Meeting Major Oaks, Episode 37, Odysseys in Paradise

The Odyssey entered the harbor of Pago Pago early morning. Lush green tropical mountains protected the harbor and kept the waters calm. Using the radio, Rich contacted the harbormaster to locate a dock. He directed him to one having a few empty berths.

Rich docked and no sooner secured The Odyssey until a middle-aged Polynesian man wearing shorts and a tee shirt asked him for three dollars.

“How much for a week?” Rich said.

“Three dollar a day,” the man said.

“Don’t you give discounts for weeks or months,” Rich said.

Rich counted out three dollars.

“More,” the man said, “three-day minimum.”

Rich handed the man a ten dollar bill and got back the three dollars. There was a hesitation. “I have one dollar change coming.”

“No,” the man said. “Nine dollar, three day, one dollar registration.”

Okay,” Rich said, “Let’s go get registered.”

“You already register,” the man said. “Welcome to Pago Pago.”

Rich smiled. “If anybody touches my boat, I’ll rip my money from your pocket.”

The man smirked and looked toward the end of the dock where a huge Samoan man stood with his arms folded.

“Okay,” Rich said, “I’ll pay him one hundred dollars to do it for me.”

The man smiled. “He my cousin.”

“Not for one hundred dollars,” Rich said. “But I’m a practical man.” Rich reached into his wallet and pulled out a twenty. “Now, make sure my boat is taken care of.”

“It will be safe,” the man said.

“I take your word,” Rich said.

Rich walked around the man and to the end of the dock. He stopped at the large Samoan man. “I gave the little man 20 dollars for you. He said he was your boss. Make sure he gives it to you.”

Rich walked away and spotted a bright red Crosley convertible with “Taxi” printed on the side in black letters. A Polynesian man rested against the front fender. From a distance he appeared old, however, as Rich moved closer he noticed he was prematurely gray.

“Cab, Sir?” the man said quickly standing.

“Do you know where everything is?” Rich said.

“And where everything isn’t,” the man smiled.

“I’m not that kind of guy,” Rich said. “My name is Rich.”

“And mine is Speed.”

Rich looked at the car and suspiciously at Speed.

“I run fast,” Speed said. “Some say faster than my car.”

“Can you take me to any official United States offices,” Rich said.

“What kind?” Speed said.

“Is there an embassy or consulate?”

Speed rubbed the back of his neck. “I’ve never known of anything like that. We have Samoan government offices.”

“What about military?” Rich asked.

“There is a Naval airbase not far from here,” Speed said.

“Let’s go,” Rich said.

They drove by a two-story government office and Rich asked Speed to stop and wait for him. Rich walked into the front entrance of the building and checked with a receptionist for any United States government offices. There were none and they continued to the Naval Station.

Two Marines in fatigues maned a small guard station at an automatic sliding gate. Rich told a guard he had official information that had to be passed on. One guard had a brief conversation on the phone. He hung up and nodded to the other guard and he waved Speed to enter.

Speed stopped in a circular driveway in front of a flat roof one-story white building. Rich asked speed to stay.

Rich walked in and approached a sailor dressed in whites behind a gray metal desk.

“Can I help you, sir,” the sailor said.

“I’m here on official business and I need to see an intelligence officer,” Rich said.

“What is your name?”

“Richard Larsen.”

“You can have a seat. I’ll get someone.”

Rich didn’t sit. He stood at a window overlooking a couple hangers, airstrip, and the bay.

The sailor returned. “Someone will be with you shortly.” The sailor sat down and began typing.

A few minutes later a neatly dressed Marine in dress khakis walked down a hallway toward Rich. He slowed, looking at Rich with near disdain dressed in his well-worn clothing, uncut hair, and a couple days of growth on his face.

“I’m Major Oaks, what can I help you with?” he said in deep authoritative voice.

“I need to see an intelligence officer,” Rich said.

He smirked. “What happened, you get drafted and skipped the country.”

“No,” Rich said. “I need to see and inelegance officer.”

“I suggest you head back home and report to your draft board,” Oaks said. “I’ve had at least a half-dozen guys like you in here the past year. You dodged the draft and figured out you screwed up and now you think you are doing the honorable thing. The honorable thing is to answer your call to duty.”

“Can we speak privately?” Rich said.

“Is that your cab?” Oaks said.

“Yeah,” Rich said.

“We can talk privately as I escort you back to your cab,” Oaks said. He motioned toward the door.

Rich walked out and Oaks behind him

“Okay,” Oaks said, “what do you want to tell me? I’m the commanding officer, the mess officer, the recreation officer, the morale officer, and the intelligence officer; so whatever your problem is, I got you covered.”

“Contact agent Clyde Acres in the Caracas, Venezuela CIA office. Tell him Richard Larsen is here and well.”

Oaks looked at Rich skeptically. “Is that it?”

“Yes,” Rich said. “Will you do it?”

Oaks stared.

“On your honor,” Rich said.

“On my honor,” Oaks said.

“I’m in the harbor,” Rich said. “I’ll be here for at least a week. I’m on a 38-foot sailboat, The Odyssey.”

Rich left Oaks standing and walked back to the cab. Speed drove him back to The Odyssey.


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