Let The World Go By
This is a story that involves sex between males. If such a story is offensive, or illegal for you to read where you live, then do not continue, go and surf elsewhere.
This is a work of fiction and in no way draws on the lives of any specific person or persons. If there is any similarity to any real persons or events it is entirely coincidental.
The work is copyrighted by the author and may not be reproduced in any form without the specific written permission of the author. It is assigned to the Nifty Archives under the terms of their submission agreement but it may not be copied or archived on any other site without the written permission of the author.
I really do apologize for my slowness in getting each chapter uploaded. I hate it that I am so slow, but I want the story to be the best that it can be. Once again I want to thank all of you who have sent me comments about the story. I know that I have not answered all of the e-mails — please forgive me.
I am sorry for the error in the previous version of this file. I don't know what happened. I tried reloading it, but the same error happened. So I have divided this chapter into two parts. Sorry about that.
The Years In Between
The days and nights passed so quickly that before they realized it, it was their last day alone together. They stayed in bed longer than they did normally, and made love almost as if it were the last time that they'd ever be alone together.
It was bright warm afternoon that Friday, and they walked lazily along the Ginza, not quite holding hands, not speaking.
"Let's go to the Ichibon now," Harry said.
"Okay," James answered. They'd been there dancing nearly every night this week, but never during the day. So they turned and headed for the Ginza.
When they arrived at the club, it was already busy. Being a Friday, many of the boys came there directly from work. James had to use the rest room, and so left Harry to go to the bar to get drinks.
"Hello, GI," a voice came from behind him.
"Hello," Harry answered. A handsome man dressed in slacks and sweater stood smiling at him.
"I buy you drink?" the man asked still smiling.
"Thanks, I've just ordered." Just then the bartender return with the two drinks that Harry had ordered.
"I bery sorry," the man apologized, "I think you were alone." He bowed and started to walk away.
"Wait," Harry said, "Please!" The man stopped and looked up at him. "Please, my friend and I would be happy if you would join us." Harry couldn't explain to himself why he said it, but it felt right somehow.
"You sure?" asked the man smiling.
"Sure," Harry smiled back. The man returned to the bar and ordered his drink.
"My name is Harry," Harry said.
"I am Ito," the man replied. They shook hands.
James walked up and joined Harry at the bar.
"This is James," Harry said, and looking at James, "This is Ito. I've invited him to join us for a drink."
James smiled and shook hands with Ito. When his drink arrived, Harry paid for it after much protesting from Ito. Then they walked to a table and sat down.
They were talking and enjoying the scene.
"Perhaps," Ito said, "I may suggest a place for dinner this evening?"
James and Harry looked at each other, and seeing that they agreed, nodded.
"Good!" Ito smiled. "I know great place. Not too 'spensive. I have friend and he will join us, okay?"
"Sure," Harry said, "Why not." It was agreed.
They talked on for a few moments and then another man walked over to the table. Ito got up and greeted the slightly taller, almost identically dressed Japanese man.
"These my friends," Ito said, "Mikuto, I present, Harrisan and Jamesan." They both stood up and shook hands with Mikuto. He bowed and smiled and shook hands with them. Ito went to the bar and came back with drinks for them all.
Speaking in Japanese to Mikuto, Ito explained that they would all be having dinner together later.
"I sorry," he said, "My English not so good. And Mikuto not understand too much when I speak it. He understand much better if you speak."
The four men sat talking about the things that are easy to talk about, when language is a problem: the weather, clothes, and the club.
"What time you like to eat?" Ito asked.
"You decide," James said. He looked at his watch, "It's nearly six now, what time?"
"I think eight is best," Mikuto said.
"Where do we meet?" Harry asked.
"Where you stay?" Ito asked.
Harry showed him the card that he carried with the hotel name, address and phone number.
"Ahhhso, is not far from place. We meet you at hotel." Ito said, and added, "Eight o'clock." The time and place set, Ito got up.
"We must go now, we meet you eight o'clock, at hotel." They got up and the four of them left, Ito and Mikuto going one direction, and Harry and James the other.
"Should be an interesting evening," Harry mused aloud as they walked back to their hotel.
They relaxed briefly in the tub until it was time to get dressed for dinner. When they were dressed they went to the lobby to wait for their friends.
The restaurant was just three blocks from their hotel, so they walked the short distance. It was a very nice place, the food was delightful, and the service superb. In addition the prices were minimal by American standards.
After dinner the four of them walked once again toward the Ginza, which was ablaze with neon and flashing lights. It was teaming with people strolling along the shops, many of which were still open in spite of the late hour. The air was warm, so both Ito and Mikuto who'd wore light jackets carried over their arms. Ito's slacks were a warm tan color, and his shirt was silk, and pearl colored. Mikuto's shirt was white silk, and he wore gray slacks. James wore beige slacks and shirt, made of very lightweight cotton, closely fitted and made him look taller than he actually was. Harry wore dark blue slacks with a soft purple long sleeved shirt.
They were a very attractive foursome. And all eyes turned to them when they entered the club. They were shown a large table near the rear of the dance area. When their orders were taken, it was not long before friends of Ito and Mikuto came over and introductions made all around. The band played American music. James and Harry danced together at first, and then changed partners twice, dancing in turn with Ito and Mikuto. Soon they were dancing with many of the other people in the club too. Since they both enjoyed dancing, it was a pleasure to dance with many different people.
As the evening wore on, they danced again with each other.
No one seemed to mind, since everyone by now knew that they were together, and that it was almost their last night in Tokyo together.
Ito and Mikuto danced together, enjoying the evening with their new friends. It was Ito who had an idea, which he explained to Mikuto, who agreed.
When they were all four again at the table he said, as if it had just occurred to him, "I have idea! Let's go to Kaito Bath?"
Mikuto seemed excited too, and Harry and James were interested. James hadn't been to a bath since he was with Hobbie, and Harry had never been.
So after they finished their drinks they left for the Kaito Bath. It was just a short distance from the club. It was somewhat different from the American style bath. There were lockers for their clothes, just like in the States, but that's where the similarity ended.
There was a large room with a pool sunken into the floor, not a swimming pool, but a bathing pool, like a bathtub only the water was continually moving much like a modern hot tub. The water was very warm and it was large enough for perhaps two dozen people. It was about half full when they came to it. No one was wearing clothes. The pool was surround by a circle of small tables. Sheets were draped over the chairs that indicated that someone in the pool was using them. Since Ito was showing them around, they didn't stop to try the pool, but continued on the tour.
In another other area was the steam room, and in another the showers. Instead of a large open shower room, there were little cubicles, with a simple shower, but no doors. The steam room had benches along the outside wall in three tiers, and in the center was the live coal pit with a pipe hanging over it from which water could be sprayed on to it, causing great clouds of steam. Still another area was what could only be called a maze. It was not well lighted, and until one was accustomed to the darkness, nothing could be seen. Once their eyes were adjusted, they could see the groups of people standing or sitting close together. Often they were engaged in various sexual activities, some times as many as seven or eight at a time.
As they passed out of the maze, Ito suggested that they enter the pool first. Harry and James were intrigued by the whole place, Harry more so than James, since he'd never been in such a place before. But the sight of so many naked, or mostly naked men engaged in sex excited both of them. So much so, that they both were all but fully erect. Luckily the sheets which they wore about them covered their entire bodies, or nearly so, concealing their excited state.
As they took off the sheets to go into the water, however, they presented quite a sight to those already in the pool. There were many comments, in Japanese, which only Ito and Mikuto could understand, and at which Harry and James could only guess. The nearly hot water soon covered their bodies as they stepped down into the pool, and took their minds away from their conditions.
Ito and Mikuto sat between them, and they sat talking as the others in the pool gazed enviously at the two Americans. Ito distracted Harry long enough for Mikuto to get James out of the pool and walk away. The two Japanese men had formulated the plan to separate the two. Having accomplished the distraction, Ito relaxed and slid down into the water, and in doing so brushed Harry's legs with his feet and thighs. The combination of the alcohol they had consumed earlier, the warm water, and now the sensuous body of the man next to him, caused Harry to respond immediately to Ito's touch. It was then that he discovered that Mikuto and James were gone. He was embarrassed by the fact that he was fully erect, and that Ito's hands were caressing his body.
"I think we should get out of here for a little while, I'm getting kind of hot," Harry said.
"Whatever you wish," Ito said. Harry hesitated, not knowing how to accomplish the maneuver without attracting the same kind of attention he did as when he entered the pool. Ito sensed his dilemma and gracefully slid out of the water, unembarrassed by his own erection, quickly covered himself with his sheet, and then held Harry's sheet for him, as he climbed out of the pool displaying himself only to Ito. Ito was delighted with the sight, Harry's cock standing out from his smooth body, the glans glowing against the pale background. Ito gave no hint that he noticed.
"Let's try the shower," Harry suggested, hoping that some cold water would take his mind off Ito.
"This way, then" Ito motioned, and Harry followed. Once at the shower area, Ito suggested a cubicle near the other end, hidden from view of the doorway. Harry agreed, not realizing that they would be sharing it. When Ito entered with him, he realized that he was trapped.
"It is custom," was Ito's only comment as he took Harry's sheet and hung it over his own on the hook provided. Ito adjusted the water to a fine warm spray and began to lather Harry's fine marble-like body. The action brought Harry back to a throbbing erection, but Ito paid no attention to it. Harry resigned himself to the situation and began to watch as Ito's skillful hands washed every part of the front of his body. He looked at Ito's olive colored skin and his black silken body hair glistening in the spray from the shower, his dark short hair dripping of water hanging loosely about his handsome face. Harry was weakening, and would have responded to any suggestion or touch, had Ito not motioned for him to turn around.
"I must do back side too." Ito said smiling. Harry turned around and braced himself against the wall as Ito began to massage his shoulders and back while continuing to lather him with the soft scented soap. He could feel Ito's erection against his behind as he reached up to do his neck and arms. It felt strange, but nice, as the probing continued, not insistently, but almost accidentally. Ito knelt to wash his legs and feet, and when he had finished, he stood up and turned Harry around.
"You may wash me, too?" Ito said, but it sounded like a question.
Harry wasn't prepared for that, but took the bar of soap from Ito. Ito faced the water and allowed Harry to lather and wash his back first. Ito felt the large cock bump him as Harry soaped his neck and shoulders. He wondered what it would be like to have that cock inside him. When Harry had finished his legs and feet, Ito turned around while Harry still knelt before him.
"Don't be bashful, Harrisan," he said. "It is custom here to enjoy such pleasures as one may find."
Harry carefully lathered Ito's solid body, the skin trembling under his touch. When he came to the groin area, he gently lathered the pulsing cock that stood upright before him. Ito signed at the touch, and the flood of sensations that was building within him.
Ito pulled back under the spray and allowed the water to rinse the soap from his body, leaving his skin glistening in the soft light. He pulled Harry into the spray with him, and they kissed as the lather washed to the drain below. They parted momentarily to let the rest of the lather be washed away. Harry knelt before him and took the aching cock fully into his mouth.
Moments later Ito released the flood of cum into Harry's waiting throat. Ito's hands held him tightly to him. Harry put his hands on Ito's buttocks and held him close to him, even after Ito had released his grip. Never before had he been able to remain over a spouting cock, and he relished the sensation as the cum splashed down his throat. When Ito's pulsing cock stopped its motion, Harry stood up and kissed him.
Neither said anything. Ito at once turned around and grabbed Harry's aching cock with his hand. He'd taken saliva from his mouth and filled his hand first. Now he guided the engorged tool to his tingling opening. Harry had to bend his knees to bring himself to the correct position, and with some difficulty began the slow entrance. Ito flinched at the first painful thrust, but when Harry paused, he began relax, and Harry began again, the pain had vanished and was replaced by the pleasurably sensations of the moving shaft within.
Harry held Ito's body close to his own, as he quickly and easily brought himself to the point of explosion. Sensing that Harry was close to climax, Ito began stroking his own cock that was again fully erect. And when Harry flooded him with the foaming cum, he exploded a second load from within him and splashed it against the back wall of the cubicle. When Harry stopped pulsing within him, Ito carefully eased himself off from the still rigid pole, and once again lathered and washed Harry's beautiful body.
When they finished washing, Ito stepped out and handed Harry his sheet. Neither said anything as Ito led him off to the steam room to rest.
When Mikuto and James reach the steam room, Mikuto said to James, "I hope you not mind. It is our custom to entertain our guests. It is not meant," he continued, "To come between friends, and will not."
"I don't mind," James said leaning over and kissing Mikuto. "I hope that Harry understands."
"Do not worry, he will not mind. Ito is very good," Mikuto said. "I like you bery much, but it is not our custom to come between lovers. But," he paused, "we will enjoy each other for the time we are together."
They sat for a long time in the steam-clouded room, and then when Mikuto suggested, they went out to the drying room. They removed the sheets from their bodies and stood in the hot flowing air of the dry-room. Their bodies cooled even though the room was hot. And before the perspiration could begin, they left and walked to the maze.
When they were about half way through, Mikuto pulled James into one of the many cubicles hidden within it. Once inside, he removed James' covering and his own. He hung them over the doorway, closing off the small space from the view of those passing by. When he turned around, James pulled him close to himself. They embraced and kissed. Mikuto knelt down and began flicking his tongue about the massive erection before him. It had been a long time since he'd encountered anyone with such a beautiful cock, especially one that was not circumcised. He enjoyed the feeling it gave him as he attempted to take it all in his throat. It was difficult, but he finally managed to get it completely in. James felt the delightful sensation of the tongue about the shaft and glans as Mikuto pulled back the foreskin.
James allowed Mikuto to continue until he was raised to near climax, then gently and insistently he pushed his face slowly away from him. When Mikuto was standing upright in front of him, he knelt and with the same diligence quickly brought Mikuto to the bursting point.
It was apparent that neither wanted to be the first to climax. They alternated back and forth, until Mikuto could contain himself no longer. He suddenly grabbed James by the back of his head and pulled him close to his body and exploded a flood of cum into James' squeezing throat. James maintained the position and when Mikuto finished throbbing, he cleaned every inch of the area around his groin with his tongue, which sent Mikuto into an ecstasy of trembling.
"You are marvelous, Jamesan," Mikuto said, "Harrisan is bery lucky to have you as friend and lover."
"Thank you," James responded as he stood up.
"I like you to enter me," Mikuto said.
James smiled and kissed him gently. He wondered if it were possible, Mikuto was so small, almost fragile. But if he wanted him to try, he was willing.
"But," Mikuto said, "I get something first. Without it, I fraid you hurt me. Stay here, I go. I be back right away." He kissed James and putting on his sheet vanished in the near darkness. James relaxed and leaned against the wall. He wondered if Harry were enjoying himself as much as he was.
He felt hands upon his cock, which had begun to slacken, thinking it was Mikuto he made no attempt to interrupt what was beginning. He was quite surprised when he felt the presence of another person in the cubicle.
"I see you being entertained, while I gone," Mikuto teased.
"I thought it was you!" James protested.
"No matter, I back now." Mikuto spoke a few words in Japanese to the figure below. Without a word the shadow rose and was gone. "I am glad you were not alone in the dark, it is not good to be alone."
Mikuto spread a generous amount of some cool liquid on James' hot cock, and then more onto his opening. Then he turned around and offered himself to James.
"Tell me, if I hurt you," James said as he approached the crouching figure. James held his cock in one hand. With a finger he felt the muscle relax, he slowly replace his finger with his hard cock. At first the muscle closed again tightly, refusing entrance to the intruder.
James massaged Mikuto's back and neck with his free hand, and felt him gradually relax. Then a gentle but firm push he entered the tiny body before him. Mikuto gasped with pleasure as James' giant cock forced its way deeply into his body. James waited for the relaxation to become complete before beginning the thrusting motion they both wanted.
James began to feel the familiar sensation rising within him. Soon he would explode. He stopped and relaxed a moment, allowing Mikuto to relax even further.
"Oh, I ready," he pleaded and grabbed James' tight buns with both hands forcing him deeply into him.
"So am I," James leaned over and kissed him on the back.
Once again he resumed his thrusting motion. Closer and closer he came to his goal. Deeper and deeper he pushed his cock into Mikuto. He could feel the clenched fingers on his tingling skin as with each thrust he extracted from Mikuto another breath of enjoyment.
"Ohhh, nowww!" James sighed as he exploded with the dark passage, sending lightning like rivers of fluid deep within Mikuto's body. He could feel Mikuto clenching down on the erupting cock, pulling him closer and closer. James' hand reached down and took hold of Mikuto's rock hard cock. Mikuto rose up and James moved his hand on the burning pole and quickly felt the hot fluid burst out into his hand. Mikuto's breath burst forth from his lungs as he climaxed again.
They clung to each other, until the tension of the moment subsided. The James released Mikuto from his grip and Mikuto eased himself from the now softening shaft on which he'd been impaled.
"I hope you're all right," James said kissing him.
"I fine," he responded, "But I be spoiled for most Japanese men for a long time."
"You're too much," James was embarrassed.
"No," Mikuto laughed, "You are," he paused, "Almost."
They worked their way out of the maze and went to the shower area where washed and rinsed in the tingling water. When they finished they went to the drying room. When they entered they found Harry and Ito standing in the cooling breeze.
James' eyes looked deeply into Harry's, and they both felt the affection they held for each other grow a hundred fold. There was no sense of jealousy or rejection between them. They both enjoyed the experience that they had with the two Japanese men, and wished only to be alone with the other as soon as possible.
"Are we ready?" Harry asked smiling when they went out of the room.
"If you are," James smiled back.
"Come please," Ito said taking Harry's hand. James and Mikuto followed. As they entered a small bar near the entrance, he explained.
"We must have Saki to celebrate evening." He ordered four glasses of hot Saki. When they arrived, he handed a glass to each of the three of them. And then he raised his own glass to each of them.
"To our American friends, may they have much happiness together."
James said, "To our Japanese brothers, may their friendship for two Americans far away from home, increase their own, and may we remain friends forever. When they completed the small drinks, James and Harry dressed. They shook hands with Ito and Mikuto after exchanging addresses, and walked out into the still warm evening air.
As they walked back to their hotel, they were silent each alone with his thoughts, recalling the events of their week together. There had been no time in which they felt closer to each other, than they did right now. They wanted always to remember the way that they felt tonight. Such happiness came seldom to any man. They wished that it would never end. Their hands reached out and touched as they walked. They didn't care who saw them. They were together now, and whatever else might happen to them, nothing could erase that memory.
While they were gone a directive was sent out to all commanding officers that specified the dangers of allowing homosexuals to remain in the military. They were encouraged to take severe steps to ferret out the undesirable persons in their respective groups.
Mike was the one who brought them up to date on all the happenings during the week they were gone. This directive was one of the things he told them about.
"I wish they'd leave the Gays alone," he said. "Most of the ones I know are all right guys. Most of them have never been in trouble with anyone."
It was the first time that James had heard the word Gay used to described homosexuals, and wondered about Mike's use of it.
"I wonder if they'll find any here?" Harry asked.
"I guess they've already uncovered some over in Wing Headquarters. I heard about three guys who were sent to Japan with only a few hours notice. Nobody knows what'll happen to them, or how they found out about them.
"The worst thing about it is," Mike continued, "It encourages, almost forces, them to tell on their friends."
"Yeah," James said, "And there are guys like Carl over there," motioning to indicate the loud man sitting at the bar, "who think that everyone else is queer."
"I know," Mike said. "It's terrible! I'd watch out for him, especially when he's drunk."
They agreed to watch out for him, and the others like him.
By his remarks on the subject, they came to realize the Mike knew about them, and was likely gay himself. James and Harry discussed the matter when they were alone, and agreed not to take any chances until the current situation was forgotten.
Even though they had no chance to meet and be together alone, they felt even closer to each other in the weeks that followed.
Just before Christmas they received their first big snowfall of the season. It snowed for thirty-five hours straight. The total amount that fell was twenty-five inches. It created all sorts of complications for the days following the snow. They'd been completely shut down during the storm. No planes flew in or out of the base.
Because of the types of buildings on the base, they all had to have a certain amount of the snow removed from their roofs. Only two accidents occurred in which someone was injured, and those involved people sliding off from the curved roofs. Many in fact did slide off, most only injured their prides in the mishaps.
Clearing the snow from the planes was a far more tricky process. First they had to remove all the snow from around the planes so that they could work. Since the snow had begun as rain, and then turned to ice, everything had a coating of ice under the snow. This made even walking on the cleared areas dangerous. Persons slipping on the metal surface after it was cleared received several severe sprains.
Once they could walk around the planes, the snow was brushed off the canvas covers that had been put in place the night of the rain. The bright sun helped to melt the ice remaining on top of and under the canvas coverings. Every surface had to be examined to see that all the ice had been removed. And every mechanical, hydraulic, and electrical system had to be checked to see that each worked properly.
From the time that the storm stopped early on Tuesday, it was Wednesday afternoon before there were any planes ready for flight. The hard work and cooperation among the various groups and teams of the Thirty-Fifth Squadron paid off, and they were the first to have all twenty-fives of their plane airborne; while only ten other planes from the other four squadrons made it into the air.
The commander of the squadron praised his men for their efforts, and a letter of commendation as placed into the 201 files of each member of his squadron. Mike, James and Harry both belonged to that squadron. The letters would help later even though at the time, only the fact that they were first made all the hard work seem worthwhile.
January faded into February, as winter tightened its grip on the frozen wasteland. Snowstorms blasted out of mainland China and roared across the Yellow Sea in the worst winter in memory.
Drifts piled up everywhere. Trucks were kept busy hauling snow away from the base, as there was soon nowhere to push it. Mountains of snow grew skyward at the edges of the two runways.
Mike, Harry, and James became a familiar trio. They went everywhere together. They had become great friends.
"A letter for you, James," Mike said tossing it to him.
"I've got to run. We're busy today, with the inspections coming up tomorrow." And Mike disappeared out into the howling wind.
James' deft fingers unsealed the envelope and extracted the single sheet of matching paper.
"Dearest James," It began. He recognized the handwriting as Hobbie's. "I want you to know that I will always love you. My mother passed away yesterday. She'd been seriously ill for the past four months. A week ago, and just in time, she witnessed the wedding she'd been hoping for, that of her oldest child.
"Melissa Jayne Johnson and I were married. It was simple and held at home because of Mother. Keep in touch, Dear James. I'll always remember what we had. Forever Hobbie."
James was not surprised; the pressures of family could be unyielding. It was difficult for anyone of Hobbie's sensitivity, not to give in to someone he loved. James immediately began a letter them.
"Dear Melissa and Hobbie," he began. "I want to express to you my hopes for your happiness in all the years to come. You may know, Melissa, that Hobbie and I have been friends for a couple of years now. You be sure to take good care of him, and don't let him get away with anything - he'll try if you let him. Hobbie, I'm sorry to hear of your mother's passing. I know how close you were to her. Just try to remember how pleased she was to see you get married, and of how proud she was of you, in everything that you did. She suffers no more, Hobbie, dear, dear friend, all of that is gone for her. Once again, the best of everything to both of you. All my love, James."
He addressed the envelope and sealed the letter inside. He hurried off to mail it, before he could change his mind. Even with his new relationship with Harry, he still loved Hobbie very much. With Hobbie married, he'd likely never see him again. He'd continue to write, of course, if Hobbie chose to, but it would never be quite the same.
As February drew to an end, James was beginning to start to make preparations for his departure from Korea. His tour would be completed by the 24th of March. It hardly seemed possible that a year had gone by so quickly. When he had arrived, the war was still raging. But with the Truce signed, in July, their job was now surveillance, and maintenance of the status quo. Safer, not doubt for most, but boring as hell. He'd be glad to get on with something new. In a week or so he'd be getting his orders for reassignment. He hoped it would be someplace interesting, and above all, someplace warm.
James and Harry didn't talk about his upcoming departure. Neither of them dared to hope that they'd be reassigned to the same base. The odds against that happening were staggering. Harry would be following James to the States a month later, just a week after Mike returned home too.
As the time approached and James received his orders reassigning him to Great Falls, Montana, they all grew melancholy. Although they tried to be cheerful, especially when they were together, there was a definite sadness developing.
Their final meeting in the radio shack was desperate and passionate, but an air of hopelessness pervaded. In spite of their best efforts, tears glistened in their eyes as they parted that night, their last together.
The snow had melted for the most part, except for some of the mountains of it that had been piled where ever a large enough space remained. And a cold March wind blew out of the north that final day.
It was early in the morning that they sat having coffee in the mess hall. James had gone to the shack after breakfast to bid farewell to those who had come there after him. All the faces he'd his first day, were gone, but still many new friendships had developed as the old friends departed.
The people in the mess hall beside James and Harry were the cooks and cleanup crew, beginning preparations for the noon meal, and there were a few stragglers having a late breakfast.
Harry and James were sitting sipping their coffee not speaking with words, just their eyes looking occasionally deeply into each other's. Mike came into the mess hall and sat down at their table without speaking.
James fought back tears as he spoke looking at Mike, "Mike, you watch out for this guy, will you? He's a clumsy one. I'll miss you, and I hope that you get Florida like you want." He couldn't continue, so he stood up, shook hands with Mike and left. He walked slowly back to the hut which had been his home for the past eleven months, twenty-eight days, and fourteen hours. Still busy straightening up the shelves and dusting the footlockers, Tobby came running up to James when he entered.
"Oh, Jamesan!" he shouted and began to cry as he hugged James. He'd grown taller during the time James had been there, but he still came just slightly beyond his waist in height. James knelt down and put his arms around the boy and hugged him.
"You be a good boy, Tobbysan. You take care of my friends good, you hear?"
"Yes, sir Jamesan," he answered through his tears. "I take good care. You be careful too! You number one GI!"
"In my foot locker is something for you. There's a paper with it saying that it's yours. You'll have no problem taking it home with you, if you want to."
James stood up and shook hands with Tobby. He turned around and saw Harry come into the hut. James picked up his duffel bag and started to shoulder it, but Harry came over and insisted on carrying it for him. James picked up his handbag and they left together. Tobby followed and stood on the steps waving as they walked down the path that led to the flight line.
When they arrived at the operations building located below the control tower, they went inside where James signed the roster for the outgoing flight to Seoul. Then without a word they went outside again, and stood silently waiting for the plane's crew to complete its pre-flight checkout.
"Boarding time!" called the crew chief, as he walked back to Operations to pick up the manifest and roster.
James turned to Harry and said, "Take care of yourself, Harry. I love you very much."
"You too, James!" They embraced, but did not kiss; they parted and shook hands for the last time. James hoisted the duffel to his shoulder and picked up the handbag. Harry gave him a salute as he turned and walked out toward the waiting plane.
Once inside, he buckled his seat belt, and peered out the round window. He could see Harry standing, hands in his pockets, cap pulled down against the wind and his tears. The crew chief below pulled the chocks from either side of the wheels and stepped back away from the plane. He held up his hands and then walked to the Operations building. The engines roared as the pilot pushed the throttles, and as he released the brakes the plane began to roll. Outside James could see the loose snow being thrown up by the wake of the plane and through it Harry still standing watching.
Harry stood for a long time after the plane had disappeared in the distance. The cold wind biting his cheeks and lips. Tears still glistened in his eyes.
"Come on, Harry," a friendly voice called, "It's time to go to work! You've got a bird due out in thirty minutes. Let's get a move on!" And Harry and Mike strolled on down the flight line.
To be continued
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