Threads of The War, Volume IV
Threads of The War, Volume IV
“You are getting to be a budding WEB Griffin. Putting a bit of a face on real events in war.” - Pat
Raw personal emotions. Human trial, triumph and tragedy. Can we experience War through the eyes of the soldiers and civilians who lived it?
See the sites, hear the sounds, and read short stories of war from a unique perspective: behind the eyes and in the mind of its participants. From the negotiating table where the future of the Middle East was decided by two men to the streets of Los Angeles during a riot by the Navy, from a the perspective of a street urchin in shattered Berlin to the view of a Huey side gunner in the secret war in Laos, the reader is carried from one front of war to another in short easily-readable, yet emotionally compelling, bursts.
Threads of The War, Volume IV is the fourth collection of flash-fiction in the Threads of The War series. If you like history, personal narrative, and have a short attention span, you’ll love Jeremy Strozer’s touching prose.
Grab a seat and a copy of Threads of The War, Volume IV to see war through the eyes of the men, women and children who lived and died in it.
Here's a snippet:
“You’re Mr. B, and I’m a dragon slayer!” seven year old Masaki yells as he chases me across the school playground.
These kids and their imaginations, pretending they are fighter pilots taking down American bombers while in reality running mad across a dusty field of drying brown grass.
“I’m 20 seconds from Osaka, locking on target.” I call out so all the little dragon killers can hone in on me.
“Bamm, Bamm, Bamm, Bamm, Bamm” Kosaku bursts in syncopated rhythms to match those of a 20 millimeter cannon attempting to rip through the silver skin of an American B-29.
Flapping my arm to portray a damaged wing, I belt out, “You got me, You got me, my wing is on fire.”
The kids run at me, tackling me to the ground with squeals, giggles, and a few mouthed machine gun bursts for good measure.
They are in good spirits, even though we are far from home.
We roll a bit, giggling as we head toward the edge of the field. Masaki rises first, running parallel with the field’s edge, brushing his arms against the wild weeds growing just beyond.
I miss my family. They must all miss theirs so much. To be so far from their mothers. Their fathers either old or away at war. At least they are usually safer here in the countryside. The bombers only come out here by accident.
The other children chase Masaki, arms stretched out to rub along the summer flush weeds.
“A Bomb, A Bomb, Teacher, A bomb!” Kosaku yells out, frozen in place directly before a tangled mass of weeds.
The other children gather around Kosaku, staring into the growth, hoping to catch a glimpse of a bomb.
“Stand back children.” I say gently so as not to scare them as I approach Kosaku to see what he’s talking about.
The children step back.
I step into Kosaku’s place as he points inside the tangled weeds. “Look, right there Teacher!”
We’ve been warned about what we’re supposed to do when we find an unexploded bomb. Don’t play with it. Don’t pick it up. Call the Air Raid Warden. They will dispose of it.
“Children, what do we do when we find a bomb?” I ask of the group as I strain to see the hexagonal metallic object in the weeds. It is about half a meter long with two tones of metallic hue. One shiny, the other darker. A bit of rust seems to be forming on the end most exposed to the air.
This must have been here for some time. We should leave here if it is a bomb, marking the spot with a stick or something so we can show the Air Raid Warden.
“Kosaku, since you found the bomb, you find a stick to mark the spot. We’ll then go get the Air Raid Warden.”
The children cheer and start running back toward the village, yelling at the top of their lungs “A Bomb, A Bomb, Air Raid Warden, We Found A Bomb!”
This is the most excitement they’ve had since we were evacuated from Osaka.
As we approach the edge of the village an old man steps out of one of the small houses. He is wearing a vest with characters signifying he is the Air Raid Warden for the area.
“What is this racket?” he demands from me, completely ignoring the children.
“Air Raid Warden, we found a bomb at the edge of the field where we were practicing air raid drills.” I offer, hoping to pay due respect.
We were practicing air raid drills in a way, as I was teaching the children how to be fighter pilots.
With a huff, the Air Raid Warden stumps forward while releasing a few words “Show me what you think is a bomb.”
“Yes Air Raid Warden, this way.” I suggest, offering him my arm as a guide.
The children respectfully lead the way back toward the field.
As we approach the edge of the field in silence, I look toward Kosaku.
Perhaps he would like to show where the bomb is, since he found it.
Kosaku looks back at me, bowing a bit while lowering his eyes to show respect.
I guess not.
The Air Raid Warden sees the stick in the ground, turns to me with a look of disgust before saying “This is it?”
“Air Raid Warden, it is in the weeds behind the stick. We placed the stick to remind us where it is.”
“Of course you did.” He replies.
“Go in and get it.” He orders.
I look at him, confused.
Does he want me to go into the weeds to fetch out the bomb?
He looks back at me, shoving his shoulders and arms forward to signify forward movement.
Yes, he wants me to go in to get it.
“Air Raid Warden, how should I handle it?” I ask, hoping to not have to admit that I don’t know what I’m doing.
“You are a teacher?” He says in a most disrespectful way before diving into the bush himself.
Yes, I am a teacher and I want to make sure these kids are safe.
“Children, let’s step back to give the Air Raid Warden some space to work” I suggest to the very quite and eager children formed up in a neat half circle two paces off.
Out of the corner of my eye I see the metallic object flying through the air toward the children.
Why is it in the air? Did the Air Raid Warden throw it?
As it sails through the air I hear the words “It’s a dud, see!” coming from within the weeds.
The incendiary bomb lands right in front of the children before exploding into a fiery ball of flame.
My whole world is engulfed in red, orange, than black hues before I lose sight completely. Screams from young voices envelop all other sounds.
The children, how hurt are they?
I hear nothing more as I fade into emptiness.
B-29’s were called B-San (Mr. B) by the Japanese out of grudging respect for the American bombers.
In July 1945 a group of children and their teacher who had been evacuated out of Osaka for their safety were playing on the playground of their new school located in a small village over 40 miles from their home and families. When the group found an unexploded incendiary cluster from an American bomb they notified the local Air-Raid Warden. The warden, who did not believe the device to be live, threw it to show the kids. Unfortunately, he was wrong. The bomb went off, killing eight of the children outright and fatally wounding the teacher and another child. Often those trying to escape war have it come back to find them. This is true even long after the guns fall silent. To this day unexploded bombs and other munitions litter the battlefields, and civilian countryside, across vast swaths of the world. Old bombs kill hundreds of people every year. War never stops finding ways to kill.