Vic Roy's "Another Joy"- Baton Rouge, LA
My half tower was done by Pipewelders' shop in New Orleans, but all their shops do nice work. They are pretty expensive, but worth it. Mine is about 8 or 10 years old and pretty much looks like new with no cracks, etc, and I beat the hell out of the boat.
The photo on the left is at the fuel dock at 5 AM when the crew has been up all night chasing you-know-whats at the local (down the bayou) barrooms all night. That IS NOT DIESEL spilling out of the overflow into the harbor, Your Honor; it's the left over chum deposited by the fat beer-drinker-turned green faced seasick whimp from the 8 foot seas the day before. My story, and I'm sticking to it. Plus, the statue of limitations has run
Baton Rouge, LA
New Paint Job! - December 2001
UNCLE VIC RETIRES
Uncle Vic had been working way too hard. I had been doing a lawsuit for Uncle Sam in Texas. Uncle Vic got 892,000 frequent flyer miles in two years as a result. I like to fly, but enough is enough. The straw that broke Uncle Vic's back was a six day trip to Louisville in February. It was cold as hell with dirty snow all over the place. Plus, if you've ever been to Louisville, you know there ain't squat to do. You can only see where they make baseball bats so many times, you know. And the food sucks.
Anyway, after five days of listening to lawyer-dribble, I headed home on a Friday afternoon. Nope, not so fast, Uncle Vic; the snow was swirling, and Mother Delta was way late. To make a very long story shorter, I bounced into BTR at 4:15 a.m. on the dreaded midnight - the sucker ain't been on time once in it's life - flight from Atlanta that stops somewhere in Alabama. Having been a pilot in my distant youth, I guess me and the real pilots were the only ones aboard that knew that the BTR control tower closes at midnight - yeah, they go home and turn off the lights. ...You're on your own. ...Scary.
Driving my battered truck home from the airport at that god- awful hour, a sudden realization swept over me. Sorta like the oncoming headlights from the pickup trucks headed to the early shift at the chemical plants: This Sucks. So what ya gonna do about it, Uncle Vic? The question kept coming back to me with the recurring whine of the Monster Mudders on I-10: What ya gonna do, big boy? That's when I decided Uncle Vic was going to retire.
The next day I broke the news to wife Miss Elaine. She was very understanding. "You dumb bastard, you ain't but 53; you can't retire! What the hell you gonna do with yourself?" is a cleaned up version. Undaunted, I went to the office and informed my partners of the impending event. Their reaction can best be described as derision. "What else is new, Camel Breath?" one shot back, "you think just 'cause you have to travel a little, you're working?" Another asked if he could have my corner office. The receptionist asked how she should start answering the phone. Hmmmmmmm.
I finally settled for semi-retirement. It has a certain ring to it. Semi-retired. I liked it. Our son, Capt. Brent, fresh graduated from LSU, was just cranking up his charter business, but he seemed sort of cool to me being his deck hand. A couple of buddies humored me and took off a week or so and we went fishing. We tore them up. I got pretty fond of hanging around the Venice Marina the mouth of the Mississippi River in the middle of the week. I learned how to cook fish and shrimp a million ways.
After about two months of this, I decided it was GREAT. I would call my office on the cell phone every day or so, and they still mentioned my name when they answered the phone. Comforting. I'd go by the office now and then and check my mail, and act important. Nobody paid much attention to Uncle Vic. It didn't bother me a bit. I was in the groove.
About July, a bunch of lawyers I knew from Amarillo, Texas called. I had apparently promised them (whiskey talk, for sure) that I would take them marlin fishing. I told them I would pick them up at the New Orleans airport in two days.
These four cowboys showed up with enough gear for a year. They had snake leggings already tied on their shins. They had pith helmets and mosquito nets. One of them had a gawdam suitcase the size of a steamer trunk, and another had a fancy hard rod case. The case held - no lie - a two piece bream casing rod and a Zebco 33, still in the Wal-Mart wrappings. The first thing they wanted to do was go to the temporary gambling casino in the New Orleans ghetto. I explained to them that we needed to get down the river before dark. No good. We went and paid our Tax On Stupidity at the casino.
I took them to a decent cajun restaurant and they loved it. A couple of them had a beer for an after-dinner drink. Classy. When the check came, all four of them bolted for the men's room. Ominous sign.
We finally got to Venice way after the pelicans had roosted and loaded all their mountain of gear on my 31 Bertram, "Another Joy". We headed down the river in pitch darkness and were about opposite Pilottown (where the bar pilots change to the river pilots) when two of them got seasick. They were chumming over the windward side of the boat. Worse Omen.
We finally get to Port Eads - a marina owned by the Plaquemines Parish government that is 25 miles from the nearest road - and it took hours to get things sorted out. I cooked up something and they seemed to calm down a little, but they kept the snake leggings on, even in the houseboat. I had conned Capt. Brent into coming down from Venice after his charter to go offshore with us the next day, and he showed up about midnight. He just shook his head when he saw my "crew". The cowboys were just getting cranked up on the whiskey, and Buzzy, the cajun harbormaster, was showing them how to play bouree. Bouree is a cajun card game that is similar to hearts, but the rules are flexible, to say the least. Bouree is why cajuns have no visible means of support. I couldn't even watch; it was that much of a slaughter. Buzzy remarked how I needed to bring more of my Texas buddies down. I guess so. It's called redistribution of wealth.
The next morning dawned clear and calm. We herded the cowboys on the boat, snake leggings and all, and headed out on a 165. The reports were that the blue water had gone. I told the cowboys we were going to the blue water no matter what. They seemed happy enough gawking at the massive deep water oil rigs and drinking beer. 50 miles, and still dirty water; 75 miles, the same. Capt. Brent started squirming, but I convinced him to press on. Finally at 101.2 n.m., still in dirty green water, the mutiny started. Then the squalls started boxing us in. We never put the baits in the water. The cowboys, who had never seen a body of water bigger than a stock pond, were terrified as it got rougher and rougher. They had finally learned to chum downwind, though, snake leggings and all.
We finally fought our way back to Port Eads just before dark, still in the rain. Buzzy was waiting on the dock, shuffling the cards. The bouree students went down for the count the second night. The next morning we had to literally drag them on the boat. We went out by the Lena and found a tropical depression. I kept hosing the cowboys down with the washdown pump. Capt. Brent blew his stack when a foamy 8-footer almost swept the bridge, and in we went. Capt. Brent did not say a word; he stormed into the houseboat, got his stuff, jumped in his skiff, and hauled ass back to Venice. I was stuck with the whining cowboys at 10 in the morning. I didn't have the heart to turn Buzzy loose on them for any more bouree lessons. I sat down and thought, something I hadn't done a whole lot of since my glorious semi-retirement.
Suddenly, a realization swept over me; This Sucks. I declared an emergency and told the cowboys a killer hurricane was bearing down on us, the water moccasins were on their way, and we had been ordered to evacuate, right now. They grabbed gear and we headed upriver with the twin Cummins on the governors. I piled them in the truck and drove like a madman to the New Orleans airport and kicked them out on the curb, barely pausing.
Finally rid of the scourge from 270 degrees, I slowly headed up I-10 to B.R. I started thinking of going back to work full- time, and how much fun it would be. Miss Elaine was right, I guess. Dumb Bastard.
© copyright 1996 - 2000 Vic Roy
NEW! - Book Store - NEW!
|| Guest Log || Bulletin Boards || Articles || Listings ||
|| Screen Saver || Mailing Address ||