There was no transition that I could ever make myself remember. One moment I was trapped in my gunner's seat in the burning B-29B bomber just moments after the raid on Osaka. Air was whistling loudly through the shrapnel holes in the fuselage, spraying me with blood from the nearly decapitated Pete in the EWO's position beside me, and I was frantically searching for the lever on my ejection seat. And the next minute I was on the deck of a yawing Japanese fishing boat, trapped between the sturdy calves of a hulky nut-brown man and looking up into the slitted eyes of the chujen - as Goro and Jun, who I later encounter, told me Iwao wanted to be called - the boss. Sometime between those two points I had lost my Superfortress buddies and cashed out on my service with the U.S. Air Corps in its drawn-out attempt to bring Japan to its knees and end a world war that had already concluded in the European theater.
The man hunched over me was brandishing some sort of wooden-handled fishing spear, and my first thought after coming to in a sputter of water and vomit on the slippery deck of the vessel was that I was about to meet my bomber buddies on the other side.
I knew pretty precisely where I was. The last thing that was ringing through my mind as the Superfortress moaned and groaned in its disintegration was the pilot screaming a Mayday over the intercom and as far into the ether as he could project. We were coming down in Toska Bay on the east coast of the Japanese home island of Shikoku, having been hit by flak right after dropping our load on Osaka port and pulling up over the northeast point of Shikoku. We barely cleared the roofs of the cliff-top village of Aki on Toska Bay before heading into the drink and oblivion. I must have found the lever to my seat ejector at the very last moment. All I knew was that I was soaking wet and bloodied and bruised and could feel the groaning in very muscle and bone of my body.
I saw the Japanese fisherman stiffen and look out across the bay and, pulling together every fiber of my energy, I lifted my torso off the deck on my elbows and was barely able to see over the gunwale, my attention drawn to where the fisherman was staring. I saw the Japanese coastal naval vessel cutting across the waves out from the dock at the foot of the cliff at Aki. This would be it then. The fisherman would turn me over to the Japanese soldiers; he would then be the toast of the village, and I would be cannon fodder.
But that's not what was happening. The fisherman was nudging me with the blunt end of his spear, herding me toward a tangled web of fishing netting. He lifted it and motion for me to roll under it, which I did, and then he lowered it on me, hiding me effectively from view even as he was being hailed from the military craft.
I heard jabbering, which I came close to understanding, as I had been studying Japanese for months, trying to qualify as a radio intercept operator. I did manage to discern that they were asking the fisherman about a bakugeki-ki, which I knew meant bomber, and the fisherman was gesturing farther out into the bay.
I heard the naval craft motoring off, out into the bay, where they undoubtedly would find the flotsam they were looking for. My feelings were conflicted over whether I wanted them to find any of my buddies clinging to wreckage, still alive. In this late winter of 1945, the Japanese were getting desperate, knowing now the inevitable, but through their blind devotion to their emperor, being determined to take the rest of the world down with them. In our mission briefings, we were being constantly told not to expect any quarter or regard for the Geneva Convention if we were to fall into the hands of the Japanese, especially in their home islands.
It was with this thought that I trembled and shrank away from the fisherman when he came back to me, spear still held in strong, sinewy hands. But it was only to do what he could to get across to me that I was to remain under the netting and to be very quiet.
I spent the next couple of hours until night descended cowering under the netting, mentally and physically checking my body to assess the damage there, and wondering why I was getting this reprieve - and what sort of reprieve it was. And just trying to deaden my nerves. I wasn't dead yet. By all accounts I should be dead now, but I wasn't. I was living on precious, borrowed time.
In the darkest hours of the night, the fisherman quietly steered his boat back to the docks of Aki and stealthily motioned me to follow him. Keeping to the deep shadows, he guided me around the edge of the lower village, its inhabitants tucked safely indoors behind heavy blackout curtaining that protected the fisherman and me from their gaze as much as it protected them from the waves of U.S. bombers coming across overhead on ever-shortening intervals in their campaign to pound Japan into acknowledging defeat.
The fisherman who rescued me led me up a steep and winding lichen-slippery stone pathway rising against the side of the cliff, ever upward, until all that was above us was the clear, moonlit sky. At the very edge of the cliff, set apart from the upper village by tumbles of boulders and pine trees seemingly growing out of the rock itself, was a traditional Japanese dwelling of dark wood frame, white rice-paper paneling, and a grass roof. The man led me around the side of the building to a small garden right at the edge of the cliff. Most of this space was taken up with a series of shallow pools of water that let off steam in the cold March night air. Hot springs. As we came to the corner of the building, though, the man pulled me aside into the shadows. I could see into the garden and had a full view of the springs, which were partially hidden by dense foliage, but I could not be seen from the pools.
We were no longer alone. I could hear men's voices and soft laughter. Several men were in the pools. Flagons of wine - sake - rested on the stones bordering the pools of water.
The man put his finger to his lips to signal that I was not to reveal myself, something that I had absolutely no intention doing for as long as I could, and then, sliding a panel at the edge of the pavilion, he motioned me to slip my boots off and step up onto the tatami matting on the structure's wooden flooring. He led me through a series of chambers set off by yet more rice-paper-lined screening to the opposite side of the building from the hot springs pools. In the last chamber, he walked over to the far wall and slid the paneling away to reveal a small hidden garden, surrounded by mounds of high boulders. In the small space between the building and these boulders was another pool clouded in steam.
He motioned to me what he wanted me to do, and, understanding him, and thinking of the hot, cleansing, soothing waters of the spring, I gladly stripped down, while he stood there smiling broadly at me, and I slipped into the pool. It was deep enough for me to sit in and be covered up to my neck, and I lay back and, feeling my muscles begin to relax almost instantaneously, I drifted off into a consuming sleep.
I don't know how long I slept, but still later in the night, when darkness still fully possessed the world, I heard murmurings coming from across the room fronting on the small garden - from the next chamber beyond a papered sliding screen. I moved gingerly around to the far side of the pool, my muscles relaxing but still screaming of the indignity that had been forced upon them by the ejection from the B-29. When I reached the other end of the pool and turned back toward the pavilion, I could see that lanterns had been lit in the chamber beyond, on the other side of the paper screen. In full silhouette, I could clearly discern two figures in full fuck. One figure was prone on its back on some sort of low bedding, legs spread and knees bent, with thighs and calves set in languid motion leveraging off the balls of feet. The other figure knelt between the spread legs, torso hovering over that of the prone figure, arms propped on the floor on either side of the prone figure, and buttocks moving back and forth, slowly pumping. I could hear muted moans and sighs.
But the sounds were coming in stereo now. I looked over to the side, where the papered screen of another chamber abutted the room at the edge of the pool. Another lantern flared. A second set of figures, one belly down on a stool of some sort, and the other, arms propped stiffly on either side of the chest of the bent figure, long, lean body at a straight incline between the first kneeling figure's legs, doing deep and slow pushup movements toward and away from the kneeling figure. The two figures joined only by a thick rod that appeared and then disappeared inside the buttocks of the kneeling figure, which slowly writhed and shuddered as the two figures became one. More moaning and sighing.
I involuntarily took my stiffened cock in my hand and worked myself as I listened to the sounds of the taking and the increasingly frenzied silhouetted couplings in the two chambers. Exhausted, as I added bulk to the cloudy waters of the hot-springs pool, I drifted off to sleep once more.
On the next day, when I awoke, there were two young men in the room adjacent to the pool, just sitting there and watching me. Both were handsome and well-formed and were wearing only light cotton robes. Even though it was only late March and the frost could clearly be seen on the mosses hanging down from the boulders bordering the pool, it wasn't really cold at the pavilion level. It dawned on me that the hot springs at both sides of the structure acted as a natural heating system for the pavilion.
When the two young Japanese men saw that I was awake, they started jabbering at me and at each other. I could only make out half of what they said and made them slow down. I soon learned that the smaller and thinner, and younger, of the two was named Goro and the more handsome and robust and heavily muscled one was named Jun. Through repeated attempts at understanding and hand gestures and the Japanese that I was acquiring much faster by necessity here than I had ever been able to do in the classroom, I discerned that they both worked for 'the boss' - the chujen - who owned this retreat where the wealthy men of the village and beyond came to take the healing waters, He also went out occasionally to fish in the Toska Bay. This was why he was on the water and in position to pull me from the tangles of my parachute, which otherwise would have dragged me down into the ocean in the unconscious state I had been in when I went into the drink. I learned that he went by the name of Iwao - the stone man, for the setting of his hot springs - by all but Goro and Jun, who served the spa. And now I was to think of him as the chujen, too, I supposed. My life was in his hands and at his whim.
I was provided with a white cotton robe - a yukata is what Goro, the more intelligent of the two, called it - and the mere hint of a loin cloth, and then, when they had shown me how to wear the yukata, held together by a thick sash, they brought me food and chattered away at me and with each other as I ate heartily.
The chujen visited me later in the afternoon - I had slept in the pool, with the healing waters swirling around me, well past noon - and got across to me that an army unit had come down from the northern end of the island to investigate the downing of my bomber and that I was to confine myself to this chamber and the hidden garden pool until and unless he told me it was safe to move more freely about. Then he showed me a hidden place in the corner of the garden, etched out of the rock and entered through a narrow passage hidden behind a cascade of Japanese maple boughs that dipped down to the surface of the pool. If I was to hear a gong sound, I was to hide myself there and not emerge until he came for me.
I already had my fears of being here. I had no idea why this Japanese citizen was shielding me. All of my instructions during mission briefings had clearly stressed that the Japanese hated and would resist the Americans to the last Japanese. But I was wholly at his mercy. And my thoughts kept going back to the night before. What kind of party had been going on here? Was this a frequent event. There had been no sign of any women, other than those silhouetted figures in the other chambers the previous night. In fact, I hadn't heard a woman's voice since I had come ashore on this island.
The shadows were long and the pool outside my room was fully dark as I was finishing an evening meal of delicious but completely unidentifiable bits and pieces of food while kneeling at a low table. Late in the afternoon, Goro and Jen had brought in arms full of heavy, thick quilts and made them up into a bed, topped by several pillows, near the center of the chamber. It seemed as if I was destined to stay here for a while - although I had some hope of an early rescue. Three waves of bombers had gone overhead already today, rattling the very timbers of the delicate structure between the hot springs pools and had come across and out to sea again almost immediately. I couldn't hear the bombs they were dropping on the Osaka area, but I could clearly hear the flak guns of the Japanese, which had been so effective with my own last flight. Listen as I could, however, I didn't hear the dreaded sound of a B-29 plummeting into the sea or into the dense foliage of the island.
What I did hear, though, was a clamor of guttural, demanding male voices at the entrance into the retreat and the sounding of the gong. But I was too far away from the entrance into the hidden garden, and two men were already entering one of the chambers next to mine. A sliding screen was ajar between the rooms, and if I moved across the chamber toward the pool garden and its hiding place, I surely would have been seen, I slipped over to the bedding instead and managed to crouch down behind it so that I could not be seen, but so that I could see into the other room through a gap in the pillows on top of the bedding.
The larger figure was in uniform. A Japanese army officer. He was scowling and had a firm grip on the arms of the smaller man - Goro - who was cringing but not resisting. The officer jerked off Goro's sash, grabbed his yukata at the back of the neck and stripped it off the smaller, younger man, and pushed Goro down on his belly on the pile of bedding in the center of the chamber. Then he stripped off his own khaki tunic shirt, revealing a heavily muscled barrel chest tapering down to the small waist. His chest was criss-crossed with slash marks. I had heard about how the more fanatic Japanese militarists trained themselves to pain and to the heights of dedication to the emperor and the Japanese cause. This no doubt was one of those adherents.
The Japanese officer unbuckled his belt and whipped it out of his pants loops. Then, as he unbuttoned his trousers and spread them wide, he began to beat Goro on the back and buttocks with the doubled leather belt. I had the urge to go to Goro's aid then, but I heard the boisterous voices of other men beyond Goro's room and knew that it was useless. I was trapped in nonaction. To have revealed myself would be suicide - and probably would mean death for the chujen and Goro and Jun as well.
Goro was crying out and groaning and writhing under the lashing, but he was holding fast, bent over his bed on his belly. The Japanese officer was laughing, and his cock, now revealed, jutting insistently out of his open pants, tight across his well-muscled thighs and calves as the leggings descended into highly polished, high-top brown leather boots. His cock was lengthening and thickening and growing redder even as red welts were being raised on Goro's writhing body.
Then, so quick that I hardly saw it happening, the Japanese officer had made a loop in his belt and lassoed Goro's head with it and tightened it around the younger man's neck. Jerking on the end of the belt and setting Goro to arching his body up and scrabbling at the choking leather necklace with his hand in search of relief on his wind pipe, the Japanese officer thrust his cock between Goro's buttocks cheeks and began to fuck him hard.
I was about to rise and come to Goro's aid, regardless of the consequences, when the officer let loose of the belt and covered Goro closely from above with his torso and started to bite on Goro's ear as he pounded his ass with long, forceful thrusts while slapping his butt cheeks with the open palms of his hands. Goro was gasping for air, but he was breathing again. And he was taking it like a soldier. That's when it hit me that this was what he was here for. To take it like a soldier when the men of the area came to take in the hot springs water. And Jun as well. It was Goro and Jun I had seen in those silhouettes the previously night, not women. Plying their trade with the men clients.
Later that evening I began to find out why I had not been turned over to the authorities and just how entrapped I was.
After the soldiers had left, Goro and Jun brought in another late evening meal for me, saying that the chujen said I needed to build up my strength but that this would be the last time that they'd check on me that night - that they had duties to perform out at the larger pools on the other side of the pavilion. I tried to get across to Goro that I had seen what had happened to him and that I was ashamed that I had not been able to come to his rescue. He shyly let me know that he appreciated the sentiment, but that it was Jun who had taken the worst of it. When I showed that I didn't understand, he made clear that while he had been servicing the army captain, Jun had been servicing the rest of the unit. I didn't ask how many - or in what way.
As they left, Goro handed me a flagon of sake and said that the chujen suggested that I soak in the pool again that evening to further restore my torn and sore muscles.
I slipped into the water and raised the open flagon to my lips. The sake was heady, but it was delicious. And the water was oh so soothing. The flagon was also quite a large one. I should have stopped when the sake was no more than a quarter gone. But I didn't. I was keyed up from the danger I was in and all that I had seen in just the last day. I raised the flagon to my lips again and again.
I became bleary eyed, but not so far gone that I didn't see the chujen appear at the edge of the pool and untie his sash and let his yukata fall to the stones. He was a large, solid man. He had the hard, bulging, rounded muscles of a man accustomed to fighting the sea for victory over fish-laden nets. Thick of torso and waist, but all sold muscle. A King Neptune, as befitted his relationship to the sea. Thick of cock and heavy of balls too, I could clearly see.
He did ask me if he could join me in the pool; I have no idea what I answered, but it was his pool and I was his virtual prisoner - and I was nearly gone on the sake - so I'm sure I didn't demur. We sat there at opposite ends of the pool, luxuriating in the heat and mists of the pools and sharing the flagon of sake back and forth as it got darker.
And as it got dark, the lanterns were lit in the paper-walled rooms beyond mine, and, in silhouette, Goro and Jun began to service a procession of male clients in various positions and with varied volumes of vocal response. The rougher clients brought out the louder moans and groans of the two young men I'd grown to like; the more sensitive lovers brought out sighs and gasps that went to the very heart of me - that tugged at me and began to build in me, first, doubts of maybe missing something in life. And then the fingers of desire and wanting began to work their way into me.
Iwao, the chujen, was a master lover. His timing and rhythm were impeccable. He selected a moment when Goro and Jun were both receiving men of refinement and skill and sensitivity. I found myself sitting in Iwao's lap, facing the two chambers with their silhouetted tableaus of Goro and Jun responding fully to a slow and sensuous fuck, where they were being treated as equal lovers, to be pleased as well as to please, and not just as open vessels for frenetic seeding.
Iwao was holding my head to the hollow of his neck with a hand under my chin, holding my face steady and facing the silhouetted takings in the other chamber. He was whispering and half-way singing in soothening tones into my ear, occasionally kissing me behind the ear or taking the lobe of my ear between his lips, or slowly slipping his tongue into my ear chamber - while his other hand was roaming over my body. He was stroking and gripping my chest muscles, tweaking my nipples, running his hands along my biceps and down my chest to my belly. And lower.
As the lovers silhouetted behind the screen began their rhythmic, equally undulating coupling, Iwao was possessing my cock with his pressuring fist and slowly pumping me - just as I had done myself the previous night as I watched the dance of the fuck in the other chambers.
I was close, but he held me fast, not letting me ejaculate as Goro and Jun and their partners completed their coupling and the rooms cleared briefly. When the silhouettes were back in place and their mating was beginning with Goro and Jun working on their new client's cocks with their mouths, Iowa had me up out of the pool, my buttocks resting on the edge and me propped on my elbows on the border stones, watching the cock sucking in silhouette and stereo beyond the papered walls, as Iwao, still sitting in the pool crouched over my pelvis, held me there with his elbows and worked my cock with his mouth.
I did come then, in great gobs of ejaculate and cries of release and then of something else, something more primeval and fearful, as, almost incapacitated with inebriation to the point of being helpless against any invasion Iwao fancied, I realized that while Iwao was pumping my throbbing cock with his soft, sensual mouth, he had worked three of his beefy fingers, lubricated with something greasy, deep into my anus.
The current clients of Goro and Jun, both hulking men of substance, were quickly getting down to business beyond the screens. They had already fully skewered their prey, and the two young men were writhing in ecstasy and agony under full, vigorous fuck. No sensitive lovemaking here. Just full and furious rut.
I cried out weakly as the chujen grasped me by the waist with both hands and pulled me back down into the pool, and into his lap, and onto his thick and long cock. Taking only a moment to center his bulb at my puckered and now-stretched - but not nearly wide enough - channel and slowly, relentlessly pulling me down on his invading pole. Having eventually, with great effort and thrashing and moaning on my part, bottomed inside me, he held me firmly to him with one hand on my belly and the other cupping and squeezing my balls until, with a groan of pain subsiding into a moan of possession from me, he moved his hands to my waist and repeatedly, with increasing intensity and rapidity, lifted and settled me on his probing cock as I watched the taking in the other room.
He visited me nightly for two weeks after that. And then came the night when the sliding screen opened and he was not alone. There was another man with him.
Iwao briefly - and almost apologetically - explained that this client had discovered I was here and would only remain silent if I serviced him. The chujen wanted me to know also that the army unit - and its captain who had visited Goro - was still in the area, barely a breathed whisper from taking me into their possession.
What could I do? I was trapped. No where I could go other than here and be even as safe as I was here. The visitor untied his sash and dropped his yukata and joined me in the pool in the hidden garden. He wasn't nearly as expert as Iwao had been, but I was no less fucked - and felt no less the prostitute.
In succeeding weeks, there have been other men. And I have been led out to the larger pool on the cliffside edge of the pavilion, and while there, I have been with more than one man at a time. So many of the village men wanted their taste of the gaijen, the foreigner. It was as if, in these last months, when their whole world was collapsing and they could see it happening - and finally believed it would happen - they wanted to experience as much of what to them was the exotic as possible. Fucking a young gaijen became the ultimate in experiences in Aki.
But I'm trapped. The daily waves of bombers overhead have stopped. I want to believe that this means that there is nothing else left to bomb in Osaka, that the path is clear for more safely increasing the bombing of Tokyo now. At least that was the plan. My hope is that one day I will awaken and the hot springs pools of Iwao are deserted and I will hear the sounds of steel ramps reaching out to the sands of Aki's lower village and American troops coming to save me from what I have, by necessity, become.
Meanwhile I feel so trapped - trapped between exposure and death and service - which is another kind of death - but at least a fingerhold on life.