Owners and employees at Butch’s Beach Burritos in Grand Haven were as surprised as anyone else in town to discover a 96-year-old Japanese soldier from World War II living behind their popular establishment. When part-time burrito-wrapper Jason Sunderson took a bag of trash to the dumpster behind the restaurant, he saw an elderly man trapped under one of the heavy metal dumpster lids, struggling to get free. By the time he got close enough to see a bayonet, and a holstered pistol at the old man’s side, Jason ran back to the restaurant for help. “I only make minimum wage”, said Sunderson, age 18, “I wasn’t going near that freaky dude by myself.”
Police arrived on the scene five minutes after Sunderson’s 911 call, cleared the restaurant and adjoining parking lots of civilians, and slowly approached the trapped man with guns drawn. Officers quickly discovered they were dealing with a very old and frail-looking man screaming at them in a foreign language, and pinned by the dumpster lid in a position which prohibited him from reaching his pistol or bayonet. With the threat of imminent danger passed, Police disarmed the man and arranged for his transport to North Ottawa Community Hospital, where the still unidentified man is listed in good condition.
According to initial reports, the old, but indefatigable soldier had a knapsack filled with what appear to be detailed logs and journals covering nearly 70 years of spying and information gathering. Initially, Investigators knew only that the man was speaking “something Asian”, but analysis of his uniform and possessions quickly led Detectives to conclude the man was a Japanese Soldier, hiding in Grand Haven since the early 1940s. While Police and local authorities now await the arrival of a Japanese-Translator from Los Angeles, staff librarians at Loutit District Library have been put to work using Google-Translate in an effort to decipher the confiscated notes and journals. Early results show the soldier’s mission was primarily focused on the local American Legion post, as the notebooks appear to include detailed descriptions of every major function, event, fish-fry and all-you-can-eat buffet held at the Legion for more than fifty years.
Police expect to have more answers once they can properly communicate with the man, and a task-force is being formed to review all of the Department’s cold-case files, as they suspect a great number of unsolved petty thefts, campsite robberies and other local crime-mysteries may be attributable to the Japanese soldier who managed to avoid capture for more than half a century. Most significantly, Authorities are reviewing a 1968 police report filed by teenagers alleging they had been abducted and water-boarded by “some Asian-looking military dude”; a report that was dismissed by Police at the time as “ridiculous”, and coming from “long-haired hippy-types who smelled of reefer”.
By mid-afternoon, Butch’s had added a commemorative Banzai Burrito to its menu, and early indications provide indicators which indicate the Banzai Burrito is proving immediately popular with Butch’s customers.