ReDux – UnderSea

The Good Ship

I signed for a full term.

Submarine.  In the hatch one day, out of the hatch three months later.

Fun times.  Nothing to drink.  No drugs.   Both would mean Court Martial.

Nonetheless, we brewed juice, and the captain was probably aware of it.  Fairly dull juice, but a bit of a buzz, when you have three months to think about patrolling the ocean, without coming up, or coming into port.

No Port wine by the way on this ship, either to the left or the right.

This was a nuclear powered, highly militarised machine.  The correct procedure in the wrong hands would have launched nuclear missiles to virtually any town on the planet.

Which is why we sometimes wondered where the hell we were.  Navigation was basic.  Computers had less power than the very first commercially available tape-recording machines that ran BASIC.  Think of a computer in 1980.  Ours ran a fully powered, fully laden nuclear submarine, with global reach.

There was some fun.

Some.

Deep in the China Sea, way into Soviet territory, we accidentally launched a missile that was a test fire.  It had no warhead, but it was aimed at one of the main carriers of the Soviet navy, who were not happy about it.  It missed, but only after a frantic series of messages, that revealed our position, and annoyed the Soviets.

A lot.

This was ultimately the Captain’s responsibility.  However, two missiles remained in the bay, after abort and he personally inspected them.   The language scribbled over these expensive toys was imaginative.  The Captain was not amused.

Three weeks of high alert.  That is low light.  No speaking.

That and a very fast get away back to Japan, pinged by very real aggressors flying anti-sub aircraft, that just might have taken a hit at us.

Coming up was dangerous.   Three months undersea, and you arrive in Hawaii or another exotic port translates to fun.  Terrible fun, and a lot of discipline.   And clap.

And in one case a sailor waking up to find that he had been robbed.   In more ways than one.

He was a sore ass.

Call for Redux and Rebound

As part of getting R&R off the ground we are looking to publish 2 ReDux stories that will later be followed by 2 Rebounds.   Please feel free to send in your ideas here.  All copyright is fully respected.

The prize is a good percent in the overall global competition, when it launches.  A stake in the actual global return of the production company.

While 1500 word pieces are preferred, haiku is understood.

ReDux. Sofia, Bulgaria [Massages with Lucy the Lesbian]

ReDux, Sofia, Bulgaria

Massages with Lucy the Lesbian

Bulgaria is not well known outside of Bulgaria for the many things that go on in it.

It is an insular country and its people are proud.  The country is built on a corner, surrounded by Serbia and Romania to the north and Greece and Turkey to the south.  The less said about the five hundred or so years that the Turks called it home, the better, and despite or perhaps because of the ‘Yoke’ as it is referred to, the Bulgarians have a very strong, very distinct national character.  They are proud people and they are proud of their lands, especially the natural habitat, which has abundant mountains, mostly very accessible from almost anywhere within the borders.

It is not a country that is top of the list for a lot of snobbish and serious travelers perhaps, although for years there have been bucket type holidays, especially to the Black Sea coast and especially for the British and Russians that enjoy a brief summer holiday in a good summer season that is hot and on good sandy beaches.  In the main they arrive on cheap flights and stay in fairly ugly multi built concrete blocks which are rapidly spreading along the long coast.

For the average Briton or Russian, the offer is good.  Very cheap alcohol, a lot of sunshine and OK food.

Bulgaria has many other layers though.   The interior as said is blessed with accessible high mountains, good skiing in the winter and a lot of spiritual places that every Bulgarian will happily talk about, including one or two that are very strange indeed, such as an alleged invisible city that many swear exists somewhere, hidden (inevitably) in one of the many mountain ranges.

One truly eye opening festival that combines both the mountains and this sense of spirituality is the Paneurhythmy which takes places place at summer solstice in the Rila Mountains.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paneurhythmy

I have never taken part, but it does look fun, in an eat your muesli kind of way.

 

There are several famed monasteries in the mountains too, oases of a spiritual fastness that dates back hundreds of years.  The Rila Mountains are exceptional and there are others.

On a day to day basis if you prompt them a bit, especially after a glass of rakia the local form of deadly spirit, most Bulgarians will tell you even more tales of their spiritual past and their relationship with the natural world.  In fact, away from the sunny beaches, the country is virtually one big nature reserve. There are to be fair some exceptions, the odd brutal factory that you expect in a former communist industrialized country, but generally these can be easily avoided.  Best avoided is a town called, ‘Metal’, it is truly brutal and now very poor.

~

The best escape from the cheap beach holiday are the spas, some whole towns, some smaller villages, that are known for the therapeutic water that bubbles up and has been exploited for years.  Sofia, the capital is on top of a lot of naturally hot water.  There are some bad examples, but these are generally modern and pseudo-built for Party people, or nowadays the mafia.   The most established though are world class, and there are many.

My favourite is a collection of villages generally known collectively as Vellingrad which has about eighty springs that go from hot to very hot indeed.  Getting there is nice too, at least from Sofia.  Take the road to Plovdiv, an ancient Greek town with a fabulous amphitheater and a lazy coffee bar culture, and hang a right into the mountains.  The road is not much, but is a pleasure to drive along, with steep cliffs either side, lots of bends, rivers, nature all around and a train line, though I never saw a train and I guess this is the leisurely way to arrive.

The spa hotels are comfortable and there are many treatments on offer.

I liked the sauna and then dipping into the variously hot pools, which steam in winter.  My first wife went in for a chocolate inspired treatment and was thrilled for many days after about having her spiteful breasts coated in chocolate by a large woman in pseudo-medical garb.

She still dines out on the story today.

~

Outside of the spa towns there are closer to home opportunities for relaxing the body, mind and perhaps soul.

When I first met Lucy in Sofia she did not want to treat me.

Lucy is a masseuse, and a very good one.  She has treated national football teams and the national Olympic team.   She did not want to treat me though and her reason was that I have what she called. ‘The Gift’, in very heavily accented English, ‘geeeft’.  And here I became introduced to one element of Bulgarian spirituality that I don’t think most locals would consider strange.

For a start, as Lucy taught me, Bulgaria is vampire country.  Energy vampires.  Not the lot that pop into your bedroom at night and sink their teeth into your neck and leave you pale, wan and probably a vampire yourself.  No.  Energy vampires are all around us.  Your dog might be one, your boss (likely), a co-worker, even your child and quite possibly your wife.

Lucy suspected that I am one.

~

Eventually I passed the test and Lucy agreed to massage me.

I saw Lucy every weekend for about two years.  In that time she told me many interesting things and was quite open about her sexuality.  Her massage room is in a gym that also trains professional dancers and we often used to admire them together over cokes after my massage.  Lucy was a lucky girl with some of her clients, many of whom were perfectly formed females of the blossoming type, but also included a judge, several politicians, and many somewhat dangerous business men and women.

~

Winter in Sofia can be a bit trying.  The weather can be awful for those not used to really hard winters, complete with abundant snow, ice, and harsh wind from the mountains.  Sofia is also a high up capital city at 558 metres above sea level and with a big ever present mountain, Vitosha, right on the doorstep and rising to 2,292 metres.

Lucy’s room was always a sanctuary from anything that the weather was up to outside.  You arrive, you get changed – early on we established that boxer shorts stay on – and take your place on her professional table, where you lie face down with you face fit snug into a comfortable hole, in a room warmed by a fan heater and smelling of many different types of massage oils.

~

Lucy frowned a little on beer drinking prior to massage.  I can see why.  If you are foolish enough to have a Saturday beer or two before the privilege of a good massage in the hands of a spiritually inclined and physically strong professional as Lucy, you may as well be a corpse on the table.  For this is an action that is very physical, very intimate, and one that must be enjoyed, appreciated and savoured every moment.

In the hands of a professional like Lucy you are transformed.  There is no high quite like it.

~

First, you are naked but warm, because the heating is good after the cold outside.  You have about five minutes to relax, with your face in the hole.  Then Lucy comes in and asks what massage you would like.  There are several, including a painful hot stone massage that burned my tummy, but I generally went for the ‘classic’, with one of Lucy’s fabulous oil mixtures.

Then the magic starts.  Every part of the body over the course of an hour – generous by most standards – is slowly taken on a journey that leaves the mind in such free fall that gentle spiritual thoughts flower and the base hassle of dealing with everyday functions recede and recede and a real spiritual calm envelops body and mind.

I used to dribble through the hole in the table, thoroughly enjoying myself.

~

It is a two way process, and in my view one in which a great deal of respect must be shown to the master that is in control, mastering your body.  You are aware of your physical state, your meat and your bones like nothing else.  It is very intimate.  And your mind is faraway, somewhere tranquil, and believing.

When not dribbling, or snoozing on my part, we spoke.

Massage is a healing – a deep healthy thing – and in such a state of being physically there, but mentally so far, the mind begins to open.  I do therefore believe that there is a mountain in the Himalayas where there might not be dragons, but according to Lucy, an authority on the subject, there is a proto-type human race that are our forefathers genetically and that want us to evolve.  It is quite clear also that vampires exist, everywhere, and that they do not necessarily want to suck us dry, they just can’t help themselves.  A bit like small boys contemplating a pot of good looking strawberry jam.

After two years of this I also know how to spot your average vampire, and some very practical ways of keeping them at bay, not involving stakes and silver bullets.

Most Bulgarians do to, but to find all that out, you will have to visit, and if you can find her and persuade her to treat you, pay Lucy to tell you how.

A Soviet Joke (II)

A factory worker is in deep trouble with the local Party boss for consistent laziness, turning up late, on the job drinking with all of his co-workers, and most serious of all anti Soviet propaganda and calling Lenin a tosser and Stalin a git.

The Party boss asks, ‘Comrade, you realise that you are in deep trouble?’

These are the days when the G.U.L.A.G. is still very popular.

The worker just looks at his hands and spreading his fingers, works them in and out.

Try it for yourself and read on.

The Party boss was pleased with this and in his holier than thou, sanctimonious way says,

‘I can see Comrade that you are sorry’.

The worker continues to work his outstretched fingers in and out, in and out.

‘Comrade, no need to fret so’, says the Party boss, ‘tell me what is on your mind and this will go no further’.

The worker looks up and says, ‘I was just wondering Comrade’,

‘How the hell do hedgehogs fuck?’.

Bang, bang!