stories

The Rumors About Me - Chapter 4 - page 1

"Therefore if, conversely, you persist in insisting upon your own sanity, that ultimately proves that the environment is normal, and that only you are abnormal. well then, go ahead and be a madman!"
He took a bottle of ink from the desktop and gulped down the blue-black fluid. Then he collapsed onto the sofa beside him and fell asleep.
"On a crazy morning, the two of them, drained down the blue ink ---." Humming this to herself, a naked nurse entered the examination room. From one hand she dangled a large bottle of ink. Taking an occasional swig from it, she sprawled on top of the doctor.
Still without any answers, I left the hospital. The sun was starting down, but it was still hot and humid.

As soon as I returned to the office, Akiko Mikawa called my desk from the typists' room.
"I'm sorry I turned you down yesterday after you'd been so nice as to ask me out."
"No," I answered reservedly. "Think nothing of it." Akiko was silent for a few moments. Apparently she was waiting for me to invite her out again. She'd obviously noticed that public opinion was tilting toward sympathy for me, and she was worried that the mass media would turn critical of her. That's way she'd called today with the intention of accepting my invitation.
I was silent for a few moments. So was she.
I sighed, and invited her out.
"By the way, how about this evening?"
"I'd be delighted."
"Then, after work, at the San Jose."
Word of our rendezvous promptly became news and went out on the air. When I entered the San Jose, the inside of the shop was terribly crowded, though it wasn't the kind of place that usually gets that full. All the customers were pretending to be on dates, and I couldn't tell which were reporters and which were gawkers. But whatever they were, it was obvious that they'd come to observe our date from the way they'd sometimes steal a glance in our direction while pretending to take no notice of us.
Naturally, for the hour Akiko and I were in the San Jose, we just sat silently with our tea and cakes in front of us. If we'd said anything unusual it would undoubtably have become a three-column headline story.
I parted with Akiko at Shinjuku Station, and returned to my lodgings. After hesitating for a long time, I switched on the television.