Our Lady Of The Blues:
From Gaia To Maia
Now, these are hard truths for Liberal Americans to swallow but that truth must be swallowed nevertheless. Thus the Californian hostility to the Japanese while perhaps ‘un-American’ was completely justified.
After the First World War the Japanese paramilitary troops having been stymied by the vigilant Californians the Japanese began sending the missing women over as the famous ‘picture brides.’ Thus the first generation of American born Japanese came to maturity in 1940 en masse just as the Japanese of Old Nippon decided to discharge their fixation on America.
By 1940 the Issei or Japanese born generation were getting on in years, martial in spirit but no longer so hale in bady. The Nissei or the first generation born in America had no great affection for their homeland. Thus a sharply defined generational conflict arose that was exacerbated by the detention camps of the Western Defense Command of 1942.
It ssems to be a psychological problem of the Japanese to bite off more than they can chew. So it was in the 1500s when they declared war on China and so it was in the thirties and forties when they declared war on the world. They lost each time.
They did learn a lesson in 1945. They didn’t have the military strength to conquer the world. Already organized along Western lines the Japanese in the post-war world quickly organized their economy to not only compete with the West but hopefully to subdue it economically.
The tremendous industrial strength Dewey watched across the straits in Yokohama was but the beginning of the phenomenal industrial development that was to follow. Already in 1957 one of the major shipbuilders of the world, they would soon rival somnolent Detroit and a quiescent electronics field. One might have said of the Americans: Pride goeth before the fall.
Not as much of a man of the world as he would have liked to have been Dewey watched the cranes with a sense of foreboding.
‘Aw, they’re just Japs.’ The sluggard Roberts sneered. ‘Who’s afraid of trinkets.’
The Roses Of Old Nippon
The Teufelsdreck maneuvered in behind the H.P. Lovecraft. The Lovecraft had a name that was a standing joke in the Navy. Chief Dieter was overjoyed at the sight of the ship. His old comrade in arms, Dean Redman, was Chief Bos’n’s Mate of that ship. He hurried over to renew his acquaintance. He had a matter to discuss.
Trueman was absentmindedly getting dressed for liberty. He had no idea what to do first or how to go about it.
‘You going to get laid, Trueman?’ Blaise Pardon asked anxiously.
‘Well…yeah…I suppose so.’ Trueman replied. The geisha girls of Japan were justly famous. Dewey was just going to seek a regular prostitute but all indications were that it should be worth looking forward to. The whole ship was ablaze at the prospects.
‘Where you going to go?’
‘I don’t know. Same place as everyone else, I guess.’ Dewey replied. Although he knew nothing of the matter he just assumed that everything would fall into place, which, of course, everything did.
‘Let me give you a tip, Trueman.’ Blaise said who was anxious lest Trueman fall afoul of other people’s machinations.
‘Well, OK, Pardon. What is it?’
‘It’s been several years since I’ve been there so I can’t guarantee things haven’t changed but when I was at the brothel called the The Roses Of Old Nippon it was a first class establishment. I’m sure it would the right place for a neophyte like you.’
‘Neophyte like me!’ Dewey repeated bursting out laughing.
‘Well, yes, you are a neophyte. You don’t have any experience.’
‘It’s not that, Pardon, I know I’m a neophyte and there’s no dishonor in that, it’s just that I’ve never heard words like that aboard this ship. You must be a pretty literate guy under all that salt.’
‘I’ve read a couple quartos in my time; do you want the directions or not.’
‘Whoo, quartos and octavos too. Sure. I think I can trust you Pardon. I don’t think you ever steered me wrong, on purpose anyway.’
‘Thank you, Trueman. I suppose that’s a compliment.’ Then Blaise reeled off a set of directions of the turn here, turn there variety ending with the description of a small sign with two roses and rising sun on it. Trueman blocked out the directions mentally.
‘Are you going to write this down?’
‘No, I can remember.’
‘Really? Another bit of advice. Go alone and don’t take more money than the price. Things have a way of disappearing in the night even in the best run brothels.’ Blaise always went to brothels he would never go near a whore house. He may have been only a Bos’n but he had his pride.
Trueman did go alone. Stepping ashore he carefully followed the directions ticking off each landmark as he went. He marched in steadfast manner that portrayed to any watchers that this was a man on the way to get his ashes hauled.
He antagonized any Japanese viewer by walking fearlessly with full confidence on the sacred soil as though he belonged on their conquered corner of the earth. Trueman didn’t realize it but he did consider himself one of their conquerors. Subconsciously he did think he had rights over them. They deplored the ‘arrogance’ of the conqueror as only thwarted would be conquerors can. Actually Dewey was nowhere near arrogant; this was just the place he was; he would have walked the same in the Valley or San Diego. In each of the three places his walk would have been interpreted differently because we see what we want to see.
Having made his last turn he scanned the signs in the vacant cobblestone street looking for the sign of the two roses and rising sun. There the tiny thing was jutting out from the wall of a dingy nondescript looking building in a long file of row houses. The brothel looked very small and unpretentious. He knocked on the door which was opened by a very lovely lady in a white evening gown with a rose over each ear.
He was invited into the little anteroom where this very lovely woman subjected him to a little interview. An ugly pimp, sullen and mean looking, the same the world over, hovered behind her a useless emasculated drone nervously trying to look powerful.
‘Welcome to the Roses of Old Nippon, Sir.’ She smiled graciously. ‘What may we do for you?’
Dewey was suitably impressed. The woman, like any self-respecting madam, projected a beautiful respectable feminine image, not exactly what Dewey was expecting.’
In answer to her question he rather bumptiously inquired: ‘Isn’t this a whore house?’
‘We prefer to call it a house of assignation, please.’ She said without a waver to her smile.
‘Oh, well, I’ve come for an all nighter.’ He stuttered clumsily.
‘An all nighter?’ She smiled at his simplicity recognizing a first timer. ‘I think we can do that. Would you like to step into our reception room and chat with some of our hostesses?’
‘No. I just want an all nighter.’ Dewey replied doggedly expecting an ‘all nighter’ to be handed him like a hamburger in a drive in.
The madam licked her lips both amused and mystified.
‘Why don’t we introduce you to Pearl?’ She said amiably.
‘Sure.’ Dewey replied waiting for his burger.
The Madam sent the pimp after Pearl while she stated the price to Dewey. Trueman was from one price America; if he was supposed to negotiate he didn’t know it. He just forked over the fifteen hundred yen. The fact that he didn’t negotiate indicated he was a mark. Conmen are the same the world over.
‘This is Dewey, Pearl. He would love to have your company for the entire evening. Wouldn’t you Dewey?’
‘Well, yeah, sure, but I want to get laid too.’ Dewey said anxiously.
‘I’m sure you and Pearl will get along just fine.’
As Dewey followed Pearl the Chief Bos’ns Mate of the Lovecraft entered the Two Roses. Redman preceded his buddy Angus Dieter who would follow after. The Big Chief had been unable to obtain satisfaction to this point. He had learned a trick or two from the Commie Yeoman. He too would pursue Trueman on liberty. He had learned Trueman’s intentions from Blaise Pardon.
The very modest entrance to the building concealed the evidence that the brothel occupied the whole block for Pearl led Dewey through mazes of halls before stopping before the door of her cubicle.
‘Would you like to come in?’ She asked coyly in accents of English that are impossible to reproduce with the same charm.
‘Uh…sure.’ Dewey said boggled by the procedures to preserve dignity.
Like all good sailors Dewey had had the dangers of venereal disease impressed on him but he caught on quickly. He had been indoctrinated in the need for rubbers. As a neophyte and expecting to be there all night he had come prepared.
The room was just as lovely as Pearl. The woman had a very nice self-conception of herself. The bed which was lavishly made up occupied three fourths of the room. Adjoining it was a nightstand with a lamp. The rest of the space was just large enough to undress. The head board of the king sized bed was a long empty bookshelf.
Spotting it Dewey reached into his pocket taking out two dozen or so packets of rubbers he had purchased for the occasion. With the careless authortitative gesture of a man about to go to work he threw them into the bookshelf.
Pearl’s eyes went wide with astonishment as she uttered the Japanese equivalent of ‘Ay, mama mia.’
‘You are going to use all of these.’ She cried preparing herself for a tremendous night.
‘I suppose.’ Dewey replied matter of factly. He imagined sexual intercourse was like popping bread into a toaster.
Pearl was a very wonderful woman who enjoyed her work. As Dewey had inadvertently given more than the going rate she was prepared to reciprocate. ‘Here, let me undress you.’ She said preparing to give all the trimmings.
‘That’s alright, I know how to do it myself.’ Dewey replied somewhat testily believing she thought he wasn’t able himself.
Stripped down to his shorts and socks gazing out from his rutty trance Dewey noticed the bed for the first time.
‘God, what a beautiful bed.’ He said lovingly stroking the fluffy down comforter, admiring the precise yet natural way the upper sheet was turned down over the comforter.
‘Hey, hey!’ He laughed. ‘Four pillows! I’ve never seen that before. I really like your style.’ He said with smiling admiring sincerity that Pearl had perhaps never heard in her life. She batted her eyelashes in appreciation while turning back the cover for him.
Halfway in as she snatched the socks from his feet he noticed that the sheets were of a better quality than he had ever seen. Pausing a moment with one knee in the bed he took the sheet between his fingers to examine it closely.
‘They are from La Belle France.’ Pearl gushed with pride pleased that he had noticed. ‘I import them.’
‘Very nice.’ Dewey murmured as he slipped between them.
Pearl dropped the gown alluringly from her chubby little body slipping in beside him ready for a night of non-stop action as she cast a sidelong glance at the pile of rubbers.
Once in bed Dewey did not know how to begin.
‘Are you ready? I am.’ Pearl said.
Nineteen and a half years of denial and oppression swept over Dewey. His relationship with his mother combined with that of Ange his first sweetheart inhibited him. His unfulfilled commitment to Ange in which he had been wedded in youthful romance if not in fact made him feel unfaithful without his realizing his motives. He was in the grip of his subconscious. All motive force denied him, all he could do was break out into giggling.
Pearl thinking it was some shortcoming of hers asked nervously: ;What’s wrong? Why are you giggling?’
In response Dewey sent up burst after burst of giggling. He giggled and giggled. He giggled uncontrollably as he desperately sought to stop giggling. All his other motor functions were inhibited. He lay there with an intense erection unable to move.
Pearl, nearly in tears and deeply offended expressed in hurt tones: ‘What is wrong with you? First you scare me half to death by pulling out a hundred rubbers and now you don’t do anything but giggle. What is wrong with you?’
In response Dewey redoubled his gale of giggles into a typhoon of giggles.
Pearl taking it as a reflection on herself, thinking he was maybe embarrassed because she was Japanese was about ready to flee the room when she had an idea. ‘I know what you want.’ She said, then taking his hand she placed it bravely on her left breast.
The effect was magical. A burst of giggles died in Dewey’s throat. He turned his head to look at Pearl then without a word rolled over on top of her completely forgetting the rubbers meant to protect him from VD and began pumping just like one of those oil wells in Long Beach, over around and up and down. By some miracle he just slipped into the orifice because he hadn’t the sense to guide it in nor had Pearl had time to do so.
Then with a gasp Dewey launched his own little rocket into space where the effect of the explosion distrupted his communications system for some little while. Rolling over he stared blankly at the ceiling.
‘You damn man.’ Pearl crossly ejaculated. ‘You damn man. First you scare me to death with this big pile of rubbers; then you don’t want have anything to do with me; you lay there giggling like some big fool and now you fill me up so much I’m overflowing. What kind man are you anyway?’
‘That really is more than usual?’ Dewey asked with a feeling of merit and satisfaction although he couldn’t have explained why.
‘Aiee.’ Pearl exclaimed in confirmation slipping a towel between her legs.
Dewey lay back his mind the depth of a vacuum. There was comfort in this bed, this room, with this woman. He had had the most satisfying coupling that he would ever have in his life.
His mind was in a satisfying unobtrusive fog as he lay in this woman’s most magnificent bed between sheets of the finest quality in the world under a comforter that this woman had put the greatest care into obtaining. After a year of rough cotton mattress bag and scratchy woolen Navy issue blanket Dewey was only too comfortable; Perhaps the most comfortable he had ever been in his life.
Pearl’s voice recalled him from his lethargy.
‘You come with me; we go take bath.’
‘Oh, no thank-you.’ Dewey said lazily, unwilling to move. ‘I showered before I came here.’
Pearl laughed delightedly at his naivete: ‘This is Japan you silly boy, now we go down and wash. Come.’ She asserted pulling him from bed.
As Dewey loathingly dragged himself from bed he noticed a shadow through the paper wall hurrying off. The pimp who had been paid by Dean Redman to apprise him of Dewey’s actins rushed off to notify the Chief that Dewey was on his way to the baths.
Dewey wrapped a towel around him and padded down through the seemingly endless maze of hallways after Pearl until they came out in a large sort of a toilet cum gym where they were to bathe.
There was nothing that looked like a shower or bath tub. There were several deep tubes sunk into the floor in various places.
Dewey gave Pearl a look of ‘Now what?’. Pearl pointed to the the deep tubes and said ‘Bath.’ Dewey was a little mystified but he grabbed a bar of soap and started to get in.
‘No, no, not like that.’ She said. ‘Like this.’
She took a pitcher of hot water pouring it over her head and then soaping up.
‘Then you rinse soap off and get in tub, soak.’
‘Why would I want to do that?’ Dewey asked longing for the bed.
‘Why you ignorant puppy; don’t you know your way around?’
Dewey looked over in the direction of the stentorian voice to see some rut crazed old putz who seemed to be speaking from the other side. He was reclining in a tub with his whore tending him in an elevated recess in the wall which gave the impression of being some Peacock Throne. To Dewey’s eyes he seemed to think himself an old bull, the cock of the walk.
This was the Pride of the Pacific, Chief Boatswain’s Mate Dean Redman, the friend of the Hero Of Saipan, Angus Dieter. These men of Brokaw’s ‘Greatest Generation’ having vanquished the Japanese now had nothing better to do than fuck around with a nineteen year old. Having learned the art of the sneak attack from Hideki Tojo they now employed it freely while deploring it in others. At least the Japanese flew the colors at Pearl. The ‘greatest generation’ preferred to operate covertly.
Dewey looked at the glazed eyes and the arms spread on either side of the tub. He correctly divined that this loud mouth was a Chief of some sort. Forced out of his daze to some extent he chose to ignore this apparently sex-crazed monster.
Following Pearl’s example he washed and rinsed as she went through her female ablutions in full view of Dewey, the Chief and his woman. Dewey did a double take as his modesty was offended whether this was Japan or not, but ‘What the hell.’ He thought. ‘When in the toilet…’
Dewey had no desire to soak but since Pearl insisted he lowered himself into the steaming tub which was only a tube just deep enough that he had to double up his legs.
As he was lowering himself the Chief bellowed from behind glazed eyes from his other world: ‘I thought only men were allowed in here.’
‘Obviously he’s looking for a fight.’ Dewey thought, then he said: ‘The Napoleon of the toilet must be talking to himself.’ Anwering into space following the Chief’s example Dewey’s light high voice was no competition for Redman’s klaxon so the Chief had points on volume and tone.
‘I’m talking to you you foul mouthed puppy.’
‘Then you’re talking to yourself, old sack. My manhood’s secure. I’m not complaining about your odor, am I? Swish, swish.’
Still speaking as through a ventriloquist’s voice Redman bellowed: ‘We’ll see who’s a man. If I have to get out of this tub it’ll be to your sorrow.’
‘Aw, you old rut, why don’t you put your energy into screwing your woman and mind your own business.’
‘I’m coming.’ The voice said without raising a muscle.
‘I’m sure your are, especially if you’ve got a week’s leave. Come on, Pearl. I’ve soaked enough.’ Dewey said getting up, wrapping his towel around him he montioned Pearl to lead the way back.
‘Good riddance of bad rubbish.’ The Chief roared.
‘Aw, vaporize yourself, dicklick. Ride an atom bomb to hell.’ Dewey snarled over his shoulder as he left. Unfortunately his snarl was weak defensively compared to the Chief’s bull roar. He seemed to come out on the losing end.
The pimp at the entrance hovered out of sight watching. In the pay of the Chief he waited further orders.
Back in Pearl’s empty room Dewey sought the comfort of the bed.
‘That man very rude.’
‘Aw, he’s just a faggot.’ Dewey grumbled.
‘If he faggot, what he do here?’
He’s just trying to prove himself normal in front of the sailors. I bet all his girl did was give him a blow job, then he hangs around the toilet to ogle men as they pee, indulging his un-nat-u-ral tastes.’
Dewey laughed making it up as he went along but he wasn’t far off the mark.
‘You want more?’
‘Not right now.’ Dewey replied. He was so content to lie in splendor recruiting his battered mind and emotions that he had no other desire than to rest.
Pearl was chatting with him when the pimp pushed the door open saying a few words to her in Japanese. Dewey looked at him in astonishment. ‘Hey, this is private, jerk.’ He managed to blurt out.
Pimps of any nation are the most vile scum on the face of the earth. Living off the sexual acts of women, protected by the group of the house and dealing with men in a debilitated state they revive their emasculated manhood by being contemptuous only in the most secure situations. It would be fair to say they are not human. This pimp snarled contempt casually closing the door.
In the employ of Redman he had hurried him into the baths as soon as he heard Pearl suggest Dewey and she go there. All these rooms had paper thin, real paper, walls. Not only did sound easily pass through them but forms could be seen passing outside.
Having made life uncomfortable for Trueman in the toilet Dieter and Redman had further plans to humiliate Trueman. Their plans were of the tee-he-he variety of private joke. Trueman would never know he had been humiliated but Dieter could laugh and slap his knee in glee everytime he saw the sailor.
Redman’s pimp had been sent to fetch Trueman’s woman for his and Dieter’s pleasure.
‘Who’s that?’ Dewey asked Pearl.
‘He’s a friend of mine who work’s here.’
‘Yeah, well tell him not to do that again.’ Dewey said with a weary lack of conviction.
A few moments later Pearl turned to Dewey: ‘You are such a kind man.’
‘Yeah?’ Dewey had already begun to equate the word ‘kind’ with sucker.
‘I would not say this to you if it was not true. My friend tell me my sick mother has taken a turn for the worse. I know you have paid all night but I wonder if you be so kind to let me to go to her?’
‘Sick mother, hah?’ Dewey said who had read enough sex novels passed around the ship to recognize the ruse. ‘What’s she got?’
‘The doctors don’t even know but she may die this night. I would not want her to die without I see her again.’
Dewey could see the outline of the pimp crouching and listening on the other side of the paper wall. He knew Pearl was going off to turn extra tricks with the fleet in town but he also knew he was through with her anyway. All he wanted now was the luxury of those imported French sheets and four pillows. Besides 1500 yen was a very cheap price for a hotel with this quality of bed clothes.
‘If she’s dying, sure, go ahead.’
‘Oh thank-you, kind boy. I will be eternally grateful. Oh. My mother live all the way cross Tokyo so I will have to be gone all night but I will be back for you in the morning. I wake you up and do something nice for you and you be back to your ship on time. That OK?’
Pearl turned off the light and left as the pimp slunk along after her.
Needless to say she was not going way cross Tokyo but only to another cubicle in the whore house.
As she opened the door of the new cubicle a fat nude Dieter boomed out: ‘Hell-ooo Ba-bee.’
Dewey was very happy in this little island of luxuriousness; bliss amidst a sea of misery. About four o’ clock the pimp slunk back into his room to rifle his pockets. Dewey heard him come in. ‘There isn’t any money there you cocksucker. I only brought enough for the lay so get out of here slime ball.’
The pimp looked at him, startled by his cool demeanor. Taking his hand out of Dewey’s pocket he dropped the pants slouching back out into the night that covered his filthy soul from pole to pole.
At six Pearl turned on the light to rouse him from bed.
‘Time to wake up, Dewey. Do you want quick one before you go?’
The smell of the alcohol on her breath wafted over Dewey. He could see that she was flushed from the excitement of too much sexual activity. He had no desire to follow where he thought hordes had been. He was wrong about where she had been. Had he known that she had been debauched all ngiht long by Dieter and Redman he probably would have been angry.
They, or at least, Dieter had spent the night pretending she was Trueman. After all, to fuck a man’s woman is the same as doing it to him. So when pearl got down on her knees and sucked Dieter and Redman off they, or Dieter, could imagine it was Trueman. Now, in their fancies, they had sent their leftovers back to be used by Trueman. That was their big joke. Of course, they had taken Trueman’s sloppy seconds but their minds didn’t range that far. The men of Brokaw’s ‘greatest generation’ really knew how to do things. These boys had done nothing in the war that necessity hadn’t dictated, the same as any generation before or after. No need to gratify their vanity.
‘No, Pearl. I’m OK. This is a wonderful bed. I enjoyed it very much. Tell your pimp he’s lucky I’m not a violent guy or I would have broken his head when he tried to pick my pockets.’ An empty boast but necessary in the circumstances.
Then he got dressed in much the same half-conscious haze he’d been in all night.
‘What about these rubbers?’ Pearl asked pointing to the big pile.
‘You can have them.’ Dewey replied with prodigal largesse. ‘I don’t need them anymore.’
Pearl escorted him out of the maze, otherwise he would never have found his way out, letting him back into the street. She attempted a little show of affection to flatter him but as he didn’t believe the sick mother story he turned coldly away. Dewey retraced his steps to the ship in the same determined manner in which he had arrived.
Coming into the piers his path crossed that of Dean Redman. Scanning his sleeve Dewey discover that he was a Chief Bos’n’s Mate the same as Dieter. Despite his big voice he was a smallish man of only five-six, one hundred twenty pounds. Offended by his big voice and small size Dewey’s anger rose. The Chief’s crossing Dewey’s path was meant to be the final insult by these men of the ‘greatest generation’.
Dewey ruined it for them.
‘Kiss my ass, you son-of-bitch.’ Dewey growled rushing to thrust his foot between the Chief’s legs in an attempt to trip him. The Chief stumbled but did not fall. Neither did he look up or acknowledge Dewey’s agression in any way. The big voice of the toilet was now going rather than coming.
Spewing a few insults after the Lovecrafts’s retreating figure Dewey continued to the Teufelsdreck stepping up the gangway.
Dieter who had been watching from before the door of the Yeoman’s shack hoping to see Trueman’s final humiliation had to suffer the ignominy of seeing his man decline combat.
‘How was it, Trueman?’ Hubie Blake smiled holding out a dish of Penicillin tabs.
Dewey bobbed his head without speaking declining the Penicillin. He went below to change for muster. ‘I guess that was good as it gets.’ He thought thoroughly unimpressed.
The Hero Of Saipan Meets The Scourge Of The Teufelsdreck.
As may be imagined the sacred soil of Japan was the highlight of a tour which included Australia, Hong Kong and seven days in Hawaii as a finale. As Porky Pig says: ‘T-t-t-that’s all folks.’ It doesn’t get any better than that. As a morale builder Westpac had rolled a seven followed by an eleven. If Liberty hadn’t been the order of the day the whole ship would have gone over the hill.
As it was the twenty-five desperadoes had done the crew a favor. They stood all the watches for the visit leaving the rest free. Not that a number of them didn’t slip over when possible.
After mustering, the Deckhands were given orders for the minimal maintenance work. Liberty was declared at noon.
Dewey was buttoning the cuffs of his dress blues when Blaise Pardon called him back into after steering for a private tete-a-tete.
‘Did you go to the Two Roses, Trueman?’
‘Yah. I did, Pardon.’
‘Well? Was it like I remembered?’
Blaise was a very cautious fellow; some might say prudent. As it had been five years or more since he had been there he didn’t want to walk in cold to find that it had changed. He had used Trueman as a sort of scout to spy out the land. Trueman should have been flattered; after all every spy in Canaan had been a prince. Nor was that mere class pride. Expectations are based on social station. Thus the perception of abundance would be different for a prince than a private. Pardon had considered Trueman a cut or two above the others although the compliment went unappreciated by Trueman.
‘It’s the first place I’ve been to, Pardon, so I don’t have any basis of comparison but I don’t think you steered me wrong. I mean, the place was clean and well organized. I can’t complain about my girl, I mean, you know…’
‘Would you go again?’
‘No, Pardon, but only because I’ve seen it and I haven’t seen much of anything else. Maybe the first is best, don’t know, don’t care but if you thought it was tops back then it probably still is.’
‘Maybe I’ll go.’
‘If you do ask for Pearl. She may be a little on the chubby side but she was a good woman. I do know good from bad in women athough I don’t have much experience there either. By the way, her mother died last night if she asks you to let her go see her.’
‘Alright, I will. Have a good liberty, Trueman.’
Trueman looked at his shoes, pulled his pants up and his middie down swung the knot of his scarf in place, squared his hat and stepped over to Maclen’s bunk.
‘Yeah. Say, Deasy, Parkman and Parsons are coming along. Ok?’
‘Yeah. I don’t mind. Thanks for the warning.’
They collected the other three on the Quarterdeck. Stepping down the gangway Trueman spotted Dieter across the Plaza standing with the Chief from the brothel. Dewey was unaware of the backdoor machinations of this dynamic duo from the Greatest Generation. He was startled to see them together.
The situation at the Two Roses had been set up by Dieter. He knew from conversations with Pardon that Blaise favored the Roses and he also learned that Blaise, being the cautious sort of fellow he was intended to use Trueman as a scout. He had served with Redman on the Sullivans some years before. When the Teufelsdreck had pulled in behind the Lovecraft Dieter had hurried over to renew the friendship. Things had neatly fallen into place as they usually do if you let them. Thus, on the heels of Trueman Redman entered the Roses just before Trueman was led out by Pearl. A few words and several times that number of yen explained the constant attendance Dewey received from the pimp outside Pearl’s door. Informed of Dewey’s movements Redman was able to be in the right place at the right time. There is no difficulty in undertanding Dieter’s movements of that night.
While Dieter was never much of a detail man things had worked out well in that instance. Now, standing on the corner waiting for Trueman, his projected vision of the course of events was to prove chimerical. Fortunately for Trueman Dieter never tied the ends down; the four corners were always flapping in the breeze.
Trueman forgot Dieter as he approached, concentrating his anger on Chief Dean Redman. The constrast between his loudmouthed boldness in the toilet and his timidity on the street rankled Trueman. Dewey would have walked by with only a glare but Dieter wanted to have his triumph.
‘Hello, Trueman.’ Dieter called. ‘Are you going to get laid again?’
Dieter was about to hint around how he and Redman had cuckolded him screwing and getting blown by his whore that he had paid for. Behold the Heroes of the Pacific in undress twelve years after.
‘Hey, who you got there, Dieter? Big Chief Bullhorn? The loudest mouth in the toilet and the most chicken-shit guy on the street?’
Chief Dieter wa taken back by Trueman’s aggressiveness. While he considered the Seaman mouthy he had always seemed timid aboard ship. Trueman was surprised at his own aggression almost pulling back but since he was launched he quided the missile in.
‘Let’s have a little more respect, Trueman, we’re Chiefs.’
‘Yeah. Chiefs of the toilet, you lay down in the gutter with pigs and you get up with fleas- and that’s being kind to Big Chief Bullhorn here. ‘Dewey fairly shouted mixing that metaphor just a little.
‘Curb your tongue, Trueman.’
‘Curb your ass, why don’t you Chiefo Dietero. We ain’t back on the ship now, Daddyo, we’re out on the town. If you don’t like my mouth you can kiss my ass.’
The Hero of Saipan was non-plussed. He had never expected such an outburst from the diffident Trueman. Redman remained silent looking out into space hands clasped behind his back in a Chiefly manner. The big voice of the toilet was stilled.
‘If I wasn’t a Chief, Trueman…’
‘Aw, can it Dieter. Why doesn’t your loud mothed buddy here hand you his jacket like they do in the movies and whale into this ‘puppy’ like he said he wanted to do last night in the toilet. Here I am Big Dick or are you still only coming?’
As everyone knows, indeed, the Bible tells us so, there is a season for everything. There is a time for kicking ass and a time for not kicking ass. The best time for kicking ass is when the other fellow isn’t prepared; the worst time is when he is. Being a man of fine discrimination Redman recognized this time as a season for the latter. He stared indifferently into space through all the abuse. The Heroes of the Pacific in their element.
The Hero of Saipan faced the Scourge of the Teufelsdreck. Dieter had enough self-respect to not attempt to pull rank any further than he had. Stymied by Trueman’s unexpected attitude, backed into a corner, he chose to use the glamour of his rating and the dignity of his age as an out: ‘Humph. Well, you enjoy yourself in Y’kuska Trueman. This is a place where anyone can have a good time.’
‘Yeah. You too, El Jefe.’
Dieter turned liverish as he watched Trueman walk away to join his friends who had prudently but traitorously walked slowly on.
Dieter would have to be satisfied with his secret knowledge of his supposed humiliation of Trueman. He would have to take a different approach to let Trueman know. He would instruct Roberts of the circumstances and how to wheedle the story out of Trueman without it being apparent to him and then ridicule him.
But had Trueman really been humiliated? Trueman had taken the full value of what he needed for himself from his fifteen hundred yen which is all anybody could take. He wouldn’t have felt cheated at twice the price. He had gotten his ashes hauled; he had slept in a finer bed than most people would ever see and fewer still appreciate. He had gotten his battery charged.
By great good luck he had found his way to the Roses Of Old Nippon. If not the finest, its quality could only be exceeded by superfuous luxuriousness. How could anything have exceeded the luxuriousness of the sheets on Pearl’s bed? The Two Roses had well deserved its name as had Pearl. Whoever had given her the English name she bore when she had arrived at the house had correctly evaluated her. There is much in a name. It is true that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet but it wouldn’t be a rose. The name Rose was given only to the flower that merited the name. Hence a rose by any other name would not be a rose. The Roses Of Nippon by any other name would remain the same but the name given to a lesser place would be a joke. They would make it give up the name returning it to its rightful owner. A rose by any other name would not be a Rose, it would be whatever it was called. A Daisy remains a Daisy no matter what name you give it.
Names have significance. Pearl simply had the qualities of a pearl; she was no Rose nor was she a Daisy. She was a pearl of a woman. Pearl had saved Dewey from degrading embarrassment by finding the way to his release from giggling. Perhaps a Rose would have fled in disgust thereby shaming Dewey. There was some poetry involved for Dewey. In his watery state of mind at the time, which equated the ocean, one had to dive down deep to find that Pearl one had brought to the surface. It was capable of reestablishing balance between land and water. In her own way Pearl was a link in the chain between his emasculated state and his eventual return to balanced manhood.
Dewey had gotten more than he paid for. He had no notion of using women to indulge perverted visions of reality; of seeking to balance the Anima and Animus to the detriment of both. He had no desire to destroy women to exorcise his demons as Dieter and Redman did.
If the two paid for Dewey’s sloppy seconds, as far as Dewey was concerned they were welcome to them. If they thought they were taking something of value form Dewey it was only largesse the innocent Sailor could well affort to dispense. There was no miserliness in his soul. Still, the consensus was that Dewey had been taken advantage of. There’s no denying public opinion. The Chief knew the prejudices of his proteges well.
Some Of The Epigoni
As Dewey sneeringly departed Redman and Dieter he passed Captain Ratches, the Commodore and the other Captains.
The Commodore had not quite eased his heart by sending the Teufelsdreck into the heart of the typhoon by way of expiation of its sins. He was saying: ‘I can’t understand why you came up from so far South rather than more Easterly as we did.’
Ratches well understood the punishment and the taunt. He also knew, or believed, that it was only his superb seamanship that brought the little subkiller through the killer typhoon. He was certainly justified in his pride. Raising the middle finger of his left hand to pick at the nail of the middle finger of his right he said: “We had a spot of rough weather, high winds, you know, the sort of things that happen in a typhoon; helmsman had a hell of a time keeping the ship on course, seems like a good man though. Perhaps I should send him over to you for training. You could lend us yours.’
The Commodore laughed inwardly in appreciation: ‘That’s alright Gabe. I’m sure your boys did the best they could.’
As Dewey refoined his party Mike Deasy said: ‘You shouldn’t have been so hard on the Chief.’
‘Hard on Dieter?’ Dewey responded in amazement. He was well aware he had been taking abuse from Dieter for some time. As it was he didn’t know half or even more of what the others knew. He did realize that Dieter and Redman believed they had done something to him which had been especially harmful or humiliating and they were attempting to gloat over it.
‘You don’t think Dieter’s hard on me Deasy?’
‘Well, maybe he is but I’m always on the side of the underdog.’
Dewey was stopped in his tracks: ‘Always for the underdog?’ How could Deasy say something like that? A Chief against a Seaman and the Chief was the underdog? A Chief allied with half First Division which was willing to kill for him was an underdog? Trueman didn’t connect the implication that he was clearly seen as the intellectual and moral superior of Dieter. He didn’t know that he was disparagingly referred to as the Scourge of the Teufelsdreck. Nor did Trueman connect on what he had observed: That Dieter was only the suit of clithes that the Navy had provided him and the gaudy goofy underwear that Dieter had bought himself.
Up to this point in his life Dewey had always considered himself the underdog but now that Dieter was the underdog compared to him the concept became shameful in his eyes. Now, to be the underdog seemed to him to be a simpering weakling. Dewey renounced the role on the spot never considering himself an underdog again. But he had to ransack his mind to find who else he could be. He would discover that opposite Quemoy and Matsu. For now he hurried to catch up with his companions.
Across the Plaza from the ships one entered a street where all the Japanese predators on the Navy set up shop. The street was lined with open air souvenir shops, bars, some brothels and various gyp joints.
This was twelve years after the sacred soil had passed to the Americans with the unconditional surrender. Twelve years in geologic time is of no consequence but in human affairs sliding psyches metamorphose into fantastic forms. Those ‘poor little yellow people’ had not accustomed themselves to the role of conquered nor would they ever.
Now, twelve years after, as they looked at the streams of post-high school kids come laughingly off the ships the old sods, the veterans of the jungles, the men of China, many who had been in active combat most of their lives looked at these downy cheeked White boys in disgust.
The young Japanese who had not been old enough to fight but were older now than these ex-high school students could only clench their fists in impotent rage. They fondly imagined that the Gods would have aided them in their last ditch defense bearing only hoes and rakes.
The first Americans ashore had been as gods; indeed who could have defeated God’s own favorites but the favorites of other more powerful gods. The Americans must have stronger magic; if the Atom Bomb wasn’t its stronger magic than the term had no meaning. If Hirohito was the son of god then what must Douglas MacArthur, nearly twice the height of the little emperor, have been. Exactly as they treated him; as the superior of Hirohito. It was possible to lose to men like that but to these, the epigoni of the giants?
Psychologically those giants were so proud of their conquests, so convinced of their superiority that rather than let their epigoni outdo them they hamstrung them. They disarmed them, said that they could not feel superior as conquerors. They were demoted to less than equals of the conquered. Warned that in any disturbance with the Japanese that they would automatically be judged the aggressors. The ex-high schoolers had to walk on eggshells while the Japanese aggressors of yesteryear sneered them down. This was the attitude of the ‘greatest generation.’
The older men who ran the shops were all defeated soldiers of the Emperor. Some, if not most, had been officers used to commanding in China, Indo-China, Siam, the Philippines, wherever the Rising Sun had flown. They had defeated the British on bicycles with empty rifles. They had laughed themselves silly after those first easy victories as the mighty White Man fled before them.
Now these commanders of the destinies of others begged dollars for trashy souvenirs from these children they despised. As difficult as it is for any soldier who has, for instance, been put in charge of a ‘million dollar tank’ and a crew of men to go home and pump gas for a living it was troubling to the souls of these commanders even more so. The role of sucking off the epigoni for their sustenance was in reality a form of penance serving what they considered inferior men.
This was the heyday of cheap Japanese souvenirs that sailors sent back to their families; the black velvet picture of Mt. Fuji, fans with the image of Mt. Fuji, salt and pepper shakers with the same image; Fuji was everywhere. You could see it rising as a backdrop to Tokyo Bay.
Dewey’s group wandered into the open front of a fairly large shop crammed to the rafters with this stuff. This cheap fare had seemed wonderful and marvelous to Dewey when it had been shown to him by veterans back home. But now surrounded by piles of the junk it seemed cheap and tawdry. Somehow he imagined that the vets had won this junk by their valor not given a few pennies for it in a bazaar. Dewey’s sensibilities were offended.
‘Don’t pay what they ask for; you have to bargain for the right price.’ Kerry warned Dewey. The old con, Kerry, was at home. The advice was well given for Dewey came from one price America. He liked it like that; bargaining did not appeal to him. When he was not pleased he was not good at concealing it.
the woman who ran the ship was forty and therefore twenty-eight in ’45 when the Yanks came ashore. She had lost a husband int he war and had endured great subsequent hardship because of Tojo’s Folly or as she put it, at the hands of the Americans. Always the other guy, isn’t it?
She rushed up to Dewey, who was idly looking at some salt and petter shakers with Mt. Fuji on them to say: ‘Nor nice boy like you three hundred yen.’
the last time a woman had called Dewey a nice boy she had had a sick mother across Tokyo. Once again nice seemed to equate sucker.
Pearl had been pleasant but there was something vile about this woman. She ill-concealed her hatred of the epigoni of the conquerors. She saw the American victory as not so much men over men as materiel over materiel. She mistakenly believed that if Japan had had the productive capacity of America her men would have won the war. Probably a nice enough woman originally, adversity had corrupted her body and soul. She looked like a whore who had lost her innocence but not her cunning.
‘Oh yeah?’ Dewey said in a combative jeering tone looking sneeringly down his nose at the five foot woman: ‘I’ll give you a hundred.’
Torn between her hatred of the conquerors, the seeming insult to her status and sex and the sight of this pimple faced skinny boy sneering down his nose at a once proud matron of Japan was too much for her to take. The misfortunes of twenty years flowed back into her face like a tsunami.
‘Oh, no. One hundred way too not much.’ She stuttered in her shame and debasement. She subconsciously eached for a billy club with Shore Patrol armbands wrapped around the barrel. Perhaps in her latent masochism she was offering it to Dewey to give her a good beating.
Dewey was also barely controlling his internal rage. ‘I don’t want them then.’ Dewey said spuring both her and her merchandise.
Beside herself and not knowing what to do whe held out the club and armbands saying: ‘Here is SP stick.’
‘What would I want with that?’ Dewey laughed coldly, disgusted with the whole situation. ‘I’m not with the Shore Patrol.’ The corruptness the woman exuded riled him as he turned coldly away.
Mortified by his rejection coupled with the humiliations of twenty years the woman ran after him swinging the club. If he wouldn’t reward her masochism she would be sadistic. Had she been taller she might have hit him on the head. As it was the blow landed between his shoulders. The blow was very loud resounding throughout the market area. As the club was wrapped in armbands the blow caused Dewey neither pain nor inconvenience.
At the sound of the blow and the cursing of the woman a couple of the Emperor’s ex-commanders began to rush across the street. One had been a Major in China for ten years, present at the Rape of Nanking, while the other was enlisted who had been repatriated from the Philippine jungles only in 1949. Expecting Trueman to hit the woman as they would have done they rushed to her assistance for the thrill of beating one of their Conquerors.
Heeding the Navy’s warning that the warriors of the most powerful nation in the world would be left hanging out to dry Dewey merely sneered over his shoulder at the woman while giving a contemptuous look at the defeated heroes of the Bataan Death March.
‘Not then, not now, not ever.’ He though as Major Takahashi and his pal returned to their souvenir stalls sneering at the cowadice of a American sailor being subdued by a woman.
‘Geez, thanks for waiting for me.’ Dewey said as he caught up.
‘We thought you were doing OK. Did she hurt you?’
‘No. The armbands absorbed the force. mad a hell of a noise though. Well, I hope when I offer the same excuse for walking away from you guys you'[ll accept it as cheerfully as I have.’
By this time they were entering a square thronged with flush faced exuberant sailors having the time of their lives polluting the sacred soil of Nippon.
‘Kerry’s got something for us. We’re supposed to wait here and he’ll be right back.’
‘Let’s don’t hang around here; let’s go into Tokyo and see that.’
‘Tokyo? That’s a long way. How’re we supposed to get there.’
‘It’s not so far; just at the head of the bay. Heck, there’s supposed to be a train up here a ways that’ll take us right in. We should see Tokyo.’
Trueman had seen Maclen talking to Kayo Kreskin as he was walking up. Kerry walked off one way while Kreskin came over to talk to him.
‘See that place.’ Kreskin pointed to a bar lit by massive moving neon sighs called the Golden House of Joy or the House of Golden Joy, one of the two, I forget which.
‘Yeah? What about it?’
‘You can’t go in there.’
‘Because you’re not man enough. You’d get your ass kicked.’
‘Oh yeah? Ass kicking time again, hey? You want to kick my ass Kreskin? We could step over in the alley?’ Trueman didn’t mean it but it sounded good and he didn’t think Kreskin would take him up on it, rightly as it was.
‘I got better things to do.’ Kayo said switching his attack. ‘The best looking hooker in Japan is in there. She’s waiting for me now. She wouldn’t even look at you.’
‘Yeah? You got the best looking hooker in Japan waiting for you in there and you’re out here talking to me? You queer? Have to wonder about you Kayo. How much she want, five-six thousand yen?’ Dewey jeered gently amused by Kreskin’s need to inflate his ego.
‘Thirty-five hundred and that’s per hour.’ Whether true or not, which is always doubtful in these cases, Kayo had his dope smuggling profits, extra cash from his dad nd he’d been drawing double pay since the States so if what he said was true he could afford it. ‘And I can afford it.’
‘I don’t have that kind of money so I guess I’ll just have to leave her to you.’
‘I know Trueman. I’m just better than you.’
‘I’m sure any proof of that you’ll need is all in your mind but you’ll never be able to prove it to me. Go on in there, have a couple drinks and have a good time, I don’t care. See you later.’
How can you get excited about guys like that? Dewey thought.
Jack Kerouac once said that if you put a hophead down in any city in the world he will have scored withing half an hour. This wasn’t exactly true. Kayo Kreskin who was a hophead took over half an hour by five minutes after setting foot on the Sacred Soil. he was what is called ‘soaring’ as he talked to Trueman. In addition to scoring he had gained the confidence of the criminal element. By signs, he had made it clear that he was ‘wise.’ As he was buying dope he had quickly made the necessary criminal contacts. They had indicated the ways and means available for fleecing his fellow sailors.
Maclen had greatly admired Kreskin ever since the marijuana buy in Tijuana; Kreskin treated him as a subordinate which Kerry, who desperately needed a leader, relished. Kreskin had turned Maclen over to the criminal brotherhood for the potential benefit of all three.
Having made arrangements with the Japanese thugs Maclen now came back flushed with success.
‘Come on. We got lucky. I’ve got it all set up. Three hundred fifty yen per man. Fork over, I’v got to pay these guys.’
‘Not in advance.’ Deasy said.
‘IK. When we get there but give me the money now.’
‘How lucky did we get?’ Trueman queried. ‘What do we get for our money, bubble gum in the shape of Mt. Fuji?’
‘Kayo knew a guy who’s got these fantastic pornographic movies. They’ll take us to see them.’
The other four men stood looking at each other.
‘Who the hell wants to waste Japan watching pornographic movies?’ Trueman asked. ‘I didn’t come to Japan to see movies. Let’s go see Tokyo.’
‘How does Kreskin know a guy in Y’kuska?’ Deasy muttered under his breath.
‘These aren’t ordinary pornographic movies; These are fantastic. Tokyo?’
There was a brief argument in which Trueman was overruled, everyone believeing Tokyo too far, costly and dangerous. Maclen persisted until he won the other three over. Kerry led them around the corner where two men twenty-seven and twenty-eight waited beside motocycle contraptions with a cart behing to haul up to four people.
These men had been fourteen and fifteen when Emperor Hirohito stepped aboard the Mighty Mo. Both had been eager to man Kami Kazi planes against the White Devils in the upcoming battle of Tokyo. Friends and family had armed themselves with no more than sticks and stones in a desperate attempt to repel the invader as they prayed for the reappearance of the Divine Wind.
The steel craft of the enraged victims of Pearl Harbor were immune to the effects of the most divine of winds as witness the travails of the Teufelsdreck in the typhoon. Unlike the junks of the Chinese invaders of the thirteenth century the steel behemoths could cleave their way through any sea. The two boys could only grit their teeth in impotent rage as President Truman standing placidly on the broad decks of the Missouri accepted the sword of the Son of Heaven of the Land Of The Rising Sun. The deed was done.
The two boys had participated in several plots which came to nothing to kill and expel the hated Americans. Circumstance forced them to accept their fate so they turned to exploiting the vices of the hated White Devils. They could do nothing to satisfy their rage but degrade their conquerors.
Now grown men they took pleasure in either fleecing or rolling these high school kids. Not infrequently they were aided by Whites of the great international brotherhood of criminals. Criminals, Jews, homosexuals, these are all semi-secret societies in which the members work for their own interests against the common good. No one knows who they are unless they choose to declare themselves. Meanwhile they further the interests of their group by backing ‘liberal’, ‘humane’ or ‘benevolent’ concepts. They are opposed to ‘hatred.’
The movies the men showed were mildly pornographic films made in France in the 30s. They showed only Whites in their films, no Japanese women. They reveled in seeing the Americans become aroused. then getting them fully heated they offered them Act Two, live entertainment. If they collected the money in advance they hopped on their carts saying they would be right bacvk. The angry sailors were left milling on a dark street in the a strange country. If the cons couldn’t collect in advance they took the sailors to a house where they were clubbed, rolled and dumped in the street.
These men had been thoroughly corrupted by their hatred. Who can blame them, but which of their victims would be willing to condone them? They were just criminals.
The Japanese were slowly recovering economically but the amount of investment necessary was so huge their was little visible evidence of the progress in the living standards of the people. There were very few cars on the road. This fact alone infuriated the pimps for they had heard Chuck Berry’s ‘Maybelline’ and the song about the ‘Hot Rod Lincoln.’ They had seen American movies where virile carefree men with complaisant blonde women rolled down endless convertible black top highways laughing senselessly as their hair blew in the wind without knotting. Defeated, impoverished and faced by such images they gritted their teeth against a feeling inferiority.
They could not accept such inferiority as they gazed at these seeming simpleton American boys of nineteen. It didn’t seem possible that these boys could have had anything to do with ‘Maybellines’, ‘Hot Rod Lincolns’ or the ballsy types of the movies. Hawaii, California, the Golden West could have been all theirs they thought. Except for what? A little bit of luck of course.
Both Deasy and Trueman protested the carts. There was a hidden symbolism there that the felt but didn’t understand. The great Lancelot’s reputation was smeared for all time because he once rode in a cart. the Japanese men didn’t know that legend but they knew what they were doing just the same.
Still protesting, Deasy and Trueman got in one cart while Maclen and the others jammed into the other one. The two pimps revved up the bikes then sped along behind each other on a twenty minute ride.
‘How far away is this place?’ Deasy asked after fifteen minutes of twisting and turning.
‘I don’t know. Probably a couple of blocks.’
‘Couple blocks! It must be a lot further than that. Thing’s been driving around for a quarter hour.’
‘Yeah, but this is at least the third time I’ve seen this corner. I think they’re driving around in figure eights. You notice the neighborhood hasn’t changed at all, we haven’t crossed any main streets. Probably just like in the movies where the enemy agents drive around to get you confused then take you in the back door of the house you walked out the front. Whadya think?’
‘Probably.’ Deasy said sitting back. ‘I don’t know about this Maclen guy. I’ve heard weird things about him. He’s getting a bad reputation.’
‘Kerry?’ I think he’s alright.’ Dewey replied who because of his own developing long range plans included Maclen turned an unseeing eye to Maclen’s obvious criminal nature.
At this time the two carts bumped against the curb at their destination. They were about two blocks from where they started just like in the movies. Since movies aren’t art there is no reason to ask whether art imitates life or life art; like all good novels, good movies portray real life.
The five sailors were led inside to an empty room. A small table held a movie projector; the screen was the blank wall facing. A chair for each of the Japanese was on either side of the projector. They would be seated above their American cattle. The Japs motioned deprecatingly for the Americans to sit on the floor.
‘We want chairs.’ Deasy demanded.
The Japs shrugged their shoulders. Acting as an accomplice Maclen seconded the Jap opinion at each step. The sailors didn’t realize they were in the hands of three criminals- two Japs and one American. The balance of power had now been shifted from the conquerors to the conquered upon entering the room. No one knew but that a secret panel might open disgorging a band to slit their throats. Maclen who seemed to Trueman and Deasy at least to have an affinity to the Japanese criminals if he wasn’t in collusion with them, calmed them down insisting they accept the situation. Their cicerones became surly nd commanding men now that they felt the sailors were in their power.