emergency salmon

What the POWs couldn’t sabotage, they stole. They broke into shipping boxes, tapped bottles, lifted storage room doors off their hinges, raided ships’ galleys, and crawled up factory chutes.
Scottish POWs who worked in the Mitsubishi food warehouse ran the most sophisticated operation. When the Japanese took their shoe sizes for work boots, the men asked for boots several sizes too big. They knitted special socks, some four feet long, and hoarded hollow bamboo reeds. Once at the sites, they leaned casually against sugar sacks, stabbed the reeds in, then ran the reeds into the socks, allowing sugar to pour through the reeds until the socks were full. Others tied up their pant cuffs, stuck the reeds in their waistbands, and filled their pants with sugar. Each load was deposited in a secret compartment in the latrine, to be retrieved at day’s end.
Each evening, Louie saw the slaves tramping back in, their clothes packed with booty. The critical moment came when inspection was called. Men would deftly pass contraband, or the men bearing it, around during the searches, while the guards’ backs were turned. McMullen would hide fish in his sleeves; when patted down, he’d hold his arms up and grip the fish tails so they wouldn’t slide out. The biggest trick was hiding the POWs who arrived fall-down drunk after chugging down any alcohol that they couldn’t smuggle. The drunken men were shuffled into the center of the lineup, their shoulders pinched between the shoulders of sober men, so that they wouldn’t pitch face forward into the guards.
When the men were safely in the barracks, Louie watched them unpack themselves. Under the men’s clothes, sugar-filled socks hung from necks or arms, dangled under armpits and down pant legs, in the necks of turtleneck sweaters, in false pockets, under hats. Two-foot-long salmon would emerge from under shirts. Louie once saw a thief pull three cans of oysters from a single boot. Legs would be swaddled in tobacco leaves. One American built a secret compartment in his canteen, filling the bottom with stolen alcohol while the top, upon inspection, yielded only water.
—  Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand