The second, Cold, Wet Decks would seem to have been inspired by an LRH short story from the same period entitled Grounded. Appearing in the George Washington University Literary Review of April 1932, it tells of an embittered Royal Air Force pilot on an existential journey up the Yangtze in pre-revolutionary China. The story was years ahead of commensurate undergraduate work, and apparently drawn from Rons own extensive travels through a war-torn China. In any case, Cold, Wet Decks, serves as a kind of free verse synopsis.
Also included are two early ballads: Custers Second Chance and The Sailors Song. The first is reflective of a longtime LRH love -- native American heritage. Blood brother to the Blackfoot and keen student of Indian ways, Ron was eventually to author one of the eras only accurate and sympathetic novels of the native American experience, his 1937 Buckskin Brigades. He was also one of the first to conduct an ethnological study of the Pacific Northwest tribes, while his appreciation of shamanic rites was decades ahead of its time. Although General George Armstrong Custers demise represented neither a high point for the United States Cavalry nor the Sioux Nation --the Little Bighorn actually signaled the beginning of their end -- Custers last stand nonetheless loomed large in many a western youths mind. In all probability, the work dates from March of 1924 when a rail trip from the nations capital to Helena, Montana took the 13-year-old L. Ron Hubbard very nearly through the Little Bighorn Valley.
The Sailors Song is likewise reflective of a lifelong love, in this case, seafaring lore. Quite possibly penned that same year in Seattle, Washington, the work says much about the young L. Ron Hubbards world. With his father serving as Supply Officer at the United States Naval Yard at Bremerton, and otherwise surrounded by things nautical, Ron was acutely conscious of what this early twentieth century meant in terms of seafaring advances; hence, his two ancient sailors, who told of harder, wetter days on small and dirty whalers.