stories

When The Shogun Awoke - Chapter 4 - page 4

"No, please don't. It makes me very thirsty," said Kinjiro, shaking his head, "But I'm glad you are here. It's depressing enough having to keep company with idiots. So just to think they are treating me as a madman makes me even more depressed." He sighed deeply. "As you know, I'm a man of high self-esteem. In fact I think I'm more intelligent than most people. But even before I say that, I can say I'm proud to be sane. So no matter how haughtily I behave and how subserviently they behave, I can tell that they are laughing at me deep down. "The misery of a madman", "Lunatic Asylum---here too is a rough world: one yen for an interview": so they write mockingly in the papers. I can't put up with them any more.
"I understand," said the doctor nodding slowly several times. "In the past the First Lieutenant Kotani came here frequently to encourage you and cheer you up telling you how much you helped boost the nation's morale. But suddenly he stopped coming."
"Of course. Those peaceful days when the military used a madman for PR purposes are gone forever." Kinjiro cast a glance at his ceremonial uniform with a sorry look. "I acted a caricature of militarymen. And people felt warmly about them. But now the world is stinking with decadance. I don't need to play that role any more because there are plenty of other people who are disgusted with the military and@caricaturize it all the time. The military has become more@sensitive to their kind of humor and so it's only natural that it started to shun me."
"Excuse me." The door opened and the nurse entered the room holding a tray. She glanced at Shimada with a frown but when she looked toward Kinjiro her face was smiling. "It looks like the reporters went home. I'm here to clear things away."
"Thank you very much." Kinjiro handed a fifty sen coin to the nurse who started to clear the tea bowls. "Please buy some cakes for the patients."
"Thank you as always, Mr. Shogun." She made a gesture of gratitude by raising the coin with both hands, smiling. Putting it carefully inside a pocket in her white uniform, she glanced at Shimada and then strode out of the room.
"I can't stand it," said Kinjiro staring at the tatami mat as if to spit the words out. "I just can't stand the fact that I can't live in this world unless I act like a madman even though I'm not." With his imploring gaze fixed on the doctor, he continued as if to make each point clear. "Come to think about it, I have a feeling that I was happiest when I was mad. Shouting and swaggering, I truly believed I was a shogun. I could always have my way with whoever called me "shogun" no matter how they felt about me. I didn't have to distress myself with suspicions that those flatterers who called me "Shogun" or "Your Majesty" might actually be sneering at me behind my back. In other words I had to stay insane to materialize my old-time dream of being recognized@as somebody important. To put it differently, by being insane I could be myself without shrinking back before others, at last, for the first time in my life. I'm envious of what I was when I was mad. I even respect my former self as a madman. Why? The reason is that even though I had my ways all the time people liked me better when I was mad than when I was normal. Reporters and people in general were more pleased with what I said when I was mad than when I was sane. I'm even beginning to think that I should have stayed insane to take full advantage of my talent. When I read papers of the past I notice that I was full of such generosity, explosive vigor, and superhuman capacity to fantacize that as a sane man I can't even imagine to emulate. I want to regain the talent of my former self. I want to lose my mind again." He dropped his head forward in despair. "I want to go mad again!"
Just then a sound of footsteps came running along the hallway and also a scream.
"Help! Hhhhelp!" It was Nurse Kanasugi shrieking.
"Doctor! Please help me!" She darted into the room and hiding herself behind the doctor screamed, "Murderer!"
The Grand Chamberlain came running into the room, his face red with fury. "You bitch, I'll smash your brain out!"