Matthew Nunes

You could call my past eclectic, although a good friend called it checkered on one occasion. I graduated from Massachusetts Maritime Academy in the year that the first women had been admitted, and went to sea as a third mate. I went through winter storms and summer hurricanes in the North and South Atlantic, and spent most of my time on the last of the tramp freighters under American flag.

I worked in heavy construction later, in Louisiana and near Lake Ontario. It seems that I kept entering fading industries for awhile, and ultimately wound up working for a small start up company owned by a close friend.

To make ends meet, I took a job at a bar. Not upscale at all, I had to come to working agreements with drug dealers, ("One business inside the bar, and it can't be yours, right?") broke up fights, took away knives and one gun, all with courtesy.

In all of that, I was only hurt twice, both times by women. Go figure.

It turned out that all of that experience gave me a lot of raw material. Add to that my occasional lack of filtration between brain and mouth, and it's been a fun ride. While at the Academy, as a fourth classmen, "youngie," or "young man," as we were called, my section was ordered to help an upper classman rig the gangway from the training ship.

We had been shown how to do it, and the placement of the shackles to hoist it from the deck and lower it was important to prevent damage. So, the upperclassman had likely forgotten, or was very excited to be in charge, and ordered it done wrong. Thirty guys, and I had to be the one who spoke up. "Sir, we need to move that sling outboard of the rail."

"Any idiot knows that it should be inboard," he responded. No, he didn't say "idiot."

"Yes, sir, I'm sure that's true, but the rest of us are aware that if it's inboard, you'll force the railing out and away, and bend the stanchions when you lift it."

That one cost me twenty five demerits and two weeks of restriction. The expression on his face as he worked it out made it completely worth it. Those occasional moments have been a leitmotif woven through my life.

Many years later, I was involved in a violent and ugly incident at the bar where I worked. A man was hurt seriously. As I "what if-ed" my own actions, and the occurrence itself, "Last Call's" story was born. I hope that you enjoy it, and the books that will follow.

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