into the water. The humiliated young sailor, now naked, covered his crotch with his hands and ran up the brow. He was then escorted away from the laughing crowd. 

I learned later from the ship’s “scuttlebutt,” which is what sailors call gossip, that the sailor had passed out drunk in a hotel room and a Filipina prostitute robbed him of everything from his glasses and watch to his underwear and socks. The hotel clerks pulled the crying sailor out of his room and threw him into the street naked. The Navy’s Shore Patrol showed up, placed a blanket around him and brought him back to the aircraft carrier. 

To add insult to the proverbial injury, the sailor was reprimanded for losing his Navy ID card and he went to Captain’s Mass, a sort of naval hearing. The captain busted him down a rank, but his real punishment was that he was ridiculed by nearly everyone on the carrier for the rest of his time on the ship.    

I felt sorry for the sailor, although I was only 18 years old at the time, and this sailor might have been a year or two older than me. But I was a street guy from South Philly. Being robbed of all of my possessions, including my clothes, would never happen to me.


I spent the first day we were back in port with Hunt on Grande Island, the U.S. Navy’s recreational island in Subic Bay. We went scuba diving in the beautiful, clear water off the island. Afterwards, I played first base in a softball game, and I eat a hot dog and a hamburger and drank several bottles of San Miguel beer. Then Hunt and I napped in chairs on the beach, enjoying the strong Southeast Asian sun and the cool ocean breezes.

After our nap, Hunt and I, along with about two dozen other tired, hot and somewhat drunk sailors and Marines, boarded the amphibious landing craft that would take us back to the base. The boat, which resembled the landing craft that landed allied troops at Normandy in WWII, was crowded. I heeded my older friend's warning and stepped back against the bulkhead.  

Just as Hunt had warned, and true to the crazy tradition, as soon as the boat cast off its lines, the passengers in the hold of the boat began punching each other indiscriminately. The coxswain who drove the boat was elevated at his station above the fray and he ignored the ruckus below. Hunt pulled me against the bulkhead and we pushed away sailors who got too close and tried to punch us.

The short voyage to the base seemed to take forever as Hunt and I defended ourselves. When we finally landed, Hunt and I stepped over the sailors who lay on the deck stunned or unconscious and stepped ashore. Unscathed, we returned to the Kitty Hawk. 

Back in the berthing compartment, I took a shower and laid down in my rack with my happy thoughts about going back into Olongapo that evening and seeing Zeny again.


Everything I heard about Olongapo turned out to be true. I could see why young American sailors loved the city. There were plentiful attractive hostesses in the bars on Magsaysay Drive who laid in wait for the American sailors looking for a good time and had money to spend. 

During the early evenings some anxious sailors opted to pay a fee to the bar’s mama-san so they could take the girls out of the bar for a spell and go to a hotel room for “short-time,” as the brief sexual encounter was called in Olongapo. The Americans sailors called the act a “Quickie.”

But most sailors partied with the girls until the end of the evening when the bar closed, and the girls were free to leave the bar without paying the mama-san.

The girls accompanied the dipsy sailors to near-by hotels. In the morning, the happy sailors left the girls money on the bedside table. Unlike prostitutes, Olongapo bar girls did not set a fee for sex prior to going to the hotel, but the American sailors usually left the girls a generous amount of Philippine Pesos and American dollars before they left the hotel.

I recall a Filipino priest telling me that the bar girls did not consider themselves to be prostitutes. They earned their money from a percentage of the money sailors spent buying them drinks, and they had sex with the sailors as they considered them to be their boyfriends. The goal of many of them was to marry an American sailor and move to the United States for a better life, and many of them did.  


I departed the carrier that evening dressed in "civies," civilian clothes, and headed into Olongapo with Mike Hunt and Dino Ingemi. Also going into Olongapo with us was a 2nd Class Radioman named Owen Trent, a tall, lean and quiet Texan. I called him the “Tall-T,” which he found amusing. Trent, like Hunt and Ingemi, had all been to Olongapo on the Kitty Hawk’s previous combat cruise. 

As we were walking down Magsaysay Drive, a street vendor near us called out, “Hey, Joe. You want sunglasses? Cheap!”

As we walked past him, I told my friends that I met a sailor who told me he really hated it when Filipinos called him “Joe.”

“I explained to him that Filipinos have called all Americans Joe since World War Two,” I told my walking companions. “He said he knew that, but he still hated it when they called him Joe. I asked him why and he said, “Because my name is Joe.”” Ingemi and Trent laughed. Hunt groaned.

I and my friends visited the Starlight and Zeny rushed up to me. She kissed and hugged me, and she pulled me to a table. Hunt, Trent and Ingemi had corralled their girls and we all sat at the table and ordered San Miguel beer. The band was outstanding, and we all danced and drank and had a good time.

Jeffrey Greenberg, a thin 3rd Class Radioman from Connecticut with a brown moustache and small, round glasses, came into the bar and joined us. I liked Greenberg, as he, like me, loved books. Greenberg was a college graduate with a degree in in English Literature, and we often discussed literature on our down-time aboard the carrier.

He shared my great fondness for Mark Twain, and I introduced him to Raymond Chandler, one of my favorite writers. Greenberg became a devotee of Raymond Chandler’s fictional private eye Philip Marlowe after he borrowed, read and enjoyed the four Chandler paperback crime novels I had with me on the carrier.       

Ronald Redmond waddled over to our table in Greenberg’s wake and joined us. Redmond was a 3rd Class Radioman who claimed proudly that he was a “lifer.” Redmond found Navy life far preferable to the poor and rugged rural life in Oklahoma that he endured prior to joining the Navy. Short and wide, loud and profane, most of the other sailors tried to avoid him. No one had invited him to join us at our table.  

“These little brown fuck machines are something else, but I like me a “heifer,” a big ole gal,” Redmond told us. “Not these skinny little “Flips.” 

“There are some water buffaloes outside of town in the rice paddies, if you’re interested,” I replied drolly. The other sailors at the table laughed. 

“Shit, Davis, I might just head out there.” 

“Redmond, you’re an animal,” I said. “They ought to lock you up in a cage, hose you down once a day, and feed you raw meat.” 

“Hell, Davis, throw in some pussy and it don’t sound bad.” 

“I rest my case.”

I turned away from Redmond and ignored him and concentrated on my beautiful companion Zeny, whom I called “Zany Zeny.” I don’t think she ever got the joke.

As our party was just getting started, I saw Lorino walk in the bar with his distinctive South Philly swagger. He pushed off two girls gently but firmly who tried to pull him to a table. He saw me and I waved him over. Lorino knew the other sailors from the Communications Radio Division from his frequent visits to me while at sea, so he sat down at our table without introductions.  

We were all having a grand time when a short and stocky seaman named John Bland from our division staggered in. His face was bruised and bloody and his shirt was torn. Bland came over to our table and the girls got up and left to go to the rest room. 

“What the fuck happened to you?” Ingemi asked.    

Bland explained that he had gone into an alley next to the Ritz bar with a street prostitute who promised him fellatio. Two Filipino men followed them into the alley, and they beat Bland and stole his money and watch. 

“I think it’s time for a little payback,” Hunt said.

“I’m in,” Lorino said quickly.

Hunt told Bland to stay with Trent, Greenberg and Redmond at the Starlight and said the rest of us will go to the alley next to the Ritz Cracker and confront the girl and her two friends. 

“She’s wearing a bright, red dress,” Bland said. “You can’t miss her.” 

I didn’t like Bland. He was an ingratiating guy from Darby, Pennsylvania. He thought he was clever, and he was always trying to scam people over small things, like a Coke or a minor work detail. The dislike was reciprocal. Bland didn’t like me because I would call him out on his shady, small-time schemes. I also told the other sailors that his name was also a description of his personality.

I was certain that Bland thought he had scammed the prostitute by convincing her to perform the sex act in the alley for free. Incredible, but that was Bland. Yet, I joined eagerly the avenging patrol, and we headed out.     

It was decided that Ingemi would talk to the girl on the corner after Hunt and Lorino slipped into the narrow alley. Ingemi would then allow her to take him into the alley, as she had done with Bland. 

As I was the youngest guy in the group, Hunt told me to stand at the foot of the alley and keep a lookout for the Navy’s Shore Patrol and the Olongapo police. 

Ingemi approached the girl in the red dress on the corner. After a brief discussion, they walked up the alley. Only a moment or so later, two Filipinos charged into the alley. One was of average height and lean, and the other looked like a big Japanese sumo wrestler. 

As the two bruisers jumped on Ingemi, Hunt and Lorino came out of the shadows and pounced on the two Filipino robbers. I stood sideways at the foot of the alley, one eye on the fight and the other eye on the street looking for Navy Shore Patrol or local cops. 

The girl in the red dress bolted from the fracas and Ingemi kicked her in the behind with the side of his foot and she fell forward and splayed out on the ground. She rose quickly and scampered past me and into the street.

I saw the lean Filipino break from the fight as Hunt, Lorino and Ingemi beat on the sumo. As the lean one ran up the alley I stepped into the middle and dropped my right hand at my side. 

The Filipino thief stopped and went into a martial arts stance. I went into my boxing stance. He swung at my face, but I reared my head back and to the right and slipped the blow. He then threw a kick at me, but I stepped back, and he missed. I leaned in and hit him in the face with a good stiff left jab and hard right combo.

He fell back against the wall, but he bounced back quickly, and his right leg flew up and his foot kicked me hard on my left side. I caught his pant leg in the air after the kick. I pulled on his leg, and he lost balance and fell against the alley wall. Holding on to his raised leg, I pinned him to the wall. I hit him in the face with several good short rights, and he collapsed.   

I looked past the knocked cold Filipino and saw that Hunt, Lorino and Ingemi had finally laid out the sumo in the alley. Hunt took off the three watches that the thief was wearing and went through his pockets and took all of his cash. 

Ingemi took two watches off the thief I knocked out and took his money as well. 

“Who says Italians lose all the wars,” Lorino said to Ingemi with a broad, lopsided grin. 

We all went back to the Starlight. My knuckles were scrapped and bloody and I lifted my shirt and saw a deep purple bruise where the Filipino thief had kicked me. The other sailors had similar minor injuries. The girls passed around bandages. My side was sore, so I ordered a beer and a shot of vodka to help ease the pain.

Hunt laid the watches on the table and Bland picked out his. He also said they stole $100 dollars from him, although I suspected the actual figure was more like $10. Hunt gave him $100 from the money he had taken from the two thieves. He gave the other watches and some cash to the girls. 

He held up the rest of the cash and proclaimed, “The rest of tonight is on the girl in the red dress!” 

After the Starlight closed, our crowd broke up and we went our separate ways. Zeny and I headed to a nearby hotel. We took a room and had a fine time together in bed until I passed out from drinking far too much San Miguel beer and vodka.


I woke up the following morning and discovered that Zeny was gone. Also gone was my watch, my wallet, my shoes, and all of my clothes. The only thing left was my pocketknife, which I had placed under my pillow the night before.

I was in shock. I knew Zeny from my previous visits to Olongapo, and I trusted her. I panicked. I thought of the poor slob sailor who had returned to the ship naked under a blanket. This could not happen to me. I was too smart. Too streetwise. Too cool. 

But it was happening to me. I wrapped a sheet around my middle and paced the floor, wondering what I was going to do. I cursed. I punched a wall. I looked out the window, hoping to see one of my friends. 

It was perhaps only a half-hour later, but it seemed like an eternity, when there was a knock on the door. I opened the door and there stood beautiful Zeny. She was holding my brightly polished shoes in her right hand and holding a hanger with my cleaned and pressed shirt and slacks in her left hand. My chain and dog tags hung around her neck and my watch hung loosely on her wrist. My folded underwear and socks were under her right arm. 

She told me that she took my clothes to her home and cleaned and pressed them. She shined my shoes. She said she didn’t know that my slim black leather wallet, which held my Navy ID and cash, had been in my pants pocket. I kissed her full on the lips and hugged her. 

As I walked down Magsaysay Drive back towards the naval base, I saw other returning sailors staggering along, hung over and disheveled.

I smiled, as I knew I looked sharp in my polished shoes and cleaned and pressed clothes. 

© 2022 By Paul Davis 

Note: You can read the other posted chapters via the below links:

Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Fiction: 'Butterfly'

Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Fiction: 'Salvatore Lorino'

Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Fiction: The Old Huk

Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Fiction: 'Boots On The Ground'

Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Fiction: 'The 30-Day Detail"

Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Fiction: 'Cat Street'

Paul Davis On Crime: Chapter 12: On Yankee Station

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Chapter Two: Salvatore Lorino

As I noted in a previous post, a friend and fellow Navy veteran who visited Olongapo in the Philippines while serving in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War asked to read Olongapo, the crime novel I’ve written and hope to soon publish.

I told him that I had posted five of the chapters on my website, and he asked that I repost the chapters.     

Below is chapter two, Salvatore Lorino.

The below story originally appeared in American Crime Magazine. 

Salvatore Lorino

 By Paul Davis

I was standing at the bar in a South Philadelphia bar & grill drinking a glass of Sambuca and thinking about my time in Olongapo so long ago. I was waiting for an old Kitty Hawk shipmate to join me. 

I knew Salvatore Lorino slightly before we served together in the U.S. Navy, as we were both raised in the same South Philadelphia neighborhood. Our row home neighborhood was clean and well-maintained back in the 1960s, as it remains today, but back in the 1960s there were a dozen or so troublesome teenage street corner gangs that kept the police busy. I ran with one of the teenage street corner gangs and Lorino ran with another corner gang a few blocks away. 

Although the gangs rarely bothered the neighbors, other than with late night noise, the gangs were often in conflict – mostly over girls and perceived insults - and they fought one another in schoolyards, playgrounds and parks. The worst of these teenage gangs served as breeding grounds for future adult criminals. This was especially true of the street corner gang at Dalton Street and Oregon Avenue. 

Called the “D&O,” the South Philly teenage gang spawned drug dealers, burglars, car thieves, gamblers, armed robbers, and an enterprising hoodlum named Salvatore Lorino.  

As South Philadelphia was the hub of the Philadelphia-South Jersey Cosa Nostra organized crime family, the more criminally ambitious South Philly teenage gang members, like Lorino, graduated from the street corners to the bars and nightclubs owned and operated by the local mobsters. 

I remember Lorino as being about six feet tall, lean, with black hair and rugged features. I recall that he had a long face and a perpetual lopsided grin that served to alternate charm and menace. 

Although Lorino was more than five years older than I, we both coincidentally entered the Navy in 1970. I enlisted at age 17 in a patriotic fever, coupled with a strong desire to see the world. Lorino had a strong desire to avoid a term in the state penitentiary. So when a judge gave him a choice between prison and the military, he chose the Navy. 

In February of 1970, Lorino and I reported to the Naval Recruit Training Center, informally called “Boot Camp,” in Great Lakes, Illinois. We were assigned to different recruit companies, but I saw him during our training from time to time and we exchanged greetings. After graduating from Boot Camp, Lorino and I received orders to report to the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, CVA-63. 

In November of 1970, we shoved off from San Diego and sailed to Southeast Asia for the Kitty Hawk’s fifth WESTPAC (Western Pacific) combat cruise.

Although I was assigned to the Communications Radio Division and Lorino was assigned to the Deck Department, he often stopped by our berthing compartment and visited me. My friends in the division got a kick out of Lorino’s engaging personality and roguish demeanor. 

Lorino gained quite a reputation aboard the carrier. He was an aggressive predator. He conned naive and gullible sailors out of their pay. He gambled, cheated and hustled. A large ship like the Kitty Hawk allowed Lorino to be constantly on the move, like a shark. 

Despite his criminal proclivities, he was a popular guy throughout the ship. Even the chiefs who failed to get much work out of him could not help but like him. He was gregarious and amusing, and most of the sailors on the ship reluctantly accepted his larcenous bent. 

Salvatore Lorino’s short military career ended in 1971 when he left the USS Kitty Hawk in handcuffs, escorted by special agents from the Naval Investigative Service. 


So, when after all these years, I heard his rapid-fire, raspy voice on my voice mail, I was taken aback. His message said he happened to see my crime column in the local newspaper and called the telephone number listed. He suggested we meet somewhere for a drink, and he left his telephone number. I was curious, so I called him back and agreed to meet him. 

I told Lorino to meet me at the Bomb Bomb bar and grill in South Philly. The bar was so named because after the corner taproom opened in 1936, local racketeers were not happy with a competing bar in the Italian American neighborhood. So they planted a bomb that exploded on a Sunday morning when the bar was closed. Despite the bombing, the owner was not scared off. A second bomb was later planted and exploded in the bar. But the bar remained open, and it is still operating today. 

The Bomb Bomb was typical of a South Philly eatery; friendly and unpretentious, with relatively inexpensive and good Italian food.

As I was sipping my Sambuca and thinking of my time with my old shipmate, Lorino walked into the bar with his old swagger and oversize personality. He had not changed all that much, it seemed to me. His once dark hair was now gray, but he appeared to be the same old Lorino. Lorino hugged me and we took a table in the back of the bar. Like all predators, Lorino was keenly observant. He took noticed of my attire, a light gray sport jacket, an open collar black dress shirt, black slacks and black leather Italian loafers.

“I see you’re still a sharp dresser,” Lorino said. “For an old guy.”

Lorino was clad in what appeared to be an expensive sport shirt, jeans and white sneakers, and I replied that he looked good as well – for an old guy. 

Lorino also noticed my Rolex Submariner watch held by a black leather band on my left wrist. He lightly tapped the crystal above the watch’s black dial and white dot hour markers with his finger.

“Nice watch.” 

“It’s my prized possession. A beautiful woman bought the watch for me on my 30th birthday,” I explained. “I married her a month later.” 

He laughed. 

We ordered a bottle of red wine and quickly dispensed with what we’ve done with our lives since our Navy days. After the Navy, I went to Penn State for a year; he did two at the state pen. I went to work for the Defense Department, doing security work as a federal civilian employee; he went to work for Federal Prison Industries as a federal inmate. I was happily married with grown children; he was happily divorced without children. I covered crime as a reporter and columnist for the local newspaper; he committed crime for the local mob. 

We drank several glasses of wine and I ate a generous serving of Chicken Parmigiana with Ziti. Lorino had a large bowl of mussels with Linguini

At the table next to us was a young couple who looked like tourists or newcomers to South Philadelphia. As our tables were close together, we overheard the young man say, “That was great Italian sauce.” 

Lorino titled his head towards the couple, frowned, leaned over and poked the young man’s arm hard with his index finger. “You’re in South Philly, cuz,” Lorino informed him. “And in South Philly it’s called “gravy,” not sauce.” 

“Sal,” I said in a low voice. “Leave them alone.” 

The couple reared back in fright. They got up quickly, paid the waitress and hurried out. 

“Fucking Medigans.” Lorino said, using the crude insult that some Italian Americans call non-Italians. 

“You haven’t changed,” I said. “You’re still a fucking nut.” Lorino shrugged and sipped his wine. 

After our fine and filling meal, we drank coffee and launched into swapping sea stories and reminiscing about our time in the Navy with boyish enthusiasm. We spoke mostly about Olongapo.

While most young American sailors saw Olongapo as a wide-open city to have fun in, Lorino saw Olongapo as the land of opportunity.

Lorino spoke fondly of his adventures in Olongapo. He told me he was introduced to Olongapo by Douglas Winston, a 2nd class Boatswain Mate that he worked for in the Kitty Hawk’s Deck Department.

“Winston was a miserable and annoying prick,” Lorino explained. “But you know me, I get along with everyone.”

Winston was thin but sported a pot belly that dropped over his belt. He was about 30 but looked much older with a craggy face and a bulbous nose. Lorino was one of the few sailors who would associate with Winston off duty.

As the Kitty Hawk sailed from Hawaii to Subic Bay, Winston regaled Lorino with tales of Olongapo. He told Lorino about the great bars where one could meet great girls. Winston also told Lorino that one could acquire anything that one could possibly want. Olongapo knew no limitations.

“If you can’t get your nut in Olongapo, you’re a real fucking pervert,” Winston told Lorino.


On Lorino’s first night in Olongapo, he and Winston were drinking beers with a couple of hostesses in the Ritz, which American sailors called the Ritz Cracker. As Lorino was searching for a connection to buy methamphetamine in bulk, he leaned over to one of the girls and flat out asked her where he could score some meth.

She got up from the table and walked away from Lorino without a word. Winston laughed. After a few minutes, a portly Filipino with shaggy black hair came over, sat down and said his name was Reeinald Bulan.

“Hey, Joe, you want to buy shabu?”

“Shabu? Ain’t that a killer whale in a zoo? I want to buy meth,” Lorino replied.

Bulan and Wilson laughed. “The famous whale is Shamu,” Winston said, chuckling. Lorino shrugged.

“Shabu is crystal meth,” Bulan informed Lorino. "How much you want?”

Lorino pulled out his wad of U.S. dollars. “This much.”

Bulan counted the cash in Lorino’s hand. “That’s a lot of shabu. You wait here.”

Ten minutes later, Bulan came back to the table and beckoned Lorino to follow him to the men’s room. As Lorino walked behind Bulan, he slipped his knife out of his back pocket and held it by his side. In the men’s room, Bulan handed Lorino a small U.S. Navy Exchange paper bag. Lorino dipped his finger in, placed a bit of the meth on his finger and snorted the meth. It was very good. Lorino handed over the money.

Bulan smiled and told Lorino to have a beer on him. “You want girl for the night?”

“No thanks, but I’ll take a beer.”

Lorino felt the stimulating effects of the meth, even though he had snorted only a small portion. Lorino drank the beer down, thanked Bulan, and said he’ll be back to do more business. Bulan shook his shaggy hair and grinned like a mad fool.

Lorino left Winston at the bar and walked happily down Magsaysay Drive. A Filipino in a short-sleeved shirt and jeans suddenly appeared before Lorino, blocking his path. The Filipino held up a badge in his left hand and a revolver in his right. Lorino stopped and looked the Filipino cop in the eye. A second officer came up behind Lorino and placed his firearm in the small of Lorino’s back.

“Hand over the shabu, sailor boy.”

Lorino frowned and then handed the Navy Exchange paper bag to the police officer in front of him. 

“You cops are the same all over the world,” Lorino said disdainfully. “Bigger crooks than us.”

“You want to go to prison, sailor boy?”

“Fuck no.”

“Then go back to ship and don’t come back here.”

The two police officers laughed, pocketed the paper bag, and walked into the Ritz. Fuck, Lorino muttered to himself. Bulan and these crooked cops didn’t even try to hide the rip-off. Lorino walked across Magsaysay Drive, dodging jeepneys, and went into another bar. He brushed off the girls who approached him and went directly to the bar. He beckoned the bartender to come over.

“Where can I buy a baseball bat?”


Lorino had a beer as the bartender produced a baseball bat from under the bar. Lorino paid him. He weighed the bat in his hands and smiled. Lorino planned to go all “South Philly” on the two crooked cops and Reeinald Bulan.

After he downed his drink, Lorino walked back across the street to the Ritz with the baseball bat in his hand. He didn’t see Winston or Bulan anywhere when he walked in, but he saw the two cops drinking at the bar with their backs to him.

Lorino walked up to them and struck the two officers repeatedly across their heads and shoulders with the baseball bat. The Filipino police officers dropped to the floor in blood puddles. They never had the chance to draw their weapons.

As the bar girls screamed and the American sailors backed away, Lorino leaned over and dug into the cops’ pockets, looking for his meth. He did not hear Bulan come up behind him, but he felt the sharp pain in his back from a knife.

The pain was sheering, but Lorino was able to turn around quickly, and he swung the bat at Bulan’s knees. The Filipino drug dealer fell to the floor. Lorino struck Bulan’s knees again and again as the drug dealer wiggled and screamed in pain on the floor. Lorino reached down and pulled the Navy Exchange bag from the Filipino’s pants pocket.

Lorino got up, dropped the baseball bat, and despite his knife wound, he walked calmly out of the bar and walked two blocks down to the Starlight, another bar that Winston told him aboutHe found Winston there and Lorino sat down, leaned over and told Winston that he would cut him in on his new drug trafficking enterprise on the carrier if the petty officer would store the shabu on the ship until he returned. Winston agreed happily.

Lorino passed the paper bag to Winston. He then asked Winston to hail a jeepney and take him to the base hospital.


Lorino missed the Kitty Hawk’s next Yankee Station line period, as he was recuperating from his knife wound in the Subic Bay base hospital. He told the investigating NIS special agent who visited him that he was drunk and no idea who stabbed him. Raised in South Philly’s Cosa Nostra organized crime culture, Lorino would never speak to cop, so he didn’t tell the special agent about Bulan.  

After Lorino’s release from the hospital, he was temporarily assigned to the base until the Kitty Hawk returned to Subic Bay. In time, Lorino felt fit enough to go back into Olongapo. He ventured to the Americano bar and sat down with a hostess. 

The waiter brought over a beer for Lorino and a whiskey for the girl. The Americano had an American Wild West motif and a band that played country & western music. Lorino didn’t care for country & western music – he was a Motown R&B fan – but he was in the Americano looking for a connection, not entertainment.  

He asked the girl about the “Chief,” and she pointed to a nearly bald, hefty American in his 50s who stood behind the bar. Winston had assured Lorino that the Chief, an American expatriate and retired Navy chief petty officer, was a good guy to know in Olongapo.

Maxwell Walker, originally from Arizona, told everyone to call him “Chief” as he said he was a retired U.S. Navy chief petty officer. He also told people that he was the owner of the Americano. Neither was true.

Although he did in fact retired from the U.S. Navy after 20 years of service, he never achieved the rank of chief petty officer. He retired at the next lower grade, a 1st Class Boatswain Mate, but he liked being called chief, so he promoted himself in retirement. And he was not the owner of the Americano. He was an employee, hired to lure in American sailors. His Filipina wife, a former hostess, was the Americano’s mama-san.    

Lorino went up to the bar and introduced himself to Walker. He told the chief that Winston told him that the chief could hook him up.

“So, you’re friend of Winston’s?”

“Yeah, we work in the Kitty Hawk’s Deck Department. He told me I could get a gun here.”

“Why do you want a gun?”

“My business.”

“If I sell you a gun, it becomes my business.”

Lorino told Walker the story of the rip-off and how he was stabbed by Bulan. He told Walker how he beat the cops and Bulan with a bat, but he now wanted payback for the stabbing. 

“Yeah, I heard about that,” Walker said laughing. “Reeinald is a piece of shit. If you want good shabu, I can fix you up with some people here. Look, ya still looking to score good shabu?”

“Yeah. I got plans to go into business on the Kitty Hawk.”

“Tell ya what, I’ll give you a gun. Do what you have to do with it and then toss it in Shit River. Come back here and we can do shabu business.”

Lorino took the gun, a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver with a two-inch barrel. He hefted the firearm in his hand. Lorino thanked Walker and left the Americano. He walked down Magsaysay Drive to the Ritz. He brushed aside the girls who rushed up to him and looked around for Bulan. 

He spotted Bulan sitting at a table with a pair of crutches leaning against his chair. Without a word, Lorino walked up to Bulan briskly, pulled out the .38 revolver from his waistband and shot the Filipino drug dealer once in the left foot and once in the right knee. As Bulan lay screaming in pain on the floor. the bar patrons and employees all backed away from the shots.

Lorino walked calmly out of the bar and onto Magsaysay Drive.

“Gotta love Olongapo,” Lorino said loudly and happily to two passing sailors.

© 2022 By Paul Davis 

Note: You can read the other posted chapters via the below links:

Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Fiction: 'Butterfly'

Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Fiction: The Old Huk

Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Fiction: Join The Navy And See Olongapo

Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Fiction: 'Boots On The Ground'

Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Fiction: 'The 30-Day Detail"

Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Fiction: 'Cat Street'

Paul Davis On Crime: Chapter 12: On Yankee Station

Sunday, November 26, 2023

A Little Humor: Snoopy's Guide To The Writer's Life

I’ve always gotten a kick out of Charles Schulz’s cartoon character Snoopy the dog, especially when Snoopy is acting as a would-be-writer, sitting atop his doghouse with a portable typewriter.

Some years ago, I bought a collection of Snoopy’s failed writer cartoon strips, with some more successful writers than Snoopy offering short pieces on Snoopy the aspiring writer. 

You can read the description of the book from Writer’s Digest below:

Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life
Edited by Barnaby Conrad and Monte Schulz
Writer's Digest Books, 2004

About the Book
Snoopy sits atop his doghouse, banging out stories on a manual typewriter. Usually they begin "It was a dark and stormy night..." Always they're rejected. In Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life—a wonderful gift for writers—a roundup of 30 famous writers and entertainers respond in short essays to their favorite Snoopy "at the typewriter" strip.

Each essay focuses on how the strip presents an aspect of writing life—getting started, getting rejected, searching for new ideas, and more—everything that beginning and professional writers deal with on a daily basis.

The essays are light and sometimes humorous, but all of them offer insight and inspiration for writers working at any level. The book presents a powerful line-up of contributors, including:

  • Ray Bradbury
  • William F. Buckley, Jr.
  • Julia Child
  • Elizabeth George
  • Sue Grafton
  • Evan Hunter
  • Elmore Leonard
  • Danielle Steel
  • And the Beagle himself!

Editor Barnaby Conrad and Monte Schulz (son of the late Charles Schulz) provide introductory chapters that address the writing life and how Snoopy's experience—his tenacity and resilience—can inspire us all.

Above is my favorite Snoopy cartoon strip.

You can purchase the book via Amazon via the below link:

Note: Cartoonist Charles M. Shultz, seen in the above photo, was born on this date in 1922.

Charles Shultz died in 2000. He was 77.