AT THE DOCK
00:00 / 05:22

(Starts at 0:05) Much of the material for this scene (song) was taken from my father's unfinished novel, Port Chicago Story.

THE SCENE: THE LOADING DOCKS OF THE AMMUNITION DEPOT 

AT THE DOCK, LYRICS

POFC 1

(directing the SAPs as they approach the dock.)

(0:13) BEAR TO THE RIGHT,

CATCH UP IN THE REAR.

FALL OUT, FALL OUT!

ALL RIGHT TO YOUR HOLDS MEN.

 

CHIEF 1

 

(0:23) OK GANG, DON’T WASTE ANY TIME.

POFC 1

 

(0:28) SWEEP OUT THAT CAR,

PULL THE PLATES,

CHIEF 1

ON THE DOUBLE!

 

CHIEF 1 and POFC 1

ON THE DOUBLE!

 

LT. SCHINDLER

(0:37) NO HOOKS ON THAT POWDER.

WHAT S’MATTER WITH YOU?

(0:47) YOU’RE NOT THAT WEAK.

 

LT. SCHINDLER and CHIEF 1

(0:49) IT WON’T HURT YOU.

 

POFC 1

(0:52) WATCH YOUR HEAD!

 

LT. SCHINDLER

WATCH YOUR HEAD!

CHIEF 1

(0:55) WATCH YOUR GODDAMNED HEAD!

 

SAP 1

(holding a small projectile ... )

(1:05) HOW DOES THIS THING WORK LIEUTENANT?

WHAT THEY USE IT FOR?

 

POFC 2

What a dumb ass!

LT. SCHINDLER

(1:24) BLOW UP THE JAPS,

AND US TOO,

IF YOU DROP IT.


SAP 1

THEN HERE, IT’S YOURS!

(SAP 1 tosses the projectile to Lt. Schindler.)

CHIEF 2

The next thing you know, he’ll be lighting a cigarette.

 

RICHARD

My God, this is crazy out here.

 

SORVER

I know. ... Fellas, you’ve got to watch it.  See that guy over there? ... Roosevelt Eller ...  He don't treat this place any different than the streets of Detroit ... just as soon stick a knife through your stomach as look at 'ya.

 

BOB

Glad Schindler's got him and not me.

 

SORVER

But most of 'em are just hard-working regular guys with families back home and, in some cases, decent jobs. ...

 

See that guy?  Morris Soublet. What an incredible sense of humor!  Funny as hell.  He'd be great on the radio ... as good as Jack Benny, ... I guarantee 'ya.

 

CHIEF 2

(leaning in on the conversation,...)

You mean Rochester?

 

SORVER

No, I mean Benny. 

He’s funnier than Jack. 

And see that fella, Ernie Oliver?

Dropped out of school after the sixth grade ... but what a nice guy. 

Wrote a poem about me once, and I damned near cried. 

Would’ve never made it in the New Yorker, but it sure made me feel good.

 

RICHARD

I understand.

 

SORVER

And see those two guys, Powell and Cannon?

 

RICHARD

Yeah.

 

SORVER

Both studied communications before they joined the Navy.  So you've got to realize that some of these boys are just as talented as the guys in Lang’s division ... and maybe even the officers ... and you've got to handle 'em the same way.

 

RICHARD

No problem, Frank.

 

BOB

Same here.

 

SAP 2

(3:05) GOT TO GO TO THE HEAD.

ALL SAPS

GOT TO GO TO THE HEAD.

GOT TO GO, GOT TO GO,

GOT TO GO TO THE FRIGGIN’ HEAD.

 

SAP 3

(3:18) CAN’T NO SON-A-BITCH OFFICER GO TO WATCH ME PEE.

LT. SCHINDLER

Or smoke a cigarette.

 

ALL SAPS

SCREAMIN’, CUSSIN’, ALWAYS FUSSIN’

ON THE DOUBLE! YOU’RE IN TROUBLE!

 

RICHARD

IN THE WAY!

 

ALL OFFICERS AND PETTY OFFICERS

HEADS UP!

 

RICHARD

Frank, was it OK for me to step in like that?

 

SORVER

You better believe it! ...  May have already saved your first life out here.  Gotta be on your toes all the time.

 

(LT. GEORGE HACKENBERG walks up to greet the officers.)

SORVER (cont’d)

Hey, Bob and Dick, let me introduce you to Lt. George Hackenberg.

 

(BOB and RICHARD shake hands with HACKENBERG but do not salute.)

 

SORVER (cont’d)

George just got off the swing shift with the 7th.

 

GEORGE

Welcome to Port Chicago Fellas.

 

BOB

Good to meet you George.

RICHARD

Yeah, George.

Good to meet you.

 

GEORGE

Everybody here calls me ‘Hack.’

By the way, how many tons did the last division put on?

 

SORVER

I think it was two hundred and seventy four.

 

GEORGE

They oughta’ beat that.

 

LT. SCHINDLER

(overhearing the conversation...)

We better!  I got 100 dollars ridin’ on it.

 

SORVER

Fellas, Hack's being here just reminded me. ... The swing shift can be cold as hell.  Some of the boys will want to wear overcoats.  But it's even more dangerous out here in overcoats, 'cause they can get caught up in the equipment and stuff.

 

GEORGE

Frank's right.  You've gotta be extra careful on those cold nights.

 

CHIEF 1

(4:43) TWO LOOPS AROUND THAT LOAD,

GET A LONGER SLING.

 

SAP 1

COMMIN’ THROUGH.

CHIEF 1 and POFC 1

NOT SO FAST.

DON’T LET IT HIT YOU.

SAPS

(5:00) AND UP MY GODDAMNED ASS!

 

ALL OFFICERS and PETTY OFFICERS

(5:09) TURN AROUND AND WATCH YOUR HEAD!

 

SAPS

(all giving a middle finger salute...)

(5:14) UP MY ASS!