I found something that I’m convinced only people like you will understand and appreciate.
I travel for my work, and I hit a lot of garage sales and second-hand stores. The chance to pick up something unique and with history from another part of the country is too fantastic to pass up. I’ve scored some decent gems over the years, but nothing quite like what I picked up last year while traveling through the Mustang Islands, in Texas.
I found it at a used book store that was little more than a shack on the side of the road. It was a dusty little fire hazard with more character than some people I know. I bought a few books including what I thought was a very old journal. Not until I got home and started reading the journal did I realize, despite it’s well-worn look, it was not very old. It was the journal of a roughneck named Jake on an offshore oil rig. The first 30 or so pages of the journal were nothing out of the ordinary. Jake seemed to live a pretty normal, albeit lonely life. He worked for two weeks on the oil rig, went to shore, to drink and smoke most of his pay away. Then he’d do it again. But two days into his shift in November, a weird chain of events started happening.
When I first read through Jake’s journal, I felt compelled to never read it again. And also to never go near the ocean again. But, it’s been long enough and I think it’s time to share it. I’ve left out the few times Jake drops a last name for my own reasons, but otherwise the transcription is exact. I decided to start on November 3rd, the first time Jake had “The Dream.”
November 3rd: 9 AM
I had a dream last night. I don’t usually remember my dreams. In fact, I can go years back and nothing comes to mind. But last night, I had a beautiful dream and can remember every second of it. I was sitting on the window frame of the house I grew up in. The wind was blowing gently through the air and causing the curtain to dance on my arm. I could smell the salt and fresh water, and I could hear the waves foaming up and receding back. A seagull glided slowly across the sky and landed on one of the boards in the short, white picket fence that surrounded the front yard. I looked out over the ocean as the sun just started to touch the water past my pier. I could even hear the prettiest music somewhere off in the distance. A chorus of bells, ringing gently in rhythm. I remember thinking about how perfect everything was when I suddenly woke up.
It was Bill. He smacked me pretty good on the forehead. I almost grabbed his hand before he pulled it away.
Bill: “Rise and shine, Jake. Roughnecks don’t get to sleep in.”
All I wanted was to get back to dreaming, but I’m here to make money. I got up, got to work, and we laid almost 400 feet before lunch. At the cafeteria, Bill and I sat together and talked about the weather. Supposed to rain tonight. Decent little storm, but nothing too bad. I still don’t know half these boys very well, but most of them seem alright. I’d worked with Bill a few shifts in the past, and I knew Stanley and Bert a little, but the rest were new faces. One of the bigger black dudes started joking, Bill told me later his name is Doug.
Doug: “You ain’t nevah’ gone down on no Louisan’ pussy, cuss’ yo’ lips would still be puckered, boy!”
He had a bellowing laugh as everyone joined in and he slapped one of the new rustabouts on the back. I believe his name is Henry. Henry blushed a little, but laughed too. They definitely seem like good ole’ boys. After lunch, we went back to work and finished the last 300-something feet. Oil came spraying out right after the Driller gave the warning. Not bad for my second day on the shift.