One of my roommates, Rich Cincotta, had an unusual ability for getting things into places where others thought they didn’t belong. Sometimes Rich, aka, the Red Header, made no effort to hide anything. A good example was the time when he brought a girl from the short-time house in the alley near the Imperial Club to the Air Force Christmas Party (this was the same guy who insisted upon putting up a Christmas tree in our Jientan apartment despite my complete apathy).
At other times, however, Rich resorted to smuggling—he was natural. I can remember when he told me that he was taking a tour of Hong Kong and Singapore that was organized by the Navy Hospital. I thought he was crazy—a single guy, Linkou Navy no less—going on a tour with a bunch of service wives. Sure we knew service wives existed but if they didn’t hang out at the King’s Club or the China Night or the Imperial, they might as well be back in the States. The trip sounded pretty tame for the Red Header. When he came back into the ROC, however, he smuggled in several copies of the ROC’s number one banned book—Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book. I know it wasn’t his main reason for going but if you think it makes a better story you can believe that.
Banned books are one thing but I prefer someone who can smuggle raw odorous flesh into top-secret cryptographic facilities. The Operations Officer (Lt. Murphy), a day worker with the rank of Lt. Commander, had a desk facing almost directly into the ditty bopping work space and file cabinets behind the desk. I don’t remember the guy’s name but I do remember what Rich did to him.(Added comment, heard from Lt. Murphy about this incident, so we know it was him) On a weekend eve watch, Rich smuggled a fish that he had purchased in a street market into our highly secured, top-secret space—he put it in his pocket and walked through the gate. He then put the fish in the Ops Officer’s filing cabinet and opened the plastic bag containing it just enough to let the smell out (but not enough to make a mess)—in Rich’s words “a clean (but stinky) prank.” I’m told that by Monday morning the only thing that was obvious was the smell—and it took them a long time to find its source.