A TOXIC TRIP – BY ELLIN CURLEY

My mother had a cousin named Paul. She grew up with him and even babysat for him on occasion. My grandparents adored Paul and he adored them. As an adult, Paul became a lawyer and handled all my grandparents’ legal business. He was totally trusted. He was even made executor of their wills.

Paul went into the army in World War II and was assigned to MacArthur’s unit in Japan. He ended up working directly under Douglas MacArthur. He spent a lot of time in Japan and learned fluent Japanese. After the war, he became one of the few Americans allowed, by the Japanese, to do business in Japan.

Paul was working with a company in Japan in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. He discovered that one of the senior officers was embezzling from the company. He confronted the man, let’s call him Mr. Tokyo. He gave Mr. Tokyo the opportunity to confess, but if he didn’t, Paul was going to report him. Shortly thereafter there was a company luncheon which both Paul and Mr. Tokyo attended. Paul left for the States the next day.

When he got home, Paul started to get sick. He began losing weight, his hair turned grey and started falling out. He got weaker and began to shuffle like an old man. He was in his 40’s. He ended up in the hospital for months. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. In desperation, they began to look for toxins in his system That’s when they discovered that Paul had been poisoned.

A little background is necessary here. At the time in Japan, saving face was still paramount. When faced with the prospect of losing face, it was not uncommon for the Japanese to resort to poisoning each other. The poison of choice was rat poison.

Paul’s situation suddenly made perfect sense. He contacted the company and told them of Mr. Tokyo’s treachery with the company and of Paul’s poisoning. I don’t remember if Mr. Tokyo confessed. I do know that he lost his job. I’d like to think that he suffered some severe consequences because of what he did to Paul. But while the embezzlement could be proved, the poisoning was another story. There was no hard evidence, just motive and opportunity.

Paul recovered but was never the same, mentally or physically.

There’s no dramatic ending or moral to this story. Except maybe watch your back if you accuse someone of a crime. But I don’t think many modern families have a poisoning story hiding in their family trees, so I hope you enjoyed this modern-day version of ‘The Borgias.’

7 thoughts on “A TOXIC TRIP – BY ELLIN CURLEY

  1. It didn’t happen to a family member, but a friend of mine in high school was slipped PCP in his soda at lunch. He completely flipped out when he started hallucinating. Being a member of the wrestling team, and a very big dude at that, everyone was worried he would totally lose it, but he kept his head for the most part. He was taken to the hospital and kept under surveillance until it wore off. As far as I know, we never figured out who slipped it in his soda, but he said if he ever did, they would regret life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a scary story. Slipping drugs to people without their knowledge seems to be a popular ‘thing’. To me it’s unconscionable. It’s freaky enough to do these drugs when you know you’re taking them!

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  2. What a terrible situation, Ellin. There would always be this disbelief that “how could someone do that to someone else”? But motive and opportunity are there and that must have been what happened.
    Leslie

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  3. When we hear these stories about other people, we shake our heads in a distanced disgust. But when it’s family it must be a very bitter thing to accept.

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    • It was tragic. Seeing Paul in such bad shape was awful. His recovery was very slow and never complete. He had two young kids who had to watch this unfold as well.

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