Thursday, February 21, 2013


Short Fiction Story
A Naval Yarn

Disclaimer: Please read this apocryphal short story only if you have a sense of humour. This is a spoof, pure fiction, a fantasy, a figment of imagination. So first convince yourself that you have a sense of humour and only then read the yarn, take it with a pinch of salt, and have a laugh. And yes, this story is for adults only, so if you are a kid please skip this post and go onto something academic in nature …

Short Fiction - A Naval Yarn

It was an abrupt end to a promising career.

In the morning he was forced to put in his papers.

In the afternoon there was a brief farewell party - a drab Pre-Lunch Drinks (PLD) in the Wardroom.

The usual boisterous bonhomie was conspicuous by its absence and there was an air of awkwardness in the Wardroom.

The farewell PLD for Horny was a mere formality to be got over with.

The party was muted low-key affair without the customary boisterous elbow-bending.

Everyone reluctantly sipped their beer in hushed silence hoping that time would move fast.

But time did not move quickly and they all endured the agonizing moments as time crawled slowly while they all waited for the uncomfortable proceedings to end.

No one forced “down the hatch” drinks and “bottoms up” beers on the departing guest.

There were no “jolly-good-fellow” hoists and there were no long winded farewell speeches – just one-line perfunctory speeches for the sake of formality.

Typically, a PLD was a jolly affair full of joie de vivre and the cheer and beer flowed freely. The happy high-spirited copious beer-drinking continued for hours together, till evening, and on occasions the boisterous revelry turned into a full-fledged drunken orgy late into the night.

But this PLD finished off within an hour and everyone heaved a sigh of relief that the embarrassment was over.

They all shook hands with Horny, wished him good-luck in the civvy-street, and they all went home, or to their cabins, to hit the sack and to enjoy what was left of the make-and-mend on the Wednesday afternoon.

Only Snotty stayed back and helped Horny pack his bags. 

Then he sent a sailor to get a taxi and when the taxi arrived alongside the ship at the jetty, Snotty picked up Horny’s bags and accompanied him to the gangway.

A sailor picked up Horny’s bags and put them into the boot of the taxi.

Horny stood at the gangway, expressionless. 

He did not betray his emotions but kept gazing in a vacant manner at the taxi. 

Then he turned around and smiled at Snotty and the gangway duty staff.

Then, Horny lifted himself to his full height, stood ramrod straight with chest out. 

He saluted for the last time, swallowed the anchor, and marched ashore across the gangway into the civvy-street forever.

Snotty felt sad to see Horny go away. 

Horny had been his mentor and Snotty admired him as a role model in the art of seamanship. 

Though Horny was his boss, he had always treated Snotty like a younger brother, with benevolence and patience. 

Horny was firm yet compassionate, revered by the men he commanded. 

Horny ran a happy department and Snotty had learnt so much from him. 

Snotty had really liked Horny and was sorry that such a promising career had been abruptly cut short in such a cruel and unjust manner.  

Snotty went down to the wardroom and sat down for lunch at the Dining Table. 

In order to enjoy good food one has to be in the right mood and that is why the delicious food which looked so good on the table turned tasteless in Snotty’s mouth.

“What’s wrong, Snotty?” asked the in-living PMC, who was nicknamed Sea Dog. He was sitting at the head of the table.

“Nothing, Sir. It’s about Horny.”

“What about Horny? I know he was your boss. Sad to see him go?”

“Yes, Sir. He was such a nice guy, Sir, and so good at his job.”

“I know. I was his training officer on the cadet ship. Horny was an outstanding cadet and a superb officer. He would have reached the very top but for this…”

“It’s totally unfair, Sir, and a very harsh punishment – an abrupt end to a promising career just because of one small indiscretion.” 

“One small indiscretion? You call it one small indiscretion? You know what he did, don’t you?”

“Well, he was having an affair with Salty’s wife, that’s all.”

“That’s all? You know how serious the matter is?”

“Sir, if two people want to have consensual sex, what’s the problem?”

“What’s the problem? You are asking me what’s the problem? Well, my dear friend, let me explain. Horny was married and so was Salty. And Horny was having an illicit relationship with Salty’s wife. It’s called adultery. Do you understand?”

“Sir, it is a personal matter between them and their wives. What has it got to do with our job? Why has Horny been sacked?”

“That may so be in the civvy street, but here we follow a code of conduct. Stealing the affection of a brother officer’s wife is strictly taboo. Such affairs are strictly forbidden. If you are feeling so damn frustrated, you can go and sow your wild oats outside, but you don’t steal the affections of a brother officers wife. ”

“Stealing affections of a brother officer’s wife?”

“Yes. Stealing the affections of a brother officer’s wife is just not allowed. It is considered an act of moral turpitude, conduct unbecoming of an officer, and conduct prejudicial to good order and naval discipline. That is why Horny was thrown out. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Sir.”


“Sir, I have a small doubt?”

“What doubt?”

“You can’t steal the affection of a brother officer’s wife because it is an act of moral turpitude?”

“That’s right. It is immoral to steal the affections of your brother officer’s wife.”

“You can’t steal the affection of a brother officer because it is illegal. That is what they told us at the academy.”

“Of course it is illegal. Buggery is unlawful. The days of the Rum Bum Lash Navy are long since over.”

“Sir, then please tell me one thing – you can’t steal the affections of a brother officer’s wife because it is immoral. You can’t steal the affection of a brother officer because it is unlawful. Then why is it permitted to steal the affection of your sister officer?”

“Stealing the affections of a sister officer? What are you talking about?”

“Sir, nowadays we have lady officers in the Navy.”


“If male officers are like our brothers, then the women officers are like our sisters, aren’t they?”

“That’s right – lady officers are indeed your sister officers. And that is exactly how you must treat them.”

“If you steal the affections of your sister, does that not amount to incest?”

“Incest? What are you trying to say?”

“Sir, tell me, are you allowed to marry your sister?”

“Of course not.”

“Then why are male officers being permitted to marry female officers? Brother Officers are stealing the affections of Sister Officers and even marrying them. Isn’t it funny, Sir? Today she is your sister officer and tomorrow she becomes your wife?”

“What’s your point?”

“It is all very confusing to me, Sir.”

“Confusing? What?”

“You can steal the affection of your sister officer, you can even marry your sister officer – that is allowed – sister officers can steal the affections of their brother officers and even marry them – that is permitted - then why make such a big hullabaloo if you steal the affections of a brother officer’s wife?”

“Very interesting question. I think I’ll have to ask my wife to answer that.”

“Your wife? I thought you were a bachelor, Sir.”

“And why is that?”

“Because you are in-living, Sir.”

“Well, my wife is posted elsewhere. And you’ll be interested to know that she is, in your parlance, a ‘sister officer’ – yes, Dear Snotty, I am guilty of stealing the affections of a sister officer!”

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like this story?
I am sure you will like the 27 short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:
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Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll
If your are a Foodie you will like my book of Food Adventures APPETITE FOR A STROLL. Do order a copy from FLIPKART:

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


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Vikram Waman Karve said...

Thanks Wilson