I'm also assuming that while Taniguchi is lazy, and frequently comes up with some idiotic ideas, he's not stupid....at least not "Homer Simpson" stupid.
"Scissors!" Taniguchi exclaimed. I showed him my outstretched hand. Sadly I didn't need to reveal my choice. We both knew the outcome.
"How many times have we played this afternoon?" Taniguchi asked me.
"Somewhere around a hundred times."
"Really? I stopped counting after twelve." Taniguchi snapped my slowly bruising wrist. "Surprise me sometime, Kunikida. Pick something other than paper."
I smiled. I assured Taniguchi that I was simply waiting for him to pick something other than scissors, but regardless of how badly I wanted to pick 'rock' or 'scissors', something inside me wouldn't let me deviate from the pattern. "Luck isn't with me today." I replied.
"Luck has nothing to do this. The game is based on free-will. What you choose decides the outcome."
"I still have no idea what you plan to do. Therefore it's a game of chance."
"For the past one hundred games, you've always picked paper! How does this, in any way, reflect something happening by chance." He stroked his chin. This was never a good sign, as it usually preceded poor Taniguchi making a serious social blunder, or wandering into some horrible misadventure. "Look there's got to be some reason you keep letting me win here. One: You're incapable of bending your fingers..."
I shook my fist at him to prove his first theory wasn't the case.
"Hmmm. Two: You have Asperger Syndrome."
Great! So now I have a choice of being afflicted with arthritis or a mild neurobiological disorder.
"Or three: I have Asperger Syndrome, and you're simply a masochist."
Sadly, given Taniguchi's general lack of social sense and the fact that I had agreed to accompany him to Ryouko Asakura's apartment, this was probably the most plausible theory. The trek to Asakura's apartment began, like most of Taniguchi's ill-fated projects, with a stroke to his chin.
"Kunikida, I'll make a deal with you. If you win this time, I'll accept the story that Asakura moved to Canada, and we'll just hang out at the cafe for the rest of the evening."
I agreed. At least I had a shot at convincing Tanaguchi to give up on this craziness and do something less likely to result in embarrassment or injury.
Taniguchi was convinced, without a doubt, that his theory about Asakura was correct, and that the girl was crying her eyes out in her apartment. The only sensible conclusion is that since Taniguchi will not give up easily, he will anticipate me choosing something other than paper this round. If he expects me to deviate from the pattern, he will have to deviate from it as well.
So if Taniguchi expects me to choose something other than paper, there are only two logical choices for him to make: rock or paper. Left with two choices, the probability of winning jumps from 33% to 50%, but so does the probability of losing. My best bet, then, would be to make a choice evenly divided between a win or a tie. Logically, there seems to be only one option.
Taniguchi is right, this game is based on something more than chance.
Of course the other possible outcome is Taniguchi anticipating me making the same choice I have made throughout the past hundred matches we played today. As fate dictates, this is exactly the outcome playing out at this moment.
"Paper again?" Taniguchi shook his head sadly and smacked me on the wrist. "Stop looking so worried," he assured me. "I have a plan."
Taniguchi's plan revolved around some questionable events that only Taniguchi himself was capable of verifying. Apparently Asakura had approached him for a favor.
"Would it be bad form for a girl to invite a male classmate to meet up with her after school?" Asakura asked.
Taniguchi was stunned. He pressed for clarification. "Are you asking if it's too forward for a girl to ask a guy to hang out?"
"I suppose that's what I'm asking. I'm a bit worried about coming off too aggressively. The last thing I would want to do is to scare this particular boy off."
At this point, he regained his composure. "Well you know the old saying; It's better to regret the things you have done, than the things you haven't."
"I hadn't heard that...but thank you."
"No problem. So, was there something you wanted to ask me?"
Asakura's eyes brightened. "Yes. Could you deliver this letter to Kyon before school ends?"
His heart sunk. Our friend Kyon had his own problems, but it was obvious that Taniguchi was a bit envious of Kyon's situation. A female classmate, named Haruhi (who Taniguchi had failed to make any sort of lasting connection with while he attended East Junior High School) had suddenly displayed an active interest in the otherwise unremarkable Kyon. Then there was the beautiful upperclassman with whom Kyon shared an undeniable chemistry. Sadly, Taniguchi had announced his intentions of pursuing Asakura at the beginning of the school year, but now she was showing an interest in Kyon as well. My heart went out to him, which is why I agreed to his crazy mission.
Taniguchi dejectedly accepted Asakura's task. Actually, what Taniguchi did was to open the letter, read the contents, and then stuff it in Kyon's locker. It would be characteristically unusual for the laid-back Taniguchi to give the contents of the letter any thought at all (other than something to tease Kyon about), but under the circumstances, his curiosity made sense in a creepy, stalkerish sort of way. He then went on to do something more uncharacteristic, he waited around after school to see if Kyon and Asakura would actually meet up. Asakura showed up, but apparently, Kyon had decided to play it cool.
Taniguchi wandered the halls for awhile, so he had no idea when Kyon actually made it to the classroom Asakura designated in her letter. I'm guessing that the pain of not knowing something is far worse than the pain of actually knowing, and Taniguchi was past his limit of waiting in limbo. He devised a plan.
The plan went something like this: walk into the room unannounced, make up an excuse for barging in, assess the situation, then leave and sulk the rest of the evening. What Taniguchi had not planned on was discovering Asakura was no longer in the room and Kyon and a member of the Literature Club engaging themselves in some unsanctioned after-school activities of their own on the classroom floor.
"Uh...I forgot some stuff....Sorry about that!" he stammered before bolting the room.
When he recounted the story to me, I could only reply with "that must have been embarrassing for you."
"Not really," he said slyly. "Yuki said I was 'interesting'."
I was surprised Tanguchi knew her name. Apparently the Literature Club girl made it into his "A" list. Unsurprisingly, even a word of ambiguous praise from the normally non-verbal Yuki was enough to shift Taniguchi's mood to the better during his walk home from school.
The next day Asakura was absent from school, and Taniguchi confronted Kyon with what he had witnessed in the classroom. Kyon denied Taniguchi's allegations, and claimed that the Literature club student had suffered some form of vertigo. Truth be told, Taniguchi's version of events is far more entertaining.
All of this, of course, leads us to our current mission.
"She's heartbroken. There's no other explanation for it. I never saw Kyon enter the classroom, so he must have arrived before I saw Asakura go inside. She must have left when I was pacing the halls."
"Maybe..." I said, "...but that still doesn't explain how the Literature club girl ended up in the room."
"I haven't figured that out either. Maybe he phoned her, or maybe she was already in the room with him. Maybe I wasn't the first person to walk in on those two."
"So Asakura discovers that Kyon has another girlfriend and goes home."
"Exactly. Asakura didn't go to Canada, she's still recovering from the sight of seeing those two together. She's probably sitting at home embarrassed and depressed."
I had to ask. "So why are we going to her apartment?"
"Rebound relationship," he replied confidently.
"If that's your plan, why do you need me!" I asked. "If you expect to hook up with Asakura, why would you invite along a third wheel?"
"And if by slim chance you actually do hook up with her this evening, what do you expect me to do?"
"I already have that covered." Taniguchi reached into his coat pocket. "I brought a Gameboy."