Chapter 14:

Boys Of War: Gisei


While I was on an airplane to Uganda, Gisei had his own troubles at home. If I remembered, he told the story like this. 

"It was around the same time you got pinched. I saw the news on the TV a year prior. Mom really wanted me to volunteer. She said it was good for the country. I didn't know what she meant by that, considering she was hardly the definition of a patriot. I finally figured out what she meant when I saw the newspaper Levi had on his table one morning. There was an ad saying that families get paid if their kids get sent off to war. I was upset that she even thought about selling me out for cash. I didn't care about the war. No American ever did me wrong. In fact, I've never met one before. I made it my mission to take Elin and get the hell out of Oda. Maybe even Japan. I had been working my ass off for months, taking odd jobs and street racing for cash. I told Elin my plan of escaping with her. While it took time to convince her, she loved me. She wanted to be with me. It'll be hard to leave her father, but being young and in love can convince you to do anything, even leave everything behind to leave with some kid you just met. 

In March, I had just about enough to make sure we were ready to leave. Elin did a few jobs of her own to make sure we had enough. It was the 20th, in fact. I had woken up in Elin's bed. I got dressed, kissed her forehead, and left through the window. Levi still didn't know I was dating his daughter. I ran over to my house after a nice walk. The morning was picture perfect. With the blue skies, no clouds, the birds singing, it was straight out of a movie. The movie ended in tragedy, however. I opened my front door to see a man in a military uniform chatting and laughing with mom. I already knew what was going on. "You actually did it, didn't you?" I say as I slam the door.

Mom was annoyed, she was smoking and was sitting with her legs crossed, in a pink bathrobe. "Gisei. It's for the best. You think you're going places? You aren't doing shit else!"

I snapped back. "I was gonna leave your ass that's my plan! You think I'm gonna go off and get myself killed? For you of all people?"

The soldier spoke up. "Son, I'm afraid the paper has been signed. It'll be easier for the both of us if you don't try anything." 

I scoff as he stood up, possibly to take me away. I pushed the man and ran for my life. I had to hurry or he'll call for the police. I didn't need that. My car was in Levi's garage, so I had to hurry before he noticed as well. I headed over to a landline, panting. I dialed the house number, hoping for a response. I heard the police sirens in the background. I assumed they were for me. The Japanese take desertion very seriously. Especially in war.

Elin picked up. "Hello?"

There was panic in my voice, I was hearing the sirens get closer. "Lin. We gotta go, now."

"Gi? Calm down, please." She sounded worried too.

"No time! Just get packed. Hurry!" I hung up and ran before the cars could see me. 

It was the hardest walk of my life. It took me all day since I had to take a scenic route. The bright, warm, sunny day turned into a personal nightmare with a nice backdrop. I had sweat all over me, I had dirt all over my clothes due to all the hiding I had to do. I was completely spent from sprinting all day.  This was a common problem, I've heard. There were kids deserting all the time, and unfortunately, I was the first test subject of the efforts to stop that. Hours later I was at her house. I climbed the house using the ladder and entered through her window, panting and gasping for air. Elin was shocked that I looked this distressed. After catching my breath and chugging the water she gave me, I was able to tell her what I've been doing for the last few hours. 

The blonde shook her head in disbelief. "That's..."

I nodded, remembering her grin. She saw me as a paycheck. It was her time to cash in. I hit the bed in anger. "We're leaving. As soon as it gets dark." 

As we waited for the sky to get dark, I took to my favorite pastime: Resting on Elin's thighs and complaining about life while she pets me. It really soothes the soul. When I took a bit to breathe, I looked into her ocean blue eyes. I smirked. "No matter what happens, I'm gonna be seeing you by the end, ok?"

Elin kissed my forehead and soothed my temples. "Don't speak like that. You're going to be right by my side, yes?" She always spoke perfect, formal Japanese, though I have taught her a few slang words. She was truly a talented girl. 

Our time got cut short. At around 8, Levi called Elin down. She got up to respond. Out of curiosity, I followed to peek in on the conversation. 

Levi was in the middle of talking. He spoke in his native tongue. They were having some argument, while I looked over to see the police right there. I peeked my head too much because he saw me instantly. He pointed his finger at me. "Stop right there!" He yelled. I had no choice, I ran down the stairs to sprint into the garage. Elin was right behind me. I grabbed the keys and opened the doors while she strapped in her seatbelt. Levi looked at me in confusion. I looked at him with slight regret as I started the car and put the pedal to the metal as the rest of the law came after me. They must've been from Osaka because I've never seen that much law before. I drifted to avoid the blockade at the end of the driveway. and drove down the street, going far beyond the speed limit. Elin was panicking, I could tell from her hyperventilating. The police were just as fast and pulled a pit maneuver. I was a good driver, but I was still a rookie at it. I couldn't control it and turned the car over, flipping it serval times. When I woke up, I was on the ground, handcuffed. I was scrached up and bleeding from the forehead. I looked around to see Elin, beaten as well, but alive. My happiness was short. I was picked up and taken into a cop car, as she looked on with tears in her eyes. 

A few hours later I was on the next flight to Africa."

Joe Gold