Okinawa 1946: Forgotten Underside of Victory
by David Cates
This is an extract from David’s website. David was 19 when he was at Okinawa and when he wrote this for his website he is in his 80’s.
My introduction to the Chinese underworld came when I ran out of money and had to sell ten cartons of cigarettes before I could eat, much less buy silk. This is dangerous, because you don't want to get caught.
Lucraft said he'd go with me, and we went to the city with a bag of poorly disguised cigarette cartons, which fooled no one. We were followed by a crowd of small boys and cigarette agents. We impatiently told them we were carrying toothbrushes. Finally a man sidled up and offered us $3 a carton, the going price. By this time I'd noticed an old man with suspicious eyes, a long, thin beard and a mustache which drooped Chinese fashion. He stood quietly by, followed us everywhere, occasionally coming close to peer at the figuring we were doing. We were coming to the agent's house where behind locked doors I sold the cigarettes. There was an anxious moment when through the window I perceived the suspicious old man.
By this time we thought he might be Shanghai secret police and that we would be apprehended and taken to jail for "questioning." Lucraft went out and shooed him away. When the deal was concluded and we had climbed over little boys and old ladies with bound feet eating rice with lightning chopsticks and had entered the dark alley once more, there in the shadows stood The Evil-Eyed One. We demanded to know what he wanted. He babbled a little and seemed quite frightened. Looking stealthily from side to side, he moved closer.
Them, just as we expected a police cordon to in around us, he took a little envelope from a fold in his robe. Looking quickly around once more, he pulled from the envelope a collection of "feelthy pictures!" That was too much. We laughed all evening.
I don’t know which “Lucraft” he means, I’m trying to contact him to find out, but you can read the whole memoir at http://www.eclectica.org/v11n1/cates.html