title:The Afternoon of Pan ver.1.3e
by Taro Kimura


"Arcadia was an ancient region in Peloponnesus, Greece,
which was founded in 370 B.C., and it was completely sur-
rounded by mountains. Its chief city was.....Megalopolis, which
was also the center of political activity and the capital of the
Arcadian confederacy...." I take a sip of the port, which is
thick, strong, expensive. It was destroyed during the Greek
war of independence...." I pause again. "Pan was worshiped
originally in Arcadia. Do you know who Pan was?
Never talking her eyes off me, she nods.
"His revels were very similar to those of Bacchus," I tell her.
"He frolicked with nymphs at night but he also liked to...
frighten travelers during the day....Hence the word panic."


At length the limits of the room became inadequate, failed to
contain him. Insensibly he passed out of the doorway and began to
wander about the house. He ascended the stairs, moved across the
top landing, opened the door of his mother's room and flung an
objectionable remark at her, chuckled to himself, entered Matt's bed-
room, where he viewed with disgust the array of toilet lotions and
hair pomades, and, having lit every gas jet so that the house blazed
with light, finally he stood within his own room. Here, drawn by
a hidden force, he went slowly forward to the chest of drawers where
Nancy kept her clothing and, a sly leer mingling with his shamed
consciousness, he commenced to pull out and examine the fine
embroidered garments which she had bought with the money he
had given her. He handled the smooth lace-edged vestments, touched
soft lawn, fingered thin cambric, held the long empty stockings in
his ponderous grasp, and his mouth curved with an upward slant
while he invested the fragrant garments with the person of their
owner. His shot eye, fixed upon the whiteness before him, saw actually
the alabaster of her body, always to him a source of wonder and de-
light, and to his mind the texture of the stuff he handled seemed to
have absorbed its colour from contact with that milky skin. As he
remained there, displaying with stretched arms and for his sole en-
joyment these flimsy articles of finery, he looks like some old and
uncouth satyr who, stumbling upon the shed raiment of a nymph,
had seized upon it and now, by contemplation, whetted his worn
fancy capriciously.


On ambush, or other night missions, they carried peculiar little
odds and ends. Kiowa always took along his New Testament and a
pair of moccasins for silence. Dave Jensen carried night-sight vit-
amins high in carotene. Lee Strunk carried his slingshot; ammo, he
claimed, would never be a problem. Rat Kiley carried brandy and
M&Ms candy. Until he was shot, Ted Lavender carried the starlight
scope, which weighed 6.3 pounds with its aluminum carrying case.
Henry Dobbins carried his girlfriend's pantyhose wrapped around
his neck as a comforter.

It was his one eccentricity. The pantyhose, he said, had the
properties of a good-luck charm. He liked putting his nose into the
nylon and breathing in the scent of his girlfriend's body; he liked
the memories this inspired; he sometimes slept with the stockings
up against his face, the way an infant sleeps with a magic blanket,
secure and peaceful. More than anything, though, the stockings
were a talisman for him. They kept him safe. They gave access to
a spiritual world, where things were soft and intimate, a place where
he might someday take his girlfriend to live. Like many of us in
Vietnam, Dobbins felt the pull of superstition, and he believed
firmly and absolutely in the protective power of the stockings. They
were like body armor, he thought. Whenever we saddled up for a
late-night ambush, putting on our helmets and flak jackets, Henry
Dobbins would make a ritual out of arranging the nylons around
his neck, carefully tying a knot, draping the two leg sections over
his left shoulder. There were some jokes, of course, but we came
to appreciate the mystery of it all. Dobbins was invulnerable. Never
wounded, never a scratch. In August, he tripped a Bouncing Betty,
which failed to detonate. And a week later he got caught in the
open during a fierce little firefight, no cover at all, but he just
slipped the pantyhose over his nose and breathed deep and let the
magic do its work.


'She put perfume on her wrist two days ago,' Franny said.
'You following me?'
'Yes,' I said.
'But her watchband wasn't there then-her brother was
wearing her watch, or her father,' Franny said. 'Some man,
anyway, and her really sweated a lot.'
'Yes,' I said.
'Then Ronda put the watchband on, over the perfume, and she
wore it for a day while she was stripping beds,' Franny said.
'What beds?' I said.
Franny thought a minute. 'Beds very strange people had slept
in,' she said.
'The circus called Fritz's Act slept in them!' I said.
'Right!' said Franny.
'The summer!' we said, in unison.
'Right,' Franny said. 'And what we smell when we smell
Ronda is what Ronda's watchband smells like-after all that.'
That was coming close to it, but I thought it was a slightly
better smell than-just slightly. I thought of Ronda Ray's
stockings, which she hung in the closet of her dayroom; I
thought that if I sniffed just behind the knee of the pair of
stockings she was wearing I would catch the true essence of her.


has already been agitating on her seat in the bus, anxious
to catch a glimpse of her profile reflected in the glass of
the window, and on arrival at Mr Cariani's has twitched
up her skirt to smooth her stockings, running her hand
voluptuously along the inside of her calf and above the
knee to her thigh. 'Betty!' says Mimi, shocked. 'Behave
yourself. What if Mr Cariani's son were to see you?' But
Betty takes her time. It is after all for the benefit of Mr
Cariani's son that the performance with the stockings is
being enacted.


"I will know it
this instant."-"Why, ma'am," answered Mrs. Honour, "he
came into the room one day last week when I was at work, and
there lay your ladyship's muff on a chair, and to be sure he put
his hands into it; that very muff your ladyship gave me but
yesterday. La! says I, Mr. Jones, you will stretch my lady's
muff, and spoil it: but he still kept his hands in it: and then he
kissed it-to be sure I hardly ever saw such a kiss in my life as
he gave it."-"I suppose he did not know it was mine," replied
Sophia. 'Your ladyship shall hear, ma'am. He kissed it again
and again, and said it was the prettiest muff in the world. La!
sir, says I, you have seen it a hundred times. Yes, Mrs. Honour,
cried he; but who can see anything beautiful in the presence of
your lady but herself?-Nay, that's not all neither; but I hope
your ladyship won't be offended, for to be sure he meant nothing.
One day, as your ladyship was playing on the harpsichord to
my master, Mr. Jones was sitting in the next room, and me-
thought he looked melancholy. La! says I, Mr. Jones, what's
the matter? a penny for your thoughts, says I. Why, hussy,
says he, starting up from a dream, what can I be thinking of,
when that angel your mistress is playing? And then squeezing
me by the hand, Oh! Mrs. Honour, says he, how happy will that
man be!-and then he sighed. Upon my troth, his breath is as
sweet as a nosegay.-But to be sure he meant no harm by it.
So I hope your ladyship will not mention a word; for he gave
me a crown never to mention it, and made me swear upon a book,
but I believe, indeed, it was not the Bible."


Alone afterwards, he stood at the window, thinking thoughts
about his past, and wanting a new life. Would he ever get
what he wanted? Sometimes he stared out of the back-yard
window at nothing at all, or at the clothes-line above, moving
idly in the wind, flying Morris's scarecrow union suits, Ida's hefty
bloomers, modestly folded lengthwise, and her house dresses
guarding her daughter's flower-like panties and restless brassieres.

(THE MANYOH COLLECTION is the oldest anthology in Japan Compiled
about 1300 years ago, this twenty volume poety scroll records about
4500 poems.)

from vol.14

On mount Tsukuba
Fresh mulveries
Grow in plenty
To yeild soft silk thread
For you to dress