He laughed a lot, he was always handy with a joke. I enjoyed listening. He had an accent. He was born in Denmark. The family brought him over to finish high school just before World War II.
They wanted to get him away from the Germans.
One day, I asked Trep if he came to America before or after the war.
“Let me tell you about World War II. He paused for a moment.
“I was a spy”.
“The Army drafted me. They made me an officer. They wanted me to parachute back into Denmark. They wanted me to be a spy. Even sent me to spy school at Tulane. I didn’t like that. I didn’t want to spy on my people.”
“And,” he paused again. “You know what the Germans did with spies? They shot them!”
“The Army got mad at me for not being a spy. They sent me to the Pacific. Guam. They made me the intelligence officer. The spy on an island in the middle of the Pacific. Just an Army airbase. Not too much to spy about.”
He had a great sense of humor.
“One day, a big airplane came in It was all new, glistening, shiny and slick. My job, as a spy, was to check out the airplanes that flew in and then flew out. It was a B-29. Everyone was hush-hush about the plane. I was the spy, so I had to go see about it.”
“I was walking towards it. They were loading it. Getting it ready for the morning flight. Under the wing was one bomb, a big one. I had never seen a bomb like it before. Odd shaped. I walked over to get a closer look. Spy on it a bit. That was my job.”
“Suddenly, a Marine Sergeant jumped in front of me. He was a little guy, with a big machine gun. Pointed right at me. The end of the barrel, bigger than the rim of a coffee cup. He aimed at my stomach.
“One more step and I will shoot you.” the Marine Sergeant shouted at me.
I was an officer. Spying for the Army. He wasn’t supposed to shoot me. We were both Americans.
“I’m a Lieutenant. I am going to check this plane.”
“No you’re not. I don’t care who you are. One more step and I’m going to shoot you.”
I took a step back. Had to. I was an officer, a lieutenant. He was a sergeant. He had the gun. I had been to intelligence school. I knew things. He was a Marine. He would have shot me.
The plane left in the middle of the night. It carried the new bomb.
Being a good spy, I knew the plane was headed to Japan. Before it got back, we knew about the bomb it carried.
I also knew why the Marine was ready to shoot me.
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