The Phillip Long Story: A Cantina In Mexico – The Second Abandonment

With recruit training behind us it is now time to get down to some advanced training.

We graduated from basic, returned home for 30 days leave where it was nice to not be called a maggot for four weeks.  We had been assigned to radioman advanced training school and returned to NTC San Diego to begin training which would eventually place us on board a ship together in perhaps one of the best striking fields available.

Because of the top-secret nature of working with radio communications it was a position that answered directly to a ship’s commander and always knew everything that was going on.  Where the next port of call was going to be, when you would get there, and it would also come with an automatic petty officer billet when arriving on board even though we would only be E-3.  However, before we started sailing somewhere exotic we had to get through training and while I felt pretty confident in my ability I was a bit concerned about Phillip.

In order to begin the technical part of the school we had four weeks to learn how to type Morse code at 30 words per minute.  Since I could already type I was half way there, but Phillip could do neither and really didn’t want to learn to do either, but knew he had no choice.  Failure meant getting reassigned as a boatsman’s mate and instead of sitting in a radio room enjoying the Navy from a position of comfort we could end up chipping paint all day long and I had no intention of chipping paint.  Neither did Phillip, but after the first week I could tell it was going to be a close call and I had a vested interest in getting him through this.

We stayed in a dormitory, 4 to a room, so it was easy to communicate with each other and while we were buddies in basic we really were getting close now.  We talked a lot in the more private surroundings and shared things with each other that made me feel like brothers more than buddies.  I had never had a brother so I had no benchmark, but I still had a feeling of responsibility that I wasn’t going to let my brother down.  I didn’t know how, but I was somehow going to make sure he passed the four-week test if we had to work 24 hours a day.

Phillip was living for that first weekend and I was too and decided we needed to twist off so I didn’t push to stay on base and study.  We still had three weeks left.  We went downtown San Diego about 8:00pm and saw a sign at the USO inviting us in to a free dance.  We went in and in typical Phillip Long fashion within minutes the cutest girl in the place is making eyes at him.

Suddenly “Drop Dead Gorgeous” asks Phillip to dance accompanied by her friend , Coyote Ugly, who is asking me to dance.  Being asked to dance at a USO means nothing normally.  The girls are generally volunteers from churches and they are normally heavily chaperoned.  They are there just to give the military guys a little friendly smile, conversation and some cookies and punch.  Coyote and I have very little in common, but Phillip and Gorgeous seem to be hitting it off really well and I can tell she is really enamored with Phillip and she isn’t trying to hide it from anyone except the eyes of the USO chaperons.

To make a long story short Phillip ask’s me to stay there with Coyote and cover for Gorgeous and him while they take a short walk . . . a two and a half hour short walk.  By the time they return I know more than I ever wanted to know about Coyote and am wondering if Phillip is ever going to return . . . and actually wondering where in the world he could have walked in downtown San Diego that took two and a half hours.  I could also tell by looking at Gorgeous a lot more than walking had been going on as she was pushing Coyote to hurry and get out of there before she got questioned by a chaperon about where she had been.

I looked at Long and said . . . “You didn’t.”

He looked back grinning that grin from ear to ear.

The next weekend we really should have stayed on base and studied, but Phillip talked me into going out to a submarine base at Point Loma about 15 miles remote from NTC where they were known to let servicemen drink at age 18 because at NTC you had to be 21.  We arrived and decided to bowl on one of the handful of bowling lanes they had available.  One the lane next to ours were two waves (female branch of Navy).  Phillip starts a conversation.  Normally waves won’t have anything to do with low-level enlisted men because the ratio of men to women is probably 20-1 and they seek out the men with higher rank  Actually they don’t seek at all.  They don’t have to.

To shorten this part of the story I will let you guess what is getting ready to transpire because the details are not important, but the scenario is not too different from the week before except this time it happened much faster and while wave #2 wasn’t ugly she was a total bitch who wouldn’t even dance with me while Phillip was gone and while he was only gone a little over 30 minutes I was pretty pissed when he returned.

We got on the bus to head back to base and Phillip knew I was steamed.

“What is it Webster” he asked.

“I’m not pissed at you, Phillip.”  I remember he looked down at the floor of the bus as he listened. “I’m just pissed. How the hell do you end up getting laid without even trying . . . and always by the best looking girls around . . . and I haven’t been laid one time in my whole life.  Just once I would like to know what it is like.  Yeah.  That pisses me off.  Sorry, but it does.”

I guess I expected him to laugh, but he didn’t.  He was silent for a little while and then he said.  “Webster, I’ve got an idea.  We’re going to Mexico.”

I looked at him like he had to be out of his mind. Mexico was currently off-limits to US military.  We had been told in the very first briefing at advanced training we were not to go across the border at any time while stationed at NTC.  They gave no reason.  It was a rule and to violate it was reason to be reprimanded under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  As far as I was concerned this conversation ended right then and it did not come up again for two weeks.

The next weekend we stayed on base and studied.  I had qualified that week at 30 words per minute and was now solely working to get Phillip into the technical portion of the training.  He was rapidly improving and once he got past the typing handicap it seemed like picking up the code was coming quickly. Still, we were dead broke and payday was a week away.  We studied.

If they could have given the test the following Friday I am almost certain Phillip would have passed, but it would be Tuesday before he would take it.  We got paid Friday and Phillip said, “Well, Webster.  Are you ready for Tijuana?”

We hadn’t talked about it since that night on the bus, but Phillip I found out had been doing some talking to some other servicemen who had been down to Mexico and there had been no reports of anyone being arrested for making the trip.  There were no MP (military police) and apparently several hundred servicemen were hitting the border every weekend.  An unenforced rule meant to be broken is the way he described it.

I thought long and hard . . . for about two seconds . . . and said you really think we can pull it off and not get into trouble.

“Webster, trust me.  I don’t want to get into trouble any more than you.  It will be fun and I am certain we have nothing to worry about.”

With those words of confidence we are getting some money and heading for the main gate where we get in a cab and head to the border . . . about 20 minutes south of NTC.

We crossed the border without incident.  It was still daylight and what greeted us on the other side was the dirtiest, filthiest place I had seen in my life.  We made our way by foot down a dirt road about a half mile to the area of Tijuana where the action was supposed to be.

Loud music was coming from a cantina on the right and we decided to step inside.  We had to make our way around a dead dog laying in the street about ten feet from the front door that had apparently been run over by a vehicle a couple of days before and nobody had bothered to remove it.  Flies swarmed it and the odor was sickening.

Once inside we sat at the bar and both ordered beers.  The place was empty but for two Mexican senoritas I will call Maria and Mable and the bartender.  Maria was probably about 20, very pretty, and she approached Phillip.  Mable wasn’t bad-looking either, but she was easily 30, maybe older, and had a hard look about her.  Her brown eyes made that hardness even more pronounced.  I immediately put up my guard because something told me this woman would cut you heart out for a price and not think twice.  Other than the hardness she had a nice body and certain sex appeal that I might have enjoyed more if not for the odor from the dead dog that kept slapping me in the nostrils.  She spoke for both of them and asked the bartender to bring drinks.  She didn’t ask Phillip or me if we would buy them drinks.  She ordered and when the bartender brought them she pointed to the drinks and looked at me said, “You pay.” It was not a question.

Maria takes Phillip by the hand and leads him to a table in the back of the cantina where it is dark and while not private, more private than the bar.  I also got the impression it was a preplanned thing they did when there were two men together to get them separated so they could work them easier.  I was making an assumption that both of them worked at the world’s oldest profession.  I wasn’t certain about Maria, but I had no doubt about Mable.  I am torn between wanting to move to a table in the other corner with Mable to get way from the front door and the odor of the dog and not wanting to be in a dark area of the room with Mable because of fear of what that might lead to.  For the time being I decided the dog was better.  Mable can speak very little English but enough to let me know she knows I am American military.  I ask her how she knows that. She points to my shoes.

Phillip and Maria appear to be having a very good time.  I notice them staring into each others eyes like two lovers that have been in love for years.  I am amazed.  Mable is so creepy in that area I can’t even look her in the eyes for more than a few seconds.  She is just way too hard.  Maria doesn’t appear to trying to put a hustle on Phillip, but by now Mable has made it clear she is a professional and that a “good time”  can be had “upstairs” and she had quoted me a price that equaled about half a month’s pay for my pay grade and there was no way.

“Come on Phillip.  Let’s go” I said.

Phillip and Maria are still doing the swan song in their dark corner and she is sitting in his lap with both arms around his neck.

“Come on man.  Either take her up stairs and get it over with and then let’s go or let’s go now.”  There is no response.

I look at Mable’s drink and I can see that it is just a matter of minutes before she is getting ready to order another one on me and I am ready to go.  Mable now decides to lower her price to less than half of her original request and suddenly the whole scene just overwhelms me.  The smell of the dog, the filth of the city. I have to get out of there.  I am not going to live the rest of my life remembering this as my first ever sexual encounter.  It just isn’t going to happen.

“Long.  Come on.  I am leaving.”  Phillip and Maria continue to ignore the rest of the world.

I head for the door.  Mable says “No go.”

“I’ll be back later” I shout as I walk out the door, leaving Phillip and Maria to share their new-found romance while I escape from Mable and the smell of the dog.

The Phillip Long Story: Buddies Until Abandoned

  1. The Graduate was Hot! KOMA was King!
  2. In the Navy – We Want You as a New Recruit
  3. Basic Training – First Abandonment
  4. To the Girl Who Loved Me
  5. A Cantina in Mexico – Second Abandonment  <- You are Here
  6. Vanished In Tijuana – Fear and Panic
  7. Phillip Needs Help – We Can’t Tell the Truth
  8. Thanksgiving Day – A Time for Healing
  9. The Captain’s Mast of Seaman Apprentice Webster
  10. Conclusion – Too Much Living to Do


About Marvin David Webster

I am an American. I was Born Under a Wanderin' Star. Since 2010 I have called the Philippines home.
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5 Responses to The Phillip Long Story: A Cantina In Mexico – The Second Abandonment

  1. David Webster says:

    I wonder why too.  I thought it was a general order, but perhaps it was just a selective order by command. Seems like Corps school was at Coronado, or was it at NTC?  I just remember in the very first orientation at radio school we were told in no uncertain terms Mexico was “off limits.”  If some commands allowed it then that explains the 200-300 servicemen Phillip had heard were going there every weekend.  And Phillip was right about the MPs.  I did not see a single one.  By the way Billy, did you run into Mable? LOL


  2. Bill Irvin says:

    Ok, David. That story brought back memories of Tijuana and getting drunk on Singapor Slings. God, was I sick. I was in Corps School at this same time. We weren’t restricted from Mexico. I wonder why.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. David Webster says:

    Sometimes when reflecting back on events like this I can remember with vivid clarity details from many years before and tonight when writing this I could smell the dog as clearly as I did 40 years ago.  Perhaps that is why it is mentioned so many times. Then other times I can’t recall things that happened 24 hours before. I even asked a neurologist about it one time and she told me it wasn’t that uncommon for people who are bi-polar, which I am, but it is freaky.  While I appreciate the vivid recall of some distant events it can be depressing to have little recall of current ones. And I don’t have vivid recall of all distant events . . . just certain ones that my brain somehow filed away in some kind of high definition mode that makes it very easy to write about those particular events, but other things become almost impossible for me to write about because of lack of recall. I guess I’m just crazy.  LOL I can’t tell everyone how much I appreciate all the comments.  They are what keep my fingers typing.  Without them it is easy to forget anyone is reading what I write, but the comments motivate me and are greatly appreciated.  Thank you very much.


  4. David Webster says:

    Strangely enough, while writing this, even after 40 years I could still smell that dead dog. I guess that is why it is mentioned in the story so many times.Sometimes when I start writing about events like this even though I may not have thought about them in a very long time, when I start writing I can close my eyes and relive the moment with great clarity and tonight when writing this I remembered exactly how that dog smelled as if I was there again. Also, I was able to look into Mable’s eyes again, just as vividly as I did 40 years ago and remember how hard and cold they were. Then sometimes other things happen that I can’t recall 24 hours later. Seriously. It is really weird.


  5. schaub says:

    Excellent–I can almost smell the dead dog! Believe it or not, I have a similar story in Juarez!!!!! But that was another time and place…..As Joe said, I am hanging on every word.

    Liked by 1 person

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