My Kind of Town
>> Waters Off Pearl Harbor
Shinjo Eiki was the little known bastard brother of Tojo Hideki, the Japanese dictator and warlord. But Shinjo was also the beloved brother, a product of his army general father's affair with a geisha. Tojo did not know of his younger brother until his last year in the Japanese Military Academy.
He was 19, Shinjo 8. Shinjo wanted to be just like his big brother. But because he was illegitimate, Shinjo was not allowed to attend the Military Academy. Instead, he learned banking. And it was Shinjo who convinced Tojo that the military power he sought must be based on a developed industrial-based economy.
But Shinjo always dreamed of being a military man, of testing his courage in battle and of bringing honor to his father. And late in the war, with the tide turning toward the Americans, Shinjo went to his brother with an idea that would not only give Shinjo a chance to save Japan, it would give Shinjo eternal honor. Tojo, desperate for a knockout punch, was willing to try his brother's idea.
And so it was that in June 1944 a Japanese submarine was diverted away from Saipan, much to the silent consternation of Imperial Navy admirals who were concerned about both their careers and lives, and thus did not question the great Tojo. Barely a mile off the entrance to Pearl Harbor, the mother sub deposited Shinjo and a specially modified one-man sub into the sea for a secret mission. More galling to the skipper of the submarine was that he was ordered not to engage any U.S. ships within a three-day sail of Pearl Harbor, so as not to alert the Americans. It killed him to pass up clear shots at a transport ship and later a battleship. But maybe the crazy man in the mini-sub would make up for that.
Fawn Nakamura had not slept well, but it was still a good night. Mostly she'd lay in bed and thought about Chuck Ryan, and the day and evening they'd spent together. And strange thoughts had crept into her head, thoughts that made her heart race and her stomach, or some place, tingle. For the first time in her life, she was imagining herself with a man. With Chuck, the fantasies came so easy.
OK, at first glance maybe they were an odd couple, he being 51 and widowed, she being 27 and still a virgin. But he was the first man she'd met who said he was willing to wait until marriage to make love. With all the new sensations Fawn felt, she hoped he'd propose soon. Waiting was so much harder when you're in love.
Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek.
His serialized novel runs daily in the Star-Bulletin
with weekly summaries on Sunday.
He can be emailed at email@example.com