stories

The Rumors About Me - Chapter 1 - page 3

It must cost money to print even a single copy of a newspaper. Who on earth would go to all that expense to plot to drive me crazy? I had absolutely no memory of doing anything to make someone hate me. If anything, I suppose it could be that someone else was in love with Akiko Mikawa. But even then, all I'd gotten from her so far was the cold shoulder.
I figured that anyone who would try a prank on this scale must be a real loony. But there simply wasn't anyone like that around me.
"Oh dear, it would have been better if I hadn't torn up that newspaper." I clicked my tongue at my own short temper. It might have helped me find the criminal, and it would have been evidence once I had him.

I boarded the crowded commuter train. As I stood in the aisle toward the middle of the car, trying to figure out who among the people I know might be responsible, I suddenly noticed the newspaper the man next to me was reading. It was a different paper, but there was still an article about me in it. Moreover, this one was two columns long!
"What....." I uttered softly.
The man reading the paper looked me in the face, turned his eyes back to the page, and after looking at my picture, then raised his head and stared at me. I hastily turned my back on him.
What a bastard! I felt outrage as a sudden wave of anger over swept me. The criminal had switched the morning papers with fakes along the entire rail line. He had not only forced me to read the article about me, but everyone riding with me on this train. He was trying to make a laughing stock out of me, to ruin my reputation. And it goes without saying that he was trying to drive me crazy. I filled my lungs with the stuffy air of the packed train. Damn! I wouldn't fall for it! I'd never let him drive me mad!
"Hahahahahahahaha!" I laughed shrilly. "Who's going mad?" I shouted. "I'm perfectly sane! Hahahahahahahahahaha!"
The loudspeakers were barking away as usual when we arrived at Sinjuku Station.
"Sinjuku. Sinjuku. Passengers changing to the Yamanote Line please proceed to the platform for Yamanote trains. This train is bound for Yotsuya, Kanda and Tokyo. Incidentally, Mr. Tsutomu Morishita is riding in the sixth car; He had only a bottle of milk for breakfast this morning. Well everybody, have a good day and work hard!"