Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Chapter 4 - We Go Naked?

The Boys in the Boathouse
A Novel -- really, none of this ever happened -- by Dr. Frank Emfbo

Chapter Four
What? We Go Naked?

After two months of hazing and abuse to start a freshman year, there’s a natural need for some release. In fact, the annual Skip n Go Naked dance was the first time the varsity pukes even treated us grunties like we were semi human. Not equal. Just like we had faces and names.

The poster went up on the bulletin board around the end of October.

Skip N Go Naked
Featuring, in a return engagement, the one and only Raoul at the punch bowl
Saturday, November 10
Be there or be square
Another show up and throw up event
Music by Self Abuse

We stood there looking at the scribbled message below. “Grunties, get your dates. We want a shot at ‘em.”

Silver stood in the crowd, mumbling. It got louder and barely coherent but he couldn’t lose that Jersey accent. The more pissed off Silver ever got, the more the accent came out. Guys gave him all kinds of shit about going for oiss cream, and drinking enough woota. But we stayed the fuck out of his way when he was pissed. Backwoods Puget Sounders just didn’t understand guys who were wound that tight.

“Wot the fooak. Some fooka go afta my gull, I fookin killum. Speshly if we already naked.”

Duly noted.

As the event got closer, hints came out.

Our “social chairman” was a guy named Brugley. Turns out he was a decent dude, for a varsity guy. Arranged all the exchanges with sororities, which gave each of us a chance to give a hot chick a one on one tour of the deepest depths of the boathouse.

“Oh, really, the room of pain? What do you do in here?”

So Brugley comes in to dinner one night, just a week before the dance. He wants to make an announcement. He stands up on a chair to make sure we can all see him.

Brugley is buck ass naked.

“Hey all you grunties. Get a date and get ready for this dance. We got Raoul at the punch bowl. And for all you grunties who don’t know what a pussy looks like, here you go.”

Brugley grabs cock and balls, parts his thighs and shoves his junk in between. Squeezes his thighs together again and stands there staring at us. Stone faced. Of course we’re all falling out of our chairs laughing, but Brugley doesn’t change his expression until the guy sitting next to him douses his crotch with ice water. That ended the evening show.

We were all miles from our mothers and we acted like it. Nobody around to calm our pranks and keep some level of propriety. Our three cooks, Pat, Vera, and Francis, must have been saints. Such sweet ladies, keeping us happy and fed. We looked out for them like they took care of us. The guy called Hubbard got a job in the kitchen and once told a football player he was going to come around the counter and shove a serving fork up his ass if he called Francis a bitch again. Tense moment, with both teams watching the action. The guy backed off.

Francis never said much, just smiled at everyone and cooked huge piles of food to keep us going. Pat was bubbly and happy every morning. Rumor was she chewed a mouthful of betel nuts before work every day. Along with slapping steaming omelettes on our plates and hollering good morning whether we felt like hearing it or not, she monitored the huge eight-slice toaster at the end of the counter. Forty years later you can shout “toast up!” to a crew guy and he’ll laugh remembering Pat.

Vera had a daughter our age. She brought her around one time. Beautiful girl. She never came back.

All three tried to get their work done, turn the cleanup over to one of the guys who worked in the kitchen, and get the hell out before guys like Brugley started walking around naked and shouting about pussies. 

So as the day got closer we all wondered what Raoul was going to cook up at the punchbowl. Something about vodka, all kinds of magical stuff that makes clothes fall off. We all dreamed of a dance floor full of naked drunken women. None of us had any idea what we’d do if that happened.

Most guys had enough respect for their dates to take them out for a nice dinner before the dance. Like, say, at the dorm cafeteria.

“Hey, um, it's been nice looking at you for two months in History 101. You mind coming to a dance on Saturday night? By the way what’s your name?”

And so it went. Upperclassmen all confident and swaggering with their women on their arms. Grunties with no idea what to expect. The crewhouse dining room decorated for the occasion with… nothing. Tables and chairs removed and a band setting up in one corner. And in another corner… Raoul at the punch bowl.

The punch bowl was a garbage can, which he insisted he’d scrubbed that afternoon. His stirring spoon was a broken oar, its White Blade of Washington swirling some deadly mixture that couldn’t be identified in the dim light. But damn, everyone wanted some. Raoul happily scooped pitchers full of the brew and handed them out, sweet young couples pouring paper cups for themselves, sipping, tasting, smiling, waving to Raoul and chugging them down. Oh boy, it’s gonna be a great night.

As the night progressed and inhibitions relaxed, word went around that all grunties were required to be on the crewhouse deck at exactly midnight. Meanwhile nobody got naked. At least not in public. But somehow the crowd thinned after a few rounds of drink, footsteps wandered down hallways to rooms, doors were locked, and prearranged symbols left outside for roommates.

The clock ticked away. Something big was going to happen, something we needed to see. Rumors started about a mass orgy on the center dock. Someone was screwing with us. But we slipped away and watched anyway. By 11:50pm the railing was jammed with drunk and rowdy partiers.

“Hey, who’s that?” Someone pointed at a motorboat, slowly making its way into the launch house with its motor barely idling. No lights, a couple big dudes in it. We couldn’t see shit in the shadows.

Union Bay sits on the west side of Lake Washington, a muddy, weed-infested backwater that nearly turned into high priced flatland when the lake was lowered in 1916 by the construction of the Montlake Cut. But there it remained, ten feet deep and a mile wide, at the bottom end of Ravenna Creek.

In the sixty years since, the bay collected a confusing mix of aquatic junk. Up until the sixties, the land next to the crewhouse ad bordering Union Bay was used as the city dump, huge bulldozers plying the swamp, their drivers hoping not to sink into the peat like all the trash did for years. That shit is still there today, rancid stench seeping up through parking lots, ball fields, and a “natural area”, which cracks up anyone who remembers the dump.

Lily pads, milfoil, and peat die off and sink to the bottom of the bay in early fall. By November, the decomposing stuff starts taking on oxygen and huge floating mud islands start surfacing. Some are just innocuous puddles of weeds. Others are a hundred feet across and solid enough to stop a boat. No damage, just a coxswain yelling “fuck!” and everyone calling him a dumb shit.

Whoever was in that darkened boat, they’d decided to do something about the biggest mud island in the bay. Waiting for nature to take it back down, like it always did by mid winter, was out of the question and way less entertaining. As we all stood there wondering what the hell was going to happen, tick tick tick it got closer to midnight.

A couple guys turned away as the last minute ticked down. Another cup of drink, another attempt to get that sweet pretty young girl back to the room, or denial that this wasn’t just another varsity trick to fuck with the grunties, whatever. They took their dates and went back inside.

They totally missed it.

A mile away, a blinding flash lit up the whole bay. For a half second we could see the houses on the shore of Laurelhurst like it was daytime, then everything went black.

It was like a camera flash at first, just the white light then nothing. A “whoa!” went up from the crowd, then someone remembered sound travels a lot slower, and hollered “wait for it!”

We felt it before we heard it. The girls who had politely been offered the view at the rail felt like they’d been hit with a sledgehammer. An instant later, the explosion shook the windows and rattled our brains.

The cheer was nearly as deafening as the explosion itself. We all wanted to know who did it. But the boys in the boat had ditched the hell out of there. Like smart ones should. You never know how the cops might find out. We drifted back inside to the dance. It was damn cold out there but worth the chill. Holy crap.
The last young couple to leave the deck decided it was a good place for a little kissy gropy feely. They stayed out there, ignored in the dark. Blowing stuff up made them hot. Five minutes later, all hands inside of loosening clothes attempting the old inebriated squishy squishy right there on the crewhouse deck, they were lit up by another light in their faces. This was no flash. It stayed there in their eyes.

Belts, buttons and zippers got cinched back up quick. Over the thump of the band inside, the couple could hear the rhythm of the helicopter’s blades.

On alert, the crowd filtered back out to the deck. A hundred pairs of hands waved at the pilot. We seemed innocent enough. He flew off to search the bay for the culprit.


There’s a Doctor Silver out there who just might owe his medical inspiration to that Skip n Go Naked dance. He was settling into bed after taking his date home on a long walk up to her dorm and back. It might have been three in the morning when there was a knock on his door.

“God damn, man, I need some help here,” said a classmate.

“Fook. Wootsa mitta?”

“Aw, man, there we were, this sweet woman and me, in my bed. We were drunk. We were naked…”

“Git to da fookin point. So fa you jist tellin ivveryone ilse’s story.”

“So she doesn’t want to have sex but she’s happy to give me the hand job. She’s pretty excited too, and gripping damn tight. It felt good so I wasn’t complaining.”

“Aw shit. I know woot’s coomin.”

“Yeah man. When it was over I went to get her a towel. I was already thinking oh shit, that hurts a little. She told me she needed to go home, so we kissed some more and got dressed. Christ, man, it hurt like hell just getting my boxers back on. Then I came back here and went to take a piss. That was the first time I saw it in the light.”

“Limmee see it.”

“What, show you my cock right here in the hallway?”

“Yeeah. How you expict any help othawise? Drop fookin trou or I’m going back to da rack.”

How this discussion didn’t wake up all of Grunt Row that night is a mystery. But the word got around. Doctor Silver looked over the damage. He speculated that those blistas might need lancing. Then he cracked up at the shocked look on his buddy’s face.

“Just fookin witcha. Stay heah. I’ll be back.”

Silver returned with a can of baby powder, shook it into the guy’s shorts, and stuck it in his hand.

“Heah. That’s yoaz. Buy me anootha. Now git the fook to bid.”

That Silver’s now a gynecologist is no big surprise.


Doctor Frank ran into Raoul many years after all this went down. They laughed and told stories over beers, mostly centering around the philosophy of Dik. Raoul got the philosophy of Dik every day, sometimes twice a day, for four years plus. He could recite stories and lessons that lowly rowers like Doctor Frank never heard. Then the shocking moment came.

“Jeez, Raoul, you brewed a mean Skip n Go Naked at that punchbowl every year. All that vodka really fucked us up. What a great time. A gallon of vodka, five gallons of beer and five gallons of lemonade. That’s some powerful stuff.”

Raoul finally confessed. All these years of believing, including one massive party at Doctor Frank’s own house ten years after college which got totally out of hand from following that damn recipe.The legend fell apart.

“You dumbshits would have torn the place apart if I stuck with that recipe and served you that much vodka. So here’s what I did. I mixed up the first batch with that recipe, yes I did. Then when it started to get low, someone would shout ‘Raoul, better mix up another batch!’ and I’d get all enthused and yell back ‘Yeah baby, I’m on it! Gotta get more vodka!’

“Then I’d take those two empty half gallon bottles, make a big show of unlocking the kitchen door and shouting ‘I’ll toss these and get more!’ and lock myself into the kitchen. I’d be laughing my ass off, standing at that big industrial kitchen sink refilling those jugs.

“Two full half gallon vodka bottles in my hands, I’d parade back out of the kitchen waving them in the air and the place would go nuts. ‘Yeah! More vodka!’ and I’d dump all that water, mix it with the beer and lemonade, and everyone would be all excited at how much vodka they and their dates were drinking.

“Just goes to show you, Thorsness was right. ‘We may be big, but we’re dumb…”


  1. Skip and Go Punch evolved into a more flammable mix when Everclear was substituted for the vodka. Every year we'd make the drive to Portland as Everclear wasn't sold in Washington. The Everclear jello shots were pretty flammable as well. We had the Young Fresh Fellows as the band for several years. Fun times.

  2. I beg to differ. Tulla would pick up the Everclear in Montana as part of his infamous 72 hour drives from Massachusetts to the Connie. The substitution was purely economic. At 190 proof you could use half as much and get just as drunk. Besides, you couldn't taste either one.