Case Devries, a cadet at the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, is earning some beer money by working in Eugene Stein's textile warehouse on Saturday afternoons. Rosanne, Eugene's sexy little secretary, picks him up from the academy gate and drops him off each Saturday This leads to the inevitable - a relationship doomed to fail. Or does it? It is, in any case, the upbeat to an adventure that years later, takes Case and his buddy Brian O'Malley from their home away from home, the Seamen's Church Institute - otherwise known as the Doghouse - to India, aboard a ramshackle rust bucket of a freighter called the S.S. Flower Power. Aptly named for the era in which this adventure takes place, and even more so, the termination of the era, as the Flower Power meets its final destination at the close of the sixties. The crew manning the good ship Flower Power couldn't be more colorful if they been handpicked by a madman. They range from the utterly chaotic Captain Peachfuzz to the forty-five-year-old, three-hundred pound John Aruda, an able bodied seaman and a flower child who rises to every occasion, including arranging a marriage on the high seas.
And then the mysterious container stowed aboard and buried beneath a load of chemical fertilizer that the Flower Power is carrying to India. The wheeling and dealing he has to do to get the container back where it belongs eventually brings Case into contact with Eugene and Rosanne, the two people he least expected to cross paths with ever again.
A Doghouse Tale is the hilarious story of a motley crew sailing a ship held together by baling wire, paint and a prayer. It touches on the deplorable condition of the US Merchant Marine in the 1960s, when a nation at war pressed old battle wagons such as the Flower Power into service, making those ships the laughingstock of the maritime world. It is also a moving story, showing that when the chips are down, a multicultural crew bands together as one to come to the aid of a shipmate.