In the fall of 1984, a great good fortune and cash award windfall came to The Orphan’s good friend, Pepe Le Bell.
One day, Dandy (Robert) Dunn
approached The Orphan and said that John Bell (Dandy did not know of the Pepe
Le Bell persona) was a finalist in the yearly competition for The Mighty
Boeing’s Commercial Airplane Company’s “Engineer of the Year” award – an honor
that also included a substantial cash award.
Dandy was The Mighty
Boeing’s Vice President of Engineering for Commercial Airplanes. He had
previously been boss of Marine Marvin Long and other 747 staff groups, and
therefore had worked closely with The Orphan on many critical assignments
during The Orphan’s 747 years.
Dandy and The Orphan had
developed a mutual admiration – hell – even affection.
After The Orphan transferred
to Engine Management in 1978 and Dandy moved to the VP job, Dandy and The
Orphan continued to work together – often meeting in the coffee room between
their offices to discuss issues – and things.
When Dandy asked The Orphan
if Bell was the best candidate, The Orphan replied,
“…Hell yes. Bell is an excellent engineer…”
However, when relating this story to Pepe in later years, The Orphan claimed
to have said,
“…that asshole --- he’d make a good mechanic, womanizer or
wine master -- but
an engineer – he might as well try skiing or SCUBA diving!”
“…Then we will elect Bell…”
So Bell was elected and
given the award of “Engineer of the Year.”
Thus began this great
Pepe and The Orphan had
known each other since 1969 and had developed a strong friendship. They had
already built race cars together, run together, and skied together on the
Matterhorn (see The Orphan
and Pepe Le Bell Ski the Matterhorn).
And The Orphan and Pepe were
both in excellent shape.
During the stormy times in
the later years of The Orphan’s beginner marriage, he had become a slender,
muscular, fitness nut and long distance runner. In 1978 he ran his first
26.2-mile marathon, and had continued to run marathons on a regular basis
Pepe and The Orphan
occasionally worked out together and even ran together (though Pepe disdained
marathons in preference of 10 kilometer “races” and other sissy distances).
In late 1984, at the time of
the award, Pepe le Bell was single. Pepe was even more innocently inept than
The Orphan in the business of marriage. He had had a beginner wife,
Delightful Diane, then two intermediate wives, Beth the Butt followed by
Straying Jessie, and was now “after” all three wives.
The innocent Orphan was also
single, and had been so since the cessation of the marriage with his beginner
Kentucky Woman) in 1978. The Orphan was only slightly better in
the business of marriage, having already had a beginner wife, and would
shortly thereafter have an intermediate wife -- before later finding his final
and permanent wife.
As did The Orphan when
without a wife, Pepe Le Bell gathered as much new data on femme fatales from
as many new sources as possible.
The Orphan, because of
conducting so much successful research of his own, was temporarily sated and
jaded and on a sabbatical.
(In 2005, twenty years
later, Pepe is still without a wife – and still doing research – not only
because Pepe is a slow learner but because Pepe enjoys research
At the time of this award,
Pepe’s data source was Demure Debbie – a freckledy, redheaded only child --
When Demure Debbie learned
of Pepe’s great good fortune and cash award windfall, she immediately started
to make elaborate plans to share in whatever the adventure might be – and even
decide where it should take place!
However, very soon after the
award was conferred and on a social occasion (it was after a workout and run),
Pepe was drinking some sweet pink wine pap, accompanied by Demure. The
Orphan, drinking a Granny Manhattan and also accompanied by a researchee, sat
together to share Pepe’s elation.
During this celebration, The
Orphan brought one of the foursome to a stunned silence by suggesting to Pepe,
“…Hey Bell, I got an idea. Why don’t we both go to the South Seas for
this adventure? We can take all the 1985 Thanksgiving, Christmas and New
Year’s Holiday time plus vacation for all of the intervening non-holiday days
to get a total of six weeks and tour the whole South Seas together while SCUBA
diving and partying …”
Demure was aghast as she
heard Pepe say,
“…Hell of an idea. Let’s start a plan right away…”
Demure knew that, once on a
path, Pepe was not to be swayed.
The Orphan called his great
friend, Deliberate Donnie, a travel genius at Galaxy Travel, and told her of
the 1985/1986 holiday time span and the South Seas SCUBA diving, party and
“…Never fear, boys, I will use my skills learned while Morey (her Mighty
Boeing husband) and I were stationed in Australia as representatives of The
Mighty Boeing and I was leading vacation tours all over that area. I will
plan for you a trip that will be unequaled and affordable…”
Demure Debbie soon recovered
– somewhat – and decided to join Pepe and The Orphan in Hawaii for the last
week of the adventure – Demure’s parents owned a condo near Lahaina on Maui –
which would defray expenses somewhat (of which there were becoming plenty).
When told of this part of
the plan, Deliberate Donnie said,
“...Boys, a trip such as this requires reservations – both airline and resorts
-- during the busiest season in the universe of that area. While I can
accommodate the Hawaii addition, the rest must be cast in concrete way before
the fall of 1985…
Deliberate had already
arranged airline tickets that were “…around the world…” and let unlimited
travel occur as long as all legs were west except when east must be traveled
to get farther west – and except for a return through Hawaii.
Deliberate explained the
seriousness of the scheduling problems to “…the boys…” by relaying broadly the
scope of the plan ready to be booked.
The Duo would depart Seattle
the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day for San Francisco, then fly to Fiji,
including a diversion to one of the resort islands in Fiji, Castaway Island,
for some SCUBA diving.
After Fiji, they would go to
Melbourne, Australia, then to Auckland, New Zealand, on North Island. Then
south by rental car (with diversions to Rotorua, sheep, Maoris, sheep,
fumaroles, sheep, glowworm caves, sheep, Wellington, sheep), crossing the bay
by ferry to South Island, to see sheep, lupines, sheep, then sheepishly on
down to Queenstown).
Then to Sydney, Australia,
and north to jellyfish and topless beaches -- Cairns -- where a great
diversion would be to SCUBA dive The Great Barrier Reef, then stay on Dunk
Island for Christmas week (including a jaunt to Green Island).
Then the Duo would fly to
Maui, Hawaii, for a week (with the pre-planned feminine Pepe reunion and
companionship of Demure) and finally back to San Francisco, and return to The
Mighty Boeing in Seattle.
Pepe and The Orphan
carefully thought over Deliberate’s threat of “…or…” and decided it meant
“…or else…” and replied,
“…We are done and your plan is great…book it…”
So, in 1985, on the
Wednesday before Thanksgiving during heavy fog and a severe ice and snow
storm, The Orphan and Pepe Le Bell departed for San Francisco. They arrived
at the hotel the night before Thanksgiving and met with the frustration of a
major holiday when everything was closed.
The Duo toured Nob Hill, the
wharf, drove up and down the steep streets where Steve McQueen raced in the
Shelby GT Mustang in the movie “Bullitt,” rode cable cars and got used
to the feel of complete freedom – plus feasted on good food and booze.
The South Seas adventure
really started when the Duo departed San Francisco for Nadi, Fiji, on Viti
Viti Levu was still as green
as The Orphan remembered from
The Orphan Dances His Way Through The South Pacific
-- a green so green that it radiated. They went to the Regent Fiji (Fiji’s
first luxury hotel, now the Sheraton Royal Denarau).
The Orphan and Pepe Le Bell
decided this trip was also an opportunity to use a special physical fitness
regime and discipline and vowed to exercise every day -- and to run when
possible. The Duo faithfully maintained this discipline and returned to The
Mighty Boeing Slave Ship lean, tanned and fit.
The Duo roamed around Viti
Levu to soak in the island atmosphere and enjoy the sights – going to lovo
feasts with earth-covered outside ovens, and even watched firewalking – but
without ever desiring the personal experience.
Shortly the Duo departed on
a launch for a short boat shuttle to Castaway Island where they lived several
days in a grass-roofed hut with no air conditioning except gentle breezes.
Again there were outside lovo feasts – but no firewalking.
The Duo dove the warm
brilliant green waters off Castaway -- without the cumbersome diving gear
required to keep from freezing in Puget Sound near Seattle. However the actual
equipment was ratty and marginally functional. Pepe griped continuously
because he had no buoyancy compensator and had to work instead of just
floating, because of all the other weight.
Pepe Le Bell
and Fiji Beer
The Orphan re-visited Fiji
Beer -- he and Pepe consumed a quantity sufficient to produce a pleasant haze.
It was in Castaway that the
Duo began a new tradition -- to experiment with pre-mixing a concoction called
a ‘Rob Roy” -- two parts Johnnie Walker Black Scotch with one part Martini &
Rossi Sweet Italian Vermouth – and storing a supply in liter bottles
previously holding only Johnnie Walker Black Scotch. This tradition
continued throughout the trip.
Some days The Duo wore only
swim trunks and no shoes as they practiced to be indolent beach bums.
The Orphan and Pepe even saw
a tame pussy that followed them about – and this pussy seemed to really enjoy
Then, suddenly, it was back
to Nadi in Viti Levu to depart for Melbourne, Australia, for a few days in a
Melbourne is a big city.
The Duo then departed
Melbourne for New Zealand for a much longer and more detailed exploration and
adventure of both the North and South Islands.
The Orphan and Pepe deplaned
in Auckland and toured the city. Even though The Orphan was a veteran from
The Orphan Dances His Way
Through The South Pacific, it was a thrill to see that this
city was still similar to Seattle but with sheep on the hillside instead of
trees and to see that One Tree Hill was still there.
Pepe seemed to be impressed
– somewhat -- to be accompanying such a world traveler – but even more
impressed to see the plethora of sheep!
There are so many things to
see in the world -- and so little time to see them -- that only a few things
can be selected and really looked at – although there is nothing wrong with a
quick scan to see the arena. The Duo decided to do both in New Zealand.
The first stop was in Maori
Country around Rotorua where there were many fumaroles – it looked like
Yellowstone – but with kiwis (in a preserve) and sheep (on the hillside)
instead of ravens and bison.
As the Duo wandered about,
they visited anything that piqued their interest – sheep herds, glowworm
caves, sheep herds, waterways, sheep herds, fields and fields of strange
bearded plants, sheep herds, many taverns that served New Zealand and
Australian Beer (Foster’s was described disdainfully as “…that export beer…”)
and sheep herds – finally arriving at Wellington at the southern tip of North
The Duo took a ferry from
Wellington to South Island where they continued the driving journey.
This stretch down South
Island to Queenstown was a myriad of flowering trees, sheep herds, lupines,
sheep herds, gorgeous mountain roads, sheep herds, Mount Cook, sheep herds and
a glory of flowers – and sheep herds.
When The Duo first rounded
an alpine curve and saw a small clump of lupines and stopped to view them,
they were so lovely that Pepe, after thoroughly smelling them, took a plethora
of pictures. Pepe Le Bell smelled many flowers while on this adventure.
Imagine the wonder and
amazement of The Duo during the next 50 or so miles when there were acres and
acres of lupines broken up only by sheep herds. New Zealand is truly a
beautiful place and has many sheep herds.
Finally the Duo arrived at
the southernmost point of their New Zealand adventure – in Queenstown – where
again they toured – even dining atop a mountain only accessible by cable car.
Suddenly it was time to flee
back north on South Island to catch a flight to Sydney, Australia, on the way
to Cairns and The Great Barrier Reef.
One of many surprises
(delightful surprises, too!) cooked up by Deliberate was when a chauffeured
white Rolls Royce limousine was waiting at the Sydney airport for The Duo with
a sign that said something about “…The Boys…” The ride to the New
Intercontinental Hotel in the chauffeured limousine was a great treat.
Sydney was still Sydney with
its Opera House, inlets, docks and nightlife. The Duo even re-united with a
couple of “General Electric” friends stationed there as “reps” and got a
sumptuous dinner – à la GE.
Then the Duo flew to
Cairns. On arriving, they confirmed the reservation with the SCUBA dive boat
arranged by Deliberate and readied for the journey out to The Great Barrier
Reef to see a Great White Shark – or to avoid a Great White -- if the truth
During the “readying” time
The Duo toured as much of New South Wales as possible – even traveling west by
train to preserves in the bush to see giant fig trees – and other things.
Finally, the day to depart
for The Great Barrier Reef arrived and The Duo boarded The SCUBA boat and
departed. It was a long sail to the reef through the lovely calm area between
the mainland and the reef. The Duo basked their suntanned bodies and waited
with great anticipation – thoroughly impressed at how far it was to the reef.
Finally, the SCUBA boat
arrived at The Great Barrier Reef and The Duo readied their lightweight
equipment – marveling at the ease -- when they did not have to don a “Puget
Sound” dry suit with forty pounds of lead weights and a automatic giant
buoyancy compensator to prohibit one from dropping like a stone to the bottom
of the ocean.
Helped by Aussie SCUBA
guides, The Duo were awed by the proliferate underwater scenery. These
underwater sights were indescribable – even the giant sea turkles (turtles for
those without grandchildren) – and especially the brightly hued fish herds – a
real relief from sheep herds.
The Duo found no Great White
Sharks. (The Duo were later told that the SCUBA boat owners cajoled these
monsters to go away because they didn’t want to be feeding them with divers –
and that the “armed” Aussie SCUBA guides were really there to make sure the
Great Whites were not seen – or otherwise!)
It was a fully sated, tired
and relaxed Duo that enjoyed the on-board libations during the sail back to
Then, suddenly, it was
nearing Christmas and time to fly on an ancient pontoon-equipped De Havilland
Beaver airplane for a week at an all-inclusive resort on Dunk Island for
The Duo spent Christmas on
Dunk Island -- imagine a Santa in a swimsuit (no -- the silly actually wore a
red suit -- with short sleeves -- and a white beard – and you could see a
trail of sweat dripping to the sand!)
On Dunk, The Duo ran trails
on Mount Kootaloo daily. It was Pepe’s choice to lead – which entailed
breaking the webs of giant spiders until he resembled a giant cocoon. The
Orphan caught the remnants and tendrils from the broken webs. There were
always choruses of Yuks and Ughs from the sunbathers when the two sweaty
cocoons returned and immediately dove into the swim pool.
The cleaned-up and refreshed
Duo would weather the jeers and exit the temporarily filthy pool -- always to
find a smiling waiter saying “…mimosas for you, mates…”
The Duo even learned
wariness on Mount Kootaloo—but only after Pepe fell asshole-over-teakettle
sending leaves flying after stepping in a leaf-covered hole dug by a brush
turkey to hide and incubate his eggs.
One of the reasons the Duo
ran so fast was because they kept hearing feral booming sounds from the area –
which (unbeknownst to them at the time) was a mating call from these turkeys
with their nests of eggs broken by Pepe and The Orphan.
Once, The Duo took a spur
off their regular spider-web-covered running trail -- to see what there was to
see – and chanced on a rusted gun emplacement with a plaque that identified
this as a defense location to protect from a possible Japanese attack during
World War II. There was an eerie feeling at the ominous sight as the awed Duo
shivered somewhat to remember the horrors of that war – and how real it was to
a country so near to the war in the Pacific -- where Tojo, the Prime Minister
of Japan, was managing the entire Japanese military.
-- and sunburned -- Drunk -- er -- Dunk Duo
On another occasion The Duo,
who had mused as to the origin of the name “Dunk,” chanced on a stone cairn
with a plaque stating “In Memory of George Dunk, the discoverer of this
On a day trip, The Duo flew
to visit “Green Island,” one of the few other inhabited coral cays of The
Great Barrier Reef. While exploring and musing as to the name “Green,”
chanced on a stone cairn with a plaque stating “In Memory of George Green, the
discoverer of this island.”
It had been a long voyage
and there were many smiling sheilas on Dunk Island – some of whom fully evoked
the Pepe Le Pew persona of Pepe Le Bell in full flair -- whilst The (still
jaded) Orphan was continuing his sabbatical – somewhat. The Orphan had started
to regain his research appetite – somewhat. These sheilas, however, appeared
to have enormous appetites and were potentially hazardous to a Pepe Le Pew
All at once it was time to
fly to Maui for a week of “rest” before returning to the rain and fog.
Pepe was met by Demure at
the Kahului airport. (The Orphan was also met at the airport by the
earlier-mentioned researchee – and for a time The Orphan and Pepe were
separated – which was just as well.)
The sophisticated, sated and
weary travelers then stayed in Lahaina, and enjoyed sitting by the pool
resting and didn’t even really resent fighting the pineapple bugs. America had
banned the pesticides used to control the bugs in the pineapple fields -- so
there were swarms of these pests, until a new solution could be found. In the
meantime, they sat in the midst of these bug swarms in skimpy swim suits
eating bug-eroded, stunted pineapples and having to sift sips of mai-tais
through their teeth, swallowing and then spitting out most of the dead bugs.
But all things must end.
Since Demure and The
Orphan’s researchee had a different return flight, the re-united Duo returned
to the wet, foggy land of The Mighty Boeing to be re-chained to the oars of
The Slave Ship so they could begin 1986 – but enormously refreshed, tanned,
slim and fit.
The adventure was a blast!
The Orphan and Pepe will always be bonded!
The Orphan was cheerfully
unaware that massive changes in his life were looming on the horizon during
1986 – but that is another story.
Photos for this story courtesy of
Pepe Le Bell ©
John R. Bell