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Story ID:10438
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Tokyo Honshu Japan
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By Fred Wickert

I was stationed in Tokyo, Japan. It was in the mid 1950ís. It was pay day and some friends and I went down town with the intention of going to a night club called Tennessee Tea Room. It was located in the Shibuya district of Tokyo. It was a unique place as it had live entertainment. Every hour it changed bands. There were usually four bands a night and they were on stage non-stop for four hours. There were two or three floors in the club and the stage slowly rose to the top level and then went down to the first level again so each floor was able to have a close up view of the band that was playing.

They had a good mixture too. For one hour there might be pop music, the next hour jazz, the next hour perhaps country music and the final hour Hawaiian music. If one band was on first one night, the next night they might be the last because they kept mixing them up. It was a very popular spot for the GIís and for the Japanese college students as well. Japanese college students often asked to sit with us to practice their English they were learning in college.

One night in particular, a man we had was from Tennessee himself. He spoke with a deep southern accent. Some students asked to sit with us to practice their English and we said okay. After a few minutes they excused their selves and left our table, saying that he didnít speak English. We teased him about it a lot but he was insulted. He said he had spoken English all his life and it was the only language he knew. Then he came to Japan to be told by Japanese people that he didnít speak English. They just couldnít understand his deep southern accent.

On this particular day I had a pet with me. I had acquired a pet monkey and I took him with us. We had got to down town too early for the show at the Tennessee Tea House so we decided to go elsewhere to wait, have something to eat and maybe have a beer or two while we waited.

There were almost no customers at all because it wasnít late enough in the day. Cheetah, the monkey who I had on a thin light weight chain, the type they used in the old sash type windows with a weight in them. Some used clothesline type rope but others used a flat chain. Cheetah had developed a taste for beer before I got him. When a bottle became less than half full, he would steal it from you. He lay down on his back, held the neck of the bottle in his hands, then lifted the bottom of the bottle with his feet and drank from it. Then the little sucker got drunk.

After Cheetah got drunk he went toward the next booth toward the rear. There were two young Japanese girls sitting in the next booth. They too were killing time because they were early for whatever they planned to do for the evening. One of them was dressed in a light brown skirt with matching suit jacket, which she had taken off and carefully hung on the end of the back of the bench type seat. She was also wearing a white satin blouse with a slip underneath.

As Cheetah approached the girl oohed and aahed over how cute Cheetah was and she did it in perfect English. He climbed into her lap and I warned her. I told her to be careful, that he could at any moment turn nasty and bite or if any sudden move frightened him, he might make a mess. She assured me he was going to be okay. I told her okay, but if anything went wrong to remember that I warned her.

She continued to play with him. He got up on her shoulder and was looking between her hair. That was a favorite past time of his to look through someoneís hair. If he found a dead or dying hair he yanked it out and put the root in his mouth. Then it happened. He discovered a pin or ear ring or something and pulled hard on it. The girl let out a squeal and jumped in reaction.

That quick motion of hers and her little cry startled him and he leaped off her shoulder leaving a streak of diarrhea all over the shoulder and front of the left side of her white satin blouse. She was outraged. I told her, I warned you so donít get mad at me! After a couple of moments she calmed down, acknowledged that I had warned her.

She took her jacket with her and headed for the ladies room. She soon returned with blouse in hand and wearing the jacket. She had washed the mess off the blouse in the sink in the ladies room and hung it up to dry on the end of the back of the bench seat in her booth. Her demeanor by then was back to normal. The white satin dried quickly. A half hour later she had gone back to the ladies room and put the blouse back on, no worse for the wear.

I noticed she never did try to make friends with Cheetah again and he wisely stayed clear of her.

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