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 alternately 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 eat 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'

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.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Former NSA Employee Pleads Guilty To Attempted Espionage: Defendant Admits To Attempting To Transmit National Defense Information To An Agent Of A Foreign Government

 The U.S. Justice Department released the below:

Jareh Sebastian Dalke, 31, of Colorado Springs, pleaded guilty today to six counts of attempting to transmit classified National Defense Information (NDI) to an agent of the Russian Federation (Russia).

According to court documents, from June 6, 2022, to July 1, 2022, Dalke was an employee of the National Security Agency (NSA) where he served as an Information Systems Security Designer. Dalke admitted that between August and September 2022, in order to demonstrate both his “legitimate access and willingness to share,” he used an encrypted email account to transmit excerpts of three classified documents to an individual he believed to be a Russian agent. In actuality, that person was an FBI online covert employee. All three documents from which the excerpts were taken contain NDI, are classified as Top Secret//Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) and were obtained by Dalke during his employment with the NSA.

On or about Aug. 26, 2022, Dalke requested $85,000 in return for all the information in his possession. Dalke claimed the information would be of value to Russia and told the FBI online covert employee that he would share more information in the future, once he returned to the Washington, D.C., area.

Dalke subsequently arranged to transfer additional classified information in his possession to the purported Russian agent at Union Station in downtown Denver. Using a laptop computer and the instructions provided by the FBI online covert employee, Dalke transferred five files, four of which contain Top Secret NDI. The other file was a letter, which begins (in Russian and Cyrillic characters) “My friends!” and states, in part, “I am very happy to finally provide this information to you. . . . I look forward to our friendship and shared benefit. Please let me know if there are desired documents to find and I will try when I return to my main office.” The FBI arrested Dalke on Sept. 28, moments after he transmitted the files.

As part of his plea agreement, Dalke admitted that he willfully transmitted files to the FBI online covert employee with the intent and reason to believe the information would be used to injure the United States and to benefit Russia.

Dalke faces a maximum penalty of up to life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for April 26, 2024. A U.S. district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan for the District of Colorado and Executive Assistant Director Larissa L. Knapp of the FBI's National Security Branch made the announcement.

The FBI Washington and Denver Field Offices are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julia K. Martinez and Jena R. Neuscheler for the District of Colorado and Trial Attorneys Christina A. Clark and Adam L. Small of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting the case.

Friday, November 24, 2023

On This Day In History Conservative Author, Newspaper Columnist, TV Host And Magazine Editor William F. Buckley Was Born

On this day in 1925 conservative newspaper columnist, magazine editor, TV talk show host and author William F. Buckley was born. 

He died in 2008 at the age of 82. 

I began reading William F. Buckley's books, newspaper columns and his magazine National Review when I was 12 years old. I also began watching his TV show Firing Line at that time.  

As he was for so many others, William F. Buckley was a huge influence in my life.   

I’m thankful that I was able to review favorably two of his books for the Philadelphia Inquirer. One was a political book on President Reagan, and the other was his last spy thriller.  

He died before my review of his The Reagan I Knew appeared in the Inquirer, but as he was alive and still an avid reader when my review of Last Call for Blackford Oakes appeared in the Inquirer, I hope he read and enjoyed my review.

William F. Buckley may have passed, but his influence lives on. 

You can read my two reviews of his books below:

Note: You can click on the above to enlarge.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Gary Varvel's Thanksgiving 2023


President Ronald Reagan On Thanksgiving

Jennifer Harper quotes the late President Ronald Reagan on Thanksgiving in her Inside the Beltway column in the Washington Times (where my On Crime column also appears). 

“Two hundred years ago, the Congress of the United States issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation stating that it was ‘the indispensable duty of all nations’ to offer both praise and supplication to God. Above all other nations of the world, America has been especially blessed and should give special thanks. “We have bountiful harvests, abundant freedoms, and a strong, compassionate people,” President Reagan told the nation in his proclamation for Thanksgiving Day, 1982. 

“I have always believed that this anointed land was set apart in an uncommon way, that a divine plan placed this great continent here between the oceans to be found by people from every corner of the Earth who had a special love of faith and freedom. Our pioneers asked that He would work His will in our daily lives so America would be a land of morality, fairness, and freedom,” the 40th president said. 

“Today we have more to be thankful for than our pilgrim mothers and fathers who huddled on the edge of the New World that first Thanksgiving Day could ever dream. We should be grateful not only for our blessings, but for the courage and strength of our ancestors which enable us to enjoy the lives we do today. Let us reaffirm through prayers and actions our thankfulness for America’s bounty and heritage,” Reagan concluded. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Chapter One: Butterfly

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 thriller 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 one, Butterfly.

The below story originally appeared in American Crime Magazine. 


By Paul Davis 

I lived in what we considered a tough neighborhood in South Philadelphia when I was a teenager in the 1960s. I ran with a tough crowd on the mean streets of South Philly, but I would later discover that Olongapo in the early 1970s was a truly tough town. 

I recall an old Navy chief telling me and other young sailors on the USS Kitty Hawk about the notorious port city as the aircraft carrier sailed towards the Philippines in November of 1970. The chief, who had been around the world while serving many years in the U.S. Navy, told us that Olongapo was the wildest place he had ever seen.

 “Once you walk across the bridge over Shit River into Olongapo, you’ll be corrupted quickly by sexy bar girls, cheap booze, available drugs, and all sorts of crime,” the old chief said with a mischievous grin.

During the Vietnam War, Olongapo, the city located next to the massive U.S. Navy Base at Subic Bay in the Philippines, was like Dodge City, Las Vegas, and Sodom and Gomorrah all rolled into one. The U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet ships that operated off the coast of Vietnam during the war were frequent visitors to Subic Bay, as the naval base provided repairs and replenishment to the warships.

As the pent-up American sailors left the ships and swarmed into Olongapo, the city’s shadier elements were waiting. Sailors walked out of the naval base’s gate and crossed over the small bridge above the Olongapo River, called “Shit River” by the Americans due to its muddy brown color and pungent smell. Despite the filth and pollution, several small children on boats were willing to slip into the river and dive for the coins the sailors tossed from the bridge into the water. 

On the other side of the bridge was Olongapo’s main street, Magsaysay Drive. Known as the “Strip,” there was a seemingly endless line of bars, restaurants and hotels all lit up in colorful neon lights. The street was noisy and crowded with passing American sailors and Marines, street vendors, drug dealers, pickpockets, thieves, con artists, armed robbers and innocent-looking young shoeshine boys who were known to hold a razor against a sailor’s heel until he handed over his wallet.

Also on the crowded street were scores of young, attractive Filipinas enticing sailors to come into their bar with blown kisses, swaying hips, pushed out breasts, and shaking derrieres. Occasionally a girl would use strong-arm tactics, such as grabbing a young sailor by the arm and yanking him into the bar and announcing loudly that she had a “Cherry Boy” virgin. 

Crossing Magsaysay Drive was often a case of bravery or foolhardiness, as one could be hit by one of the ubiquitous “jeepneys,” Olongapo’s colorfully decorated minibuses that were converted from American jeeps abandoned after World War II.

The American dollar was like gold in the early 1970s, and one could spend a wild night in Olongapo drinking, eating, dancing, and staying in a hotel room with a local beauty for only about $20.

I was 18 years old when I first visited Olongapo in 1970. I was a cocky, street-smart South Philly kid, as well as a lean and muscular amateur middleweight boxer, so I was not intimidated by the barrage of sights, sounds and smells of this strange town like so many other young sailors who first experience it. I was also not fazed when a bar girl grabbed my arm outside of a bar and yanked me towards the bar’s entrance.

“You so young and handsome,” the pretty Filipina said as she tugged my arm.  “You Cherry Boy?” I pulled my arm loose from her grip and replied, “Not hardly.”

Thankfully, I had good friends on the aircraft carrier who had visited Olongapo during the Kitty Hawk’s previous combat cruise, and they warned me about the dangers and pitfalls, as well as the delights, of the notorious city. As an aspiring crime writer, Olongapo sounded like just the place for me.

All American servicemen were duly warned of the dangers when visiting Olongapo’s bars and other establishments. One rule pounded into the sailors by the older sailors was not to “Butterfly” in individual bars. To butterfly was to associate with two bar girls, called “Hostesses,” in any one bar. The bar girls were protective of their claimed sailors and the money they earned from the sailors buying them whisky (actually Coke) and champagne (actually 7-Up). The price of a drink for the girls was only about a buck, so the sailors didn’t mind paying this apparent scam. But the bar girls resented another bar girl poaching on their moneymakers.

When a sailor would butterfly, whether on his own initiative or by the encouragement of another bar girl, the aggrieved bar girl would often fly into a rage and attack the other bar girl, and sometimes the offending sailor. 

Even before I set foot in Olongapo, I heard the much-repeated cautionary tale about an American sailor who committed the offense and paid a dear price. The bar girl he had been seeing was so mad when he flirted with another bar girl that she attacked the girl on the dance floor. To the consternation of the bar’s manager and the utter delight of the American sailors, the two girls pulled hair, and kicked and punched each other. 

 The Filipino manager and his waiters pulled the two girls apart. The offended girl then went to her purse and pulled out her Batangas knife, a weapon more commonly known as a “Butterfly” knife. The knife had two handles with the sharp blade concealed in the groves of the handles. When flashed, flipped and fanned by someone who knew what they are doing, the butterfly knife was a most scary and deadly thing. 

 This bar girl knew how to use the butterfly knife and she charged the butterflying sailor and slit his throat as he sat in a chair. He died on the way to the base hospital.


On my first visit to Olongapo in early December of 1970, I went into one of the bars with some shipmates and met a pretty girl who sat with me as I bought her drinks. I had fun drinking and dancing with her, and we ended up in a hotel room for the night. I returned to the ship the following morning and we soon shoved off for our first “Yankee Station” line period in the Gulf of Tonkin in the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam.   

We spent Christmas on Yankee Station, but we pulled back into Subic Bay on December 31st, New Year's Eve. Not everyone was glad to see us. The American sailors stationed on the base and on smaller ships hated when an aircraft carrier pulled into port. With the carrier’s 4, 700 men going ashore with money in their pockets and eager for action, the city’s inhabitants went all out to receive them. 

In a case of reverse butterflying, two sailors stationed on the base at Subic Bay resented the Kitty Hawk’s sailors taking over the city on that first night in port. One base sailor was truly angry, as his regular girl at the bar ignored him and cuddled up to a young Kitty Hawk sailor. The base sailor got drunk along with his pal and when the girl went to the restroom, the two base sailors pounced on the Kitty Hawk sailor. They beat him to the floor and one of the two assailants broke a bottle of beer over his head. 

The Kitty Hawk sailor was beaten unconscious before other sailors and the Filipino waiters could break it up. The Philippine police and the U.S. Navy Shore Patrol rushed into the bar and took hold of the two base sailors. The Kitty Hawk sailor was gravely injured, and he was taken by two Shore Patrol petty officers to the base hospital. The two base sailors were released by the Philippine police into the custody of two other Shore Patrol petty officers and a junior officer. The Shore Patrol petty officers handcuffed the pair and escorted them to the base, where they were charged with aggravated assault and attempted murder by civilian Naval Investigative Service (NIS) special agents.


The story of the assault on the Kitty Hawk sailor spread quickly all over Olongapo. I heard the story from another sailor as I sat in the Starlight bar with two of my shipmates from the Kitty Hawk’s Communications Radio (CR) Division, Dino Ingemi, a solid six-footer with thinning dark hair, who was an outgoing and funny guy from the Bronx, and Mike Hunt, a brawny, laid-back Californian whose light brown hair, ski nose and easygoing manner belied his background as an outlaw biker prior to enlisting in the Navy to avoid being drafted into the Army. Both Ingemi and Hunt were Olongapo veterans, having visited the wild city the year before during Kitty Hawk’s previous combat cruise. 

 As I was half-Italian on my mother’s side and I grew up in a predominantly Italian American South Philadelphia neighborhood, I called Dino Ingemi my paisan. 

"Just another fun night in Olongapo, Paul," my paison said"That kind of shit won't happen here at the Starlight."

The Filipino band at the Starlight had everyone jumping and dancing to their renditions of popular American songs of the time. The Filipino musicians were incredible mimics, sounding like Sly and the Family Stone with one song, the Four Tops with another, and then went on to sound eerily like the Beatles in yet another number. 

We were all dressed in “civies,” as sailors called civilian clothes, and I was wearing a short-sleeved tan and black Italian knit shirt and black slacks. I was something of a clotheshorse, and I differed from most of the other sailors, who were usually clad simply in tie-dyed t-shirts and jeans. Thankfully, the then-chief of naval operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, the enlisted man’s hero, allowed sailors to go ashore in civies rather than in uniform.

We sat at a table drinking bottles of San Miguel, the local beer, when I was approached by Linda Divita, a slim, pretty girl who swayed around me to the music and then pulled me up from my chair to dance with her.  Linda had long dark hair and long lovely legs beneath her short black dress. The low cut of her dress afforded one the view of her mostly exposed small breasts.

 Dino Ingemi approved.  

“She’s got a great ass and cute little tits,” Ingemi said to me when we finally sat back down. I nodded in agreement as Ingemi was smacked on the arm by Marlena Abadiano, the pretty girl he had been seeing since he first visited Olongapo the year before. 

Dino Ingemi was very social and made friends easily. He had become close with the Starlight manager, Samuel Rosalita, during the previous cruise. Rosalita joined us at our table and laughed and drank with us. He gave me his business card and another card that read “Welcome to the Starlight: Charming A-Go-Go dancers, Beautiful Ladies and Outstanding Combos.”

I mentioned to Ingemi that Rosalita looked like the entertainer Sammy Davis Jr, and Ingemi began to call him “Sammy,” much to the manager’s delight. Rosalita chuckled and shook his head at everything Ingemi said.  


I had a fun night drinking and dancing with Linda that New Year's Eve at the Starlight, and when the bar closed, I took her to a nearby hotel. I was drunk and worried that the girl would steal my money when I fell asleep, so when she was in the bathroom, I looked for a place to hide my slim black leather wallet that held my Navy ID and my cash. I looked up at the light fixture mounted on the ceiling six feet above me. Thinking I was clever, I tossed my wallet up onto the glass fixture underneath the light bulb.

Linda came out of the bathroom and threw her arms around me and laughed crazily. She was loopy drunk, but she was wild, sexy and fun in bed with me right up until the moment she passed out in my arms. In the morning, I could not wake her. I knew she was alive, as she moaned and muttered, but she would not move from her face down position on the bed. I found a handful of “Red Devils,” a barbiturate, on the bedside table next to her purse. I didn’t know how many of the pills she took, but I was concerned.

I dressed her and left the room. Rosalita’s business card did not have a telephone number on it, so I went to the front desk and I slipped five dollars to one of the clerks and asked him to go and get the Starlight manager.  

I went back to the room and saw that Linda was still out. About a half hour later, there was a knock on the door. Rosalita came in, accompanied by one of his waiters and an older woman who was the Mama-San for the bar. Rosalita thanked me for contacting him and then looked at Linda on the bed. He cursed her in Tagalog. The two men lifted Linda and took her out of the room. After they left, I looked up at the ceiling light and tried to retrieve my wallet, but it was beyond my reach. I went down to the front desk and asked the clerks for a ladder. They looked puzzled. I returned to my room with two Filipinos and a ladder in tow. They stood in the doorway in amazement as I climbed the ladder and retrieved my wallet.

I gave each of the hotel clerks a five-dollar bill for their trouble as I was leaving the hotel room. The two Filipinos took the money as they laughed uncontrollably.

“Fuck you,” I said to them, although I had to laugh along with them.

Back at the carrier, I took a shower, ate lunch in the galley and then I took a nap in my rack. When I awoke, I took another shower and changed into a black dress shirt and light gray slacks. I met up with Hunt and Ingemi and we all headed out to Olongapo and the Starlight. We took a table and Marlena came over with Hunt’s girl Carmelina and sat with us. I was thankful that I didn’t see Linda. Rosalita came over to the table with a waiter armed with a tray of San Miguel beers. 

Marlena whispered into Ingemi’s ear, and he nodded. Marlena got up and left the table. She returned to our table with a beautiful girl that she introduced to us as her sister, Zeny Abadiano.

Zeny had long, raven hair with bangs cut just above her dark, sultry eyes. She had a pretty face and an alluring figure. At 5’ 11,’ I towered over her five-foot stature when we danced. In addition to her being an exotic beauty, Zeny was sexy, smart and funny. I was drawn to her immediately.

And I forgot all about Linda. 


After the bar closed, Ingemi, Hunt and I took the girls to a nearby hotel. In my hotel room, I took Zeny in my arms, unzipped her dress and let it fall to the floor. I told her she was beautiful as I kissed her madly, and we fell across the bed. 

A couple of hours later, I heard a pounding on the door. I jumped up and retrieved my pocketknife from under the pillow. I heard Linda on the other side of the door. 

“Paul! Paul! Open up!” I heard her holler. “I want to talk to you!” 

Zeny pulled the sheet over her head and giggled. “Oh, you think this is funny?”  I told Linda to go away.

“Paul, open up. I want to talk to you!” Linda said in a screeching and blood-curdling voice. Of course, I didn’t open the door. I then heard what I presumed were hotel employees arguing with Linda in Tagalog, and thankfully the voices outside the door finally ceased. 

“So, you think a crazy, drugged girl coming to the room was funny,” I said to Zeny as I took her once again in my arms.  


I was awakened in the morning by a pounding on the door. Not again, I thought. But then I heard Ingemi’s voice. I hollered out to Ingemi that I would be ready in a half hour. I took a shower with Zeny and afterwards I sat in a chair, and she stood in front of me nude and dried my hair with a towel. She took my pocket comb and    combed my short, dark brown hair, carefully parting it on the left side. I pulled her wonderfully luscious body towards me and hugged her.

I met Ingemi and Hunt outside of the hotel and we grabbed a jeepney and headed back to the ship.

Later that evening, Ingemi and I returned to the Starlight.

Zeny and Marlena were waiting for us and the four of us took a table. Rosalita waved to us and motioned to a waiter, who quickly came over with San Miguel beers. While we were drinking at the table, Linda suddenly appeared by my side. Zeny grabbed my arm and snuggled up close to me. Linda was clearly angry and deranged. 

“You butterfly, you motherfucker!” 

“Get the fuck out of here,” I replied calmly, tilting my head slightly to the right while trying to sound like a South Philly half-a-hoodlum.

“I get you good, motherfucker,” Linda said with a snarl.  

Rosalita rushed over to the table and spoke harshly in Tagalog to Linda. She spat on the table and walked away. Rosalita apologized and left us. Zeny and Marlena were unfazed, and Ingemi was laughing uncontrollably. Linda sat at a nearby table with some poor sailor and began cursing me loudly in English and Tagalog.  

“She crazy,” Zeny said, kissing me to further anger Linda. 

Linda then began to fling lit cigarettes at us. Then she threw a beer bottle that hit our table. Ingemi, who was no longer laughing, got up and walked over to Rosalita. Rosalita listened briefly to Ingemi and then marched over to Linda, and he must have told her in no uncertain terms to cut it out. 

We resumed drinking, dancing, and having fun and I tried to ignore Linda. A while later I got up to go to the men’s room, which was on the other side of a wall that separated the bar from the rest rooms, the kitchen, and storerooms. When I came out of the men’s room, I encountered Linda in my path. 

“You butterfly me, you son a bitch,” Linda hissed. “I kill you.” 

From behind her back, Linda produced a Butterfly knife and began to twirl it in front of me. As she flashed and fanned the knife in a menacing fashion, I threw a short right punch that hit her square in the face. She went down, her nose and teeth bloody, and she lay motionless on the floor. 

Rosalita and two waiters rushed in, and my immediate thought was that I would have to fight them all. But Rosalita cursed Linda, who lay unconscious, and he kicked her twice. The two waiters picked up Linda and took her away. 

Rosalita apologized profusely to me, and I walked back to the table and told everyone what happened. 


From then on, whenever the carrier visited Subic Bay, I went to the Starlight and stayed with Zeny. 

I never again saw Linda, and no one ever said what had become of her.

And I never asked.  

© 2022 By Paul Davis 

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

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: Join The Navy And See Olongapo

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