Postcard from Chinguashi

“My friend said their skin was turned yellow by the hot water in the mine,” Joey told the guide.

“I think so.  Then no more gold in 1944.  No more work.  Prisoners sent to the jungle camp, near Hsintien.  Only ones still alive.  Taiwanese and Japanese honchos sent to the army, waiting for final attack on Taiwan.  Only two big shots ever face war crimes.”

“Now, my number two order.  I’m looking for one of the guards.  ‘One-Ear’ Huang.  Maybe he still lives here.”

“You friend?”

“The best,” Joey said.  Four days later, the guide opened his hands to say Joey was out of luck.  Reluctantly, Joey said goodbye to his Dad, goodbye to the horrors of the past.

He’d never forget the smells, however.  Smoke from charcoal cooking fires, open benjo ditches, and camphor wood lumber mills lining the road back from Chinguashi.  Had his father smelled them too?

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