Thursday, September 6, 2012

" How are you today, SEERRRGEEAAAANNNTT?"

Said the old paratroper with a sneer as I entered the waiting room. "I was hoping I had seen the last of you but I didn't think so because there is no justice in this world. Did they call you and reschedule you to make my life miserable?

"No, they didn't call me to come and make life miserable, I called them and rescheduled myself so I could keep an eye on you," I shot back. "You know the only easy day was yesterday! How you got that old without learning that is beyond me."

He looked up at me with an annoyed look and then furrowed his brows. "You're right," he said. "The only easy day WAS yesterday."

With that I sat down next to him. A second later another old guy sat down next to me on the other side. I turned to him and introduced myself and the old paratrooper to the new guy who looked at him and asked him where he had been stationed.

I then realized I was between a pair of WW2 vets. I asked the new guy what he had done and he told me he had flown B-17s, B-24s and B-29s. He had been in Europe AND the Pacific. He was in the Pacific when the war ended.

All three of us had arrived early and I listened to the pair of them gab a bit about who was where when the bombs fell on Japan and ended the war. The paratrooper was in Europe and the B-29 flyboy had been on Tinian when the war ended.

The paratrooper said the only thing he got home with was his ass in one piece and a German officer's belt he got in trade for a carton of Luckies. The pilot laughed and said he had paid the same thing for a Japanese helmet from a GI.

Then the old paratrooper said he had stopped smoking Luckies about 40 years ago but even now still wanted one every once in a while.

"So light up," I said. "Any man your age ought to do whatever the hell he pleases and that an occasional Luckie isn't going to kill you."

"Some health nut will give me hell," he pouted.

"Tell him it's none of his goddamn business and that you've smoked 4 packs a day since you were twelve years old and that you ran a marathon last week because it was on your way to the liquor store," I shot back.

"I think I will have me a Luckie," he said.

Then I snickered and asked them if they wanted a hand getting a little payback for the war and they both looked at me with curiosity. The paratrooper looked at me and sneered, "What are you going to do? The war's been over for almost 70 years."

"I'm a ham radio operator and I have a portable rig," I said. "I could climb a hill and send a Morse code message to Tokyo saying I was a leftover Japanese corporal still standing by in New Guinea or someplace and eating rice out of my helmet." Both old men started laughing like hell.

"That's a good idea! Maybe the bastards would send out a rescue party," said the paratrooper.

"I can picture the poor guys stumbling through the jungle and tripping over all of the junk we left behind and falling into old rotten bunkers," said the pilot.

"Do it!" said the paratrooper.

"You're buyin' the beer," I said. "Gotta have something to drink while we're watching it on Fox."

"Fox?" asked the pilot?

"Fox. They'll put Geraldo Rivera right on it." I said. "He's just the man for the job of reporting on wild goose chases. Remember Al Capone's vault?"

The pair of them laughed. "I can picture that Rivera guy crashing through the jungle with a bunch of Japanese kids that are as young as we were and tripping over all that crap we left behind in the Pacific!"

"Pick a real hellhole," said the paratrooper. "I hear parts of the Solomons still have headhunters and plenty of alligators. Big snakes and huge spiders, too."

The pilot laughed. "Christ! Give the poor kids a break!" he said. Then he laughed. "Some place in New Guinea will work just fine."

"How about that Rivera guy? Make it easy for him, too?" asked the paratrooper.

"Good point." He turned to me. "Pick a real hellhole!"

We all laughed.

I mimed working a telegraph key. "Corporal Toyota Corrolla, IJA, SB, hill 883, New Guinea. Send help. I am getting old. Long live the Emperor!" I said, while making beeping noises.

"Hey, Corporal Toyota Corolla come with me," said a voice.

I looked up and it was my therapist. The three of us got up and followed her.

We went our seperate ways in the machine room and the old paratrooper asked me, "You really going to do that?"

"Damned right I am," I said, stoutly. "Don't forget to do an extra one for the airborne."

A minute the old paratrooper was griping and bitching and bellyaching and back to muttering about how he should have joined the Navy and how he wouldn't have to do extra exercises if he had beeen a sailor instead of a paratrooper and how the Navy didn't have no goddamned sergeants in it and there was no damned justice in this world. When he was done, he groaned and did one extra. "One for the airborne!" he almost shouted.

I was in earshot trying not to crack up and while I did my exercises I started thinking up some kind of wild tale to tell him about sending a Morse message to Japan when I see him the next time.

I'll bet you I can get him ALL wound up.

my other blog is:

No comments:

Post a Comment