stories

The Rumors About Me - Chapter 1 - page 1

The Rumors About Me(1) ---

I was astonished while watching the news on NHK when the announcer suddenly began talking about me.
"...and that concludes our news about Vietnam. Next, domestic topics.
"Today, Mr. Tsutomu Morishita invited Miss Akiko Mikawa, a typist at his company, out to tea, but was refused. This was the fifth time Mr. Morishita had invited Miss Mikawa out to tea, though she'd only agreed to accompany him on the first occasion. Since then, he had been turned down repeatedly."
"Huh? What, what, what!!"
I banged my cup down on the low table and my eyes widened.
"Wh-what the devil is this!"
My mug shot filled the screen.
"The reason for Miss Mikawa's refusal of Mr. Morishita's invitation for a date is not yet known," continued the announcer. "However, according to Miss Hiruma Sakamoto, Miss Mikawa's friend and co-worker, Miss Mikawa does not necessarily dislike Mr. Morishita. It is likely that the reason she refused is that she simply does not like him all that much."
A head and shoulders shot of Akiko Mikawa loomed on the screen.
"From this, it is believed that Mr. Morishita did not make a particularly strong impression on Miss Mikawa the first time she had tea with him. Meanwhile, informed sources report that tonight Mr. Morishita did not go anywhere after work, but returned directly to his lodgings, where he prepared and is eating dinner by himself. That concludes our news about Mr. Morishita. "In other news, this evening is the night festival at the Yakuyoke Hachiman Shrine in Mizugaoka, Kobe. Let's go to our live report on the festivities from Mr. Mizuno, reporting from the scene."
"Yes! Mizuno here..."
I sat dazed, blankly watching the screen as the television broadcast the next story.
"Whew, that was a shock," I murmured at last. It was an hallucination. It had to be. An illusion, and an auditory hallucination at that. Anything else was unthinkable. In the first place, what was the point of reporting that I had invited Akiko Misawa out, and that I had been soundly turned down as usual? It had no news value.
Still, for an hallucination, the photographs of myself and Akiko Mikawa shown on the screen, the style of character used for our names underneath, and the way the announcer had spoken lingered all too vividly in my memory. I shook my head violently.