User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

We were assigned as brig turnkeys, also called chasers or guards at the end of 1967 at the Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, Japan. Everyone called him Fos. He was an average sized Marine, a little on the sticky side with some interesting scars on his face. No one asked where the scars came from but he told me one night while we were drinking beer and driving around in a 1950’s Renault car that he had borrowed from another turnkey.

The worst scars were the ones where the doctors had sewn his nose back onto his face, after he went through a windshield face first. It wouldn’t have been torn off, if his buddy hadn't pulled him back into the car from the inside. 

The prisoners assumed that the scars came from Vietnam when they saw the campaign ribbons on his uniform, or the common rumor was that some bad ass had sliced him up in a knife fight.

The scars worked to his advantage because no one messed with the Fos. The scars on his face didn’t stop Fos from being a lady’s man. Within a few weeks he had a Japanese girlfriend and was also having an affair with a sergeant that worked with his wife.

I suspected that he was also having a fling with a half Japanese/half Korean bar girl called Mickie. I was sweet on Mickie also, but she told me that she always liked me as a little brother. That was kind of ironic because Fos and I were the same age, but I didn’t look all beat up.

I think Mickie really became interested in Fos when she found out that Fos had a buddy in the Navy that was involved in smuggling green back dollars from Okinawa to Japan. At that time Okinawa was an American territory and the American military stationed in Okinawa were paid in American money, or greenbacks as they were called.

American servicemen in Japan were paid with military payment certificates that could be exchanged for Japanese yen on the American bases.

The sailor was stationed with a P-3 Orion submarine chaser squadron that flew out of Iwakuni, and Fos had a plan to purchase Seiko watches through the post exchange and have his buddy trade them for greenbacks to bring back to him in Japan to sell on the black market.

I wasn’t involved with any of this smuggling. I was spending all my money in town, drinking beer and hanging out with Mickie and two other women that played pachinko on top of a building in town. They thought I was some kind of good luck charm when they took me with them.   

Mickie’s real interest in Fos appeared to be getting her brother Onish introduced to the P-3 sailor when Fos mentioned him to her one night when he was drinking sloe gin. Fos told me that Mickie wanted to set up a meeting with her, her brother and Fos, and Fos asked me to tag along.

I was no heavyweight, but I’m sure Fos was glad I was with him when we met Onish. He was one bad looking dude. After a few beers Onish didn’t seem to be such a bad guy, but he wasn’t the kind of person that you would want to be pissed off at. Onish didn’t speak any English but he appeared to understand it. Fos and Onish talked and Mickie would translate. Her English was really good.

Onish wanted to meet again and talk a little business Mickie told us. He asked me and Fos to meet him in a few days at an underground jazz club on Kawashima Blvd. that was off limits to American servicemen. Mickie would take us there so she could help with the language.

We had a few beers before we met up with Mickie and she walked us into the jazz club. The band was going at it and they seemed to get a kick out of me walking up to the bandstand and joining them on the conga drum.

Mickie gave me a big hug and Fos grinned at me as I came to the table and sat down. Mickie looked at her watch, Onish was late and that was very unusual for him. Japanese were known for being punctual. Mickie walked outside and found Onish dead in an alley behind the jazz club. 

We got out of the club before the cops came. We both went to see Mickie the next day and she told us that Onish had been killed with a sword. Fos and I both thought that this was a strange way to be killed, after all it was 1967. After Mickie told us that Onish was a member of the yakuza, it all started to make sense.

The End


Leroy B. Vaughn is not the hillbilly singer from the 1950's, the former motorcycle officer from Orange County California or the dentist from Los Angeles, all with the same name.


Donate a little?

Use PayPal to support our efforts:


Genre Poll

Your Favorite Genre?

Sign Up for info from Short-Story.Me!

Stories Tips And Advice