Pachinko

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 13 (v.1) - Get Ready For This

Submitted: May 05, 2019

Reads: 26

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Submitted: May 05, 2019

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The taxi stopped right in front of one of the few Minka that were still left standing. This place definitely belonged to someone who had money and power. Every corner of the house had its own decorative kusari-doi, guiding rain water through a maze of cups and chains. I could imagine sitting on the porch, listening to the relaxing sound of running water. 

I paid the fare to Tanabe, the cab driver and walked out of the car while he opened the door on my left. Dodging the heavy rainfall, I ran towards the main entrance of the house. A man, dressed in the same kind of suit as me, opened the door for me. After removing my shoes, I followed him through several rooms, each of them divided by partitions made of washi. To enter, you just had to slide the door along its wooden rail. These weren’t just regular wash partitions, each of them had its own unique drawing on it. We stopped at the last one, while he tested me to wait there. He slid the door open and went inside. There were several crane birds painted on the wash, surrounded by bamboo. On the right side, a tiger was hiding in the thick bamboo, watching every move the crane birds were doing. 

A few minutes later, he came back in, ordering me to follow him inside. Once I was inside, I felt a cool breeze flowing throughout the room. Definitely a nice change in environment. I closed my eyes and tilted my head up, enjoying every minute of a working airconditioning. Inside, I saw an old man sitting with his back to a fancy flower arrangement. In front him were several staff members, all dressed in designer suits, their face all red from bowing almost all the way to the tatami mats. The old man was wearing a expensive looking kimono, with his wooden clogs right next to him. I couldn’t exactly hear what he was saying but as soon as he was finished talking, everyone stood up and took a last deep bow before exiting the room, leaving only me and the old man. 

Ohisashiburi desu ne!” said an elderly voice, “Where have you been all this time?”

I couldn’t really explain where I had been the past few days, it might even have been a few years for all I knew.

“Doesn’t really matter,” he continued, “You’re here now, that’s all that matters. I’m sorry you don’t have time to catch up, but a customer had requested your services.”

I’ve only just found out who my avatar was, but I still had no idea what he did for a living, except that he was Yakuza and his name was Chikao Sato.

“Tell me about it over some sake?” I asked him while I was making my way towards him.

“It’s not an easy job, but you shouldn’t have any trouble considering your expertise.”

I gently scratched the scar on my cheek.

“So what do I have to do then?”

Meanwhile one of his servants had entered the room with a bottle of aged sake, brewed in Nara, and poured it into two little cups. 

“There’s this man down in Aoyama who had his eyes set on a certain item for quite some time now. He recently found the owner of that particular item and tried to buy it off of him, but he wouldn’t budge because it had emotional value to him or something.”

I nodded while I poured him another cup of sake. He lifted his cup and held it with two hands. He made absolutely sure he took a sip before setting it back down. It’s custom in Japan to let someone else pour your sake, creating a certain atmosphere of social interaction and bonding. That was the reason why sake cups are so small, this gives everyone the opportunity to pour and receive sake. 

“But our customer really wants this item,” he continued, “so that’s where you come into play. He has asked if you could steal it for him for a fair amount of money.”

“And what kind of item are we talking about here?”

“Well it is something peculiar, I’ll give him that,” he laughed. 

Now he really got my interest. I placed my elbows on my knees and covered my mount while I leaned in closer.

“So what is it?”

“Get ready for this,” he paused, “it’s a golden violin.”

 

The customer didn’t really specify a certain date for the job, so I was free to do it whenever I wanted. As long as it didn’t take longer than a month. No idea why he was so specific about one month. Not that I had to complain, he was paying me a fair amount for my expertise, so I was in no postion to complain. I decided to let it all sink in and head out to a bar. I had Tanabe drive me back downtown after I had met with my Oyabun. Tanabe and me hit it off right from the beginning. He was one of the few I felt comfortably driving with, so I hired him as my personal driver. His paycheck would be more than enough to quit with his taxi services. That night he drove me to the place that I used to know as Odaiba. Some things weren’t so different than the real Odaiba, the one thing they had in common was the monorail. With all the flying cars around, this wasn’t the only access point anymore, but still it stood high and tall above the city. What I didn’t know, was that it was a completely separate city from Tokyo now, only separated by a large bridge. The rest of the city was completely surrounded by a giant wall, making it look like a fortress that was ready for war against anyone who tried to enter without permission. Some of the skyscrapers were even taller than the ones downtown, reaching for the sky as if ‘the sky is the limit’ rule didn’t apply to them. They grew towards the sky with no end in sight. 

I had Tanabe let me out at the centre of the city. Since I didn’t know anything around here, this would be the best place to start looking for a decent bar. Plenty of choice I would say, everywhere I looked, I saw big neon signs light up the sky. All of which were trying to lure me inside. 

You know that feeling when you think you are being watched? I wasn’t talking about the drones that were flying everywhere, keeping an eye on everything we do around in Odaiba. The moment Tanabe let me out of his car, I had the strange feeling someone, or something, was following me. Something small enough to stay out of sight. I kept my eyes out, but I couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Still, that feeling stayed with me throughout the night. 

 

I was slowly strolling around town, my left hand thrusted in my pocket, my right hand holding an umbrella. Even my umbrella had an expensive look to it. For some reason I really wanted to show how well I was doing for myself. Normally it wouldn’t even matter if it was expensive looking or not, its only job was to keep my dry. The whole street was like a sea of black umbrellas, water bouncing from each and every one of them. The rain didn’t make a distinction between rich or poor. 

At the end of the street, one of the neon signs caught my attention. A young girl was dancing around a pole, making hand gestures to get in. A sign like any other sign you would say, but this one was so lifelike, you couldn’t even tell it was a projection or a real woman dancing in the rain. The other thing that struck me was the absence of a name. Nowhere on the building was there an indication of a name, making it seem they didn’t want anyone to know about its presence. 

A big guy was guarding the entrance, by the looks of it he could have been an ex-sumo wrestler or something. I was wondering if that was still a thing here. His eyes went up and down, like it was scanning me for dangerous weapons or something. Little did he know I was actually carrying a handgun inside my jacket, but he didn’t need to know that. He nodded his head and opened the door for me. Some thing would never change, places like this will always have bouncers at the front door. 

A cloud of toxic fumes escaped the bar as soon as he opened the heavy wooden door. Even though I’m in another time or even another dimension for all I know, people still seem to poison their bodies witch nicotine. Then again, I was no exception, I felt my body craving for a cigarette now. One of the waitresses seemed to notice that and offered me one of hers, Mild Seven from Mevius. I put the filter between my lips and inhaled almost immediately when she lit it with a match. She gave the rest of the matches to me.

“You might need them later on,” she said.

They were packed in a small black container with the same pole dancer from the billboard printed on it. But again there was no name to be seen. 

Since I was alone I took a seat at the bar, so if I wanted to talk to someone, the bartender was always there for people like me. I ordered a 15 year old Yamazaki and a separate glass of water. The bartender had hair was as white as snow. At first I thought he must have been in his late forties, but after talking with him for a while, I learned that he was only in his twenties. 

“So,” I asked him, “what’s with all the drones around here?”

He had a look on his face that he knew I wasn’t from around here, but he decided to tell me the story anyway.

“After the riots of 2090, when people almost burned Odaiba to the ground, the city wanted to keep people in line, so they started monitoring everything we did. We couldn’t even go to the bathroom without them knowing.”

“So that’s how Odaiba became a city on its own?” I asked him.

“It happened after the riots yes, I’m surprised you haven’t heard that story before.”

I couldn’t really tell him I wasn’t from around here, let alone from another time and place. So I thought it was best to keep my mouth shut.

“Anyway, that’s when the people of Odaiba started to rebel against the rest of Tokyo. After a period of more riots, even bloodier than the one before, the government finally cave in and made Odaiba independent. But they did it on their own terms, they only gave their independence after they sent every criminal in town to Odaiba. It didn’t matter if they were small criminals or first degree murderers, they were all sent here, making it some kind of remote prison island.”

I took a sip of my Yamazaki and grabbed a handful of nuts that came with my drink. 

“If this city is filled with criminals, I didn’t really notice them when I came to this city though,” I said.

“After a while they all learned to live together. Criminals or not, we were all forced to live together, so we tried to make it the best we could. But don’t get me wrong, this is still a grotesque place that inhabits the worst of the worst, so be careful!”

As soon as he finished his sentence, another customer called for his services. He poured another shot of Yamazaki in my glass and went on his way.

“That’s on the house,” he said to me while he signaled the other customer he was coming. 

 

In two days, a man with a briefcase would bring me all the information I needed to know to pull this off. I would be able to recognize him but he amount of metal he was wearing on his hands and neck, they told me. We would meet in a hotel bar not far from this place.Everything would be explained in detail: the owner, his property, security, etc. After getting all that information, there shouldn’t be a problem. The only thing that was kept a secret, was the client itself. He remained anonymous. Even though I would get everything I needed, I still wanted to do my own research. That’s why I came to Odaiba myself.

On my way to my apartment I noticed something strange in the alley across the street. Two yellow eyes were starting right at me, I could feel them fixate on my, piercing right through me like two yellow laser beams. Only for a few seconds, then it disappeared in the blink of an eye. The only thing that was left behind was the sound of a tiny bell. I wondered if that was the thing that had been following me all night.

My apartment was located in Shinjuku, close to what used to be Meji Shrine. I was expecting to still see it standing, but there wasn’t a trace to be found, as if they deleted it from history. They had an old factory completely turned into a modern home. The plaster had been removed from the walls to expose the bricks and concrete beneath, giving it that industrial look. In the kitchen were still a few uncovered tubes and vents, a reminiscent of the original factory. Next to the bedroom was a private study, separated by a curtain and a glass sliding door. From my bedroom window, I had a view of Omotesando street. This used to be a very fashionable shopping street, but now it was occupied with junkies looking for a fix. Walls were covered in billboards, screens and even holographic advertisements, all of which demanded your full attention. The biggest one was about a new drug called EPC, one that would give you the ability to reduce pain and stress effects. Meaning you wouldn’t feel pain for a certain amount of time. It wasn’t really surprising that most junkies would gather beneath it, praying to the neon god, the holographic doctor, as if he would administer the drug right there and then. 

 

All signs pointed out to a massive thunderstorm, but it couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Even though flasks of lightning were lighting up the sky, there was no ominous thunder or rain for that matter. There was only a magical spectacle of light, nature’s artwork, using the black sky as a blank canvas.


© Copyright 2020 Nick Van loy. All rights reserved.

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