“Hit me.” Seaman First Class Stuart Baker brushed his hole card lightly over the Formica table top.
The dealer, Radio Man Third Class Ollie Kittler, turning a card, slammed it alongside Baker’s six and trey cards. “Queen, for nineteen! You’re busted, asshole!”
“The fuck I am!” Turning his hole card, Baker revealed a deuce.
“Fuck you!” Kittler slid a nickel across the table.
“Me, too; a little one.”
“Yeah, an’ here’s a little niner for you, Lippy.”
“Too much.” Turning his cards, he slid his nickel to Kittler.
“…died today in a high speed automobile accident on a highway in Southern California.”
“Hey, j’ya hear who the radio just said died today?” Seaman Apprentice Owen Shroyer, holding his card to his chest, looked at the loudspeaker on the upper bulkhead. “Lippy, who’d he say died?”
“Beats me.” Mitchell looked at Baker.
“I wasn’t listening. You hear it, Ollie?”
“Nah. Hey!” Kittler yelled across the compartment. “Any’a you guys hear who the radio said got killed?”
“Ain’t you heard,” one of the swabbies answered, “James Dean. He got croaked in a car accident.”
“Jesus,” Baker said, “I can’t believe it. James Dean, dead.”
Sitting quietly for a moment, “Okay, asshole!” Boatswains Mate Third Class Myron Linton hit the table with his fist, causing the pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to jump. “Let’s see a fuckin’ card!”
“You fucker! Ain’t you got no fuckin’ respect?”
“Sure, Ollie, but not when I’m holdin’ what I’m holdin’. Hit me!”
Coming from Newfoundland, the music and news was picked up by the Halfmoon and piped into the mess and recreation areas.
“Jesus H. fuckin’ Christ!” Linton, going bust on a three-cent bet, slamming his card angrily onto the table, “God-damn nigger music! Is that all they ever play at that fuckin’ station?”
“Hey, prick!” Kittler said. “That ain’t no nigger music.”
“Oh, it ain’t huh! Then just what the fuck is it, then?”
“You dumb asshole! Ain’t you never heard’a Elvis?”
“Elvis?” Linton looked around the table. “What the fuck’s an Elvis?”