His leave over, Mitchell had flown back to New York City the day before, and…
As Marsha looked for Mitchell in the courtyard of the "J" at 8:00 p.m….
More than eight-hundred miles away, in the tower again, on the twenty- to twenty-four-hundred watch, because he knew that he would not be home again until… God knew when… Because he had no way of contacting her, he had, once again, given Marsha up as a lost cause and, with a one-hour time difference, at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 3, 1954, Marsha Goldman was the last thing on the mind of Mitchell Lipensky.
Far Rockaway, New York
April 3 to June 8, 1954
When he had enlisted in the Coast Guard, due to his love of Susan, Mitchell had been under a great strain and felt that he had to get away from Chicago, so without too much effort he had become rather used to being away from home… Before.
On his first leave, though, there was no longer the sense of having to be away, and his time at home was as if it had never happened. Desperately homesick, Mitchell spent the first three weeks back at Rockaway in a state of lonely depression.
What he had, more or less, become accustomed to, he now found all but impossible to accept: the unfair watch assignments, KP, the work details, and especially Warrant Officer Floyd Richard Ewing and his never-to-be-accounted-for anti-Semitism.
“Floyd Ewing, operator. In Rockaway.” Having no idea why, other than looking for some venue for revenge, on a hunch he called information to see if Ewing’s private phone number at the station was listed. “Yes.” Writing. “Thank you.” Well, I’ll be damned!
When he developed an abscessed tooth in April, Mitchell held off for a day, then, asking permission to see military dentist…
“Got a problem with your teeth, eh?”
“With a tooth, yes, Sir.”
Sitting behind his desk in the commanding officer’s private quarters—any other enlisted man would be standing at ease but—Ewing had kept Mitchell standing at attention.
“And you’re asking permission to see a dentist, are you?”
Hating him as he did, afraid that if he looked directly into his eyes Ewing would notice and make things even worse, staring at a point slightly to the left of, and above his head, “Yes, Sir.”
Glancing over his shoulder to see what the younger man was staring at, seeing nothing, “Well, Lipensky,” bringing his attention forward again, the corners of his mouth twitching with his make believe smile, “you know how I look at it?”
Knowing he was well within his rights to request permission to see a doctor at any time, no longer caring if Ewing did see his hatred, his eyes shifting, looking directly into the eyes of the man behind the desk…
Completely unaware, of course, that his hatred was exactly what Ewing wanted, because—his eyes flitted from Mitchell’s face to the slight bulge at the lower left of his fly and quickly upward again—as he stared at the helpless young man standing stiffly before him, as his left hand toyed with the fountain pen upon his desk, Warrant Officer Floyd Richard Ewing’s right hand toyed with the well-pronounced bulge in his own pants and, being who he was, being what he was, as he could not have this man’s love he must have this man’s hatred.
“No, Sir! How do you look at it?” Adding contemptuously, “Sir!”
“Well, ‘Sir’!” Mimicking, curling his lip, the twitch becoming even more conspicuous—his erection throbbing—“The way I look at it, Lipensky, is like this, ‘Sir’! You fucking Jews have enough money and if you want to see a dentist, then I damn well think you ought to pay for it… ‘Sir’!”
Flashing through his mind, Mitchell remembered a time years ago in the principle’s office at Harrison High when he and Norman had been threatened with expulsion for collecting milk and soda bottles for the deposits… and it had worked then.
“Yes, Sir, Captain Ewing, Sir!” His own lip curling with contempt, “I will call my father and ask him to wire money to me so that I can see a dentist because my commanding officer refuses to give me permission to see a dentist because he says ‘we Jews’ have enough money to pay for doctors ourselves. I know he’ll just love to send me money for that… Sir!”
Of all the branches of the military—because in times of peace the Coast Guard does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense but rather the Department of the Treasury—the Coast Guard is the most political, so…
Both hands upon his desk now, his erection wilting, Ewing knew it! And, as the principle of Harrison High had thought, Who knows who this kike’s father knows?
Two sets of hateful eyes boring into each other… for once, Floyd Richard Ewing’s stare breaking first, the words barely more than a whisper, “Permission granted.”
“Permission granted!” His face red, his hands knotted into fists, “Go see a god-damned dentist!”
Not thinking beyond the fact that Floyd Richard Ewing hated—among a host of hatreds—Jews. The man’s rumored homosexuality never thought of as anything other than a malicious joke. The idea of himself as the target of Ewing’s lust, beyond conception—if Mitchell had thought of it at all—was positively ridiculous!
No longer thinking of sea duty as a bad alternative to duty at Rockaway Lifeboat Station, knowing that he must request a transfer, to anyplace, with the help of Yeoman Second Class Richard McDonald, Mitchell Lipensky submitted a formal request.
Because, truly sadistic in his love/hatred, Ewing did enjoy torturing him, “Transfer denied!”
On the third of May, submitted again…
Afraid now—not knowing what Mitchell may have told his father, or whom his father may have spoken to—not wanting his motive for denying the repeated request of a lowly seamen for a transfer to sea duty…
Mitchell Lipensky did receive orders to transfer.