Infinite Wisdom - Sample
1100 hours. Ie Shima, Okinawa. Kenda joins Takebayashi and Itohara at the mess hall. They eat and look out the window. Sandbags are filled by digging crews that work around the clock.
Takebayashi: “How is the food situation?”
Kenda looks at his plate of food. “Not bad. We have food reserves for six months. More than enough to get us through this battle.”
Takebayashi: “Oh? How long do you think this will last; once it starts?”
Kenda: “Three months.”
Takebayashi sighs. “Three months…” He shakes his head and scoops up a bite of rice and fish.
Itohara (with a mouth full of food): “You think the Americans will give us food after they kick our asses?”
Kenda: “You haven’t change a bit. All you think about is food. What are you after; an American hot dog with french fries?”
Itohara manages to swallow. “Hey, I’m just thinking logically here. Nourishment is a necessity. And I think they will feed us when the time comes.”
Takebayashi: “Oh? Why is that?”
Itohara: “Because it won’t cost them much. There won’t be many of us left.”
Kenda takes a deep breath. “Yes. I know.”
Itohara: “As it happens, it might not matter.”
Kenda: “Why is that?”
Itohara puts his chopsticks down. “I have a fool proof plan for survival.”
Kenda: “Do tell.”
Itohara: “I am taking one of those scout submarines and making my getaway when the last of the defenses folds.”
Kenda: “And just how do you propose to get on one of those?”
Itohara: “I got that all figured out.”
Kenda and Takebayashi look to one another, then to the old sergeant. They wait.
Itohara pauses for dramatic effect. He looks into their eyes. “I’ll steal it.”
Kenda blinks his eyes several times; trying to comprehend the statement.
Takebayashi: “Okay; I’ll bite. How are you going to steal a submarine?”
Itohara: “Easy! I’ll need a little help to distract the guard, but essentially, I plan to go down to the dock when it’s moored there, then just go on board, start up the engines and take off.”
Kenda: “Just like that?”
Itohara: “Yeah. The small ones only have room for three or four men anyway. I expect they will be completely unoccupied down there. All I need is a minor distraction, and zoom! We got us a submarine!”
Takebayashi: “And you… know how to operate a submarine?”
Itohara: “Hey, how hard can it be?”
Kenda: “What if there is no submarine there when you need it?”
Itohara: “Ah! I have that figured out too. See, we steal the submarine, then hide it until we need it.”
Takebayashi: “Hide a submarine?”
Itohara: “Shit yeah! All we have to do is find a marked spot and set her right down there on the bottom. Then, when we need it, we just swim out to it.”
Kenda: “And, uh… how are you going to go on board an unoccupied submarine at the bottom of the lagoon?”
Itohara: “Just open the hatch and go in.”
Kenda: “I think you need to reevaluate that.”
Takebayashi suppresses laughter as he listens.
Itohara thinks for a moment. “Okay, so it needs a little work. I got time.”
Takebayashi: “Not a whole lot of time, eh? But, you let me know how that goes. I’ll be your first passenger.”
They all laugh. Kenda sits back and feels a sense of contentment. Listening to Itohara’s comic ideas have brought him a feeling that he has been missing for a long time. He has been transferred so many times in the last year after escaping from Rabaul; he has not found a group of men that he could really call friends. Now, he is back with men from his past. These men helped shape his very core. When they fought together at the battle of Nomonhan against the Russians in 1939, they became as close as brothers. He learned more from these men from the Imperial Army’s 11th Sentai than from all his instructors at the Naval Academy. These are life lessons that he can never forget.