Gary Rinsem

Jimmy Durante vs Bev's Purse
As the saying goes, Big and Dumb and Fulla Cum... Jimmy had no chance
Instant Knockout
Goodnight Jimmy
by Gary Rinsem
January 1984

  • Make Someone Happy

“Any woman who choosess to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke.”
Gloria Steinem

Bev bought a strange purse at a thrift store. She didn't own a purse, never carried one, Bren and I didn't understand. Bev had a plan. Pocket knives below a specific size were tools, but the Navy didn't allow sailors to carry weapons, not even mace. Bev had been scared and vulnerable one time too many and planned to turn her odd purse into a weapon. It would be a weapon she could get away with carrying.

A few days use convinced her the idea was sound. Bev came to my shop on the ship. She left me the purse with instructions to cut a purse shaped piece of steel that would perfectly fit inside. With no easy way to cut a thick steel plate, I found aluminum in the ship fitters shop scrap bin. The giant sheer soon made it purse size and shape with the foundry's belt sander and buffer used to polish it. Bev was delighted. We went to the gym where she used a body size punching bag to hone her skills. Bren and I laughed our asses off watching Bev spin around swinging her purse, a massive thud on hitting the punching bag. Content in the soundness of her "hidden in plain sight" weapon, Bev began carrying it with only a couple items previously carried in pockets.

Much happened in our lives in the following months. Bev's purse gave a sense of control, a feeling of security and safety.

Sitting on stools in a bar in the Philippines a group of five marines took issue with us. I never understood how, we were deeply hiding, but somehow moronic self righteous homophobes were often triggered by BB and I. All five probably under 20 years old and officially trained in hate by the military, they knew they had military support to destroy the rest of our lives. All they wanted was to create a "homosexual incident" and we'd be dishonorably discharged, with limited options for our futures. They'd been given training sessions teaching them to do this.

The five marines spewed religious hate speech from behind. We'd learned, you can't respond and you can't leave. Anything done by us would result in escalation by the moron haters. We sat and drank our soda while calmly eating peanuts. Brief looks reassured that we were all three thinking alike, we just had to wait till the idiots tired of it. When they shut their filthy mouths we could leave.

Turns out... marine morons are dumber than most homophobic idiots. These five didn't give up. Perhaps ten minutes passed without an end in sight. One marine, the biggest and loudest with a nose like Jimmy Durante, got up and stood next to Brenda. In her face he continued his obscene hate speech.

When Bren could take no more she turned 90 degrees on her stool and faced him. Silently, calmly and very gently, a tiny female sailor put her hands on Jimmy Durante's stomach and guided him back to a planned distance.

It happened slowly as Bev and I watched Bren's hand grasp the straps of Bev's purse. Facing the marine, back to us, we saw the purse gently slide off the bar and disappear in front of Bren. It appeared on the other side, being swung wide. In one quick motion Bren spun her stool 360 degrees with the purse flying a corkscrew pattern over Bev's head, landing a perfect blow to the left side of Jimmy's head. The lights went out and he dropped to the floor in a kneeling position. She leaned back on her stool and stomped his chest with both feet, knocking Jimmy backwards on the floor. Bren jumped off the stool with her feet straddling Jimmy's chest. To quick for anyone to react, Bren got three swings and three more solid hits of the purse against alternating sides of the jerks head.

Bev and I were in position to stop a fourth hit. We each grabbed an arm and headed for the door. A table full of gay shipmates applauded as we passed. Backwards, Bren's feet hung between us when we got to the sidewalk. Overcome by fear at what just happened, we dropped Bren and ran toward the base a mile away. In the background we heard a bar worker yelling for police.

Alongapo cops were everywhere. Some on foot and some, like this one, with motorcycles. A call for police resulted in all of them blowing whistles for attention. Each of them came running to the scene.

We had to go quick. You never want to be arrested by police in a third world country when there's a hint of homosexuality involved. The Navy would let you rot.

We needed the safety of the Naval Station. A mile to the gate may as well have been another continent. There was little chance of getting there before the cops caught us.

I yelled "jeepney" as one stopped to let passengers off. We hopped in and sat silently hiding in the back, until jumping off by "Shit River Bridge."

For a sailor in trouble, Shit River Bridge is passage back to the safety of home turf, away from a corrupt government. Running half way across we calmed to avoid suspicion at the gate. Holding ID high there was no problem, the guard passed us.

Concerned that in one or two hours somebody would be at the ship looking for us, we determined our best course was to stay away as long as possible.

It was tedius wandering the base from noon until three the following morning. At the ship we boarded without incident. We knew the Petty Officer Of The Watch very well and she assured us we were clear.

Not really friends, the male half of our ship's silent gay crew was sympathetic. They could be counted on for support and didn't fail us. The day after we heard every detail of the incident, including long after we ran out. They gave the police wild misleading stories about us and openly lied to implicate all five marines, far beyond what they'd actually done. They told us about Jimmy Durante, he was still out when the ambulance took him away.

You might suspect this to be the end of our Jimmy Durante experience, we expected it to be the end. We never thought we'd know how badly he was hurt.

About eight months passed, I think it was in Long Beach where I spotted Jimmy standing guard duty. He had no reason to recognize me, but his size and that nose were unforgettable. I rushed to the ship. Grabbing Bren I smiled and refused explanation. She humored me and came along, not knowing what to expect.

Around a corner from Jimmy's watch station, I gave Bren instructions on where to walk and to keep her eyes open for a special surprise. I peeked around the corner to watch Bren's reaction. Startled, she looked up at his face from little more than bellybutton height. I couldn't hear, but I could tell she was giving him an earful of reality.

Still not done with Durante, more months passed when I casually asked a marine if he knew our friend. We got his name from his uniform on guard duty. When I asked my new marine pal he said "Do you mean Smash?" He explained the nickname was given after a "tiny bitch dyke sailor" smashed both sides of his face in Alongapo. This marine was one of the jackals from the bar.

Dying laughing I asked for the full story. His accounting was pure fiction leading up to Bren dropping Jimmy. He repeated the lies they told to the police and shore patrol. The lies that would have resulted in the three of us being dishonorably discharged, and Bren sentenced to the brig for her revenge.

He continued by accurately relaying the details of how Bren dropped Jimmy, saying "That fucking purse must have had a ship's anchor in it."

I have no doubt they learned no lesson from this. They only used it as support and justification for their HATE.

One last detail. Jimmy had three surgeries after Bren's revenge, to put his jaw back together. He'd only recently returned to unrestricted duty and solid food. Another Faggott Hunter... back in action!