Barnone

by Kenneth Robbins

A full-length play in one act

Cast of characters:

OMIYA, 50, owner of the Bar None and the Master Puppeteer

FRANK HAZLETT, 71, a retired jurist from Baton Rouge,     Louisiana

FRANKIE HAZLETT, 20, his grandson, a private in the Air   Force, also a member of the 509th Bomber Group, 1945

WANDA SPIERS, 33, a lawyer and a Puppeteer

BOBBY LEWIS, 35, a lawyer, also a member of the 509th Bomber Group, 1945 and a Puppeteer

SMITTY, 30’s, regular army, 1945, also an M.P. and a      Puppeteer

YUKI, 12, a Japanese girl

KIYOKO GOTO, 62, her grandmother

***

Scene: A bar on Tinian Island, August, 1995
OMIYA, Japanese owner of the bar, is cleaning her tables.

OMIYA
Life is a repeat. What happened yesterday will happen tomorrow. I was there. I am here. I have always been there. I will always be here. I see everything but I cannot say that I understand what it is that I see. Who can understand why people do what they do. Or how they choose to do it. I do not believe in motives. Motives are ways to excuse. I only believe in what I see. So watch. And listen. First, I will show you this. This is also what I have seen.
(A model B-29 is lowered from the ceiling and hovers over the bar area. On the nose of the plane are the words “Enola Gay.” We hear the deafening drone of a real B-29. The bomb bay is opened and a small replica of the atomic bomb drops to behind the bar. We hear the shattering explosion and a cardboard cut out of a mushroom cloud rises from the bar. The plane and mushroom cloud disappear. She continues washing her bar.)
This is my bar. I call it Bar None. I don’t know why. Perhaps because I have seen it all. There is little else I want to see. The Bar None is where Justice can be found. If you’re lucky. If that is what you are looking for. You will see what I mean.
(She gestures toward the double door leading into the bar. LEW, dressed in the traditional uniform of an officer in the U.S. Army Air Force, circa 1945, sits at a table, deep in thought, an untouched beer in front of him. In a moment, an elderly man, dressed in nondescript clothing of the 1990’s enters carrying a travel bag and valise. He goes to the bar where SMITTY now resides. He is wiping the bar in place of OMIYA.)

FRANK
A Warsteiner, please.

SMITTY
Sorry?

FRANK
A Warsteiner.
(SMITTY stares at him, not moving.)
It’s a German beer, comes in a brown bottle.

SMITTY
Never heard of it. What kind of bastard drinks German beer these days?

FRANK
Okay. I’ll take whatever you’ve got.
(SMITTY puts a glass of warm beer in front of him. FRANK sips it.)
What’s this made out of, cotton seed? It’s hot.

SMITTY
It’s not wet enough?

FRANK
What’s your name?

SMITTY
You writing a book or something?

FRANK
Just asking.
(SMITTY goes to the other end of the bar. FRANK notices the calendar on the wall: August, 1945. He shakes his head, drinks his beer.)
When you receive your shipment of Warsteiner, let me know.
(He stands, looking at LEW. He goes to LEW’s table.)
How you doing, Captain?
(LEW ignores him.)
Sorry.
(He moves back to the bar as FRANKIE enters, dressed the same as LEW. He goes to bar.)

FRANKIE
Gimme one.
(SMITTY places a glass of beer in front of him. He looks around, nods to FRANK, then goes to Lew, pulls a chair up to LEW and sits.)

FRANK
(Agape)
Jesus Christ.

FRANKIE
So, you gonna talk to me?

LEW
You know I can’t.

FRANKIE
But I go up in the morning. You gotta tell me.

LEW
Some things ain’t worth knowing.

FRANKIE
You gonna let me do this thing blind? Come on, Lew, give me some hints. A lot’s riding on this.

LEW
I went up blind. So you can go up blind.

FRANKIE
Come on, Lew buddy, this is important.

LEW
Leave me alone.

FRANKIE
I thought we were friends.

LEW
Friends.
(Looking around.)
You’re asking me to go against orders here, Frank, you know that. It could get us both in trouble.

FRANKIE
Nobody’ll ever know. What was it like?

LEW
Hell on earth.

FRANKIE
Ha. You mean, like Tinian, huh.

LEW
Tinian’s not in the running. When do you take off?

FRANKIE
Oh two hundred.

LEW
Glad it’s you and not me. Once was enough.

FRANKIE
You gonna tell me?
(The door into the bar opens. A Sharp beam of light as things inside the bar change. SMITTY is gone and OMIYA is back. Standing in the beam of light is WANDA SPIERS, carrying her briefcase. She is in the uniform of the U.S. Air Force. The tables are suddenly well lit. The calendar on the wall now reads: August, 1995. The bar is now empty except for FRANK, drinking a Warsteiner, and the Japanese Bartender, who clears the tables. WANDA closes the door, and light returns to the same as before. She approaches FRANK, who is surprised to find the bottle of beer in his hand. He goes to the table, but the two men are gone.)

FRANK
(Referring to the bottle of beer)
Bartender, where the hell did you get this?
(He sees that the bartender is a Japanese woman.)
Who’re you?

OMIYA
Omiya. I welcome you to my humble establishment.

FRANK
Some strange beer you serve.

OMIYA
Do not blame the beer.

WANDA
Judge Hazlett?

FRANK
(A bit perturbed.)
Yes?

WANDA
Wanda Spiers, Private Hazlett’s council. It is a pleasure meeting you, sir.

FRANK
Thanks. Where did the two men go–

OMIYA
Two men? You see two men?

FRANK
There were two men, sitting at that table.

WANDA
Really?

FRANK
I knew them both. Air men. But I’m not sure from where.
You didn’t see anyone when you came in?

WANDA
No. Sorry.

OMIYA
So Solly. No.

FRANK
I feel a bit dizzy.

WANDA
Please. Sit down. Maybe this isn’t the time–

FRANK
No, just jet lag. It’s been a few years since I’ve flown this far. Besides, I didn’t expect a woman.

WANDA
How many hours?

FRANK
Over twelve to Guam, three more here.

WANDA
You must be exhausted.

FRANK
I’ll survive.

WANDA
Are you sure? I mean, we could meet later tonight over dinner if you like. You could get settled–

FRANK
No. I didn’t come all this way to be pampered. Let’s get on with it.
(He motions to OMIYA who comes to him.)
You didn’t see the two men?

OMIYA
Look, mister, I see everything.
(She goes to behind her bar.)

WANDA
(Sitting, opening her brief case and taking out folders.)
Well, welcome to Tinian. It’s a hell of a place.

FRANK
Hasn’t changed all that much.

WANDA
You’ve been here before?

FRANK
Fifty years ago.

WANDA
Welcome back, then. What’re you drinking?

FRANK
I’m not sure. It’s in a Warsteiner bottle but it tastes
like piss. Some things don’t change, even after fifty years.

WANDA
A Diet Coke, please.

OMIYA
For you, a Coke that diets. Things go better with Coca Cola.

WANDA
I don’t want to embarrass you, but I studied several of your cases. Your time on the bench was filled with wisdom and justice.

FRANK
You want justice, go to a whore house. You want to get screwed, go to court.

WANDA
(Smiling in spite of herself.)
I see retirement is treating you well.

FRANK
Retirement is for idiots and lazy sons of bitches. And I’m not retired. I’m on extended leave. Okay. If we’re to work together, I need to know who I’m working with.

WANDA
So, what do you want to know?

FRANK
Where did you take your degree?

WANDA
Emory. Class of ‘92.

FRANK
Been there as a guest lecturer a few years back. Pretty campus. Hate Atlanta. It’s a city out of control. And the Air Force?

WANDA
I put my way through undergrad on an Air Force ROTC appointment. You take your education any way you can get it.

FRANK
‘92? Then your stint must be about over.

WANDA
A year left. Then watch out world!

FRANK
What sort of private practice do you want when you’re out?

WANDA
The kind that lets me stay at home and raise four kids. I can’t wait to get started!

FRANK
No more court martials then?

WANDA
This is my last one, thank God. If I never see the inside of a court room again, I’ll be delighted. Corporate law’s the ticket.

FRANK
Corporate law’s for liars and cheats.

WANDA
Then, I’ll feel right at home. I mean, after all, I’ve been working to get your grandson off, haven’t I?
(He stares at her a moment, then drinks.)
I read your book. Dispelling Darkness: A Revisionist’s View of the American Judicial System. I was impressed.

FRANK
No reason to be. Everybody’s writing books these
days.

WANDA
But not all are nominated for the National Book Award.
FRANK
It didn’t win. Thank God for little favors. If it had, I’d have done nothing but be gracious in Barnes and Noble Superstores, getting writer’s cramp from too many signings. As it is, I’ve had time to start my next tome, an autobiography so to speak.

WANDA
What’s it called?

FRANK
Don’t Know Squat: The Life and Times of a Shyster.

WANDA
You’re joking, right?

FRANK
I am?

WANDA
I could write a book about this man’s Air Force.

FRANK
Why don’t you?

WANDA
Because I’m a woman.

FRANK
So. What impressed you about Dispelling Darkness?

WANDA
Your concept of justice. It’s refreshing to have such clear statements about victim’s rights. I appreciate your call for truth and right. It’s a shame as you point out that justice inside the courts is no longer a matter of truth but simply a matter of law. And the law is based on what is true, not what is the truth. You opened my eyes.

FRANK
An eye opener. That’s unfortunate. I thought my ideas were blasé. I thought everybody trusted the law in the same way I did. When the book came out, well, what can I say. People disappoint me. It’s sad.

WANDA
So, if you weren’t expecting a woman, who were you expecting?
(OMIYA serves her. OMIYA waits to hear his answer.)

FRANK
A young Turk right out of some podunk law school. Like Georgetown. Obviously the Air Force has changed. My mistake. Didn’t mean to offend.
(To OMIYA.)
You getting all this down?

OMIYA
You betcha.
(She places a glass of whiskey in front of him.
To us.)
Have you been watching? If so, this is what you have seen.
(Both WANDA and FRANK put on dark glasses and bring dolls from beneath the table: hers a Barbie, his a Ken.)

WANDA
I don’t understand it. I find older men so attractive.

FRANK
I didn’t expect this. A hard-on at my age.

WANDA
He probably thinks I’m Lesbian. I hate my hips.

FRANK
I wonder if she has boobs. That uniform hides too much.

WANDA
I could help him get settled in his quarters. Make him glad he’s on this island.

FRANK
She’s gonna show me to my quarters. What do I do?

WANDA
He could help me with my career once I’m home.

FRANK
I’d probably just embarrass myself.

WANDA
This is stupid. He probably can’t even get it up.
(She takes off her glasses and puts the doll away.)

FRANK
She probably prefers other women anyway.
(He takes off his glasses and slips the doll out of sight.)

OMIYA
You did see that, didn’t you? You must watch closely. You must let nothing go by.
(She places a double shot of whiskey on the table.)
You need something stronger than beer. Home brew.
(She goes.)

FRANK
(Sipping the whiskey.)
Holy– Now that’s what I call potent. There’s no place like a bar for letting it all hang out.

WANDA
The famous Bar None.
(He pushes the glass to the side.)
You don’t like it? Omiya will be disappointed.

FRANK
That’s her problem. I can’t afford to get tipsy, not this early in the day. Okay, tell me more.

WANDA
Nothing more to tell.

FRANK
Why did they move the court martial?

WANDA
You know the answer to that. Things were too hot in Okinawa City. At least here, Private Hazlett can get the semblance of a fair hearing. Fairer. But then, who knows? This thing’s been blown up so big by the press, I doubt if he could be given a completely impartial hearing anywhere this side of Beijing. Things are a bit out of proportion. It’s good to have you here, sir. I need all the help I can get.

FRANK
I’m here to observe, nothing else.

WANDA
Then let me bring you up to speed.

FRANK
I’d like that.

WANDA
So, you’ve been to Tinian before. During the war?

FRANK
I was part of the infamous 509th.

WANDA
Oooo. Ssss.

(She touches his sleeve. On come their dark glasses.)

TOGETHER
Hot stuff.

(Off come the glasses.)

WANDA
So, you’re used to first class treatment while on Tinian. This time around you’ll be disappointed.

FRANK
First class, hell. All that’s a myth. I’m surprised that as young and pretty as you are, you’d have heard it.

WANDA
Oh, you guys of the 509th lived on easy street. Special housing, special grub, special everything. Tibbet’s tidbits, I think they were called. My quarters are in the fabled 509th’s special housing.

FRANK
The barracks’re still here?

WANDA
And in use. I’ll give you a tour a little bit later.

FRANK
I could give you a tour.
(Awkward moment. They drink.)
Those barracks were built in 1945 to last no more than ten years. That’s how long they expected the war to last back in ‘45, ten more years. And those rat holes are still around?

WANDA
The Air Force only knows how to build, not how to tear things down.

FRANK
I’ll request my old bunk in that case.

WANDA
It’s probably still there. When would you like to get settled in?

FRANK
Whenever.
(Another awkward pause. They put on their glasses.)
Am I up to it?

WANDA
He’s not up to it.

TOGETHER
Forgetaboutit.
(Off come the glasses.)

FRANK
I’d like to see Frankie.

WANDA
In a bit. His accommodations are actually quite nice, too. They built a new wing to the stockade a couple of years ago and began shipping the difficult cases from Okinawa here. The feelings over there have been too tense lately to keep the riffraff around. You know the story: the Japanese want to get the Yankee out. Give Okinawa back to the Okinawans. So, Tinian’s found a new twenty first century use. A stockade. JAG’s new raison d’etre.

FRANK
Frankie is “riffraff?”

WANDA
That’s the term they used.

FRANK
You don’t know my grandson.

WANDA
More than likely, it’s the other way around.

FRANK
(OMIYA as master puppeteer with help from SMITTY, enacts the scene using the bar as a kind of stage.)
He left home three years ago when he was eighteen.

OMIYA
(As FRANKIE, waving good-bye.)
Good-bye, mom, good-bye, papa, good-bye house, good-bye Spot.
(SMITTY barks like a dog. She has a “mama” and he a “papa” and dog puppet. The “papa” is smoking pot. As Mama.)
Good-bye, Frankie, darling. Be sure you eat right.
SMITTY
Good-bye, adios, good riddance, woolf.

OMIYA
Oh, my, my little baby’s gone to war.

SMITTY
Can I sleep in his bed now? Woolf.

FRANK
(Unaware of the puppet show.)
I remember when he signed up, it was to thumb his nose at his old man, a peacenik from the Viet Nam era.

OMIYA
(As FRANKIE.)
Yo, Papa. Up yours, crackhead.

SMITTY
(As Papa, to Mama.)
You always loved him more than me.

FRANK
And to please me, an old fart who still misses his days as a bombardier.

OMIYA
Yo, Gramps. Know what I like about you? Nothing, asshole.

OMIYA
(As MAMA)
Oh, my, my little baby’s gone to war.

SMITTY
Woolf.

FRANK
He was a good enough boy at eighteen.

WANDA
Good enough for what?

FRANK
The Air Force if nothing else.

WANDA
He may surprise you.

FRANK
In what way?

WANDA
Well, for one, he scares me shitless. I don’t like being around the fucker, excuse the French. I require having someone else close enough to grab hold of.

FRANK
You make it sound like he’s dangerous.

WANDA
Listen. I may be a Captain in this man’s Air Force, but I’m also a woman. It’s the woman in me that finds your grandson undesirable.

OMIYA
(As FRANKIE and a new puppet comes on the scene, a Barbie.)
Yo, baby. Nice set of boobs you’re sporting. You need any you-know-what, just give me a buzz.

SMITTY
(As WANDA.)
It’s Captain to you, Private.

OMIYA
(As FRANKIE.)
Eat me.

FRANK
You make him sound guilty.

WANDA
He is.

FRANK
Don’t you want to leave that to the court martial?

WANDA
Your words: if you want to get screwed. . .
(Putting on her sun glasses.)
It’s genetic. The whole family is made up of assholes.

FRANK
(Putting on his glasses.)
Funny. My hard-on’s taken a hike. Yep, too damn old.
(Takes glasses off.)
Is this the tactic they taught at Emory? Announce to the world that your client is guilty as hell and doesn’t deserve fair representation?
WANDA
No, I didn’t learn that until I got over here. Of course, he’s confessed his guilt several times. Surely you’ve read your grandson’s confessions in the newspapers?

FRANK
My grandson wouldn’t kidnap and then rape–

WANDA
Your grandson would and did. Okinawa does that to American boys. Does it to the Japanese, too. It’s a sorry business we have over here, Mr. Hazlett, but there’s nothing much we can do about it.

FRANK
How did you get this case?

WANDA
I was assigned because of its high profile, its importance to the service, and my track record. So far, twenty five cases, twenty five acquittals. All my clients have gotten off, every last one of them has walked home with honorable discharges. I would expect the same for your grandson, except that he’s not cooperating. That’s why I’m glad you’re here. Maybe you can talk some sense into him.

FRANK
Were all your previous clients guilty?

WANDA
Sure. All twenty five in a civilian court of law would have spent significant time locked away where they belonged. But here, the law is different, or at least it has been up until now. Things have changed lately, and the military is under greater scrutiny. The horrendous nature of your grandson’s crime has caused an uprising among the natives and that is attracting far too much international attention. The court martial may feel compelled to change it’s ways. That’s why it’s important that Private Hazlett cooperate with me completely.

FRANK
I don’t believe any of this.

WANDA
I wouldn’t have believed it either, not when I was first assigned to Okinawa. It doesn’t take long for reality to kick in.

FRANK
How long has it been for you?

WANDA
I’m scheduled for reassignment to Barksdale, just as soon as I bring home this verdict.

FRANK
Shreveport. It’s hot there.

WANDA
Not as hot as it is here. Tell me. How much do you know about the charges?

FRANK
All the information I have comes from news reports.

OMIYA
(Another puppet.)
Extra, extra, read all about it. Three American Airmen Rape Jap teen.

SMITTY
(Another puppet, a broadcast announcer, ala Dan Rather.)
Today in Okinawa City, 80,000 Japanese gathered outside the Governor’s office to protest this latest American atrocity.

OMIYA
(Another Puppet.)
Governor of Okinawa demands official apology.

OMIYA and SMITTY
That’ll be the day-ay-ay when I die.
(The puppet show is over.)

FRANK
I’d like the truth, if you don’t mind.

WANDA
The truth. Wouldn’t we all. I can give you my version. It’s not very pretty. But then, very little is pretty these days.
(Stands.)
I need to powder my nose. Don’t go anywhere.
(As she goes into the rest room.)
Omiya, the Judge needs some more of your home-brew.

(She leaves. FRANK goes to the bar. SMITTY is back.)

FRANK
Another Warsteiner, okay?

SMITTY
How many times’ve I got to tell you!
(He puts a glass of draft on the bar.)

FRANK
Look, mister, I’m retired Air Force, rank of Major. You can’t treat me like. . .

SMITTY
Like what? Dirt? Why the hell not? You’re not Air
Force any more. Listen, Civie, if you don’t like the service here, you can take your “Warsteiner” some place
else.

FRANK
I’d like to speak to the owner, please.

SMITTY
Wouldn’t we all. Call the White House, ask for Harry. He takes all complaints.
(He goes into the back room. FRANK turns. FRANKIE and LEW are back at the table.)

LEW
So what’s your target?

FRANKIE
Nothing’s definite. I’ve heard it’s either Kokura or Nagasaki. It doesn’t matter. We fly and we come home. Just like you.

LEW
It’s not like anything you’ve ever experienced.
(A model of a B-29 is lowered over the table. This one has “Bockscar” written on the nose.)

FRANKIE
They say our load is different from yours. Not the same at all.

LEW
We didn’t know what we were carrying until we were almost over the target. Tibbets comes on the squawk and tells us, “Gentlemen, we’re making history.” I don’t care to make history. I just want to get this damn war over and back home to my wife and kids.

FRANKIE
They actually tested your gadget before you dumped it. Somewhere in New Mexico. Those damn scientists didn’t know what they were doing. I heard they took bets on what would happen when the thing went off. Some of them actually bet that the atmosphere would ignite and burn up the planet.

LEW
That’s what it felt like.

FRANKIE
This thing we’re carrying is plutonium. Not been tested. They don’t know what it’ll do, if anything. Could be a dud. Then, it could be. . . What was it like?

LEW
You know they’ve restricted us. We’re not allowed to talk about it.

FRANKIE
This is me, Lew. I go up in less than eight hours. What’s the harm?

LEW
None, probably. But keep this between us, okay?
(To FRANK.)
You want to hear this, too?

FRANK
Sure.
(He joins them at the table.)
You were on the Enola Gay, right?

LEW
Pretty quick, mister. There was this flash of light. Even with the goggles, it was blinding. I swear. I saw the bones inside my hand. Then the blast. It shook us like we were in a hurricane. Tossed us around like a box of matches. That lasted a minute or so. Felt like an hour. Then the heat. And the cloud.
(He sits in silence a moment.)
It bothers me, the hell those people down there. . .

FRANKIE
They were the enemy.

LEW
That’s so easy. The enemy. To them, what are we?
(Silence.)

FRANK
Bee-san.

LEW
Yeah. Mister Bee. We didn’t encounter any resistance. No anti-aircraft, no fighters. They were sitting ducks. Since it was just us, a single plane, I doubt if their warnings went off. When Jimbo told us we were approaching the target, I looked down. A beautiful, perfectly calm day. Hiroshima was bigger than I’d thought it’d be. Spread out like any American town, mountains on three sides, the Inland Sea to the South. There were rice paddies and shanties and office buildings and roads and trains. . . It hadn’t been bombed. Did you know that? Not like Tokyo or Kobe. The place was like it didn’t even know a war was on. And it was 8 in the morning. Everybody would be out, on their way to work–or school–finishing breakfast, maybe taking a shower or changing the baby’s diaper. . . So Jim says: Bomb bay doors open. And the good Colonel says put on your damn goggles. I didn’t want to. I wanted to see the thing when it exploded. But Paul insisted. For your own good, he said. This atomic gadget might pack quite a wallop, he said. Then Jim says “Bird’s a-wing.” And Paul banks hard right, just like we’d practiced for months. It don’t matter how many times we practice that, it turns my stomach inside out. Then. . . I swear, I could see the insides of my hands.
(Silence)
I thank God it’s us that’s got the thing. I come from San Diego. I looked down on Hiroshima and I’d have sworn we were hovering over my home town. I could see it as clear as I see you sitting there. I could see my house. It has a blood red tile roof. And my sixteen year old heading off to the ball field for a pick-up game. And my wife out back hanging out wet clothes. And you know, it makes me nervous. It could have been San Diego for all we knew. There weren’t any huge signs hanging out saying “Welcome to Hiroshima. Bombs away.” If it had been, would I want my wife and kids so close to the kind of hell we dumped on the Japs?
(Holds his hand in front of him.)
I could see the insides of my hands, Frank.

FRANKIE/FRANK
Would you do it again?

LEW
What the hell kind of question is that?

(He leaves. FRANK to FRANKIE.)

FRANK
Do you know what the inside of your hand looks like?

SMITTY
Last round.

FRANK
(As he turns to SMITTY, FRANKIE slips out.)
What?

SMITTY
I said “Last Round.” We’re closing.

FRANK
But it’s early.

SMITTY
For you maybe. Another beer? On the house.

FRANK
No, this will do.
(He turns back to the table, but FRANKIE is gone. WANDA returns.)

WANDA
What will do?

FRANK
This beer. I was talking to him.
(No one is there.)

WANDA
Really? You must be more exhausted than you think.

FRANK
We’ll have to go someplace else. The Bar None’s closing.

WANDA
That’d be a first. It doesn’t get hopping until around eight.

FRANK
But the guy just called final round.

WANDA
Which guy is that?

FRANK
Bartender. Tall with too much hair. A tattoo on his right biceps.

WANDA
The only bartender around here is Omiya. And she’s in the kitchen getting ready for the evening rush.
(Pause)
Maybe we should continue this later, after you’ve had a chance to rest.

FRANK
I’m not tired. There was a bartender. He wouldn’t give me his name. And two guys were sitting here, talking about atomic bombs. I joined them. I spoke to them. Bee-san.

WANDA
What does that mean?

FRANK
That’s what the Japanese called the B-29. Mr. Bee.

WANDA
Well, you should be an expert on that.

FRANK
This isn’t a joke, Captain.

WANDA
I didn’t mean to imply that it is. Maybe something to eat. I bet Omiya could rustle us up a burger or two. She has the best burgers on Tinian. Omiya!

FRANK
Those two guys. It was as if I was listening to myself. A younger me. A conversation I had a long time ago.

WANDA
Omiya-san!!
(She enters.)

FRANK
Strange. But it felt so real.

OMIYA
Yes, miss?

WANDA
A couple of cheese burgers, all the way. That okay with you?

FRANK
Sure.

WANDA
A side of fries and a refill on my Diet Coke. You okay?

FRANK
Sure.

OMIYA
Two cheese bulgles, flies. Hai.
(She goes.)

FRANK
. . . strange.

WANDA
It’ll pass. We’d better get to it. Frankie’s being brought over in a bit. I want us to be ready for him when he gets here. You haven’t seen him since he left Stateside?

FRANK
No.

WANDA
Well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Okay, what do you need to know?

FRANK
Just about everything. What does the prosecution have and how can you counter it?

WANDA
They have the victim and the victim’s grandmother.
(OMIYA as puppet master. A puppet Japanese girl with a line up of American soldiers.)

OMIYA
How should I know? They all look alike to me.

WANDA
They brought them over from Okinawa. They have the victim’s positive identification. The little girl was able to pick him out of a line-up.

OMIYA
Okay, him. I remember the tattoo.
(The puppet girl begins beating on the identified solider puppet.)

WANDA
And they have Frankie’s admission.

OMIYA
(As FRANKIE)
Okay, Okay, I did it! Don’t hit me anymore.
(To us.)
A little spice. I made that up because this part’s pretty dull.

FRANK
So you have a positive i.d. and a confession. What’s your counter?

WANDA
A plea of not guilty based on Frankie’s altered mental state.

FRANK
You mean, cop a plea?

WANDA
In a way. I’m claiming that your grandson had been drinking the night of the incident.

FRANK
He was intoxicated?

WANDA
No, he’d been drinking.

FRANK
Heavily?

WANDA
Unfortunately, no. He’d had three beers and there was an unopened six pack in the vehicle. They checked him when he was apprehended, blood count only slightly above normal. That was less than an hour after the incident.

FRANK
What vehicle?

WANDA
The jeep he had hot wired. Don’t worry. The Air Force has dropped those charges.

FRANK
It doesn’t sound as if you have very much.

WANDA
I don’t. It’s an open and shut case.

FRANK
Do you have an ace in the hole?

WANDA
In a way.

FRANK
What might that be?

WANDA
You, Judge Hazlett.

FRANK
You’ve lost me.

WANDA
Right now, your grandson is taking the entire incident onto himself. He refuses to name the other rapists. From what I’ve gathered from the young man, you are the one person he has any respect for. I’m counting on that respect to worm him out of this mess he’s made.

FRANK
How do you know there were others involved?

WANDA
The young woman had semen inside her from two different men. One was Private Hazlett. We’re unsure of the other man. We have an idea, but nothing concrete. Nobody has come forward as of yet to help Frankie out. If your grandson would share what he knows, we could possibly get the court on our side. I’m hoping you can help us along these lines.

FRANK
There’s more. I can tell by that look in your eyes.

WANDA
Actually, yes. I’m also hoping you will join me at the defendant’s side. You’re a respected jurist, renowned for your wisdom and honesty. Add to that the fact that you were a member of one of the most famous bomber groups in World War II and we have a force on our side that will outweigh a ton of negative evidence. With you beside me, the court will have a more difficult time rendering a guilty
verdict.

FRANK
The eye of the law is supposed to be blind.

WANDA
That may well be. But the eye of the Air Force definitely isn’t. So I need two things from you, Judge. First, will you join me during the hearing?

FRANK
I didn’t come all this way to be a passive bystander.

WANDA
Wonderful. Second, do you think you can get Private Hazlett to name the other rapists in this case?

FRANK
I’ll see what I can do.

WANDA
This is worth a celebration. Our burgers are on me.
(OMIYA is placing the platters on the table in front of the two. She bows.)
Smells wonderful, Omiya.

OMIYA
Thank you, miss.
(She waits for FRANK to taste his burger. He does.)

FRANK
Mmmmmm.

OMIYA
Thank you, sir. I send for recipe from Bulgle King, but they refuse. Trade secret. So I make up my own. Taste good, bump bump, like a cheesebulgle should.
(She goes.)

WANDA
Pretty bad, right?

FRANK
Awful.

WANDA
Right. And believe it or not, this is the best place on Tinian to get American grub. You’ll get used to it.

FRANK
Doubt that. What kind of meat is this anyway? Water buffalo?

WANDA
Yeah. Lost your appetite?
(He slides his platter to the side.)

FRANK
Just a bit.

WANDA
The fries are good, though. Real Idaho potatoes, grown in Omiya’s back yard.

FRANK
When Frankie was just a kid, I’d take him to MacDonald’s. The Golden Arches. My daughter-in-law fussed at me, but that was all right. He was my grandkid and he was going to eat American. That was before I found out that MacDonald’s imports most of its beef from Argentina and its potatoes from Costa Rica. They get their catch-up–Heinz, right?–from Canada and all their toys from Taiwan. The salt they use on their fries? That comes from the U.S. Their coffee comes from Columbia and their cups are made in China. So much for “All American.”

WANDA
I can’t wait to get back Stateside and some good old fashioned American food. If I never eat rice again it’s too soon.
(A beat.)
Your grandson is facing one charge of aggravated assault, one of kidnapping, and one of rape. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to a total of one hundred and ten years.

FRANK
And he’s admitted to the charge of assault?

WANDA
Yes.

FRANK
Kidnapping?

WANDA
He doesn’t call it that.

FRANK
What’s his word for it?

WANDA
Joy riding.

FRANK
What about the rape charge?
WANDA
Oh, yes. That’s what he’s most proud of. He calls it a lecture on sex education. Something he picked up, so he says, in basic training. It seems even then he and his buddies were out cruising. This is the first time his victim has been able to make a positive identification.

FRANK
None of this sounds like my Frankie. He had everything. Well, maybe not everything. But the essentials: a good education, a solid foundation in the Catholic church, I attended his convocation and helped him with his catechism. It took some doing, but we actually got him through high school, finally. We’d hoped he’d want to go to college and perhaps law school. But he joined up two days after graduation. The first his parents knew about his enlistment, he was already heading off to basic. His father was a little weird, I’ll give you that. A peacenik if I can stretch the meaning of the word to include him. Did you know that only three weeks ago, my son was arrested on the grounds of the Savannah River Plant? He had handcuffed himself to a nuclear generator. Well, not really. He’d handcuffed himself to the wire fence around the facility. That was as close as he could get to the generator. He was protesting, he said. I have no idea what.

WANDA
You don’t?

FRANK
That’s what I said, isn’t it?

WANDA
And you were in the 509th?

FRANK
What does that mean?

WANDA
You know what the 509th did, don’t you?

FRANK
Sure. We ended the war. We landed our brand new B-29’s and some of the fellows who met us wanted to know what we thought we were doing at Tinian with such fancied-up airplanes and we told them: we’re here to win the war. They didn’t believe us, either. And we did.

WANDA
There’s so much more to it than that.

FRANK
Then you tell me. What more is there?

WANDA
I’ll answer that after you’ve met Kiyoto-san. Then we’ll talk.

FRANK
Who is this Kiyoto-san?

WANDA
Grandmother of the victim. A remarkable person. She alone could get your grandson a life sentence.
(Looks at watch.)
Listen, Judge–

FRANK
I respond better to Frank if you don’t mind.

WANDA
Sure, Frank. I’ve got to run pick up Private Hazlett and escort him over. Won’t take a minute. Will you be all right here by yourself?

FRANK
That’s a damnable thing to ask a seventy-one year old ex-soldier.

WANDA
Fine then. I’ll be back in a jiff. Save that burger for me, will you?

(She exits. FRANK’s glass is empty. He thinks about it a moment, then decides to let it go. The door opens. Bright, searing light. FRANKIE enters and goes to the bar where he is met by SMITTY.)

SMITTY
Yo, buddy. What’ll you have?

FRANKIE
A whisky. Straight up. Make that a double.

SMITTY
I thought you guys were scheduled to fly out in the morning.

FRANKIE
Word gets around pretty quick.

SMITTY
It’s a tight group.

FRANKIE
You know so much. What’s our target?

SMITTY
Gimme a break.
(He places a beer on the bar in front of FRANKIE.)

FRANKIE
I thought I said a whisky.

SMITTY
I can’t serve you, lieutenant.

FRANKIE
Fuck you.

SMITTY
I serve you, I’ll spend Christmas in the slammer. And you wouldn’t come visiting, either.

FRANKIE
I’m nervous as hell, you know that?

SMITTY
They all are. Go get some hooch out of the Chinaman’s cellar. I’m not serving you.

FRANKIE
You can go to hell.
(He is alone. FRANK approaches him.)

FRANK
Nervous as Napoleon when the snow started to fall.

FRANKIE
Nervous as hell.

FRANK
Nervous as Galileo when he dropped the rocks from
Piza.

FRANKIE
You dress queer.

FRANK
You dress like I did once, fifty years ago.

FRANKIE
Where’re you from?

FRANK
Same place as you. You’re nervous because you’re about to tote Fat Man fifteen hundred miles in a stripped down Mister Bee with a captain you don’t even know. You’re nervous because what you’re about to do has never been done before, not even by that blow-hard Paul Tibbets. Sure, he nuked the beJesus out of those folks in Hiroshima, and you’re about to do the same to similar folks in a village you’ve never even heard of before. Only this gadget you’re toting’s different. You drop it and it could take you with it. Am I right?

FRANKIE
Right as rain. Who are you?

FRANK
Just an old fart who’s missing his family pretty sorely right now.

FRANKIE
You know too much. I’ll probably get my ass kicked just for talking to you.

FRANK
You’ve not told me a thing. Besides, you’d be better off if you didn’t take part in this little engagement. Your life would be simpler. Trust me on that.

FRANKIE
Why should I trust you on anything? I don’t know you. You’re some queer bird who knows more than is allowed.

FRANK
Maybe so. I know this: you’re going into battle for the first time tonight.

FRANKIE
Yeah. So?

FRANK
It’ll be your only mission. But it will do you a lifetime. It will be the center piece of your entire life. You will live with this mission when you’re awake, when you’re asleep, when you’re dreaming. You’ll try to put it aside, but nothing will let you. And you’ll grow old, filled with questions, the kind of questions a man shouldn’t ask, especially of himself.

FRANKIE
What sort of questions?

FRANK
Mainly regarding right from wrong. Questions about justice and basic human decency. Questions about what kind of man you really are.

FRANKIE
We get shot down, don’t we?

FRANK
That would probably be a better ending.

FRANKIE
The goddamn bomb wipes us out with the entire Jap nation. Is that it?

FRANK
I wish it had been so easy.

FRANKIE
Well, you don’t know squat, old man.
(He turns to go. Then turns back.)
So what makes you think you know so much anyway?

FRANK
I’ve been where you’re going. I survived.

FRANKIE
Crazy as they come.
(He is gone.)

FRANK
(To himself.)
And when you get back, you’ll wonder where you’ve been. And when you finally figure that one out, you’ll wonder if you know where you’re going. And when you get there, you’ll wonder why you came.

OMIYA
Finish?

(He is brought back to the bar as OMIYA waits patiently for his response.)

FRANK
Sorry?
OMIYA
Bulgle? You finish?

FRANK
No, I’m getting to it.

OMIYA
You no like?

FRANK
Best water buffalo burger I’ve ever eaten.

OMIYA
You like flies?

FRANK
Love ‘em. Is Tinian your home?

OMIYA
Home?

FRANK
I mean, were you born here?

OMIYA
Oh, no. I come Tinyun from Matsuyama. Live Tinyun twenty five year.

FRANK
Why?

OMIYA
I no understand why. I come. I live. Ehh.

FRANK
Do you have family here?

OMIYA
Two sons. Eight daughters. All here Tenyun.

FRANK
I have one son. He is a pharmacist. He went into pharmacy because he thought it would lead to free drugs. He and his wife live five houses down from his mother and me. Their three children think of my house as their own. Even Frankie, before he joined the Air Force. He was forever in my basement, making things. Like cat-o-nine-tails. Break-away handcuffs. Useless things.

OMIYA
My oldest son is cook, here.

FRANK
That right? Well, tell him he fixes a mean water buffalo burger.

OMIYA
He one mean cook!
(A slight pause.)
You no like Tinyun?

FRANK
Should I like it? Here I learned that there’s very little morality in this world. I guess that’s why I went into the law in the first place, a quest to find a small dab of justice. Oh, as a member of the bench, I meted out the law as I understood it. I tried to be fair, open-minded, free of influence, and I succeeded most of the time. But I don’t think I was ever just, much less moral. Sometimes right. Always legal.

OMIYA
You a man of many years. You should find happiness in life.

FRANK
Yes, I should, shouldn’t I.

(She bows and goes. The door opens, a bright light spills into the bar. LEWIS enters. He is in uniform.
He takes over the room with little effort.)

LEWIS
Damn heat. You’d think I’d get used to it. I step outside the office and in two shakes of a bunny’s ass I’m soaked to the skin. Don’t know why the damn Air Force can’t clean its dirty linen Stateside. Get us out of this dung heap. I’d even settle for Minot. Why not Minot! Hell, I think we all know why not. Freeze your balls off in Minot. Bobby Lewis.
(He offers FRANK his hand.)
I heard you were coming in. Can’t say I’m glad you’re here, though. You’ll make my job a little more difficult, but not enough to matter. This case’s all but resolved and there’s not much you can do to change that. Sit, sit. No need to stand on formalities with me.

FRANK
I wouldn’t think of it.
LEWIS
I saw dear sweet Wanda going into the stockade. That was the tip off. She stays as far from her client as she can. Can’t blame her. He’s one sorry son of a bitch– Sorry, sorry, didn’t meant to disparage your daughter-in-law. But it’s the goddamn truth. I’m just thankful he did what he did to a Nip. I’d hate to see what he’d do to a decent girl.

FRANK
Am I supposed to know who you are?

LEWIS
I’m the Air Force, Judge Hazlett. I intend to see to it that your grandson spends his night in jail. Justice for the unjust. That is your motto, right?

FRANK
No.

LEWIS
Then it should be! But that’s not why I’m here. I wanted to meet you, see what I’m up against. Your reputation is higher than Mount Rushmore. I’m surprised your face isn’t already in stone. It was a sad day when you opted to quit.

FRANK
An extended vacation.

LEWIS
Whatever. I read your book, by the way. Dispelling Darkness? A lot of pretentious bullshit, if you ask me.

FRANK
Did I?

LEWIS
Listen. There’s nothing you can do to mess up this case. Justice will be done, in spite of you if necessary. It’s got “shitty” written all over it, and one thing the Air Force doesn’t like, it’s shit. They like things to be tidy. And this Private Hazlett is about as untidy a bastard the Force has had in quite some time. And we know how to clean messes like this. No problem. I don’t know what you expect to gain by coming all this way, but from where I sit, you made one wasted trip. Damn long one, too. I recommend you say hello to your grandson and head back to Baton Rouge. It’ll be the last you see of him for quite some time. I want him put away so deep even the jailers will have a tough time finding him.
(Silence.)

FRANK
You’re a lifer, aren’t you.

LEWIS
Just like my daddy.

FRANK
It takes all kinds, I guess. I remember once when the Governor of Louisiana paid me a visit. He was being tried in my court for corruption–extortion, that sort of thing. It seems we have a lot of that in Louisiana. Anyway, his Honor came into my chambers by himself late one afternoon–no council, just him and me–and quickly announced that if I didn’t rule in his favor, it would be the last ruling I would make in his state. Well, tell you what. That ex-governor is still behind bars, and I went on extended vacation ten years later with over five hundred decisions to my credit.

LEWIS
And your point is–

FRANK
I don’t care for bullies. Or for being bullied.

LEWIS
Well, bully for you!
(In comes WANDA followed closely by FRANKIE in shackles. Behind him is an M.P. armed with an assault rifle with bayonet drawn. There is a long empty silence as the FRANK and FRANKIE stare at one another.)

WANDA
Judge Hazlett? Private Hazlett.
(Nobody moves.)

LEWIS
Strangest family reunion I’ve ever seen.

WANDA
Go home, Bobby. You’re not wanted here.

LEWIS
There’s a saying in the Air Force, Captain Spiers. It’s “Do unto your superiors how you want them to do unto you.” I’d remember that if I were you. Besides, it’s too hot to go anywhere just now.

FRANK
Get out, Lewis. If we need you, we’ll know where to look.
(Silence. LEWIS turns and goes.)
You, too, Captain. Give my grandson and me a chance to get reacquainted.

WANDA
I’ll be right outside.
(She goes.)

FRANK
(To the M.P.)
You, too.

M.P.
I stay, sir.

FRANK
At least stand at ease.
(The M.P. doesn’t move, eyes front. Another long pause.)
It’s been three years, Frankie.

FRANKIE
Yes, sir.

FRANK
You’ve changed. Where did you get the hair cut?
(Silence.)
How about the tattoo? What’s it say, “Mother?”

FRANKIE
It reads: “Fuck you”, sir.

FRANK
Who is it aimed at?

FRANKIE
Nobody in particular.

FRANK
(Silence.)
Aren’t you glad to see me?

FRANKIE
No, sir, I am not.

(FRANK gets his bag and rummages through it as he speaks.)

FRANK
Your mother says she wishes she could have come, too, but she’s not been well. News of your arrest put her in the hospital. Female problems, all stress related.

OMIYA
(From behind her bar, with the Mama puppet.)
Oh, Frankie, Frankie, Frankie. I’m real sick, Frankie. But you can make me all better. Just tell me those stories about you in the newspapers ain’t so, do you hear me sugarplum? You didn’t hurt nobody, did you, Frankie? You’re such a sweet little thing, so special. . .

FRANK
She was doing better when I left. On the outside chance that you might be interested. She wanted to know if you’d received the good-will package she sent you a month or so ago.

FRANKIE
Yes, sir, I received it.

OMIYA
(Again as Mama.)
It’s all your favorites, son. Buttermilk biscuits, I hope they don’t go stale, some Baby Ruths, and a packet of Dum Dums, you used to just love those things. And a fruitcake. Fruitcakes never go stale.

FRANK
And?

FRANKIE
The guys really liked the fruitcake. Didn’t you, Buck?
(The M.P. doesn’t move.)

FRANK
(Taking a package from his bag.)
Here. She sent you this. It’s probably another fruitcake.
(He puts a gift wrapped present in front of FRANKIE.)

OMIYA
So I was watching this old Jimmy Cagney motion picture the other day, the one where he’s in prison and his girlfriend sends him a cake with a saw blade baked in side? Well, take care you don’t bite too hard into this fruitcake, son, cause you might lose a couple of teeth.

FRANK
So, open it.

FRANKIE
I don’t think so, sir.

FRANK
She wanted to send you a coffee table book, pictures of the French Quarter. I imagine she thinks you have coffee tables over here. Her vision of life in the service might not be as accurate as you might like. So I talked her out of it. That’s a problem with women. They don’t understand the games men like to play.

OMIYA
(Disappearing as Mama.)
I don’t understand, Frankie, how you could do the things they say you did.

FRANK
(Silence. FRANK takes a second present from his bag.)
From your Dad. I have no idea what this is.

OMIYA
(The Papa puppet.)
Harumpth. Ack, ack, ack. Ha!

FRANK
He was arrested again, but I guess you know that.

OMIYA
(As Papa.)
Hey! Hey, hey, hey. Ha!

FRANK
He took those break-away handcuffs of yours and cuffed himself to the chain-link fence around the Savannah River Plant. I thought he’d thrown all your stuff away when you joined up. He’s out on bail.

OMIYA
(As Papa, disappearing.)
Ha! Where’s my pot!

FRANK
(Silence. Another present.)
This is from me. Go on, open it.
(FRANKIE does. It is a Swiss Army knife. The M.P. comes forward and takes the knife.)

M.P.
I’ll take that, sir.
FRANK
It’s the thought that counts, I guess.
(Silence.)
You don’t have anything to say?

FRANKIE
Thank you, sir.

FRANK
That’s it?

FRANKIE
What’re you doing here?

FRANK
Trying to be of some help.

FRANKIE
Who to? Me?

FRANK
Who else?

FRANKIE
I don’t need any help. Sir.

FRANK
That may be. I’m still here, though.

FRANKIE
I didn’t ask you to come.

FRANK
I didn’t need your invitation. Let’s say I needed a vacation.

FRANKIE
Don’t lie. You’re no good at it.

FRANK
Okay. This is no lie. I’ve wanted to come back to Tinian since I left in 1945. It’s one of those places you don’t forget. You’ve got to admit your being here made coming back that much easier.

FRANKIE
I don’t have to admit anything.

FRANK
This chip on your shoulder. Where’d you find it?

FRANKIE
It’s always been there. You’ve never paid enough attention to see it.

FRANK
I’ve spent my adult life dealing with punks who had
bigger chips than yours. I’m pretty sure I’d have
noticed.

FRANKIE
Suit yourself.

FRANK
Listen, Frankie–

FRANKIE
My name is Frank.

FRANK
So is mine.
(Silence.)
Okay. Frank. I didn’t come here to argue.

FRANKIE
So why did you come here?

FRANK
I know my share of law. I came to help get you an honorable discharge. Only from what I hear from Captain Spiers, you’re not helping very much.

FRANKIE
I’d like to fuck that broad.

FRANK
Well, I’ll leave that between you and her. But for the moment, she’s going into your court martial in the morning with nothing but a stupid-assed Cajun reject, namely one Private Francis Hazlett the Third, who doesn’t have enough sense to keep his own council.

FRANKIE
You sound pissed at me, Grandy.

FRANK
I think I’ve got cause. What’s this I hear about you making a confession?
FRANKIE
I’m just being the good Catholic you raised me to be. Besides, why not confess? I did it.

FRANK
What is it that you did, exactly?

FRANKIE
Put my John Henry in that tight little pussy and let her rip.

FRANK
Why?

OMIYA
(With LEWIS and WANDA as extra puppeteers. OMIYA as FRANKIE, LEWIS as another soldier, WANDA as the victim.)
You see what I see? Pussy Gallore.

LEWIS
A little young.

OMIYA
The night is young, life is short.

FRANK
(FRANKIE merely stares at him.)
I asked you why, son.

FRANKIE
She asked for it.

WANDA
(As VICTIM.)
Hey, fellas, wanna piece you’ll not forget?

LEWIS
(As SOLDIER)
Let’s get back to base, Frank.

OMIYA
(As FRANKIE)
Thank you, sweetheart, we’ve gotta go.

WANDA
(As VICTIM)
I make you feel like Superman, you betcha. Make you hero. Make you feel goooooooood.

OMIYA
(As FRANKIE.)
Whoa, man.

WANDA
(As VICTIM.)
I want you to put your John Henry in my tight little pussy and let her rip.

FRANK
Is that what she said?

FRANKIE
I don’t know. Probably.

FRANK
You were there. Where does this “probably” come from? What did she really say?

WANDA
(As VICTIM.)
Excuse, please, but my homework. You help me with English, yes?

OMIYA
(As FRANKIE.)
Well, fancy that. Our lucky day.

FRANKIE
She asked if we wanted to help her. So, yeah, she asked for it.

FRANK
Help her with what?

FRANKIE
Her English assignment.

FRANK
I don’t understand.

OMIYA
(As FRANKIE)
What sort of English do you mean, sweetheart?

WANDA
(As VICTIM.)
Conversation, please.
OMIYA
(As FRANKIE.)
Oh, we’re good at that, ain’t we buddy.
(The male puppets attack the female and drag her away,
laughing, having a grand time.)

FRANKIE
She came up to us, asked for our help, and we gave it to her.

FRANK
Who is this “we” you keep referring to?

FRANKIE
The guys.

FRANK
Will you tell me their names?

FRANKIE
Of course not.

FRANK
Why are you protecting them? Are they so important to you that you feel you must protect them or something?

FRANKIE
Nobody needs protection.

FRANK
Are you aware that the girl was only fourteen years old?

FRANKIE
So? Big deal. They all look fourteen over here. Besides, she enjoyed it.

FRANK
How do you know that?

FRANKIE
She fucking told me. What’s with this cross-examination anyway, Grandy?

FRANK
This isn’t a cross ex, son. Hell, we haven’t even gotten warmed up yet. You might as well get used to it. You’ve got quite a few questions to answer.

FRANKIE
Like what?

FRANK
We’ve got to know who was with you that night.
(Silence.)
We know there was at least one other man along. Who was it?
(Silence)
You’re what, Frank, twenty? Twenty-one?

FRANKIE
I turn twenty-one in four months.

FRANK
Twenty years old. And you’re ready to spend the rest of your life behind bars.

FRANKIE
Nobody wants that.

FRANK
You seem to. Without a little work on your part, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

FRANKIE
Then, so be it.

FRANK
What’s so attractive about jail, anyway?

FRANKIE
The view.

FRANK
What do you see?

FRANKIE
The inside of my hand.

FRANK
I hear the stockade here is new. A spic-and-span place, just right for punks who’re trying to get off work detail. But this is only temporary, you know. They’re keeping you here only until the court martial is decided. If they find you guilty, God knows where they’ll send you. Stateside, most likely, to a federal prison. You remember that time
you accompanied me to Angora? Pretty scary place, wasn’t it? You were eight, I believe. You wouldn’t go with me past the second gate. It scared you shitless. Well, take it from somebody who knows: Angora’s nothing compared to Levinworth. Or the stockade at Fort Knox.

FRANKIE
They’re not going to find me guilty.

FRANK
How can you be sure?

FRANKIE
You should read the papers. The big general himself said so.

FRANK
Said what?

FRANKIE
That he was sick and tired of all this shit.

OMIYA
(This time, the puppet is a five star general.)
I am sick and tired of all this shit!

FRANK
What shit was he referring to?

FRANKIE
All the damn publicity.

OMIYA
(As GENERAL)
All this damn publicity shit!

FRANKIE
He said he was glad I did what I did and wished like hell I hadn’t been caught.

OMIYA
(As General)
Damn shame the son of a bitch got himself caught! But I’m tickled pink he took care of that little slant-eyed bitch.

FRANKIE
He said maybe the little mama-sans would stay the hell away from the base now that they know what’s in store for them.

OMIYA
(As GENERAL.)
Damn right.

FRANK
No commanding officer is going to say things like that.
OMIYA
(As GENERAL)
Teach those little mama-sans a lesson, you betcha!!

FRANKIE
It was in the paper, Grandy. I’m not making this stuff up.

OMIYA
(Disappearing as GENERAL.)
Wish I’d been in on the fun. Teach the gooks a lesson.

FRANK
Gooks?

FRANKIE
Yeah, gook. It’s the same thing as a nigger, a dago–

FRANK
I know what a gook is. So, what does that make you?

FRANKIE
A proud member of the United States Air Force.

FRANK
Exactly what is it about fucking gooks that makes you proud?
(After a silence.)
Your council needs to know who else was involved in this little joyride. She’s convinced you shouldn’t stand trial alone for this incident. She’s right.

FRANKIE
You noticed that broad’s tits? I bet she ain’t had a good lay since–

FRANK
I’m not interested in your testosterone, son. What I want is to find some way to get you off the hook. Captain Spiers seems to think that if you’ll come forward with the names of the other men involved, she could then cut a deal with the prosecution.

FRANKIE
I’m not interested in any deals the Air Force wants to cut.

FRANK
Then you’ll go to prison. Alone. I don’t believe that that’s what you want.
FRANKIE
Listen, old man. What you believe or don’t believe means nothing to me. This is my life. Mine! You stay the hell out of it.

FRANK
(After a pause.)
I’ve got to get settled in. It’s been a long day.
(He returns the presents to his bag.)

FRANKIE
That’s it?

FRANK
I’ve nothing else to say to you.

FRANKIE
You’re through with me?

FRANK
(FRANKIE is going.)
You haven’t asked about your sisters.

FRANKIE
Who cares.

FRANK
I thought I knew you. It seems I don’t. What happened? Where did all this hatred come from?

FRANKIE
From living.

FRANK
There’s something missing in you, son.

FRANKIE
Yeah? What’s that?

FRANK
Repentance. A good Catholic when he confesses also seeks forgiveness. To get this, he has to show a faint glimmer of repentance. I don’t see any in you at all.

FRANKIE
So?
(He leaves with the M.P. FRANK sits at the table, exhausted. In a moment OMIYA enters, cleaning glasses at the bar.)

OMIYA
I get you something, Mister?

FRANK
Did you say you had ten children?

OMIYA
Twelve. Two die. Deep sadness.

FRANK
Did you ever wish any of them hadn’t been born?

OMIYA
Sometimes, maybe, when they behave no good. Not often.

FRANK
You are a lucky woman.
(He sits in silence as OMIYA takes a tray of glasses into the back. In a moment, the model B-29 with “Bockscar” on its nose is lowered over the bar. It’s bomb bay opens and a cardboard cutout of an atomic bomb falls. Another mushroom cloud rises from behind the bar. From behind the cloud appears FUMI, the Japanese teenager, dressed as she would have been in 1945 Nagasaki. She is smiling at first, then her clothing catches fire; she battles the blaze experiencing instant terror. She disappears along with the mushroom cloud. The door to the bar opens and FRANKIE enters, again in the uniform of 1945. He goes to the bar. Leans on it as SMITTY approaches him and without speaking puts a bottle of whisky and a glass in front of him.)

SMITTY
Where’re the rest of the guys?

FRANKIE
Don’t know. Don’t care.
(He drinks.)

SMITTY
Well, you made it.

FRANKIE
That’s what it looks like.

SMITTY
How was it?
(FRANKIE gives him a glare. SMITTY throws up his hands and backs away, leaving FRANKIE to his bottle. In a moment, the door opens and LEW enters.)

LEW
What the hell, Frankie! There must be a million cameras out there. You’re missing out, buddy.

FRANKIE
Want a drink? On the house.

LEW
I want you outside. You’re part of history, man, and it’s gonna slip right by you if you’re not careful.

FRANKIE
What was it you said? Don’t give a shit about history, I just want to go home?

LEW
Hey, that was yesterday. Today’s different. This thing is big, man, bigger than anything since the electric light bulb. And we’re both part of it.

FRANKIE
That’s just it. I don’t want to be. I swear to God, Lew, I’ve never felt like this before.

LEW
Like what?

FRANKIE
Scared.

LEW
(After a moment’s pause.)
I know what you mean.

FRANKIE
Do you?

LEW
I was there before you, remember.

FRANKIE
I had images of my first combat mission being–I don’t know
–perfect? I don’t think I want to fly again. I’m too damned. . . scared.
LEW
Hell, man, it may not have been perfect, but you guys did the job.

FRANKIE
We spent most of our time looking for Kokura. Never found it. It was as if God had decided to protect the Japs and breathed a vapor so thick we couldn’t see a thing. Sweeney
must have circled over Kokura a dozen times. Nothing. I mean, we had Fat Man, armed and ready, and nowhere to send him. We’d never done anything like that, none of us. And to top it off, we had this goddamned journalist along, taking down everything we did, everything we said. I wanted to throw him out the bomb bay, but Fat Man took up all the space. So finally Sweeney gets on the squawk and says “Fuck this, what’s the secondary target?” And off we go, trying to find something to dump the gadget on. I mean, that thing looked like it’d come from another planet. It was so docile, so peaceful looking. I felt as if it was going to crack open like an egg and some outer space monster was gonna crawl out and devour us all. Then Jimbo says “There she is.” And he didn’t wait for the go-ahead. He pulled the switch. Just letting loose our load flung us up hundreds of feet. Then Sweeney did that banking thing. We were like the little silver balls inside a pinball machine, bouncing around, kicking each other. And the damn journalist taking down everything in his little black book. Then the world exploded.
(Silence.)
I was part of it. Whatever it was we did to humanity, I was part of it. Whatever happened on the ground below us, I was part of it. And I feel like I’ve sinned so bad I’m damned to hell for eternity. I don’t need to have my picture taken. I need a priest. I need to confess and seek penance.

LEW
It was a job, Frank. You did your job just like I did my job. It was the job we’d been trained to do, and we did it as good as we could. There can’t be any sin in that.

FRANKIE
Things are never going to be the same. You realize that?

LEW
Come on, buddy. You won’t be in any of the pictures if you hang around here like this.

FRANKIE
It was like God was blowing these clouds in our way, trying to protect the earth from that thing we had in our belly. Only he didn’t do a good enough job. And as a result, we erased a city from the face of the earth along with all the people who lived there. All. Not just the soldiers. All. Women. Children. Grandfathers, mothers, unborn babies. . . And to top it off, we don’t know what we hit. It could have been our own air base for all we know.

LEW
The observation planes have confirmed: you hit the outer edges of Nagasaki, the secondary target. Good going, buddy. You’re the hero now.
(He pulls at FRANKIE.)
Come on. You’ve got to be in at least one of the pictures. Let’s go.

FRANKIE
Yesterday it was you feeling like this. What happened?

LEW
The Bockscar happened. You happened. You and Sweeney and Jimbo and the goddamned journalist–the whole bunch of you happened. You made me not alone. So come on, let’s go!
(He exits. YUKI, now charred and covered with scars, is seen. FRANKIE stares at her for a long moment, then turns to go as FRANK calls after him.)

FRANK
It’s a damnable world you’ve given us, soldier.

FRANKIE
What do you mean?

FRANK
You’ll see. Trust me, you’ll see.
(FRANKIE exits. YUKI exits. FRANK goes to the bar.)
I’ll take a whisky.

SMITTY
We’re closed.
(He exits. FRANK is at the bar when the door opens and WANDA enters.)

WANDA
Well?

FRANK
Well what?

WANDA
Your grandson was all smiles as he left here. Is that a good or bad sign?

FRANK
Your guess is as good as mine. He told me nothing. All he did was confirm: I don’t know that young man. He’s a mystery to me.

WANDA
He’s a mystery to us all. So. Did he give you the names of his accomplices?

FRANK
What do you think?

WANDA
Be damned. I was counting on his respect for you. Is there any way we can get the information we need from him?

FRANK
We could try pulling his fingernails out one at a time.

WANDA
What does he gain by not telling us?

FRANK
A sense of control.

WANDA
Of what?

FRANK
It’s something he has that he knows we want and as long as he keeps it to himself, he controls us. It has nothing to do with whether he’s found guilty or not. He doesn’t seem to care, one way or the other.

WANDA
Are you sure it’s not some loyalty thing?

FRANK
You mean, blood brothers? that sort of crap? No. It’s an issue of control. Probably for the first time in his life, Frankie’s in charge of something, and he’s enjoying it greatly.

WANDA
Since the others haven’t come forward voluntarily, it seems he’d be eager to share the blame.

FRANK
Your thinking is far too rational. My grandson is convinced that he’s not only going to be set free; he believes he’s
going to be made some sort of hero. I mean, look what he’s accomplished? He’s put the Japanese in their place. By raping one, he’s raped them all. If he named his accomplices, he’d have to share the glory.

WANDA
I’m sorry, that’s too macho for me. I don’t care to understand such thinking.

FRANK
In spite of that, you’ve won twenty-five cases?

WANDA
I exaggerated a little.

FRANK
What’s this about some general on Okinawa going public with support for the rapists?

WANDA
You didn’t read about it in the papers?

FRANK
Not everything that happens on Okinawa makes the news in Baton Rouge. Frank tells me this general whoever he is made some rash remarks about teaching the Japs some lessons.

WANDA
Ain’t it the pits?

FRANK
Frankie’s superior has all but proclaimed him to be a national hero. Slapped him on the back and said to every soldier under his command: it’s open season. How can my grandson expect a fair trial after that?

WANDA
I don’t think he can. Unfortunately, court martials don’t allow for mis-trials. I tried putting the General’s name on my witness list, but he refused. In this man’s Air Force, you don’t force a General, period.
FRANK
What a wretched thing, our judicial system.

WANDA
So, you got nothing from Private Hazlett?

FRANK
I wouldn’t say that. My grandson has an evil streak I didn’t know existed. I wish I knew where it comes from.

WANDA
Why?

FRANK
Well, maybe if I understood it, I could confront it, perhaps find a way through it. When do the proceedings begin?

WANDA
Nine o’clock in the morning.

FRANK
That Lewis fellow is going to eat you alive.

WANDA
Are you feeling as if you’ve come all this way for nothing?

FRANK
(After a pause.)
No. I’ve been having these strange sensations. Deja
vu. It’s been so long since I’ve confronted certain
things.

WANDA
Like what?

FRANK
My past. I’d allowed these things to sort of slip away. Now that I’m here, they’re coming back with a vengeance. I’m never realized just how much alike my grandson and I are.

WANDA
Your grandson is a goddamned Fascist. Nothing like you at all.

FRANK
Why would you call him a Fascist?

WANDA
He has a swastika tattooed on his back.

FRANK
How do you know?

WANDA
He showed me.

FRANK
I had thoughts like that myself, once.

WANDA
When?

FRANK
During the war. I had to think like that. Otherwise I couldn’t have gone on living with what I’d done. It was that or dig myself an early grave. It was “Be a white supremacist or put a bullet through my brain.” So I’ve dedicated my life to the opposite, struggling to be fair. No matter what, be fair. And I never sought contrition.
(A thought.)
Maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s why Frankie’s confessing his sins. Why he’s refusing to name his pals. It’s his contrition. He wants to be punished for his evil. He wants all this. And he must go through it alone. Jesus. Who would have thought we could be so much alike.

WANDA
You need a good night’s rest. You’re beginning to sound like a damned priest.

FRANK
(He smiles.)
Thank you, Captain, for that high compliment.

WANDA
But before you go, there’s one last thing I need you to do.

FRANK
My dear, I’m far too old to be of much use to you in that respect–

WANDA
(Laughing.)
My God, you and your grandson think exactly alike! No, something else. There’s someone who wants to meet you.

FRANK
The general, right?

WANDA
Kiyoko-san. She and her granddaughter have requested an opportunity to speak with you.

FRANK
When?

WANDA
Now, if you’re up to it. They’re waiting outside. They will be the first to testify in the morning, and then they will be flown back to Okinawa. They don’t want to be here when the case is decided.

FRANK
(He seems uneasy about the prospect.)
Why does she want to speak with me? I’m just an outsider. For heaven’s sake, why would I want to meet the victims!

WANDA
It’s their request. Kiyoko-san was insistent.

FRANK
Insistent in what way?

WANDA
By refusing to move until she’s met you.

FRANK
Damn, damn, damn.

WANDA
Does that mean you’ll speak to her?

FRANK
Yes, damn it.

WANDA
I’ll be right back.

(She goes. FRANK goes to the bar and beats on it with his fist.)

FRANK
Omiya!
(SMITTY comes from the back room.)
Not you, damn it. I want Omiya.

SMITTY
I don’t know what you’re talking about. Omiya? Is that another brand of German beer? I told you, we’re closed.

FRANK
Omiya!!

SMITTY
Listen, mister. You either get your shit together or I’ll have to throw you out. I don’t care what kind of hero you are, when you’re in here, you’re in my ballpark. Am I getting through to you here?

FRANK
Do you know who I am?

SMITTY
Everybody knows you sons of bitches from the 509th. You think the world revolves around your spoiled behinds. Well, not here it don’t. So stuff it or get the hell out.
(They stare each other down. SMITTY laughs and exits into the back. OMIYA is there.)

OMIYA
You call?

FRANK
That’s one irritating employee you’ve got working for you, lady.

OMIYA
Solly?

FRANK
I need another beer if you have any.

OMIYA
Sure thing.
(She gives him another bottle of Warsteiner.)
As you Yanks say, on house.

FRANK
Thanks.
(The door opens, filling the bar with bright light. WANDA enters followed by a frail Japanese woman and her teenage daughter. KIYOKO is dressed in a mixture of traditional Japanese and American clothing. Her blouse has sleeves that cover her hands. She wears a scarf around her head. The girl, YUKI, is dressed in a school girl’s uniform. There is a moment’s pause before the KIYOKO says something in Japanese. OMIYA responds and the two laugh lightly.)
What did she say?

OMIYA
She find it funny that you not as big as she expect.

FRANK
Oh?

OMIYA
I tell her you big enough.
(The two Japanese women laugh again.)

WANDA
Kiyoko-san, may I introduce Judge Francis Hazlett, Senior.

FRANK
(Matching KIYOKO’s bow.)
Pleased.

KIYOKO
You speak Japanese?

FRANK
Sorry, no.

KIYOKO
Then, we speak English. My granddaughter, Yuki.
(The girl gives a neatly wrapped package to FRANK.)
For you a small token of Japan.
(FRANK opens his bag and takes out the gift wrapped fruitcake.)

FRANK
A small token of the United States.
(He bows again. YUKI opens the gift and is effusive in her admiration of the cake. Both women bow deeply. FRANK opens his gift. It is a Japanese fan, elaborate and obviously quite expensive.)

KIYOKO
To help you with Tinian heat.

FRANK
Thank you. This is really quite. . .beautiful.

KIYOKO
My granddaughter paint.

FRANK
Remarkable. Thank you very much.
(YUKI bows.)

KIYOKO
Fruit cake, I believe, is American holiday gift? Is holiday now?

FRANK
Actually, no. My wife insisted that I bring fruit cakes. She claims they travel well and are appropriate almost anytime, anywhere. I hope you enjoy it.

YUKI
Oh, yes, very much. Thank you.

KIYOKO
(To WANDA and OMIYA)
Please?

WANDA
Oh. Yeah, sure.

(She leaves through the outside door, OMIYA goes into the kitchen.)

KIYOKO
I sit, yes?

FRANK
Yes, of course.
(They sit at the table.)

KIYOKO
It is quite the miles from Okinawa to Tinian. My granddaughter and I are exhausted by journey.

YUKI
I’m not.

KIYOKO
Yes, exhausted, same as I.

YUKI
Yes, grandmother.

FRANK
I have granddaughter who is sixteen, Yuki. She is tall and slender. I have a picture. Would you like to see?

YUKI
Yes, please.
(FRANK takes a photograph from his billfold.)
Grandmother, show him photo of our family.
(KIYOKO rummages through her purse.)

FRANK
It’s a little bent. This is Jennifer. She turned sixteen in March. She is going into her junior year in high school next fall. She plays basketball.

YUKI
So tall. So pretty.

FRANK
She gets her looks from her mother. I don’t know where she gets her height. Not me. That’s Claire, my wife. She didn’t want her picture taken. It shows, doesn’t it.

YUKI
(Points to the photo.)
Who is this?

FRANK
I forget his name. Jennifer’s boyfriend at the time.

YUKI
Grandmother. In America, women have boyfriends at sixteen.

KIYOKO
A different country from Japan.

YUKI
But–

KIYOKO
No. America different, not better.
(She places a photograph for FRANK to see.)
This my family. You see? Beautiful granddaughter, Yuki. Beautiful son, Yuki’s father, his wife, Norika, their other children, Yuki’s brothers and sisters, Jun and Matsume. Me. Please forgive. I make very poor picture. My one surviving brother, Hiroshi.

FRANK
A lovely family. You must be proud.

YUKI
You say your granddaughter plays basketball? Like Michael Jordan?

FRANK
Not quite that good, no. You like Michael Jordan?

YUKI
Air Jordan! Scottie Pippin. Mr. Barkley!

FRANK
If you come to America, I’ll try to arrange for you to see a professional basketball game.

YUKI
Oh, never go America. English too not good. I stay in Okinawa, look after grandmother.

FRANK
You’re so young. When you finish high school, you might go to school in America.

YUKI
Yes.

KIYOKO
No.

YUKI
But I must look after grandmother.

FRANK
You could stay with Mrs. Hazlett and me. We would love to have you. You could finish high school, then go to college at Louisiana State University, a great school.

KIYOKO
No.

YUKI
No, thank you, sir. You most kind, but I look after grandmother.

KIYOKO
Yuki, you wait outside. Okay? I be with you soon.

YUKI
Yes, grandmother.
(YUKI leaves.)

FRANK
She is a lovely young woman. You must be proud.
KIYOKO
She is scarred by soldiers. Most unfortunate thing to happen to young girl like Yuki. She is very bright in school. A joy to family.

FRANK
Would it help for me to apologize for my grandson’s actions?

KIYOKO
His actions are your responsibility?

FRANK
Actually, no.

KIYOKO
Then, apology not necessary. Except from him.

FRANK
Your English is exceptional. Did you study in England or the United States?

KIYOKO
No. Tinian first time outside Japan.

FRANK
Then, is it usual for someone your age to speak so well?

KIYOKO
Usual?

FRANK
Customary.

KIYOKO
Ah, no, most not customary. Rare for old woman like me. I dedicate self to understand your language. It give me advantage.

FRANK
In what way?

KIYOKO
To understand one’s language is to understand people who use language. So I am advantage. I understand you. You no understand Japanese. You have no knowledge of me.

FRANK
I have no reason to learn Japanese.
KIYOKO
I have reason to learn English?

FRANK
No, I don’t suppose so. So why did you?

KIYOKO
So I might learn about you.

FRANK
You don’t mean me personally. Do you?

KIYOKO
Hai. Why not? Who you are, your thoughts, your behaviors.
It is important to me to know these things.

FRANK
I don’t see what any of this has to do with my grandson–

KIYOKO
You think I wish speak with you about him?

FRANK
Naturally, that was my assumption.

KIYOKO
Assumption?

FRANK
What I expect.

KIYOKO
Ah, no. Your grandson is no important to me. Tomorrow, I give testimony. Yuki give testimony. We go home, forget your grandson if possible. True, Yuki carry her shame but it slip away. One reminder, however, time not dissolve. She not give me great grandchildren. That we must live with. Thank you, your grandson. I forgive him this deed. Yuki forgive him, she try. When she grow old and marry, she will find forgiveness difficult. That is expected, yes? We put this matter behind us. We testify first. We return home and be with family. I beg your pardon if I mislead you.

FRANK
So what do you wish to speak to me about?

KIYOKO
I wish to speak of you, please.
FRANK
I don’t see why. We have nothing in common.

KIYOKO
We do, Hazlett-san. Much in common.
(He tries to protest, but she stops him with a raised hand.)
I am hibakusha.

FRANK
(Not understanding.)
I’m sorry.

KIYOKO
Hibakusha a person who survive contact with atomic explosion. Being hibakusha in Japan is no good to be. We are damage people.

FRANK
You were–

KIYOKO
Hai. August, 1945, I in Nagasaki.

FRANK
I am so sorry.

KIYOKO
Yes?

FRANK
But you don’t seem to have been affected in any way.

KIYOKO
Ah. These clothes, the Goodwill made donation. And Air Force purchase shoes. And hat for head. Air Force not want me to take stand in shabby kimono.

FRANK
Shabby is not a word I would use to describe you, ma’m.

KIYOKO
Is true. I am most poor person. Result of being hibakusha. As hibakusha, I not permit to work. I am, you see, damage. So. Since I not work, I study of you, Hazlett-san. That is why I ask to meet you, to meet you.

FRANK
Why me? I’m a nobody–

KIYOKO
Not you only, but all members of the Bee-san flew Bockscar over my city.

FRANK
I–I don’t–

KIYOKO
I beg pardon. I upset you.

FRANK
No, no, not at all. . .

KIYOKO
We have much in common. You hibakusha like me. Only no damage person.

FRANK
This is a joke, isn’t it. I mean, somebody put you up to this, right?

KIYOKO
“Put up?” I not understand.

FRANK
If this is a joke, I don’t find it very humorous!

FRANKIE
(He is at the bar in his WWII uniform.)
The whole thing, nothing but a big fat joke. A big FAT MAN joke!

FRANK
What would you know about it. You’re the biggest joke of them all.

FRANKIE
Pots and kettles, old man. Pots and kettles.

FRANK
(To FRANKIE)
What do you want from me?

KIYOKO
I want nothing, Hazlett-san. Meet you enough.

FRANK
Let me get this straight. I thought you were from Naha on the island of Okinawa.

KIYOKO
I live now, Naha. Born Nagasaki. Man who marry me Okinawan. I go Naha when eighteen.
(He is ready to leave. He wants to hear nothing else from this woman. But he can’t leave. He is held by her simplicity and sincerity.)
1945 I same age as granddaughter, and I not in school. We fear Bee-san come and bomb. We move all things which burn. Firebreaks you call in English? Late morning, August 9, I in house of neighbor. You up there in Bockscar come our city. I not die. I know not why.
(She stands and raises the sleeves of her blouse, revealing her arms, swollen and scarred.)
Here my wounds. Here my scars. They not leave me fifty years. They not leave ever. Other scars I so sorry not
show.
FRANK
I don’t want to see. . .

KIYOKO
(She returns to her seat.)
With bomb, house of neighbor fall on me. Beam from roof fall so and I not trapped like fellow workers. I alone escape house. Suffer burns you see. Everywhere I look, my city no more. I search for mother, for father, for sisters. I find brother, Hiroshi–in photograph? He not harm. I burn over whole body. I did not die. I survive.

FRANK
I am . . . so. . .

KIYOKO
Even rain when it come not soothe wounds. The rain come black. It too was fire.

FRANK
Why are you telling me all this?

KIYOKO
For fifty years you live with single act, yes? Fifty years not know what you do. Fifty years of guilt?

FRANK
No. It wasn’t my doing. I was simply on the plane. I didn’t drop the bomb. It wasn’t my idea. I had nothing to do with it.
KIYOKO
No?

FRANK
No! Goddamn it.

FRANKIE
I can’t believe what we did, can you?

FRANK
Stay out of this! Listen, ma’m–

KIYOKO
I no wish to cause you pain.

FRANKIE
You should have seen the mushroom cloud, old man.

FRANK
I did! I did see it. It was flesh colored, like bruised skin.

FRANKIE
If you ask me, the Japs got what they deserved.

FRANK
That’s what I thought, for a long time. But now? I’m not sure. How can I be sure?
(To KIYOKO)
Why are you doing this to me?

KIYOKO
Americans rape my people long enough. Fifty years, long enough.
(A moment of silence.)
I no have justice. Maybe justice come for granddaughter.

FRANK
Frankie’s being found guilty will provide you with that.

KIYOKO
No. What give to us the justice we want come with removal of Americans from Okinawa. Not tomorrow. Today.

FRANK
I’m afraid I can’t do anything about that.
KIYOKO
I know. So, I testify tomorrow and pray for success.
I ask you, Hazlett-san. You have not written of Bockscar. Why?

FRANK
I see no reason to. I have nothing to say about that mission.

FRANKIE
I have plenty to say.

KIYOKO
How old were you August 9, 1945?

FRANK
Twenty one.

KIYOKO
I fourteen. And your grandson? How old now?

FRANK
Twenty.

KIYOKO
(A pause.)
We have much in common after all.

FRANK
I was doing my duty.

FRANKIE
Duty to the war office or humanity?

KIYOKO
I do not blame you, Hazlett-san.

FRANKIE
I do! I blame us all. We didn’t have to dump the gadget that morning. We could have returned to Tinian and let somebody else do the deed.

FRANK
But the deed would have been done, regardless. It didn’t matter if it was us or them. The deed would have been done.

FRANKIE
Then what is all this about?
KIYOKO
I wish you know. I forgive you.

FRANK
Forgive? I didn’t do anything that deserves forgiveness.

FRANKIE
Oh, but you did. We’re both, guilty as hell.

KIYOKO
My forgiveness is for you. I forgive all on board Bockscar. I forgive God for sparing Kokura and not Nagasaki. I forgive you for crime against me and my family. I forgive your grandson for crime against Yuki. I wish no harm come to your grandson. I wish for him to forgive my granddaughter for being Japanese.
(She rises.)
It is honor to meet you, Hazlett-san. May you find way to dispel darkness from your life.
(She bows and goes. FRANK sits as if stunned. After a moment, the door to the outside crashes open and LEW enters in the blinding light and joins FRANKIE at the bar.)

LEW
Smitty! Get your ass out here, good buddy.

SMITTY
Hold it down, fellas. It’s early and folks are trying to sleep around here.

LEW
Set ‘em up. Drinks on the house. Drinks for everybody, even those asleep!

SMITTY
What’s the occasion?

FRANKIE
We’re going home!

SMITTY
I knew you guys in the 509th couldn’t stick it out.

FRANKIE
No! Everybody!! You, me. All of us. We’re all going home!

LEW
We told you, didn’t we? We said we were going to win this war. And by God, we did it!

SMITTY
The war’s over?

FRANKIE
Yes! Word just in. The Japs have surrendered. The Emperor himself announced it.

LEW
And it wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for us!

SMITTY
(Pouring drinks for the three of them.)
Well, I’ll be damned.

LEW
Come on, Frankie. Let’s tell the world!

(He leaves. FRANKIE goes to FRANK.)

FRANKIE
I’m going home.

FRANK
I know. Me, too.

FRANKIE
We did it. We won the war. Just like Old Man Tibbets said we would. One damn mission, and I’m going home a hero!

FRANK
You’re no longer scared?

FRANKIE
What’s to be scared of now?

FRANK
Memories. Dreams. But don’t worry about that now. I’m proud of you.

FRANKIE
They’re giving us all the Bronze Star.

FRANK
Yes, I know. I still have mine. Promise me something, will you?

FRANKIE
What’s that, old man?

FRANK
Don’t forget what you did over here. I mean, all of it. Remember it all. It’s important.

FRANKIE
See you later, pops.
(He starts out.)

FRANK
Promise me!

FRANKIE
I promise. I’ll remember it all.
(He rushes out, almost running into WANDA who doesn’t see him.)

FRANK
God. It was great to be young.

WANDA
What do you mean?

FRANK
(Startled that she’s there.)
What? Nothing. Nothing.

WANDA
What’s up?

FRANK
I’m just remembering a lot of stuff.

WANDA
Like what?

FRANK
For one, what it felt like to be young and fearless.

WANDA
You’re not old.

FRANK
Really? My daughter-in-law’s ten years older than
you.

WANDA
Age is a frame of mind.

FRANK
I can agree with that. It’s just that my frame is pretty well along in years. You were right, by the way. Kiyoko-san is indeed a remarkable human being. I wish I’d met her a long time ago.

WANDA
It’s a shame that I’ll have to cross examiner her tomorrow morning. It’s not going to be much fun.

FRANK
Then let it go. Accept what she says as the truth and let it go.

WANDA
And damn the hindmost?

FRANK
If Frankie’s going to be found guilty anyway, what difference does it make?

WANDA
This is the argument you shared from the bench for how many years was it?

FRANK
Forty two. And no, I’ve never used this argument before. But in this instance, it feels like the most humane thing to do. Let the guilty be punished. Me included.

WANDA
But the eye of the law isn’t interested in the humane. It’s interested in winning and losing. Justice goes to the victor. That’s the rule all of us play by.

FRANK
Look, Captain Spiers, my grandson is guilty as sin. Let’s accept that and leave it to the Air Force to mete out his punishment. And maybe, real justice can finally be realized.

WANDA
And just exactly what would that real justice be?

FRANK
I don’t know. Recognition, maybe. Contrition, perhaps. And in the future, a sense of forgiveness.

WANDA
You’re not serious.

FRANK
I don’t get much more serious than this. Let’s let it go.

WANDA
I’ve never lost a case before.

FRANK
Come to think of it, neither have I. But this isn’t a case of losing. It’s actually winning. It’s allowing morality to take its course. What better way to live one’s life than by letting morality take its course?

WANDA
What do we tell Frankie when we show up without a defense?

FRANK
Tell him– Tell him his grandfather will be serving his time along side him, just in a different place.

WANDA
And just where will you be?

FRANK
On my way home. I have a book to write about the 509th. I have a morality of my own that needs some attention.
(He picks up his bag and goes to the bar where he confronts SMITTY a final time. He tosses a handful of money on the bar as he passes.)
Thanks for everything, Smitty. And have a safe trip home.
(He goes.)

WANDA
(Calling off after him.)
Well, hell’s bells, man. You’re no help at all!!

FRANK
(From off.)
So, sue me!
(OMIYA as master puppeteer. She with aide from other cast members, re-enact the rape of YUKI using hand puppets. The action is performed in dumbshow. As the harsh encounter nears its completion, the model B-29 with “Bockscar” on its nose is lowered. Its load is dropped and a mushroom cloud emerges from the bar, concealing the rape. OMIYA speaks to us.)

OMIYA
Life is a repeat. What happened yesterday will happen tomorrow. I know. I’ve seen it. I was there. Good night.
(Blackout.)

 

Editor’s Note on Barnone:

Barnone is not Kenneth Robbins’ first work to appear in Eastlit. His previous published pieces are:

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