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A story of a man living in Japan that employs non-linear story telling.


Submitted:Sep 8, 2013    Reads: 20    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


Back in the day before every city had several thousand volts of electricity flowing through it at any given moment ones' perishable foods had to be stored in a more rudimentary way, the good old icebox. It was the predecessor of our wonderful modern refrigerator and was essentially a cooler, like frat boys take when tailgating, or you may take on the camping trip you've been forcibly dragged to, or a man might take out fishing because his wife won't let him drink so much anymore.
The ice had to be replenished daily and to help in this service was a man with a load of ice and a vehicle. He'd stop by your house cut off a piece of the solid water and place it in your icebox.
It's 2013 now, the iceman is no longer seen passing through the summer roads giving bits of ice to the children. But icemen are still around, you just don't realize it.
I was an iceman, an iceman of the modern age however. Unlike the iceman of antiquity who delivered ice to the people I iced the people.

The story you are about to read is true.
Names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.

Heavy, ragged, shaky, quick, and deep is my breath.
Twist it...more...can it go any further?
Yes...a bit more.
The silencer will not get any tighter.
I let my arm fall to the side as I begin to shake, my breathing speeds up and I fear I may hyperventilate, no not now! Not now!
Deep slow breaths you fool, deep and slow.
I look at the mahogany door before me and then close my eyes. My left hand finds the center of the slide, I bring the whole of my hands and weapon up near my face resting my chin on my left hand. I begin to shake again ever so little. Deep, and slow. The ease the slide back slowly, quietly. When I can pull it no further back I release some tension, easing it forward, a bit faster, a bit louder.
The pistol and my right hand disappear behind my back, my left extending to the mahogany.
Knock, knock, knock, knock.
The left hand follows the path set by the right.
Cautiously the door opens.
"It's done?"
"Yes but, there was a...complication."
"A complication? What?"
And let fly forth my pistol hand, eyes closing just before the trigger is fully depressed.
I breath heavily, raggedly, and shakily again. My face convulses seeming unsure of which emotion it should select.
My thumb flicks the safety on.
Kitano-San is dead.

When I was about fourteen I got home from school and was told thanks to my fathers obnoxious occupation I was to be uprooted from the lovely city of Cardiff, Wales and tossed over into some undetermined Japanese city. I was angry and annoyed like any angsty fourteen year old fool would be but shortly after I turned fifteen I flew to a new country, the language of which I barely spoke.
I was unimpressed with our new Japanese apartment as it was significantly smaller than the proper house we had owned back in Wales. In addition to this I was constantly scolded for saying we lived in Tokyo, "We do not live in Tokyo." my mother would say "We live in Saitama. It's north of Tokyo."
The school kids would also get on to me for this but they would pile onto it by mocking my mispronunciation of Tokyo, sorry if I've only lived in the goddamn country for two months you piles of damn excrement.
I think one of the first words I learned in Japanese outside of a proper lesson was gaijin, but if you were constantly tossed out of shops hearing some old xenophobic man screaming "baka na gaijin modoruna!" you too would quickly become quite familiar with the precise meaning and implication of every word in that sentence. One time the old fuck called me an American, to which I quickly retorted "You bloody fool I'm from the UK not the US you dumb geezer fuck!" I realized far too late however that I'd yelled this in English. Thus my breath fell on wasted ears. Bloody fantastic.
The United States often gets a bad wrap for being racist but I've a creeping suspicion Japan is actually worse. Well maybe it'd be wrong to say they're more racist, I'm not sure about that. What they are is extremely xenophobic and almost certainly more so than any other nation.
It was on one of the many days when I found myself being booted from an establishment run by one of these xenophobic fucks that I met my first true friend in Japan.
"That's fucked up." He said to may as my form lay smashed against the concrete. "You should also work on your balance."
"I don't usually fall down when they push me out."
"But you did this time."
"Yeah."
"I can't stand assholes like that. Someone ought to teach that piece of filth a lesson."
"I agree."
"Kitano Shizuo."
"Wha?"
"Your name?"
"Oh, Ma-" Surname first you fool. "Woodward Matthew."
"Well Matthe-"
"Call me Matt."
"Well Matt, I think we should do something about this son of a bitch. Don't you agree?"
"You know what? I couldn't agree more."

We went to a diner across the street from which we could watch the store front. For some time he and I sat there talking but mostly we were silent as we waited for the man to emerge from his store. When the sky was painted black and street signs neon he locked the door of his store and began his walk home.

We of course left the diner and trailed close behind him. We had no real battle plan, but we were fueled by testosterone and rage so we weren't doing much thinking to begin with. We gradually increased our pace and at length he noticed us behind him, he showed no reaction. After noticing we were still behind him five minutes later he hastened his steps, when he realized how vacant the streets were he began walking even faster still; my new friend and I began to run, and soon so too did he.

Being younger we caught up to him quickly and dragged him back into an alley, he screamed the whole way and did not stop until my fist briefly connected with his jaw.

"You son of a bitch! You're that damn gaijin from the store!" He said.

"Hear that?" Kitano said. "He knows who we are. He has too much knowledge.

"Oh no no no no!" He started. Then I slammed the side of his face against the bricks. His head and body fell back limp onto the pavement.

"I...did I..."

"You killed him."

"I didn't... I wasn't."

"We have to hide this."

"Killed. But I never meant-"

"Matt! It doesn't matter what you meant. We have to hide this fucking corpse!"

"It'll just be found sooner or later. We should just run."

"No we... maybe you're right..."

And so we ran.

It didn't take very much time before I started running into Kitano around school. Considering the last time we spoke I ended up murdering a man I decided perhaps it was best I ignore him. I didn't really have any clue what to do in truth, not just in regards to Kitano but in general. Your first kill takes it out of you, and I tried to convince myself it was okay, that it was fine that the bastard deserved it, but in the end all I accomplished was another night staring at my ceiling straining to recognize the outline of the fan in the onyx atmosphere.

After what I think was roughly a week of me not trying to speak to Kitano he decided to come speak with me. I was headed back home with my eyes somewhat down cast when a hand nudged my shoulder. Rotating revealed Kitano before me. He said one word. "Follow."

I didn't even question the order, I didn't mention the odds were high my parents would become quite worried at my absence. I just went. He took me to a little hole in the wall that claimed to have authentic American cuisine yet failed to have a single white person employed.

"Is this at all accurate?" Kitano asked me as I started to eat my food.

"How the hell should I know? I'm from Britain."

"Oh. I didn't realize. Well I don't know of any places that serve British food."

"Probably because it's shite."

"I've always wanted to travel around the world, and drink a Coca Cola from every country."

"Why?"

"To see if they all taste like the ones made in Japan."

"I imagine they're pretty similar."

"I'm sure they are too. But it's the subtle differences I'm searching for."

"Why have you brought me here?"

"How have you been doing, since that night."

"Shitty."

"Do you feel guilty for your actions?"

"I guess. I... I don't know what the hell I feel anymore. I think I'm too tired emotionally to feel guilty anymore."

"He deserved what he got."

"I don't know."

"Oh bullshit. You know as much as I do his fate was deserved. That my friend was the weight of all his bad karma catching up with him."

"Maybe I don't believe in karma."

"Maybe you should."

"Shizuo what do you want from me?"

"I want you to be who you were that night."

"A fuckin' murderer?"

"No. A supplier of justice."

"So you want me to go around slaughtering racists? Isn't that almost akin to genocide?"

"Look I'm just saying we could deliver justice the police won't."

"Be vigilantes?"

"Yes, essentially."

"You know vigilante stories rarely have a happy ending."

"I'd rather die for what's right than sit idly by."

"Why? Are you worried about how it'll effect your fuckin' karma?"

"I can see you don't take this seriously but I'm gonna start something, something big, important, world changing. And you can come along if you want."

"You really think that'll happen? You sure you aren't just some dumb delusional kid?"

"I'm not delusional, and I'm most defiantly not dumb."

"Yeah well you go play vigilante somewhere else."

"Alright fine Matt. Have it your way. You know where to find me when you change your mind."

I look at the picture in my hand, letting the face be etched in to my mind yet another time. Something about this job worries me. It was the man who called the hit. He seemed off somehow, more so than people usually are when requesting the services of Kitano-San and I; I can't figure out what about it worries me so much.

"You worry too much." Kitano-San turns to look at me.

"You don't worry enough."

"Just stop gripping the wheel so tight. You'll crack it or something."

"Yeah."

Kitano-San can have his doubts, I know something is wrong. It could be a trap for us, but who would want us dead? We don't really have any enemies, yet. Perhaps our target is a high up in some gang, could he be Yakuza? I better watch for tattoos. Maybe he's a politician, or the emperor's half cousin.

A few blocks prior to the location we were instructed to wait at we stop. Kitano-San exits the car first. When he is nearly out of eyeshot I get out too. He rounds a corner before long and I find myself headed down the same way.

In this little bundle of apartments there is a clearing in the center, little benches an undersized pond with no wildlife. I take my spot on one of the benches. Kitano-San hides in the shadow of a staircase.

Then comes the waiting. Waiting is a surprisingly large part of a hitman's job. You wait for someone to show up and tell you who to kill, you wait for that person to show up, you wait to get paid, waiting is 90% of the job, which is why only the most patient can do it. Fortunately for me my wait for this target is short, although I was just beginning to get lost in interesting thoughts so perhaps it was my loss.

I was told to wait for the man from the photograph to sit next to me, and attempt to purchase cocaine.

He's quiet as he sits down. He slides several thousand yen across the bench. I reach for my knife. When the blade is hit by light the man jumps up and pulls out a gun, a gun which quickly finds itself pointing at my face.

"No no!" He yells. "Well I guess this is where it ends. You've made somebody pretty angry! Sorry kid, I'm just better at this then you."

I'm fortunate to have Kitano-San with me. The target fallen my friend and I sprint back to our vehicle.

"What the fuck!" Kitano-San screams. "What the fucking fuck!"

"I don't know!"

"Who did we piss off?"
"I don't know!"

"Why didn't he shoot sooner?"

"I don't know!"

"Why the fuck didn't the guy who hired us kill us instead?"

"I don't bloody know!"

Crispina is a much better driver than her brother, and that's why he's sitting in the back of the car right now. To be fair he took the off ramp onto the highway, and we weren't even supposed to hit the highway in the first place. It's hard to do worse than that.

It sounds funny but Crispina and I are both infuriated with him. This is not the time to be fucking up, we've got more illegal goods of various types in the trunk of this car than I care to calculate. I don't know how he did it but Kitano-San found someone to distribute this shit for us, we're finally gonna start making some real money. So when Azeglio nearly crashed us I think he understood why we were so mad at him.

I have to take a deep breath and let it go though because we've made it to the meet. I'm the first to exit the car. I step up front and center waiting for one of the twenty someodd men to step up to me. After several tense minutes two do. I bow, they do not. We briefly discuss business. One of the men then holds up a suitcase and then lets his partner open it. Contained within is roughly ¥400,000,000. I take the suitcase and bow once again. This time they too bow. I hand our clients the key and they quickly retrieve their goods.

I take a deep breath. My target will be by anytime now.

"There's this kid from a rival gang." Kitano-San had said.

"Yeah."

"I'm honestly not sure what the gang is, some small time shit."

"We used to be small time."

"I know. Anyway he's been causing some real trouble for us. He'll grab a handful of his friends and fuck with us and whatever little way he can. Up until recently these were minor nuisances, however recently his efforts have escalated. Take care of it."

I look up and down. Then I see him. Walking along. He looks like a class A douche bag. But what really catches me is that he seems to barely be an adult. He looked much older in the photograph. But I suppose it's too late for him now.

I wait for him to pass me by several feet and then begin to tale him; my bag from the convenience store slapping my leg with every step. He doesn't seem to notice me as we gradually enter into less populated parts of the city. He turns, and I hasten my step. When I realize no one is around I run. He glances behind himself and falls into a sprint. Unfortunately for him I'm much faster. I soon catch up and hit him in the head with my bag of soda cans.

The sound from his fall is somewhere between a thud and a crunch, and that sound is quite satisfying to me.

"Wait!" He pleads as I pull out my gun.

I need only say one word for him to understand what's going on. "Yoru." He closes his eyes, having apparently accepted his fate.

Kitano-San and walk along the street talking. I sip from my cup of Coca-Cola.

"Did you know, that Coca-Cola is present in every country?" He askes.

"Really?"

"All but three."

"Where?"

"North Korea, Cuba, and Burma."

"Huh. Neat."

"They only recently returned to Iraq in 2005."

"Returned? When did they leave? And why?"

"They were boycotted in the late 1960's."

At that moment from somewhere not to far a voice ripped through the fog of our conversation. "Stop!"

Not even slightly hesitant Kitano-San and myself ran to the source, my cup of Coke falling to the Earth and splatting about the sidewalk as we departed.

The source a young man being attacked by a gang of four, all of whom merely have their fists at their disposal, but Kitano-San and I have guns.

"Hey assholes!" I yell.

We get closer.

"Leave." I say.

"You won't shoot." One of them says.

I step closer.

"I'm sorry, what was that?"

"You...won't shoot."

I take two more steps and my the end of the gun makes contact with his forehead and the sweat forming there.

"You sure?"

He doesn't answer.

"Leave." I order, and they obey.

Kitano-San helps the victim up.

"Thank you. Thank you so much." He says.

"Are you alright?" Kitano-San asks.

"I, they got me pretty good some, but yeah. I'm mostly fine."

"You can't hold your own to well can you?"

"There were five when I started."

"Really? Not bad. Tell me, what's your name?"

"Azeglio Trevisan."

"Where are you from Trevisan?"

"Italy. Moved here when I was about seventeen."

"Have you heard of a group called Yoru no Hogosha?"

"It, it sounds familiar. Some gang or something right?"

"We're more than just some street thugs like those cretins you just had the misfortune of encountering. If you're interested you're welcome to join."

Azeglio stands silent for a moment. A slight churn of gears can be heard as he weighs his options.

"Is it cool if me sister joins too?"

"I don't see why not."

I shake as my fingers numb and my legs drag me down the street. I've been sent on what might be my most important mission. A radical group that broke off from the Yakuza is giving the gang some trouble.

Both Kitano-San and the Yakuza themselves have reason to see me kill their leader, and both parties have offered me cash as a reward. How could I say no?

Only three blocks to go. I can see the building where they house themselves now.

I begin to walk a bit more briskly, and perhaps that was my mistake, perhaps that gave me away, but I suspect I was already known.

I feel a cloth and detect a foul odor before sensing nothing.


As I look down at my shoes I fidget with my hands. I've never felt so nervous in my life, so afraid, nor have I ever felt so happy. I hear her sit back down.

"You know." She says. "I think this may be the nicest date you've taken me on."

"Anything to make you happy."

"Well you certainly know what makes me happy."

"Crispina."
"Yes?"

"Marry me?"

"Absolutely." She smiles.

As I look down at my shoes I fidget with my hands. I listen to her scribbling on the document, the one that now says we're married.

We have no ceremony but we do have a party. Kitano-San using his power of influence built on people's fear of Yoru no Hogosha managed to get us the fanciest place in Japan.

One hundred and four stories high, on the roof, with a pool larger than the house I grew up in.

As I stand by the edge my hands resting on the wall that meets my diaphragm I realize I've made it.

She and I had our honeymoon in Tibet of all places. She found the monks intriguing, she said the landscape was beautiful.

I'm slapped across the face and a tall man snaps his fingers.

"Awake! Awake!"

"What the shit? Where am I?"

"You thought you could stop us? You thought you could kill me?"

"Yeah I did."

I suppose I should have known better than to say that. I should have been less surprised at the sudden change of pressure and spacing around my jaw.

My target crouches and looks me right in the eye as his face hovers centimetres from mine.

"You work for me now. Understand? If you do not do as I ask. I will kill your wife, I will kill your son. I will destroy everything you love, and I will make you watch. And then I will kill you."

I don't respond to his threat.

He holds up a photograph of my house.

"When I release you you will kill Kitano. Return to me when the job is done."

"Okay."

"Don't try to cheat me, and don't try to run. We have many eyes. And finding you would be as easy as finding a black man in Tokyo."

As I look down at my shoes I fidget with my hands. "So it would seem."

"You know vigilante stories rarely have a happy ending."

"I'd rather die for what's right than sit idly by."

"Why? Are you worried about how it'll effect your fuckin' karma?"

"I can see you don't take this seriously but I'm gonna start something, something big, important, world changing. And you can come along if you want."

"You really think that'll happen? You sure you aren't just some dumb delusional kid?"

"I'm not delusional, and I'm most defiantly not dumb."

"Yeah well you go play vigilante somewhere else."

"Alright fine Matt. Have it your way. You know where to find me when you change your mind."

And with that Kitano leaves. I'm stuck paying the bill.

Lead blocks sinking in cement carry me home. My head leans forward straining my neck. As I anticipated I'm interrogated by my parents when I get back home, mostly my mother.

What kind of person kills another human? What kind of person finds pleasure in the act?

That was the heart of the problem. What bothered me the most, when I killed that man, it felt good. A rush of adrenaline and dopamine, a strange sense of euphoria. I desired nothing more than to kill again, to join Kitano-San, and I knew it. I kept telling myself this made me a monster, that this meant I was no better than the shopkeeper I killed. I didn't feel guilty, no matter how hard I tried to tell myself I did. I was simply afraid of becoming addicted and going out of control. As I lay there that night I determined I could control myself.

The next day I explained my change of heart to Kitano-San.

Crispina's chest bobs down and up as she slumbers. I consider my options. It's not safe. I have to get her out. I have to get my son out.

In the bed I sit up right. I fidget with my hands. I look down at my shoes. My breathing grows irregular. I suddenly know what to do.

The pencil sketches and I drop the note in the bathroom, by Crispina's toothbrush.

"We are in danger. We have to leave. When you leave to take Ichiro to school instead go to the airport. I'll meet you there. Make sure you are not followed."

That out of the way I grab a couple articles of clothing both pitch black. I start heading to the door when a thought occurs. Could they have someone watching me? I turn back and go out my backdoor.

I crouch down, proceeding with all due caution. Over my fence and through my neighbors yard I continue on. I circle around to the street, it's at this point I break into sprint.

I can feel my shin throbbing, the ankle of my other foot contorting from the strain. I look out at the highway, at the vehicles passing. But the airport is so close.

My head snaps to and fro, at some point it looks reasonably safe. I dart across and make it to the halfway point. I continue on and then I hear the screech of tires. Frozen I brace for impact...it doesn't come. I peek my eyes open to see the car stopped before me. My heart beats so fast I can only feel a throbbing pain. I continue with my sprint.

I head towards the server.

"I need three tickets for the cheapest flight to...Ita...Um...Germany."

"Where in Germany?"

"Anywhere. The cheapest one."

"¥200,000."

"Okay." I grab for my...I forgot my wallet.

My breathing slows tremendously, then gradually grows faster. Then slam my fist onto the counter.

"God fucking bloody smegging damnit!FUCK! FUCK! SHIT!"

"Sir... please calm down."

"I...I'm fuck! I'm sorry. Godamnit!"

"Sir if you forgot your money there's an ATM down that hallway over there."

"Stupid bitch! I'd need my goddamn card! I don't have cash! I don't have my goddamn card! I'm fucked!"

"Sir calm down or I'll have to call security."

"Okay. I'm leaving."

My lips tremble as I sit on the bench. This is it. I'm dead. My family is dead. Everything I've ever loved, is dead.

It's nearly six; Crispina will be here soon. I can only hope she's not as stupid as I am. I can only hope she has some money.

Because if not, we're dead.





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