Night of Whiskey Hazes

Photo by Make It Special on Unsplash.

Stumbling down the alley the soldier glanced up and down at the shining stars filling the valley. Of course, it was not the best site to see, with all the light pollution it was hard to get a good look up at the sky, the stars. He paused for a moment, leaning on a light post for support and rubbing his hazy eyes before setting his gaze at the beauty above him. He had never been to Nagasaki before but joining the army was something that could have never allowed him to know the country as he does now. 

He was raised in Tokyo and was used to the bustle of a vibrant city, full of life and industrial promise. In those ways Nagasaki reminded him of his previous home, however, this city was different at the same time. It was surrounded by tall lush mountains on both sides of the city, and lay in the heart of the river valley. Nagasaki reminded him almost of a cherry blooming out of the ashes of a fire. The city was blooming out of the river valley and rising out of the ditch it lay in, not letting the mountains tower over the city. He had devoted himself to living in this city after Japan successfully won the war. 

He picked himself back up onto his feet and powered towards the street lights, off of the dark avenue he was previously walking on. He stumbled some more and let out a loud burp before he bumped into an old man sitting on the edge of the street and the alley. 

 “I beg your pardon sir.” the man quickly says and scoots a little closer to the wall, moving the large bottle that lay next to him. “I didn’t mean to disrupt a decorated soldier.” 

“No bother at all, go on with yourself.” For the man he had just met was a scumbag with no job or money, he had the most prestigious job in the country. He was part of the mightiest army on Earth no matter how much those filthy Americans treated the country. For they had no weapons of mass destruction that would do any harm to the great cities that were held above the towering mountains in a month. 

Out on the street, he could see all the lights of the factories, with the workers pressing on like birds building their nest in the middle of a rainstorm. He feels powerful as a Japanese soldier and he has an overconfident tone when it comes to his nationalistic principles, but all across the world, the war encouraged them to believe that they were superior beings. 

As his walk continued down the street he glanced at every house, every factory, every person, every star, especially the stars, to ensure that none were moving closer to the city. With all the many perks of being in the army, the one he most enjoyed is traveling around the country and someday the world. Many of his friends had left the country to fight on behalf of this great nation. He believed that his second favorite aspect was seeing all the joyous Japanese citizens. As he walked down this street late at night he could see this first hand. Fathers walked across the street from the exits of the factories only to see their houses, their children running to the dimly lit windows to greet him and his wife standing with dinner in her hands. Everyone greeted each other with kindness and happiness, someday he too would have this. 

As he stumbled over the men walking out he could now see his destination in sight, the small little yatai that sold the cheapest whiskey in town, and as a soldier, he got it for even less money. His friends were gathered by the cart all drinking the giant bottle, passing it from one calloused hand to the next. The men gathered around the small little wooden yatai with the drink in their hands. They laughed hysterically and spoke drunkenly loud. Their cries of joy echoed through the valley like a small child’s call for milk finds their mother. Soon one of the good men saw him and, like he, stumbled over. 

“Hey soldier,” a loud burp erupts from his mouth, “ you need another glass of whiskey friend?” 

“Thank you, Isamu but your bottle is empty.” He stepped towards the table and caught himself on the yatai before he fell from his drunkenness. He picks up the bottle and everyone glances at him but mainly the bottle in hand. 

“See friends,” as he shakes the bottle and their mouths drop in disappointment because it is as empty as a jar of rice when a family is having sushi. He picks their spirits up by saying, “worry not though, for you all are my friends, and for friends who fight against American soldiers to protect Japan as I do, I will always fill their cravings.” 

He smashes the bottle down on the street and then two military vehicles patrolling the city come and crush the remaining fragments into minuscule pieces. He pulls out his yen and purchases the last bottle of whiskey. The beautiful brown liquid swirling inside like a thick fog about to cover the valley and the city within. He pops the lid off of the bottle and the other soldiers cheer with their loud drunk voices and he cheers with his loud, monstrous voice. He pauses and takes a long refreshing sip of the brown fog that has collected in this bottle. The city of Nagasaki is concealed beneath the mountains, inside the river valley, but the light of the night cannot hide the pride emitting with it. As he cheers about a victory that has not yet arrived, the American jets fly over the valley and sight out the city for another day.

About Merrin Brick 386 Articles

Merrin Brick is a junior at Clayton A. Bouton High School where she serves as the Blackbird Review’s Podcast Editor.