Stephen A. Peterson
Naval Petty Officer Jack Corso had decided while on duty in the Persian Gulf that no one cared about him or the job he was doing for the Navy. “I’m going to kill myself. Unless somebody this day shows me that they really considers me a part of this man’s Navy or can make me feel good about myself, I don’t want to live anymore. People in the Navy and in the civilian world are nothing but a bunch of hypocrites, outright mean and completely selfish! Why would anyone want to live in a world like this? I’m sick and tired of people in general.”
So Petty Officer Corso, after preparing the cinnamon rolls for the next day’s breakfast, began to walk around the ship looking for a secluded place where few would look—at least for a few days anyway. While in his break, he decided the food storage area was a perfect place to end his miserable life. As he scanned this area, the ship’s Captain ordered Petty Officer to his cabin. “Oh, geez! What does the Captain want now?”
Making his way to the Captain’s cabin, he tried to sort out what he may have done wrong to warrant an audience with the Captain. “Maybe the Captain got sick off the fish I served him. No, maybe I didn’t cook enough bacon this morning. Perhaps I’ll get inspected again. The last time I dealt the Captain, he chewed me out something terribly. Maybe I’ll kill myself now. I doubt they’ll miss me anyway.”
As Petty Officer Corso turned to shut the door behind him, there was a cough. There, in the corner around the bag of flour, was something moving about. Moving closer he encountered a small boy. “Hey, boy! How did you get on this ship? Come here!”
With nowhere to go, the boy stood up as the sack slipped to the floor. “My goodness!” responded Petty Officer Corso. “Where are you from, boy? Who are you? Tell me, how did you get on this ship?”
“I was to go to America. My mother, my father dead. I have nobody. I have no friends. Are you my friend? I’ve been here three day now. Can I have something to eat, please?”
“You can’t stay here, boy. This is a Navy ship. We’re at war. You could get killed being on this ship.”
The boy said nothing.
“I’ll have to report you to the Captain. He’ll decide what to do with you.”
The boy stood before Petty Officer Corso like a statue as tears rolled down his cheeks.
“Aw, come on! Let’s go to the galley and get you something to eat. Geez! Why me?” the Petty Officer lamented.
Arriving at the galley room area, Petty Officer Corso gave the hungry boy a double helping of fish sticks, rice and pinto beans. “Eat up boy! “ Then he thought for a second, “Oh, my gosh! I’m late to see the Captain! Hurry up and eat boy! We’re going to see the Captain before he throws me overboard!”
“Your boss do that?” said the boy now putting bigger pieces of food in his mouth.
“C’mon! I gotta go and you’re going with me.”
When Petty Officer Corso and the boy arrived, the Captain responded: “What in the devil took you so long Petty Officer? I called you more than thirty minutes ago. And how did that boy get aboard this ship? Is this your doing, Petty Officer?
“No, sir! I found this kid hiding in a bag of flour in the food area. I don’t know how he got on board. I’ve been trying to find that out myself, sir.”
“Anyway, Petty Officer I called you to my quarters to give you a coin for all of your hard work over the past couple of weeks. Yes, I chewed you up and out and I’ve observed you and your work effort has really improved even beyond my expectations. Now, keep up the good work! Don’t slip and disappoint me!” as the Captain slapped a coin in the sailor’s right hand.
Petty Officer Corso stood before the Captain in shock and speechless.
“What’s wrong with you Petty Officer? Are you okay?”
“Sir, I was actually headed for the food storage area to… Ah...” as his head dropped.
The Petty Officer straightened up then said: “Everything is okay. Thank you so much sir for the coin. You don’t know how this makes me feel.
“Now about this boy. I’ll have to get him off this ship immediately. I’m not going to be responsible for this kid.”
When the Captain and Petty Officer Corso turned around to escort the boy to a cabin, he was not in the immediate area.
“Hey, where is that boy? Did you see where he went?”
“I want every inch of this ship search until we find him. He just didn’t disappear.”
The Captain went to the public address system to announce that a search had begun for a boy who somehow came aboard their ship. Though the crew search for nearly five hours, no boy could be located.
Following the search, Petty Officer Corso went to his bunk. As he took a close look at the large heavy coin, he came to realize that his earlier call to help from God was answered in the form of a young boy. He learned that day someone really did care about him and his well-being. For that day forward, Petty Officer Corso turned to God when he felt nothing was going right for him.
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