I swear it is a true story; I once was approached by a real life sheik. Okay, so the actual sheik didn’t deign to converse with mw at all; he had members of his entourage do it. I was honest-to-goodness in the Navy once upon a time long, long ago- back before United Arab Emirate wasn’t quite as posh as it is now. The ship I was on pulled into Abu Dhabi, and instead of having scores of sailors roaming around in town, the government had built an Oasis club not far from the pier were the U.S. Naval ships were docked. It was one of the very few places you could drink alcohol in the city. There was really nice bar, a pool slot machines, pool tables- everything us heathen could use. A lot of us from my ship went there most nights because what else were we going to do, right? To go into town you had to be covered from neck to ankle, not swathed but in a shirt that went up to the neck and pants that went covered the ankles, and it was way too hot for that.
I was minding my own business one night, walking past the table where this sheik dude hung out every night. No one ever paid him any attention after a while, we were used to seeing him there. That’s why when one of his “people” stopped me one night, I thought nothing of it. I actually had a seat. He didn’t speak to me directly, but he was staring at me the whole time. Not a good stare, not a bad stare just this really intense look. It made me feel a little like some kind of specimen. One of his people asked what I was drinking, so I said, rum and Coke. They bought a bottle of Bacardi 151 and I kind of had the feeling I really needed to get back to the ship and stay there for a little while.
I excused myself to go the rest room, grabbed a couple of friends and booked it back to the ship. I didn’t venture far from it for like three days. I never, ever walked past that table again. When I was telling someone else that story they totally didn’t believe me, because let’s face it, it just doesn’t happen to anyone you know.
So I decided to do a small series on Navy couples and I incorporated some of the most ridiculous unbelievable stories that I had actually seen happen (though I must stress NONE of it ever happened to me), and the Anchors Away series was born. Trust me, the worst stories were never told and I always changed the names and endings to protect the identities of the guilty.