The Wrong Place at the Wrong Time
We have not posted a short story in a while but Marks finally finished a piece he has been working on for several years. The main character, Rulon Allen James, Jr., is fictional and his early life and the end of his life are figments of Marks’ imagination, but the rest of the story is based on factual information from interviews of American and Australian prisoners of war.
While in Thailand on a visit to the Bridge on the River Kwai we noticed a small group of elderly gentlemen participating in a memorial service at the Australian Military Cemetery. Later Marks ran into one of the men, a 6’5”, 250 pound chap. He asked if the gentleman had been here during the War. His answer was “I was a POW from 1940 until 1945.” Nervously, Marks asked him if he would be willing to talk about his experience. In typical Aussie fashion, he said, “Buy me a few pints and I’ll tell you the whole story.”
Unlike Rulon’s fictional demise, the man was about 20 miles from Hiroshima when the atomic bomb exploded, thus saving his life. Liberated by the Americans he spent nine months on a medical ship in Tokyo harbor before being sent to Australia for two more years of hospitalization.
Marks felt his story was so heroic and horrific it demanded to be told.