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Summer

And then came summer. The military wives left and the village emptied. The period of summer debauchery was formally and informally inaugurated. Throughout the village, packs of aimless souls wandered the streets until the wee hours of the white nights.

What navy in its right mind works during the summer? Nobody works during the summer! Well, except perhaps to pick up the cigarette butts from the ground. But aside from that, all you do is sit on the pier with your Eastern indifference: listlessness and languor in your limbs; sluggish complacence in your desires and thoughts and genes; torpor and lethargy in your very posture....

And suddenly!

Inspection!!

The Ministry of Defense and the Fleet Admiral!!!

As if from a long hibernation, everybody springs to their feet: in an instant the lake is cleaned, turf is rolled out, trees are planted, sidewalks and lawns are painted. Posters with slogans and political insinuations are draped in places where they have never been draped before. Those houses that face the commission are given special attention.

Ah, yes! Inspection! The only time when every man woman and child in the navy would rather be at sea performing a perilous mission.

“When and how are they coming?”

“By helicopter in two hours.”

“Has the landing pad been cleaned?”

“Like a baby’s butt.”

“Is everybody in their place?”

“Yes, sir!”

“Well, then, we’ll just wait for the signal....”

Two hours later, without receiving the signal:

“Well...?!”

“There’s no word....”

Ten minutes later the word comes:

“Drop everything! They’re coming by boat!”

AAHHH!!!!

And then in a frenzied waltz:

“The gangway party! Where’s the gangway party?!”

“Gangbang party?”

“No, not gangbang party - gangway! We need a gangway party! And make sure they’re no shorter than five-ten. And a ramp with a red carpet.”

“Wait a minute - what color should the gangway party be?”

“Red, you moron! The carpet should be red! And the gangway party no shorter than five feet ten inches tall!”

“But where am I supposed to find a gangway party no shorter than five-ten?”

“How the hell would I know...on the FLUB somewhere....”

“Oh, and don’t forget that thing for the Fleet Admiral...you know, for when he steps onto the pier...what’s it called?”

“The step block?”

“Yeah, right. Don’t forget the step block for the Fleet Admiral. We don’t want him jumping off the ramp and breaking his legs like everybody else....”

But, as it turns out, everything is locked away: the ramp and the step block and the carpets. The person-in-charge, as always, is off somewhere celebrating his Eastern indifference - and with him is the only key.

“Let’s break it in! Let’s break the door!”

“On three...!”

“One...two...TH-REEEEE...!”

And they break down the door, trashing everything in the place until at last they find what they are looking for - in the farthest corner.

Whew! That was a close call!

But there’s no time for self-congratulation: an orchestra still has to be found. And an officer in dress uniform. And a car.

In a few minutes everything is in place. In fact, the only thing that isn’t ready is the gangway party.

“They were just here...I saw them a few minutes ago...?!”

And indeed, a few minutes ago they were here. But a young warrant officer was put in charge...and he and his gangway party had been intercepted by someone and sent to the garbage heap to do some last-minute tidying-up.

“AHHHHH!!!”

After letting out this scream, the Chief of Staff pauses to regain his composure - then rushes through the halls of the FLUB, personally herding up a makeshift gangway party; if worse comes to worst, they will do. And, indeed, worse really has come to worst: the most imposing of them is five-six, tops. But wait! Somebody’s missing! The chief of staff is starting to sweat. One person’s not here! Just then, the last of them comes running into formation: a diminutive office secretary about four feet eight inches tall. This latest insult is more than the Chief of Staff can bear: grabbing the secretary by the collar so that his legs dangle lifelessly over the ground, he yells in anguish and at no one in particular:

“WHY’S. . .HE. . .SOOO. . .SHORT!!!”

Eventually, the inspection arrives:

We welcomed them, and greeted them,
And carried them in our hands.
And licked and licked and licked some more,
A thousand different glands...

And then they leave.

As soon as they are gone, the base lets out a collective sigh of relief. Summer returns. Once again the warm soft glow of abundance spills over the land.

The sun shines. The smell of beauty fills the air. And, as before, the familiar drone of torpor and lethargy settles back into your very posture....

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