Nanbara Seishirou was still sitting in his chair, lips trembling, like someone with a bad heart condition, no doubt still feeling the smoldering remnants of his terror.
“You really went to town on him, didn’t you?” said the driver- the son of one of the Party members. But he said it as if he really were talking to a common thug, so I didn’t answer. Dark clouds were forming in my mind. Doubts were seizing me: “He was really timid, but in the end, he withstood thirty minutes of terror, sweating and on the edge of tears. It was as if he was in a “fear tunnel” and he kept crawling painfully, slowly down it, never stopping no matter what, sure in the knowledge that he’d some to the end soon. That’s how he was able to win.
“There’s other youths like that,” I finally decided: “People that don’t turn their eyes away from the terror of reality, who don’t try to escape the disgrace and pollution of reality, people who crawl on their belly, slowly and painfully like pigs through the ugly mud of reality. By the way, I’m not one of them – I’ll run full-speed away from the terrible reality, and jump into the rose-colored radiant valley which is Emperor Worship. But maybe those guys are living more properly. . . .”
this terrifying thought, powerful enough to make me shiver, kept circulating in the dark corners of my brain. To dispel these dark clouds of doubt, I started talking to the driver in a too-loud voice: “The boss of your company invited us to a cabaret club tonight – what kind of place is it?”
“Actually, the boss runs the club! With a jazz-man from Tokyo. It’s pretty wild, but I be a young guy like you can find something to enjoy there, eh?” he responded with a certain amount of sarcasm. “There’s plenty of the famous Hiroshima-style sake there, enough to ease your depression about the Big Peace Meeting!”
That night, after all our Bombing Day activities were finished, we did, despite the sarcasm, enjoy the Hiroshima Branch Party Chief’s cabaret. There were other guests, but we were given the red carpet treatment.
The Tokyo-based jazz-man turned out to be a young guy with a head of thick black hair, which had been lacquered with so much grease it resembled a hat. He was playing piano, but instead of jazz, we only requested military marching songs and “battleship jams.”
When he played “Moon Over The Ruined Castle,” we all sang along.
I, who had been drinking a great deal of sake, became quite concerned with the pianist’s face, which I decided carried the blue-black depression of a drug-addict.
In spite of the cab-driver’s prediction, the sake did not mitigate my depression; in fact the doubts had, like a tumor, lodged deep in my chest and were beginning to send out roots. I resolved to kill them with alcohol.
Then I began feeling ill, and, for the sake of improving my mood, headed to the washroom to vomit.
I passed a half-open door with “Musician’s Waiting Room” written on it, and inside I saw, sprawled out on a dirty couch, Nanbara Seishirou himself, clutching a bottle of whiskey and vaguely singing along with some jazz piano which was playing on a tape-recorder on the floor nearby. At first, I assumed this was just an hallucination brought on by sake.
But that head, that disheveled, dead-drunk, lolling head, bobbing in rhythm with the staggering, off-kilter wheels of the tape machine, mumbling along with the songs . . .could it be really him? The painfully-crawling young author? Where did the tape sounds end and his voice begin? It was ambiguous. I heard the young author’s voice saying, “That’s right, like that. Like that, make the phrase your own. Original! Like that, one more time, look! It’s like I can see what you’re thinking. One more time! . . . .” but at the same time, I could hear the drunk on the filthy couch saying, “That’s right, that’s you! That’s right, yeah, yeah, you’re a genius, go man, go! Amazing, original!”
I tried to enter the room , but a waitress with a face like a bear started to drag me down the hall, saying, “Stop, stop, let’s go to my room instead. That guy is a pervert yo, he’s getting gay with the jazz-man. Let’s go to my room, quickly, ok?”
Nerves festering with the poison of alcohol, the man had to exert his utmost strength, several times, merely to take off his glasses, revealing the naked face of Nanbara Seishirou.
Summoning all my concentration, I managed to kick the tape player over successfully, aborting the jazz tune.
Roughly a minute later, Nanbara responded, in a voice which stopped and started intermittently, as if it were bobbing up and down in a booze lake:
“Are you the guys who made the wwwwonderful pianist play those battleship jams? Yo, young uyoku, yo yo yo, you energetic teeeenager, have you come here to sing me the national aaaanthem too?”
Without speaking, I gazed down at the drunkard lying at my feet, while the bear-waitress continuing to huskily whisper, “These homos shot some dope laaaaaaaaate last night and made a recording together! They should sell that – the “High Homo Jazz”. Anyway, how about coming to my room and lying down for a while?”
She giggled obscenely as I attempted to form my lips into a circular shape suitable for pouring whiskey into my face. Having accomplished this daunting task, I felt an overwhelming sense of superiority, and replied:
“You! Ass! You can’t not, no, not . . not un-escape the terror! You try to escape with your . . . your crawling powers. . . but you’re just crawling straight to drugs and whiskey and homo pianos! You try to cure your wounds in that filthy hot-spring! But even there you can’t hide from it. You just pickle your Johnson in a filthy chamber-pot. Your Johnson aims low. The one with the . . . upward-facing Johnson . . . which gleams with radiant brilliance, is I !!!”
“Hey, little uyoku! Why don’t you stab me? Do it now, while . .I’m drunk . . . so it won’t hurt me. You, on the other hand, will have . . . . an incredible hangover . . . a-ha-ha!” the pig responded.
“I wouldn’t stab such a vulgar . . .asshole . . .as you! You’ll die soon from your own filthy lifestyle. I only stab the most . . .important. . . traitors,” I replied.
Suddenly turning serious, the pig asked, “Teenage uyoku, yo , why do you have the privilege to stab aaaaanyone??”
“I’m prepared to die for my country! It’s not a prilivage – privilege! It’s a mission. We have to . . . the biggest poisoners of Japan . . . we will give our lives to stab . . . mission!”
With that, the doubts disappeared and I was instead surrounded with the rose-colored clouds of bliss: “I am the . . . winnnnnner!”
The pig raised his eyes, beheld my exhilaration, and promptly fell off the couch onto the muddy floor, and fell sound asleep, resting his head on the tape recorder.
I spit on his head, and allowed myself to be led down the hall by the bear-waitress.
She gave my limp “crotch warehouse” (股倉 =possibly the best slang yet! – ed.) a mighty thwack and screamed, “You’re not still a virgin, are you?”
Now that I had had my triumphant victory over that pig, I realized that I was too drunk to stand up. We found a dark, soft, good-smelling place to lie down. We tore off each other’s clothes, and she was as hairy as a demon. I debased myself with this primitive farmer’s daughter. She forced herself on me, and with a cry of “KYA!” I was no longer a virgin.No comments