Kamisama no Memochou:Volume 6 Side Chapter

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Gigolo-sensei, the Last Lecture[edit]

Shionji Gorou, a name said to be neither an artiste's name or an alias, but the man's actual name. It appeared that his reputation as a gigolo (Gorou) was not because of his own will, but of a divine will.

In any case, he really was a peculiar man. Even discounting that he's Alice's relative, it would be hard to think of him as a normal person. He had professed himself to be of an age where he was a little hard of hearing, yet there were times where he would suddenly show a boyish smile, sometimes appearing like a celestial who lived in a different worl for thousands of years. He was a thorough scoundrel that even his disciple Hiro was a lot cuter in that case, but he had some unique charismatic element to him (or he wouldn't be able to live on as a gigolo). Thinking that I wouldn't be able to meet him again, and that I had no chance to talk to him, I felt somewhat melancholic.

And upon hearing me say that, Hiro teased,

“If it had been you instead of me who met Gorou-sensei in middle school, I wonder how good you'll have it, Narumi?”

I pondered slightly.

“No, I'll pass on that. Please spare me already. I still treasure my life dearly.”

Hiro could not help but laugh out loud.

 

It was in mid-November, when the days were frosty enough, when Gorou-sensei dropped by at 'Ramen Hanamaru'. Back then, Min-san was out to buy ingredients, and Ayaka was left alone in the shop to prepare. I too went to the kitchen to prepare the ingredients, and after peeling the onion skins, I was chopping the cabbage.

“Excuse me.”

The door opened, and a diminutive figure in a trenchcoat walked in.ThThe door opened, and a diminutive figure in a trenchcoat walked in.

When I first saw him, I assumed that he was a retired college professor. He was wearing a round wool cap a Russian would wear, and the soft greyish-white hair was poking out. The round glasses rested on the thin nose bridge, and he looked really unreliable.

"Welcome. Erm, sorry, but we're only opened at 5..."

Ayaka said as she lifted her head from the basin.

"No no, I'm not here to have a meal."

The man, early into his old age, took off his cap, and smiled.

"I'm here to visit a little Miss here. I heard that she's the boss here..."

"Are you looking for Min-san? Sorry, she just went out. It's cold outside. Do you want to come in and wait?"

Thank you. The old man said, and closed the door behind him. I stirred the sesame, thinking that it was a rare sight. that someone would visit Min-san. Ayaka went around the counter, took a tablecloth to wipe the counter, and ushered him, saying, Please have a seat. It's a little dirty though, so don't mind.

"Oh? Isn't that a Holly?" Saying that, the man reached his tiny hand for Ayaka's ear.

“Eh?”

Ayaka cringed back in shock. The old man's fingertips grazed her hair and skin lightly.

“See? There are a few flowers on your head.”

A tiny white flower was tucked between the fingers of the old man.

“Ah, they probably latched onto me when I was pruning at school...”

“You have interest in botany, don't you?”

“Ah, yes. I'm also in charge of leading everyone in school at that.” Saying that, Ayaka was a little gleeful.

“It's really rare to have such charming women so suited for wearing such white flowers! I suppose this flower here latched onto you because it likes you.”

“Eh-eh?”

“Well, it is to be expected. If I'm a flower, I too would do the same.”

“th-that's.” Ayaka's cheeks were blushing.

“Hahaha, please don't mind! I'm just grateful to spend some waiting time with a girl like you. Besides the Holly, what other flowers do bloom in this season? Since it's a school, I'm guessing there should be Camellia, Cydonia, and Loquats, right?”

“Yeah. The Camellias are blooming beautifully now...”

Soon after, Ayaka was chatting with the old man. I eavesdropped on their conversation, and Ayaka was enthusiastically chatting on the type of boy she liked, as though they were already on familiar times.

However, I remained wary against that old man, for I personally witnessed his shocking finger actions. The issue at end was the Holly that established the topic. If the white flower was on Ayaka's head, I would have discovered it first beforehand. In fact, the Holly was on Ayaka's shoulder, on the school blouse, but he was like a magician; he pinched the flower, and placed it on her hair, acting as if it was there the entire time, and took it off from her.

Why did he have to do this?

In any case, this man was no ordinary person, so my instincts told me. There's a dangerous presence on him, and he was very similar to a certain someone I knew. Who was it?

At this moment, there was a terrifying ringing in my pocket. The guitar riff of 'Colorado Bulldog', a phone call from Alice.

“Tie up that lowlife in front of your eyes right now!”

The astonishing growl from the phone hit my brain. I hurriedly covered the phone and ran to the back door to prevent the old man from hearing it, but it was too late.

“Don't let him approach Ayaka! Do anything you have to do, best if you mobilize a strike team or the JSDF! Get Major here and shoot him with a stungun!”

“N-no, calm down, Alice.”

Ayaka's eyes widened greatly, and I peeked at her as I answered Alice. Ayaka probably heard anything.

“What? Didd something happen?”

“Hahaha. It appears I was found out. Speaking of which, I did hear that there were surveillance cameras installed around this building.”

Saying that, the old man picked up his cap. I covered the phone speaker and stared right at him.

He knew that there were cameras all around the detective agency? Speaking of which...

“...Erm, are you related to Alice?”

“Sorry for the late introductions. I'm Shionji Gorou.”

The old man reached his hand over the counter to me.

“I'm Yuuko's great uncle.”

 

“Which countries have you been wandering around at!?”

The moment Gorou-sensei stepped into the detective agency, Alice, seated on the bed, slammed the mattress hard as she hollered.”

“Why, all kinds of places. You've become prettier there, Yuuko. My biggest pride is that I knew you would become a pretty one when you were 3 years old—”

“That's not important! I got a lot of things to ask you, so sit down there! Narumi, get some Dr. Pepper for him!”

I see, so she treats him like a valued guest...for Alice, serving someone Dr. Pepper was the best form of courtesy. However, Gorou-sensei saw the red can I took out from the fridge, and shook his head.

“You don't have to. I can't possibly drink that...”

“Ah, I see. You Well, I guess. Shall I brew some hot tea for you?”

It's been cold recently, and though Alice had been complaining, she allowed me to brew tea in the office. However, sensei shook his head.

“No, I don't need a drink.”

But before he could finish, he covered his mouth, and started coughing, his arched back cringing

“Are you alright?”

“Feeling unwell?”

Even Alice got off the bed to Gorou-sensei's side. Sensei lifted his head, and smiled weakly behind those round glasses of his.

“It's nothing. I'm just getting old. Speaking of which, you've really become prettier...”

Sensei patted Alice's head gently, and unexpectedly, she wasn't resisting nor angry about it, merely displeased as she sat beneath sensei's little hand. She really hated being treated as a kid though.

“You're really starting to resemble your mother. I really hope to see you in 5, 10 years time, but I don't know if I'll be able to meet you again.”

“What now? Did you come all the way here to inform me about the Shionjis?”

Alice waved off sensei's hand, and said,

“This isn't my main objective, I should at least mention that. Oh yes.”

At this moment, sensei's stare was suddenly directed at me, standing beside the fridge.

“As for this boy, I suppose he's your lover, Yuuko?”

Alice's face immediately turned beetroot, and I hurriedly squatted in a corner of the kitchen, and covered my ears. The clanking sounds echoed continuously in the room like a machine gun.

“Narumi, get out right now!”

I was chased out of the office, and sat on the stairwell of the emergency staircase, mumbling away as I thought.

Alice's relative? Didn't she come here because she cut off all ties with her family? Was it really fine to invite him inside directly? Speaking of which, who is that old man? He did something strange to Ayaka, and even got Alice to let down his guard. What's he working as? Maybe he might have the appearance of a college professor, but was actually a member of the yakuza?

All the questions were soon answered. Frantic footsteps could be heard from the emergency staircase, and there was a tall, slender body beneath the handrail,dressed in a posh cashmere coat.

“Narumi, I heard Gorou-sensei came by?”

It was Hiro.

 

“Sensei...in other words, of gigolo antics?”

“Ahh, yeah, you can say that.”

Hiro, seated beside me, gave a bashful grin.

“But it's not just in bluffing women! Sensei's my teacher in life too.”

“Yeah.”

“When I was in middle school, I was already living in the house of a hostess, and I didn't go to school at all. One day, the big sister who took care of me the entire time never returned home, and I went to the shop to ask mama, only to hear that a man lured all the ladies in the shop to a certain resort.”

“Is that man actually?” I pointed at the door of the detective agency behind me.

“Right. It's Gorou-sensei. That was the one and only time my woman got stolen by someone else.”

I had so many things I wanted to ask Hiro, like, what happened to that shop? Did it close down? Or, if he took all the ladies to the same villa, won't they get jealous and start fighting? But what intrigued me most was—

“I heard that he's the, erm, younger brother of Alice's grandfather?”

“Yeah. But I hardly heard her mention about this.”

As long as Alice herself refused to mention it, nobody would be certain on her family. There probably was a major reason as to why she left home at such a young age, but the NEETs who lived and supported each other in this city wouldn't inquire about each other's past. The NEETs understood this better than anyone else, and that gentle nonchalance really left me at ease. I wordlessly stared at the scenery between the buildings, and Hiro continued to talk about himself.

“As for what I just said...I didn't have a place to stay at, so I had to woo the one mama left behind at the shop, to see if she was willing to take me in.”

“You're terrible.” Though I already knew that.

“But mama had a yakuza man, so I got into a fight with him, my ear nearly got chopped off.”

Wah, your childhood's crazier than I thought.

“That yakuza guy eemed to believe that I stole all the women in the shop, but more than half of that's true, so I couldn't push the blame. At that moent, sensei just so happened to arrive at the shop, and I didn't know how he managed to pull a fast one on the man, but he managed to save me.”

“I see, so anyway, why did sensei return?”

“Same return as me. There was only mama left in the shop, so he came back to woo her.”

As for the ending to this shop, it was said that mama and all the ladies in the shop moved to Kamakura along with master, and managed another bar there. In other words, they escaped the yakuza and left Tokyo, moving their shop to a new haven. Congrats.

“...That's impossible!” I retorted without thinking.

“There is such a thing in the world. There are gigolo techniques in this world none of us can imagine...”

Hiro looked afar.

“Later on, I was taken care of by sensei, and learned a lot from him.”

A lot about love. Hiro laughed.

“For every woman I woo successfully, I have to to make her happy. This is the most important teaching from sensei. He said that as long as I made one unhappy, I couldn't be called a gigolo.”

“Hiro, I don't think you actually did that.”

“Well yes. I still can't match up to sensei. Because it's really unbelievable. Such a kind, understanding person who can take care of others and able to act and emphathize—would not work and have his women earn money for him.”

“That's really unbelivable! I never thought there's such a person on this world! Let alone two of them around me!”

“Ahaha.” Hiro patted me on the back. “But you got too be thankful for sensei. It's thanks to him that Alice got to know me, and why I'm here.”

“Eh...ah.”

So those two things were related?

“It seemed the Shionjis were rather prestigous, and whenever there was a birthday party, they would invite important officials and even the chairman of the Japanese Business Federation. Gorou-sensei was always committing debauchery, and never paid heed to his family, so Alice was more willing to accept him, I guess? When Alice left hom, she had no one to rely on except for Gorou-sensei.”

However, Gorou-sensei wasn't in Japan at that time, so he could only contact his number 1 disciple and leave Alice to him. Hiro here then left Alice to the most reliable of the friends—in other words Min-san. They're just passing the buck! What taking care? Those two are gigolos though, so thye probably would only be serious towards those they pursue, I guess. Alice's too young, and sensei's relative.

“Speaking of whic, why did he show up again?”

“Right, he said he was going to visit Min-san or something.”

Hiro's face showed a drastic case, as though he swallowed an eel whole.

“...Really? Sensei, probably doesn't know Min-san, right? This is bad. I have a bad feeling about this. If possible, I really don't want them to meet...”

Hiro's wariness was clear to see, and it was one wary of another man. In Hiro's position, Min-san was the woman he loved, yet sensei was the woman killer he couldn't match up to.

No no, he's probably thinking too much.”

“You're thinking too much.”

“Wah!”

I stood up, and turned around. Gorou-sensei opened the office door without me knowing, and was standing behind us. Behind the round lenses of the glasses were a pair of soft, narrow eyes.

“Sensei! It's been a while!”

Hiro stood up, and gave a deep bow. Gorou-sensei reached his little hand out, and grabbed Hiro's hair.

“Hiro-bou, you look really energetic there. So, how about it? How many women did you make happy after I left?”

Hiro lifted his head slightly, and looked slightly ashamed as he answered,

“None at the moment. I'm not working hard enough.”

Sensei showed a gentle smile, and nodded.

“Very good. That's good. I'm here to expel you, Hiro-bou.”

“...Eh?”

I widened my eyes as I looked at sensei's face.

“I heard from a few ladies that you found the fated woman for yourself? You're unable to continue freeloading off them anymore. I do find it a pity to end this skill in my generation...but I'm expelling you.”

However, Gorou-sensei immediately retracted his words. As we were walking down the emergency staircase, Min-san poked her head out from the back door of the kitchen. It was already mid autumn, and the bare shoulders looked so bright. As usual, she was in her tank top.

“I heard a customer's looking for me? Who?”

Upon seeing Min-san, sensei slammed a fist at Hiro's chest, muttering,

“I'll take back what I said about expelling you.”

Hiro's expression had been so gloomy till this point, but now, he's so shocked and stunned.

“You're able to find such a fine woman for yourself. Now you're no longer expelled, but 'graduated'.”

 

Soon after, Tetsu-senpai and Major showed up at 'Hanamaru', surrounding sensei as they began drinking. As Hiro's master, it seemed he was acquianted with the members of the NEET detective agency.

“Sensei, didn't you say you're going to stay in Monaco often? And woo an actress there?” Tetsu-senpai asked as he raised a glass full of beer.

“I couldn't get used to living there! I got the feeling that I'll fall into the sea whenever I sleep. I had no choice, so I had two girls sleeping by my sides, and they got angry.”

I didn't know if what he said was real...Min-san in the kitchen too looked on in frustration.

However, sensei didn't take a sip of beer, didn't eat any ramen or dumplings, and didn't take a sip of water. Furthermore, he went to the bathroom often, and I could hear some faint coughing. These really concerned me.

It was until sunset, when the other customers started to enter the shop, that sensei got up and took his coat and cap.

“Now then, having met some people I haven't met in a while, I shall take my leave.”

For some reason, sensei was staring at me as he said this. The eyes behind the round lenses were blazing, as though they were trying to say something to me, and also saying, You don't have to take my hint.

“Ah, I'll send you to the station then.” I said as I took my duffle coat. Of course, Hiro did the same.

The day in November was short, and the dark blue hue of the night was already dangling down low, while the lights of the buildings and the passing car lights shone coldly upon the night. I took the front end of my coat, walking behind sensei and Hiro who were walking side by side. Looking from behind, those gigolos looked like father and son.

“Where are you staying now, sensei?” Hiro asked.

“I'll be staying in Tokyo for the time being. There are a few things I have to settle.”

“I see. If you're free, please drop by. I'm a disobedient disciple who got expelled though.”

Hiro actually admitted that he was expelled. Sensei and I stared at him.

“Have you made up your mind?” Sensei asked.

Have you decided to settle down? That was the implication.

“Yes.” Hiro nodded.

Sensei slowed down, and said each word with emphasis.

“When I first met you, Hiro-bou, I saw your eyes, and I really believed that you will inherit my mantle...People do change with their surroundings. I'm elated, and yet a little disappointed.”

“In fact, he's still living at other girls' houses. He hasn't changed at all.”

“No, I can tell. Hiro-bou has a different sprout in his garden, and won't grow roses of Don Juan again.”

We walked along the railroads, towards the bustling streets. Right when we arrived at the Homeless Park[1], sensei finally turned back to look at me.

“Oh yes, young man, I forgot to ask your name, I believe?”

“Eh? Ah, yes. Fujishima. Fujishima Narumi”

“Yuuko's partner?”

“...Eh, yeah.” I'm the detective's assistant. It wouldn't be out of line to be called her partner.

“IS there something you want to ask me?”

It appeared my attitude and eyes betrayed what I was thinking.

“Erm, well...I do, actually...”

“It's about Yuuko, right? That girl will grow up to be prettier, and complicated.”

“No, I do want to know about Alice, but I don't intend to ask for the time being. If there's something I should know, I guess that she'll tell me herself. Or else, anything I ask will just anger her.”

“Hm.”

In that case, what did I want to know by tailing them?

This old man, Gorou-sensei really interest me.

I decided to ask,

“Erm, when you came to this shop, you spoke to Ayaka, didn't you?”

“She's a nice girl. I'm envious of you, young man.”

“But before talking to her, you, well, quickly removed the flower on her shoulder and put it on her hair, right? Eh, I'm not scolding you, but, I don't know the meaning behind that.”

Gorou-sensei widened his eyes, and was silent for a moment. Beside us, Hiro looked back and forth between sensei and me in surprise.

Finally, Gorou-sensei reached his hands out, and patted me twice on the shoulders.

“A basic to the art of a gigolo is to control the human distance.”

“...Haa.” Why tell me that?'

“It's a method to 'remove the paranoia'. There's a most fragile place by the human neck, and if you can touch that place accurately, you can remove the distance between people in a short time.”

I was really overwhelmed by him, and couldn't help but look at Hiro, what's this sensei saying now? Hiro however narrowed his eyes at me, probably looking at something stinging.

I'll be back sensei told us, and vanished in the crwd at the east entrance of the train station. We watched him leave from behind, and Hiro suddenly looked up at the Winter sky, muttering,

“You really do have talent, Narumi. To be expected of sensei to figure it out on the first meeting.”

Oi, what are you saying?

 

And starting from the next day, Gorou-sensei would often show up at 'Hanamaru'.

“Hiro isn't here today...”

“It's fine, young Fujishima, I'm here to see you.”

Sensei said as he went to the gathering place outside the back door of the kitchen, and we talked our hearts out until the sun set. Min-san stared at me, and Ayaka too looked confused as she watched me, but the conversation with Gorou-sensei was really too interesting that I was mesmerized. For example—

“Boy, are you good at maths?”

“No, not really?”

“But this is a basic concept in geometry. If you specify a flat surface in a 3 dimensional space, how many vertices do you need at least?”

“3, I guess?'

“Yes. This is an understanding that a gigolo has to have at least 3 women.”

That line was such a classic I couldn't retort at that. And also, there was this conversation as example,

“When loving many women at the same time, where they are, and where they're facing will all be different. When you approach you, you'll definitely be distant from another. Try getting one to turn around, and others will turn away. Boy, in that case, what do you do?”

“Well...” it felt like a question on Zen. “Stand in the middle and yell to get around to come close, is it?”

“That's incorrent. Unfortunately, everyone has their own lives, and they can't change that easily. The correct answer is...” Gorou-sensei pointed his middle finger to nudge his round glasses, and then pointed to the gentle November sun behind between the buildings.

“Get as high up as possible, and be as bright as possible. Then all the stares will gather, and you'll be able to share your light with everyone.”

There was once when Hiro took listened to sensei's words, and when sensei went to the toilet, he lamented,

“He never went that in-depth when he first taught me...”

No, erm, that should be just some speaking training, right?

“Listen, boy, a gigolo relies on women to support him, and not leave a single cent. There is a reason to that. Do you understand?”

“I don't want to understand. Erm, it's just because you don't want to work?”

“Wrong again. The art of Gigolo is a work that takes a lot of brainpower. You need to show care for her at all times, sense her heart, prepare beforehand, choose the right choice of words, and also seize the opportune timing to talk. Seeing Hiro-bou, you do often think 'in that case, why didn't he just go to work?' don't you?”

Well, it's not just twice or thrice, at least.

“The reason why we don't give the ladies a single cent is because, if we give a tangible, or calculatable item, there will be unfairness. There's a need to love every woman equally, and by devoting everything to every single world, you can treat every lady fairly as an invaluable one. That's why you can't give a single cent, and only accept their money. Remember this well.”

I don't want to. This really is something only a lowlife will do. Hiro, why did you learn from this guy? This isn't something to be respected.

However, Gorou-sensei really was a sharp one.

“Young Fujishima, you have an older sister, but your other family members aren't with you, right? You don't appear to be capable of talking well, but you're actually adept at handling them.”

“Eh? H-how did you know?'

“You occasionally receive calls at night, and observing you, it's not hard to figure it out.”

Well, it's true. Only when my sister calls me will I answer I'll be back late or I don't need dinner.

“That's why you need to observe carefully. Also, absorb the information. The most important thing is to find joy in it. For a gigolo, that's the most important thing.”

“Ah, erm, please wait, sensei. Why do you want to make me a gigolo?”

“I never thought I'll find a boy with much more talent than Hiro-bou did in my old age, and I want to treasure this miracle. I'm already 62. You're likely to become my last disciple.”

“I guessed so. I thought you'll be good at wooing women, Narumi.” “But Vice-Admiral Fujishima has no awareness at all, and is more terrifying at this then Hiro.” “When did you guys show up!?”

Tetsu-senpai and Major popped by without me knowing, and sat down beside Hiro to listen to sensei's teachings. Sensei suddenly posed a question to the audience.

“Besides Yuuko, there are a lot of fine women around this boy, right?

“You three are already counting with your fingers?”

“I don't know whether this or that counts?”

“I know 8 of them.”

“On my calculations, about 25 of them.” How did you count them?'

“Edison once said this.” Gorou-sensei said, “A gigolo is 99% of hard work and 1% of luck with women.”

Kami06 349.jpg

Who said such nonsense before? Wasn't Edison an inventor?

Suddenly, a woman's voice could be heard from outside the shop, interrupting Gorou-sensei's lesson.”

“Sorry to bother, did my father come to visit...?”

Gorou-sensei suddenly went silent, grabbed his coat, put on his cap, and stood up. Between the buildings were Min-san and someone else.

“Old man, she said she's here to take you back.” Min-san said.

“Sorry that my dad caused such trouble.”

The lady in front of us bowed deeply. She was dressed in a black peacoat, a beige wool skirt, and had long fur boots on, dressed up like a college girl. She looked really cute. Gorou-sensei's daughter?

“Sensei...you have a kid?”

Hiro's tone showed no signs of hiding his shock.

“Um, yeah. I'll introduce. She's Akiko.”

Sensei introduced in a rather gaudy manner.

“I'm Shionji Akiko. Sorry to have you...take care of my father all this time...”

Akiko-san continued to apologize to us profusely, we'll take our leave them, and saying that, held sensei by the arm and left.

“I never expected sensei to have a kid.”

Hiro muttered as he frowned, tilting his head the entire time.

“He has so many girlfriends, so, I don't think it's strange to have a kid on accident, right?'

“But sensei had always taught me this beforehand. The number one rule of being a gigolo is to avoid pregnancy at all times. Once she gives birth, I'll have to prioritize that woman for the rest of my life.”

I see. While this reasoning would definitely have everyone viewing him as a public enemy of ladies, but I could understand what they were trying to convey, and I inadvertently nodded. At this moment, Min-san suddenly glanced aside and glared at me.

“Hey! You're not planning to actually listen to that old man's words, are you?”

“No no, how can you say that?'

“”You can try! But if you make Alice cry, I'm going to beat you to near death.”

“No, wait, Min-san. The path of being a gigolo exists to prevent women from crying.”

“Shut up, Hiro! Have you reflected on your actions? I'm still ffurious!”

Min-san grabbed Hiro by the back of the collar, and dragged him into the kitchen. During the commotion over that arranged marriage, Hiro went straight to the point and proposed to Min-san, but that was the result due to him fooling around with other women too (despite the plan being thought up by me), so it seemed Min-san was still angry about it. I really made up my mind never to become someone like Hiro.

And besides, I didn't know what she meant by making Alice cry. Even if I really stray away from the path of a detective's assistant and become a gigolo, she'll probably be either shocked or angry, right?

 

“Both! I'll be shocked AND angry! Do you get it!?”

When I entered the office and served dinner, I mentioned to Alice what just happened. In the end, Alice was so furious, her hair was shivering.

“Shionji Gorou's a lowlife amongst all lowlives, the enemy of half of humanity! That kind of skill should have been buried in darkness forever, and you want to inherit it!?”

“Relax, the talk about me being the disciple's just a joke, you know? Hiro's the real disciple, and you didn't say anything about him. I just listened to what he said anyway. Why are you being so clingy?”

“B-because you're my.”

Midway through, Alice was already grabbing the side of the bed, utterly furious.

“Assistant, right? I know that! If the assistant's just going around wooing ladies and not doing his job, you'll be really bothered, right? That'll affect the reputation of the office, and the female clients won't come by...”

'You don't understand! That's not what I'm worried about!”

“Eh? Then what?'

“Whatever.”

Alice suddenly turned her face towards the screen, her petite body completely covered under the rich hair.

“...You don't like Gorou-sensei?'

I placed the ramen on the table, and cautious asked her this.

“That's not it.”

With her back still turned on me, Alice answered in a somewhat displeased manner.

“In some sense, I really do respect him, and also grateful to him. Amongst all the Shionjis, great uncle Gorou's the only one I feel fine to meet.”

I slowly retreated to the entrance of the room, and silently stood there, waiting for Alice to say anything. I felt that she might tell me some things about the Shionjis.

And Alice seemed to have read my thoughts, for she turned her head slightly towards me, saying,

“But right now, I have nothing to say to you...”

Those words, coupled with an unexpected gentleness in her tone, delighted me suddenly. I waited for her to finish the food in the bowl, and took the tray out of the office.

I saw the white presence of the moon shining upon the city, merged into the night.

When Alice said I don't have anything to say now, it meant there might be a chance she would tell me. Keeping this possibility alone allowed me to feel my raison d'etre.

 

After that, Gorou-sensei's lessons continued during various days. Whenever the sun set, that Akiko-san would definitely come by to bring sensei home, and when the weather's cold, I could see sensei learning on Akiko-san, getting onto the taxi with much effort. The back of this ailing old man realy was discomforting.

Sometimes, sensei never came by to 'Hanamaru', but once the sky got dark, Akiko-san would still come by to look for him. Thus, I seized the opportunity to ask.

“Is sensei feeling unwell?”

“He's been coughing often, hasn't he?” beside me, Tetsu-senpai asked.

“He wouldn't eat anything, wouldn't drink anything. It's worrying.” Major too was frowning. With a grim look, Akiko-san nodded.

“E-ehh...it's true that his organs, aren't good...but he's been wandering around every day, and wouldn't contact me. Erm, it's a little too much coming from me, but I'll like to ask something of you, Fujishima-san.”

Akiko-san took out a small white bag from her handbag. A packet of medication.

“Dad should be taking this every day, but he hates eating it, and often lef thome while leaving the medication behind. If he comes by, can you please have him take his medicine?”

“Me? Well, he does come by every day...but isn't it more appropriate to leave it to Min-san?'

“No, I guess a woman probably won't be able to get my dad to listen up...”

Hmm, that's right.

“My dad seems to be fond of you. If you have him take his medication, I guess he'll listen.”

Since she said, it was hard for me to refuse.

The packet had drug tablets packaged together, with the word '妈富隆'[2] written on the prescription sheet. It's probably some Chinese medicine, I guess? Each pill had a date every week written by the side, probably to remind him not to forget?

 

However, the medicine left with me was of no use. Entering the last week of November, sensei never showed up at 'Hanamaru' again.

“Wonder how that old man's doing? Hiro, do you have his phone number?”

Even Min-san's starting to worry. Really, that man had some inexplicable charisma to him.

“Sensei said that as a gigolo, he wouldn't just give his contact to others, so he wouldn't tell me at all.”

Hiro said as he shrugged.

I sat down at the emergency staircase, looked up at the gloomy sky between the buildings, filled with the presence of winter, and looked down at my hand again. The medicine package was of no use at all. Sensei suddenly vanished without contacting us.

I glanced aside at Hiro, and found that he too was thinking of the same thing as me. If only we had Akiko-san's contact before this...

No, he probably was just busy going out with other girls, right? He's been coughing often, but he didn't look too bad, and he was in his early sixties yet about to be so sharp in his words. Those were what I kept telling myself, but while my mind thought this, my heart had an ominous premonition. He suddenly came by to visit a former disciple, was hastily seeking a successor, and was so worried that his skills would die out...

Having painfully experienced this many times, my premonition was most precise at its worst.

 

It was late November when Akiko-san personally came to 'Hanamaru' to deliver sensei's obituary. The sky looked aas though it was about to snow, and it mad Akiko-san, dressed in black, all the more gloomy. She was dressed in a thick coat, black tights and long boots. It was an ordinary outfit, yet so resembling mourning clothes.

Sensei's will was that he didn't want the women he loved so much cry in front of him, so only Akiko-san attended his funeral. That was 3 days ago.

“Thank you for taking care of my dad while he was still alive.”

Hiro and I, and even Min-san bowed down to Akiko-san.

“Dad has been happy ever since he came by often...”

Hiro and I were seated side by side at the counter, and we're speechless. Min-san, standing in the kitchen behind us, remained silent for a long time.

Min-san silently took out the most expensive wine in the shop, and Hiro and Akiko-san were seated side by side at the counter as they toasted with grim looks. I too went along with them, but with oolong tea instead.

For some reason, i didn't feel sad at all. Sensei probably knew that he would die, and Akiko-san, who should be the saddest amongst us, merely looked lost, as though her tears dried out.

—Listen, young Fujishima...

Sensei's hyperboles appeared in my mind one by one.

—You need to have at least three women around you.

—Never ever approach a woman on your own volition. Smile at them from high up.

—Never give a single cent. Only take from now.

While he continued to teach me as though it was nothing, did he hear the countdown ticking in his body the entire time?

Suddenly, Hiro looked up at the sky in an exaggerated manner.

“...That guy's probably wooing Marilyn Monroe or Jean Harlow right now, right?'

I suppose this would be the most apt line to describe Gorou-sensei's death. As expected, Hiro's his prized disciple, and I'm lesser than a page at this point, though I had no intention of being his disciple, I think.

However, Akiko-san slowly finished the wine in her cup, and suddenly turned towards me.

“There is something I'll request of you, Fujishima-san. This is my dad's will.”

“...Y-yes?'

“He once said that he hope for you to deliver his belongings.”

Stunned, I was at a loss of words, and could only look at Hiro and back at Akiko-san. I deliver? Why me and not say, Hiro? Did he really pick me as the successor? Did he not say those words for fun?

“This is it. He said that you'll understand his intentions if I hand this to you...”

Akiko-san took out a large case with purple flannel from the paper bag at her feet, and placed it on my lap. I opened it, and the glitter of platinum was so bright, I couldn't open my eyes. The glamorous, delicately crafted necktie pins lined up. They were of eaxt sizes, and had Turkish stones. I counted, and there were 14 of them.

“...Why, so many off the same?”

“Dad only said that you'll understand his intentions, Fujishima-san, and deliver these accordingly...”

“E-erm, to whom though? Hiro has one, of course, right? And then there's Tetsu-senpai and Major, right? But there are too many of them. I don't know who's with sensei...”

“I'm not too sure either. Dad has a lot of friends everywhere.”

Leaving this job to me's really troublesome. She said it's sensei's will, and I couldn't just refuse.

I continued to stare at the jewel case in front of me, even after Akiko-san left. Hiro took a necktie pin, flipped it around, and observed quietly.

“Look, the jewellery's detachable, and can be used as a brooth or a pendant. This probably is to be sent to many of them...for women to use, I guess?”

“Anyway, take one, Hiro. This is troublesome. Who do we deliver this to?”

Min-san interrupted from the side.

“Won't you know if you ask Alice? They're relatives.”

I see. I nodded. But would Alice tell me that? I couldn't ask.

“Maybe it's not for me either. I never heard sensei mention this.”

Hiro put the necktie pin back into the case.

“Maybe someone will come for it?”

 

And so, Hiro's prediction came true in the worst way possible. The next day, 'Hanamaru' was bombarded with phone calls all day along.

“Yes...ehh, this is 'Hanamaru'...eh? Gorou? Gorou, as in that old man? Ah I know him, oi, it's me. Hello1 Listen to me! I have nothing to do with him! Fujishima? Ah, you're calling for Narumi? I'll call for him, so quiet! Narumi! Hey! Narumi!”

Hearing Min-san's yell, I hurried through the back door of the kitchen and into the corridor. Min-san shoved the receiver into my hands, and from the receiver, I could hear a woman's sobbing.

”G-Gorou-chan...I heard about him...yes, I know...I don't have the right to send him off...and...his, erm, daughter...uuu...he has a daughter...so I wish to have some of his inheritance...eh, yes, yes, at least...ahh, uuu.”

“E-erm...”

I could barely hear what was going on, but the lady who called was unable to speak properly, and was wailing again, so I could only ask her to calm down and call again later before hanging up. What's going on?

However, this didn't end. Every 15 minutes, there was a call to Min-san's house, and I was again loudly called out to pick up the phone and forced to comfort the weeping ladies.

“Gorou-sensei, it-it's impossible! Since he's back in Tokyo, u-uu, he could have called fore he died!”

“Papa Gorou died, what? Hey, is this a lie? When he went to Gram with me the last time before he died, he was looking really energetic! You're lying! Tell me that's a lieeeee!!”

“Yes, yes, I understand now...Gorou-san's a woodpecker, and I'm just a rotting wood. But, yes, at the very least, I wish to say something...leave a message for me...yes? Yes, I heard about the inheritance...”

After a few phone calls, Min-san's angry breath seemed to have taken form as the steam in the kitchen, and I could sit down obediently in front of the phone. Most of the women were so agitated, they were unintelligible in their words, and I could only get them to calm down before calling again, before hanging up the phone. As for those I could get through him, I had them record down a possible contact, make arrangements, and call back later on. I kept receiving calls until midnight, and was not only fatigue, but my phone log had phone numbers of all the deceased's lovers.

What am I doing...

I returned home, and tried sorting out all the names and calls. There were 13 of them. Seriously, that old man's able to get a double digit number of girlfriends even when he's at that age? I took out the purple box placed by my side, and resisted the urge to throw it out of the window before opening it.

There were definitely 13 necktie pins—no, 14 of them. There's still one more. Will someone else call?

I recalled the women who called one by one, and found a peculiar issue.

Everyone said that they received contact from Gorou-sensei, and called 'Hanamaru'. Wasn't that strange? Akiko-san said that she didn't know who to deliver the inheritance to, right? Did she receive so many of the lovers' calls that she left it to 'Hanamaru'...or was Akiko-san lying? For what? She had no reason to lie? Something's fishy, and I was curious.

I took out the necktie pins and laid them out of the table, inspecting them one by one. They were all the same. Right when I was about to plut them back into the box, I noticed something.

The inside of the box was dented.

I gently took the cardboard covered in flannel, and found a stack of paper underneath. It was a purchase order. The platinum necktie and the Turkish stones were bought at the same store, but by different people. 'Ah', I exclaimed, and picked up Gorou-sensei's lover list to compare. 13 lists altogether, with 13 names, exactly the same.

What inheritance is this...they're basically the presents from his lovers! Does he want to return these presents he received when he was alive? Will they be happy? And why did they all have the same thing?

At this moment, a few words sensei said echoed in my mind—

I suddenly understood.

To be honest, I really didn't want to understand, and neither did I ever want it to be discovered. Despite this, I could understand why Gorou-sensei left the necktie pins to me, and what he intended for me to do.

I looked up at the ceiling, and again stared at the dazzling Turkish stones, before looking back at the gloomy scenery outside the winddow, and sighed. I took out my cellphone, hoping to settle this within a day, and had to carefully arrange the schedule. This was the first time in my life that I was so serious in making phone calls, and I hoped it would be the last. For a 17-year-old high school boy, 13 lovers were a huge burdern.

 

Winter appeared to be around the corner on this bright, cloudless sunny Sunday . 9am in the morning, I was cycling towards the detective agency.

“Why do I have to do this with you?”

Alice was very unhappy, but she put on her mourning clothes. I didn't say this as it really wasn't much of a praise, but Alice was really suited for wearing mourning clothes.

“You're Gorou-sensei's relative, Alice. Of course you have a reason to meet them.”

I answered. Actually, I knew very well it was just an excuse, and Alice certainly must have seen through my thoughts.

“You feel that it'll be awkward for you to talk with the women you don't know alone, right? Are you banking on me to recap great uncle Gorou's life to fill in the moments when you can't talk?'

No, everything's as you said.

“The important thing is that I hope you'll stay by my side.”

“M, mmmmm.”

Alice pulled her veil down to hide her blushing cheeks, and hid behind the plushies. It seemed she misunderstood in some strange way again.

“In other words, I'll be speaking for the dead for the first time, so I want you, the professional Alice, to watch. This is my request as your subordinate.”

I too wore a black suit and tie I borrowed, the official outfit of the NEET detectives.

“What speaker of the dead? You didn't figure out the most important part.”

“...Eh?”

“Whatever. Looks like the first one's already here. Pick up the tie pin now.”

It's true that there was a woman in mourning cclothes shown on a corner of the surveillance camera, coming through the front door of the building we hardly went by. I hurriedly adjusted my black necktie, and put on the Turkish stone necktie pin.

The doorbell rang.

I opened the office door, and on the corridor was a woman about 40 years old, giving off a radiant presesnce. Hiro led the lady up, and was standing beside her, telling her, please go in.

“I'm Fujishima, who spoke with you on the phone. Thank you for taking your time to come bay today...”

I lowered my head towards her as apology, and welcomed her in.

Soon after, I regretted choosing the NEET detective agency as the venue to deliver the inheritance. It was already Winter, and the air conditioning was switched on, so I had to apologize to her. We entered, and she stopped in shock due to the monitors in the room, so I had to calm her down. When I introduced Gorou-sensei's great niece Alice, she went “Well, so cute...resembles Gorou-sensei there...” and tried to hug Alice, so I had to split them up. Realizing that I might have to repeat the process another dozen times, I had a fainting sensation.

It was only when the visiting lady sat on the cushion opposite me did she realize,

“That necktie pin.”

“Yes.” I put my hand on my chest. “This is the present you gave Gorou-sensei, right? He told me this. The birthday stone he received on the birthday in ecember...”

“Yes, yes...that's right.”

The lady nodded with tears in her eyes. I felt Alice's icy glare on my back, and my organs were in a knot due to the guilt. At this point, there was no turning back. I took out the purple flannel, and laid it out in front of the lady.

It was the same platinum ornament and Turkish stone as the one on my chest—except the pin was removed and the brooch remained.

Wasn't it too much? The moment before I spoke up, this thought nearly tore my heart apart. However, I did my best to say those words.

“Sensei bought the same ornanment in the same shop, and wanted to give it to you. There's a purchase invoice, so I'm guessing it was for you. Gorou-sensei was often taken care of by the ladies, but never repaid them. However, for you, and you alone, well.”

The lady in front of me reached her trembling hands out for the brooch, and bent over to weep.

I looked up at the sky, and for the first time since I was born, I wanted to repent to God.

This Fujishima Narumi was often accused of being a con artist ever since he got involved with the NEETs. However, I can't deny anything this time. I'm sorry.

Right when I was wondering what I should do so as not to make this woman cry, something terrifying happened. The conversation skills Gorou-sensei taught me awoke in my mind.

“Gorou-sensei always said that he has nothing, and doesn't know anything other than to love, so all he can only do was to smile back when he receives. Please do the same for him.”

Even I was terrified that those words came out from my mouth. I finally escorted the woman, who stopped weeping, to the door, and handed her over to Hiro. Hiro's job was very important. He's in charge of getting the visiting ladies to leave quickly through the emergency staircase. Of course, all this was to prevent her from meeting the next lady coming through the front door.

 

“I never thought you would say such chilling lies with a straight face. And you said the same lines 30 times.”

After delivering the 13 gifts, I laid sprawled on the floor, worn out. Alice stood in front of me, speaking to me with a reluctant tone.

“If you intend to spend the rest of your life to repent to God, I'll be glad to recommend you a monastery.”

“Sorry. I thought of becoming a monk myself. Stop scolding me...”

Suddenly, the door could be heard being opened, and some slow footsteps approached. Finally, Hiro's voice rained down on me.

“You're amazing, Narumi! To be expected of how Gorou-sensei viewed you favorably. Even I couldn't think of such shameless words.”

“I had no choice!”

I sat up, and slammed the floor. The guilt and self-reproaching echoed in my heart, finally becoming anger.

“What else do you want me to do? If I said the truth, that'll just hurt them more!”

“You see! The thinking to 'lie to women rather than make them cry' is something Gorou-sensei taught. He definitely knew you'll be able to do it, and that's why he left the mission to you, right?”

Again, I collapsed on the floor.

“Don't give women a single cent, and not make them cry. Humph. That's what great uncle would think. Looks like I have to reconsider my assistant. I never thought you'll be this indecent.” Alice continued to berate me.

I kept telling Gorou-sensei's lovers that 'this is bought just for you', 'he intended to give this to you alone', but the sweet talk was all a lie. Gorou-sensei insisted on his own beliefs, never to spend anything on a single woman. The brooches given to all his lovers were all given to him by his other lovers. The reason why he wanted everyone to buy the same one was probably to avoid a tragedy of being spotted wearing a gift from the other women, right? Of course, none of the 13 women realized that there were exactly the same gifts given to him by others, and that's why my bluffing worked.

Gorou-sensei provided a wonderful memory to all the lovers without spending a single cent, and left the stage. For that purpose, he used this last disciple that's me for this brilliance.

“Oh yeah, there's 14 of them. The last one should be for Narumi, right? Shall I praise you for being a one of a kind gigolo?”

I guess? Actually, that's what I thought.

At this moment, Alice suddenly rushed off the bed, grabbed my shoulder, rolled me over on the floor, and grabbed my necktie pin.

“—Wh-what? You want this, Alice?”

“Enough with the nonsense!. Return it to its proper owner.”

“Proper owner? Who?”

“Who else? Great uncle Gorou's wife!”

“Sensei's wife? He has one? Ahh, Akiko-san's mother, right? Oh yeah, I forgot.”

“Seriously, have you not realized? You're so stupid it's amazing. Even when the day of the Final Judgment arrives, I bet you'll be stupidly checking the mailbox, wondering why the newspaper hasn't arrived.

“Eh?” I don't understand. Erm, what didn't I realize?

“That woman called Akiko is great uncle Gorou's wife.”

“Ehhhhh!?”

All my fatigue was instantly blown afar. I immediately nudged my body over to Alice.

“Wh-what do you mean?”

“That's what I mean. Great uncle Gorou's still alive!”

I was shocked, so stunned, my mouth was wide open.

“What kind of prank is this to play dead and get someone else to deliver the inheritance? He's just trying to wash his hands off and draw a line from all his lovers while he continues with his monkey show?”

“...How did you figure it out, Alice?” Hiro seemed to have some sense left, so he asked in my stead,

“Narumi, you received some medicine from Shionji Akiko, and she told you that it's the medicine he has to take, right?”

“Eh? Ah, ahh, yeah.”

Gorou-sensei wouldn't take medication often as he hated taking it, so Akiko-san requested me to remind him to take it when he came to 'Hanamaru'. I didn't have the chance, and didn't get to meet sensei again.

“Think back to what was written on the packaging of the medicine.”

“Eh? Erm, well, looks like it's some Chinese medcine. There are three Chinese words I couldn't read...erm.”

I fumbled through the pocket of my duffle coat, and took out the medicine. '妈富隆'. Alice spotted the three words through the black veil, and snorted.

“That's read as 'Marvelon'. A contraceptive drug.”

My jaw dropped once again.

What? A contraceptive drug? Why would Gorou-sensei take it?

“I stated it so clearly, and you still don't understand? That woman and great uncle Gorou teamed up to lie to you. They said he's sick, need to take medicine every day. That conceptive drug is something Shionji Akiko takes every day, right? The week's dates were printed on it, and the instructions were written in Chinese you don't understand. That's what they used to fool you two.”

“...Everything, was a lie? Eh...then...his incessant coughing was faked?”

“Of course it was faked! He pretended that he wasn't feeling well, had the fake medicine at your place; all that was for the sake of making you guys think he's dead.”

It was because we believed—that the 13 lovers who came to visit sensed the heavy atmosphere, and believed—

They believed that the unrivalled lover hunter, Shionji Gorou died.

I weakly lowered my head and stared at the medicine package in my hands. Contraceptives. Hiro's words again appeared in my mind. First rule of being a gigolo, avoid pregnancy.

Gorou-sensei couldn't possibly have any children.

In that case, the woman with the same family name was—

“You should have realized when you saw the 14 necktie pins, right!?”

Alice gave an impatient look as she stabbed her index finger at my chest.

“Great uncle Gorou can't possibly spend a single cent on a woman, so in other words, there were 14 women who sent him the necktie pin. Of course, the 14th is that Shionji Akiko!

And she continued stabbing her index finger at my chest.

“So return the last one to that woman right now! He lied to my assistnat, and decided for himself that my assistant will be the successor to being such a wretched gigolo. Totally unforgivable!”

Alice threw the necktie pin to Hiro.

“I already tracked down where those two are through the GPS. They're currently at a hotel in Ueno, and booked a flight for Australia tomorrow. I'll send the address to your phone. So return it to them now!”

“Me?”

“Who else? I won't let Narumi meet him again. I don't want that kind of man to be near Narumi again!”

 

Until Hiro left the office, I was basked in the emptiness of the strong cold breeze of the air conditioning. I simply felt that there were hundreds of mice jumping around in my mind, toppling everything I had stacked up all over the floor.

But despite this, I barely managed to understand the entire situation.

In other words, Gorou-sensei chose the 'only one' that was Akiko-san. In a certain sense, he, as a gigolo, died.

However, his heart that treasured women never died. He wasn't willing to go against his belief of 'not making women cry', and didn't wish for the art of wooing ladies to die off.

Perhaps he originally intended for Hiro to deliver his inheritance? Besides, Hiro was once his disciple whom he suffered with, and if he was honest and came up witht he plan to fool the lovers, Hiro would most likely cooperate. Otherwise, hoping that Hiro would realize his intentions by delivering the pins was way too risky.

However, Gorou-sensei met me, Fujishima Narumi, at 'Hanamaru'.

So this act of delivering the inheritance was a test he gave me?

“Alice...since Gorou-sensei's still alive, why didn't you tell me that right from the beginning?”

I asked with a feeble voice. The figure in mourning clothes was already back on the bed, facing the screen again.

“If I told you from the beginning, the lovers might figure it out! I want them to believe and go back, or else they'll idle around in the office and make a ruckus. That'll cause trouble for me too.”

“Ah, yeah, I see.”

“But I never thought that you could say out such blatant lies. Looks like great uncle taught you well! You honed your conman skills so well, so identical to him, it's disgusting.”

“Sorry...”

I exhalted the heavy breath that gathered in my chest onto the floor, and remove my tie.

“I didn't intend to actually learn, and I thought it was fine to just listen...but the way Gorou-sensei talks really made me want to remember his words. It's like there's some magic.”

“Forgot about it all right now. I don't want to hire an assistant that's some rotting leftovers.”

Such harsh words. But, well. Even without Alice telling me that, I'll slowly forget, right? It's some useless knowledge I'll never ever use in my life. The one I found most useful was the '25 dearest lines that'll definitely make someone happy', but these were only effective to women, and I probably won't need it...

“Mm, hmm? You forgot those too?” Alice suddenly turned back.

“What? I can't?'

“N-no, just out of curiosity. Those words that'll definitely delight people, what are they, for example?”

“Well, 'I'm not sure if I'll definitely make you happy, but as long as we're together, I believe that I'm definitely happy'.”

Alice began to blush, even on her ears, and she collapsed onto the bed. The hill of plushies fell on her, and they scattered onto the floor. Wait...this is just a ripoff linefrom the manga 'Tsuribaka Nisshi'[3], right? Gorou-sensei likes to quote others.

“U-uu, and then?” Alice again lifted her head. I couldn't see clearly through the veil, but it seemed her face was still a little red. Why continue asking?

“I guess, and... 'I'm always thinking of what to say when I meet you. But when I see you, I'm so happy that I forget everything...'.”

And this time, Alice herself fell down between the bed and the racks.

“Narumi! Y-you shameless idiot!”

“Aren't you the one who told me to say that? And I don't normally say those words!”

Just saying these words alone is embarrasssing!

Alice continued rolling around like yudedako[4], but she insisted on me to finish the 25 lines for some strange reason. What kind of punishment game is this? Please spare me already.

 

At the end of the year, I received a postcard from Gorou-sensei.

Of course, he didn't know my address, so he had it sent directly to 'Hanamaru'. Because of this, Min-san, Tetsu-senpai, Major, and even Hiro saw the postcard with the scenery and the words 'passed. You have succeeded me'.

“You guys might as well open a gigolo tuition center. Gather a whole bunch of scumbags, and it'll be easier for the police to prosecute.”

Min-san didn't really sound like she was joking.

“Alright! To celebrate Narumi succeeding the line, let's roll some dice.”

Tetsu-senpai cheerfully took out a bowl and som dice.

“Since we're celeberating Narumi becoming a gigolo, let's set a rule that rolling 4-5-6 will mean a big treat!”

Major too joined in excitedly.

“So rolling 2-5-6 [5]will mean 10 times the earnings!”

Wait, why's Hiro joining in too?

“Dealer this time will be Narumi, of course! Get rolling! We'll start with the usual max.”

But on the first roll, as if it was to be expected, I rolled a 4-5-6. The trio squealed, took out 10,000 yen notes and threw them at me. All I felt was fate being sarcastic to me.

As for Alice, of course, I never showed her the postcard. If she was to see the content, I wouldn't know how much she would nag at me. Even so, I had no intention of destroying the postcard, so it remained nailed in a corner of my room's wall with thumbtacks.

 

On every chilly night, I would occasionally think of Gorou-sensei.

I would lift my legs onto the table, lean back on the chair backrest, and look up to see the photo on the postcard. It's a distant scenery of the seaside at night, with a few rows of footsteps carved on the beach blown neatly by the winds. At the far end of the photo was a vague white figure, and when I looked closey at it, I would find that it's a white wedding veil flying due to the sea breeze.

There were a few things at the bride'sfeet.

A white morning coat that was taken off, a bouque that was scattered all over, boots that were overturned, and round glasses buried in the scene.

Whenever I saw this scene, I inadvertently smile.

This too should be an act too, right? He gave me a final lesson, for me to understand that a gigolo should be like this, and for that purpose, had Akiko-san involve to take a photo of such a lame joke, right? I had this thought, but I couldn't stop thinking that he really ran away from the wedding. That man might really do that after all.

Whenever I looked away from the photo and out of the winow, I would suddenly have an image of Gorou-sensei in his underwear, running away on the beach. He jumped onto an old open car, race down the seaside road, down past the clothes shop, gas station, McDonalds, and never once passing up the opportunity to woo the ladies, and in the end, drive off into the sunrise with a car full of ladies. He steps on the gas, blares the car's stero, and plays the Beach Boys soongs, dodging the headlights, moving forward, never stopping...

There was one strange detail however. In my imagination, the Gorou-sensei with his elbow on the driver seat door, holding the steering wheel wasn't an old man. His face resembled a high school boy who just had his 17th birthday, smiling as he goes towards the wind.


Translator's Notes and References[edit]

  1. In other words, Ueno Park
  2. This will be referred to later, so I won't translate this one
  3. 钓りバカ日志, literally Fishing Fool's Diary
  4. octopus dish
  5. 2-5-6 and 4-5-6 can both be read as Jigoro = Gigolo
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