Member Rara Avis
Visiting Earth on a Guest Pass
A wonderful thing just happened!
This is about my friend Bob, the neighborhood storyteller who used to visit me long after he left the rest of us, waiting for his wife to join him....
Here's the basic story, which I can't tell nearly as well as Bob would.
Typical Bob, he was off limits looking for souvenirs on some little hell-hole island -- Kwajalein comes to mind but it could have been any of a dozen -- when two half-starved Japanese soldiers who'd been hiding from capture jumped him -- one had that bayonet but instead of shooting them like a sensible Marine, Bob shot over their heads to make them stop, and disarmed them....
As he was marching them back to the base as prisoners, the one with the bayonet was balky, so Bob gigged him in the rear with his own bayonet, made him bleed....
He felt so badly about it later that he went to what passed for a hospital and apologized. He told me the Japanese soldier was in tears over that, being shown kindness and humility by an enemy he'd tried to kill, and then having the enemy apologize for hurting him needlessly.....he'd been told that Americans ate their captives.
Bob's house has been empty for several months now, ever since Sophie died....and today there's a dumpster outside, with a man taking everything out of the garage.....such a sad, dismal procession.......he let my son Brian walk around, and I came back with Bri later, the guy not caring if I took things....I wanted one thing only, searched until I found that bayonet. I can almost feel Bob's hand when I touch it....
He hasn't visited since Sophie came to join him, but I think he'll be happy that it will belong to someone who remembers him, and how he came to have it.
Here's a picture -- the little insignia at the base of the blade is that of the Kokura arsenal, where it was made.
....and yes, I'm going to rehabilitate it, make it look like the cherished memory it is. I've always thought that Bob used it in that off-hand way because he still felt a little sting of shame over the incident, but I never asked.