Simon finally raises from his accident-induced slump with a little help from a mysterious girl.
“Text”= Japanese People Speaking
“/Text/”= English People Speaking
“+Text+”= American People Speaking
“#Text#”= Australian People Speaking
It’s Friday night. Simon awoke panting hard in his bed. He looked around and cut on the light.
“/Darcy!/” he cried. “/Darcy!/” The man swallowed for a bit.
“/Darcy!/” Simon cried again. Finally, the door opened and his sister peeked inside.
“/What’s wrong?/” she asked.
“/It keeps happening,/” her brother said.
“/Okay,/” she said. “/Lie down./” Simon did so.
“/Do you mind?/” he asked.
“/No,/” she said as she sat on his bed with a black and white “Greek Mythology” book in her hand. “/I like this story anyway./” Simon watched as Darcy opened the book.
“/Thanks,/” he said. Darcy turned to the story in front of her.
“/Orpheus was the greatest poet who ever lived,/” she read. “/His music was so beautiful that when he played, rivers would stop flowing, winds would stop blowing, and the skies would open up so his wondrous melodies could be heard by the gods in heaven./” Simon settled in read as she read to him.
“/One day,/” Darcy went on. “/His wife, Eurydice, was bitten to death by vipors. Overcome with grief, Orpheus played heartbreaking songs on his lyre. The gods were moved, and so advised Orpheus to travel to the land of the dead and sing his songs to Hades to bargain for his wife. So it was that Hades’ heart was softened and he allowed Eurydice to leave on one condition- that Orpheus would walk in front and never look back./”
Simon went right to sleep with a smile on his face.
Saturday night. Simon walked down the street to the newest club in Tokyo. He trailed the line to the stairs. He found his friends at the doorway and made his way to them.
“#Hey! There he!#” Emma called as Simon caught up to them.
“You’re looking great,” Shuichi said.
“/Cheers,/” Simon replied. “/I feel great too./” Fujisaki and Emma shared a kiss at the top of the stairs. Simon looked on slightly surprised.
“/Eh?/” he asked. “/What’s all this then?/” Emma turned to him, grinning. She put her arm around her boyfriend.
“#Aw, you know man,#” she said. “#The winds have changed, rivers of blood and all that.#” Simon noticed the uncomfortable look on the keyboardist face.
“Shit getting wild, man!” Ando cut in. “Him and her. Sid and Casper…” Hiro gave him a hard nudge in the stomach. The man yelped in pain. Simon slowly began to frown.
“Knock it off,” Hiro whispered.
“/Yeah, where is Chelle?/” Simon asked.
“She came early,” Ando said. “With Casper.” There came another smack to his stomach by Nicole. He breathed out in pain. A let down came over Simon’s face.
Inside was a true party. One girl stood on the back bar dancing. The DJ filled the air with pounding music. Lights bounced off the dark walls. The clubbers danced to the heavy music raining down on them. Simon stood on the balcony, watching everyone on the floor. He couldn’t connect anymore. The man had lost it all. He didn’t know how to get it all back.
“You alright?” Fujisaki asked. The English man looked up at him. He nodded with a fake smile.
“/It’s loud,/” he said. Simon’s pals looked over the edge. He kept his eyes on Fujisaki.
“/You okay?/” he asked. The keyboardist looked up at him.
“What do you mean?” he asked. Simon shrugged at him.
“You seem a bit worried,” he said. Fujisaki kind of frowned at him.
“I’m fine,” he lied. Emma danced over to Simon.
“#Loudest club in the west, huh?#” she asked as she patted him on the back hard. “#You’ll be alright?#” Simon nodded.
“/Yeah,/” he said. “/I’m fine./” They all watched the party below. Suddenly, Arisu came up beside Simon and lightly grabbed his wrist.
“Hey Simon,” she said. He looked over at her.
“/Hey Arisu,/” he said. “/Are we going somewhere?/”
“Oh yes!” she said. Then, the crazy woman led him away with her. The other friends looked on in slight concern. Arisu dropped pills in the palm of his hand.
“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” she asked.
“/Yeah,/” he said. “/Totally ready./” They both took the pills. Arisu looked out on the dance floor. Sid and Casper were dancing close together. The bitterness still hadn’t died away. Simon looked out and saw the same thing.
“/Ah,/” he said as the new couple shared a kiss. “/Isn’t that sweet?/” Casper put her arms around Sid.
“I’m sad about them,” Arisu said. She turned to Simon. “Aren’t you?” she asked. Simon put on a fake smile.
“/Fake and dandy,/” he lied.
“Good,” Arisu lied back. “We’re just fine and dandy.” Simon continued to watch the new couple.
“Now,” the woman said. “Buy me a drink.” Moments later, Simon and Arisu sat at the bar drinking. The latter lowered her glass. An idea formed in her head.
“I think,” she spoke up. “That since Sid and Casper are together, we should do the same.”
“/What?/” he asked. “/Go out./”
“Yeah,” she said.
“/Get dressed up? Go out on a date?/” Simon asked.
“Yeah,” Arisu replied. Moments later, they stood outside the club, smoking pot and drinking. Simon turned to Arisu.
“/And we’d talk and eat dim sum and I’d take you home,/” he went on.
“And I’d walk you upstairs,” she replied.
“/And I’d knock my head on the door frame and fall back down the stairs./”
“And I’d run and get the witch hazel.”
Simon looked over at her. “/And I’d say, ‘Witch hazel? What are you, ninety? Get me some f**g painkillers./”
“And I’d say, ‘Hey, it’s an excellent astringent and we’re out of aspirin.”
They walked back into the club. Arisu turned to her pal.
“And then I’d turn the argument into a good, hard, angry f**k,” she added. Simon frowned a bit.
“/Uh… Well, that’s where we might have a problem,/” he said. The woman looked at him.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“/I’ve got a bit of a problem in the downstairs…/” he said.
“What?” Arisu asked. Simon’s face went pale.
“/You know…/” he said. “/Downstairs./”
“What?” Arisu asked again. “Where?” Simon became frustrated.
“/Oh for f**k sake!/” he cried. “/My cock doesn’t work!/” At that moment, the music stopped and everyone looked up at him.
Moments later, Sid watched his friend on the dance floor. Simon eyed him back. Casper came over to her new boyfriend at the bar.
“/Oh, hi,/” Sid mumbled. “/Uh… he’s watching us./” They turned and still saw Simon looking at them. Arisu turned to the new couple as well. Casper and Sid eyed them back.
“/We can’t help it Sid,/” the hippie reasoned. The man turned to her and looked back over at their friends.
“/No,/” he said. He turned to her.
“/It’s okay,/” he said. “/Isn’t it?/”
“/It’s fine,/” Casper said. “/We’re fine./” Sid nodded.
“/Fine,/” he repeated.
“You okay?” Arisu asked Simon. He nodded with a forced smile.
“/I’m fine,/” he lied.
“And dandy,” Arisu added. He smiled and nodded as he watched the new couple at the bar. But then, he paused.
“/Whoa!/” he said. “/Here it comes!/” The man chuckled a bit. “/Oh, I miss this!/” he said. The storm took over his mind. Simon began to see the bright colors floating through his mind.
“/F***g hell, I missed this!/” he called. The man took a breath. “/I feel good,/” he said.
“Yes,” Arisu replied. “Take it in, Simon.” He grabbed onto her arms.
“/This is f***g good!/” he said. He raced over to the dance floor to join the party.
“What about our date?” Arisu shouted. Simon joined Shuichi and Emma on the dance floor.
“/I’m balalaika, feathered up, and ready to rock da party!/” he said.
“#Yeah, boi!#” Emma said.
“/Yeah boi!/” Simon yelled.
“Yeah boi!” Shuichi joined in. Simon began dancing around for his friends. The more the beat sped up through the air, the more the man danced around. Soon, all three got lost in the crazy beat around them.
“/Yeah!/” Simon called out.
Meanwhile, Ando and Sid lead back in a corner, getting high. The former took a drink of beer.
“Dude,” Ando said. “I can’t believe you’re going out with Casper.” Sid just shrugged.
“/It just happened,/” he said.
“But you’re,” Ando said. “You know…”
“/What?/” Sid asked. Ando shrugged a bit.
“Well, you’re not exactly…” he began.
“/What? Not exactly what?/”
“Not exactly, you know. A player, a don, an R Kelly, a baby daddy…”
“/All right, I get it./”
“A smooth criminal, a president of the USA, a Buddha Buddha Buddha cheese Buddha…”
“/Okay!/” Sid said. Simon walked up to them.
“/Hey Sid,/” he said. His friend looked up at him. He sat up right away.
“/Simon!/” he said. “/Um… You having a good evening?/”
“/I’m just marvelous, Sidney,/” his friend said. “/Like Hell on earth here. Glorious. Yourself?/”
“/Uh… yeah…/” Sid replied. “/Yeah, I’m alright./”
“/Excellent!/” Simon went on. “/Vibrant! Superb! So glad to hear it!/” His friend made an odd face at him.
“/Simon, are you feeling okay?/” he asked.
“/I’m top-notch, buddy!/” Simon said, sarcastically. “/Enjoying your night out?/” Sid looked over at Ando who gave him a blank look in return. Only one thing came to their minds. “Oh crap!” was written all over their faces. Their friend gave them a crooked smile.
“/Me too!/” he boomed. Simon took the beer out of his best friend’s hand and gulped it down. Casper came out giggling from the main dance floor, but then she froze in worry.
“/Ah!/” Simon said when he finished the beer. He wiped the remaining trace from his mouth. The man looked up and saw his ex.
“/Oh, hey Nips,/” he said.
“/Don’t call her nips, Simon!/” Sid interjected.
“/What are you going to do?/” his former friend challenged.
“/I’m… uh…/” Sid said. “/Objecting. Strongly!/” Simon only nodded at him, smirking.
“/Come on,/” he said.
“/Simon, what are you doing?/” Casper asked.
“/Isn’t she pretty?/” her ex asked. “/Eh, man?/” Ando, Sid, and Casper all looked at him with deep worry in their eyes. It was as if watching a car about to explode in slow motion. They could all hear the ticking miles away.
“/Eh?/” Simon asked. “/Eh? Eh?/”
“/Simon,/” Sid spoke up.
“/You two make such a sweet couple,/” Simon went on. “/Out of all the world’s famous lovers, Antony and Cleopatra…./”
“/Listen,/” Sid spoke up.
“/Taylor and Burton,/” his former friend added. “/Jordan and Peter…/”
“/Stop it,/” Casper said as Ando chuckled. He quickly went silent.
“/Bert and Ernie…/” Simon picked up. “/I would possibly say that you two are quite possibly the greatest snog history has so far encountered./”
“/What is wrong with you, Simon?/” Casper asked. “/Are you okay?/”
“/What is it with you people and the concept of okay?/” he cut in. “/I mean, we’re a f**g threesome, aren’t we? You know… peas in a pod. A f**g family, that’s what we are./” He was about to blow.
“/Do you need to sit down?/” Casper asked, trying to reign back in some control. “/Just calm down./”
“/No!/” he said.
“/Just calm down…/” she said.
“/No!/” he repeated. “/I need to… I’ve got… I… I need to go./” He hurried off to the bathroom. The storm had begun to leak out in his head.
“/Out of my way!/” he yelled. Casper looked down in her own guilt.
Simon ran all the way to the dimly lit bathroom and locked himself in one of the stall. He has taken it in all too fast. The man huddled over a toilet and began to throw up. He sat up, breathing out his own sick.
“It’s a panic attack, that’s all,” a woman’s voice said in the next stall. Simon looked over to his right. A pair slender, pale feet stood out from under the door.
“It sounds like you’re having a panic attack,” she repeated.
“/I can’t breathe,” Simon panted out. “/I can’t…/”
“Maybe it’s because you want to f**k your sister,” the woman suggested. Simon looked up with the jerk of his head.
“/What?!?/” he asked in between pants.
“Do you want to f**k your sister?” the woman asked again.
“/No!/” Simon panted out. “/Jesus./”
“It’s just people say that panic attacks come from some deeply repressed sexual urges,” the woman went on. “You know?” By this time, Simon knelt down and looked at the pretty slender feet in the black pencil-heel pumps.
“/What?/” he asked.
“Just testing out a theory,” the woman said. The door to his stall opened wide. This woman reminded him of a ghost with her pale white face and deep red lips. Her shoulder-length black hair and equally black dress added onto her haunting image.
“Actually,” the woman said. “I’m talking shit because it turns out a panic attack’s just a f**kload of adrenaline mainlining into your heart. Just how we deal with danger. Fight or flight they call it, right?” Simon trembled.
“/I don’t know you,/” he said.
“Are you a fighter or a flyer, Simon Williams?” she asked. He breathed in heavily with confusion.
“Depending on your answer,” the woman picked up. “Well, a lot depends on your answer.” Simon still stared at her blankly. Who or what was this minx? She took a step back, smiling.
“See you around,” she said. Her jewelry clanked as she walked out of the bathroom. Simon got up and tried to look after her, but she was already gone. He looked around the dimly let place. What was that just now?
Simon made it back out to the club and looked out among the crowd. He spotted Arisu kissing on some random guy. Just a few feet away, he saw Sid watching the couple kissing. The man looked over and saw his former friend staring at him. It all just felt unbearable. Then, Simon turned and walked away. The man ended up running all the way home.
The next morning, Simon awoke in his bed, panting. As he tried to keep himself the together, the doorbell rang. Outside, Sid and Casper waited to come in. Darcy opened the door. Casper put on her best smile. The younger girl stepped outside.
“/Hi Darcy,/” Casper said. “/How are you?/”
“/I’m fine,/” Darcy replied. “/How are you?/” Casper frowned a bit.
“/Good,/” she said. “/Is Simon here? We need to speak to him./” Darcy pushed open the door and let them in. The new couple made it up to Simon’s room. The man was nowhere to be seen. They all looked around.
“/Tea, coffee, anyone?/” Darcy asked.
“/Er… no thanks,/” Casper said.
“/Er… no, I’m fine,/” Sid replied.
“/Simon?/” Darcy asked.
“/No thank you,/” he said under his bed. Darcy walked out of the room. Casper drew in a breath.
“/You okay Simon?/” Sid spoke up. “/You seem a little under… well… under the bed./”
“/I’m fine,/” their friend lied.
“/Simon, come out,/” the hippie said.
“/I prefer not to,/” he said. Casper cleared her throat.
“/Listen,/” she said. “/I think we need to talk about this./”
“/I really don’t know what you mean,/” Simon lied.
“/Well… Me and Sid are together now,/” she said.
“/Yeah, I know,/” Simon replied.
“/And you’re obviously not okay with it,/” Casper pointed out.
“/Who says I’m not?/” Simon asked.
“/Uh… well… You did pretty much last night,/” Sid admitted.
“/Oh come on!/” Simon said. “/I was only taking the piss. You know? Cause it was funny./” The couple clearly didn’t buy it./
“/Listen, do you mind?/” Simon asked. “/I’ve got an interview today. I’ve got to get ready./”
“/Alright,/” Sid said. “/Okay, oh. See you later, Simon./” He walked out of the room. Casper took a little peek under the bed.
“/Bye Simon,/” she said. Then, she walked away.
“/Bye,/” he muttered to her. The door quietly closed. He hit his head trying to crawl out.
“/F**k!/” Simon shouted. Darcy helped him get dressed moments later.
“/Take this,/” she said as she handed him a stack of useful paperwork. “/It’s stuff, maps and shite./”
“/Okay,/” her brother said.
“/You look really good, Simon,/” Darcy told him. “/Like you’re ready for anything./”
“/Thanks,/” he said with a small nod. “/See ya later./” They hugged and he left. Darcy watched on, silent.
Simon rode the subway all the way to Kyoto. He was going to check out the college there. The dark underground gave him a moment to reflect. He looked at the book that Darcy had given him. As soon as he opened up to read, he heard a news paper snap open. The man looked up to see an older American vet looking back at him. Simon turned to his book before looking back up again. The vet stared at him before lowering his paper.
“+I’m going to tell you a story,+” he said. “+A young man wakes up one morning. He gets dressed and goes downstairs. He makes himself breakfast. He walks to the driveway and gets into his car. He starts off for I think a couple of miles. Stops and gets out of his car. He has a couple of his solider buddies pour gas on his head and sets himself on fire./” Simon looked at him funny.
“/He… what?/” he asked.
“+Sets himself on fire,+” the vet repeated. “+F***g BOOM!+” Simon still looked at him blankly. The older man chuckled. The younger man didn’t get it. The vet calmed down.
“+What’s in the bag?+” he asked.
“/My sandwiches,/” Simon replied.
“+So, what do we have?+” the older man asked. Simon reached over to the bag and pulled them out.
“/Ham and cheese, salted tuna, or tomato and cheese,/” he said.
“/Tomato and cheese!/” the vet said. “/Isn’t life wonderful?/” The younger man offered him a sandwich. The veteran took it and took a bite. He showed Simon the burns on his face and ear.
“+You looking?/+” he asked. Simon blinked at him.
“/I don’t… What?/” he asked.
“+A few scars,+” the vet said. “+A few marks.+” He paused for a moment. “+What do you think of them?+” he asked.
“/They’re horrible,/” Simon answered.
“+At least I got them,+” the vet said. “+Because I f***g wear!+” Simon stared at him still lost for a moment.
“/Right…/” he mumbled.
“+What about you?+” the veteran asked. “+Do you have any scars?+” Simon shook his head.
“/No,/” he said. “/I’m fine./”
“+Yeah, sure you are,+” the vet said. “+You’re fine and dandy.+” Simon stared at him uneasy.
“+Right…+” the older man mumbled. Simon still stared at him. The veteran turned back to his paper.
“+Tomato and cheese,+” he said. “+Hm, it’s a little f***g miracle.+” Simon returned to his book.
At ten in the morning, he made it to Kyoto University. He looked around under the bright sun before heading inside. So many people here.
“Eighteen to twenty years old,” the perky tour leader said in one of the conference rooms in the Student Union. “The age of opportunity. I bet you can’t wait to come here! Imagine it: being able to live away from your parents and you can do anything you like, stay up all night and eat cake.” She turned to her partner.
“Ichigo,” she said.
“Thank you, Risa,” the man said as she sat down next to him before a group of apathetic students. He rose to his feet before them.
“So, new home,” he said. “New friends, new horizons, the good times, the bad times.”
“The parties,” Risa added. “Oh my god, the parties!”
“The loves that will never be, even though they seem so right,” Ichigo said. Risa rose to her feet.
“Just remember though,” she said. “That if you will drink, and personally I have bitter lemon.” She paused for a short moment.
“But if you do,” she said. “Just don’t overdo it or you won’t be able to get up in the morning for your classes.” The group still remained silent as she sat down. Ichigo stood back up.
“So, any more questions before we begin the tour?” he asked.
“Are you two f***g or what?” one know-it-all shouted in the background. Ichigo breathed in before sitting down.
“Uh… no, we’re not sleeping together,” Risa was quick to say. “I adore Ichigo to bits, but he’s more like a brother to me.” Her partner looked a little bit crushed by that.
“But, you’ll make friends like that too,” she said. “Friends who appreciate that you never, never, never want that to happen.” It all just stung to Ichigo next to her.
“So, no,” Risa summed up. “We’re certainly not doing that.” Ichigo rose to his feet.
“Uh… no,” he admitted. “We’re not, truly not. Anymore questions before we go?” He cleared his throat in the silence. “Thank you…” the man mumbled. Then, the group headed off as Ichigo sat back down. Simon went his own way with the map. He seemed a little bit lost in the process. The map didn’t seem to be much help to him at all. He even came by the same place twice. The man opened the office door to ask for help and went inside.
“If you all work together, then you’ll…” he heard someone saying. He closed the door behind him. A professor and his group all looked up at him.
“You’re late,” the professor hissed at him.
“/Sorry, I couldn’t find the room,/” Simon said as he walked over and took his seat.
“And yet everyone else here seems to have managed, which I find kind of spooky, really,” the older man said.
“/Sorry,/” Simon mumbled.
“Please,” the professor said as the potential student sat down. Simon sat down at last. The older man turned his chair to him.
“So, whilst you were out meandering the around in the halls,” he said. “We were introducing ourselves.” He turned to one of the other potential students.
“Nao,” he said. “You were telling us what you did on your summer off.”
“Yeah, will,” the freshman began. “As I was saying, I spend most of my time in the States. You know, building bridges of the real and symbolic variety. You know, just really teaching the high school students out there the value of teamwork.”
“So, many years of colonization, they still haven’t managed to grasp the rudiments of teamwork? Sloppy. They must have been delighted when you showed up.” Nao gave him a look of discomfort. The professor smirked and looked at his other potential students.
“You next,” he said as he pointed at Simon. The young man looked dead-on at him.
“/Me?/” he asked.
“Yes, yes,” the professor replied. “You. Enlighten us. Do.”
“/Um… Okay…/” Simon began. “/Uh… I’m Simon Williams. I go to college. I live in…/”
“I said enlighten us, not bore us,” the professor cut in. “/Williams-san, speak about yourself, about your motives, your drive, your animus.” The potential student stared at him.
“/I…/” Simon began again.
“Don’t know what animus means, do you?” the professor asked.
“/Yes, I know what it means,/” Simon replied.
“Well, I’m relieved,” the professor said. “You see, because at this university, we don’t have room for the stupid.” One random potential student rose to his feet.
“Well, I think I better go then,” he said. He bowed and took his exit.
“Bye,” the professor said. Simon watched the potential student walk out the door. The professor turned back to the English man.
“Good,” he said. “So Simon, you were about to tell us about how extremely clever you are.” The English man shrugged.
“/I’m not that clever,/” he said.
“Oh, he’s clever, alright,” a familiar voice spoke up. Simon looked up to see the woman from the club last night, sitting in the group with him. She winked at him.
“Really?” the professor asked. “Touching. Sadly lacking in substance. At our university, you have to have verve, a sense of charisma, intellectual thrust. And that’s what we’re here to do this afternoon is to find out whether you’re a giver or whether you’re…”
“Willing to sleep with the sensei?” the woman cut in.
“I’m sorry?” the professor asked as he looked at her.
“I was just making the point, sir,” the woman said. “You’ve been screwing every girl with your eyes since you got here. Which suggests that sex ranks higher than substance. And I’ll pass, thanks. You see, I don’t really find ‘intellectual thrust’ that sexy. Or fake dye in your hair for that matter.” Simon chuckled.
“Oh you think that’s funny, do you?” the professor asked him. The potential student drew his mouth closed.
“/It’s possibly funny,/” he replied.
“Possibly funny?” the professor asked. “Right, well, you see the thing is, I don’t actually have to put up with…”
“Okay, cool, bye,” the woman said as she rose to her feet. Then, she walked out of the room. Simon looked after her, amazed.
“I think you should join her,” the professor said. “Don’t you, Simon?” He didn’t speak at first. Then, Simon got up and walked out of the room.
“See ya,” the professor said. He turned back to the rest of the potential students.
“You?” he asked.
Outside, Simon followed his new “friend.”
“No, really f**d up,” she said.
“/I really f**d up?/” he asked. “/Wait! What are you even doing here?/”
“Same thing you are,” the woman said. They walked further down the trail. Simon looked over at the minx. Who the hell was she exactly? The duo headed up the stairs.
“Wow,” the woman said. “Check it out!” She raced up ahead to a swimming pool. “Ah,” she said. “Shall we?”
“/No,/” Simon spoke up. “/No way! First of all, I can’t really swim that well anymore. And secondly…/”
“Ah, just do it,” the woman said as she pushed him into the pool. She laughed as he splashed around, coming up for air. He struggled to stay afloat.
“/Ahh! What the f**k?!?/” he cried. “/I told you I can’t…/” His “friend” only giggled as the English man still struggled in the water.
“/I can’t!/” he yelled. “/I can’t swim!/”
“Oh, you are such a pussy,” the woman said. She jumped into the water with him. Simon still struggled.
“/I can’t!/” he yelped.
“Easy,” the woman cooed. “You just don’t want to.” She took hold of his body.
“Lie back,” she said. He did so while moving his arms and legs.
“That’s it,” the woman said. “You’re okay.” Simon slowly began to get the hang of it.
“It’s easy,” his friend whispered. She leaned in for a kiss on his lips. Her lips met with his lips. “Just float,” she whispered. The woman floated on her back next to him. In that moment, time did not seem to matter in the water. It was just them in the peace.
“Excuse me,” he heard someone say moment later. Simon looked up to see Ichigo, Risa, and the tour group looking at him from the edge.
“Come here, please,” Risa said. Simon looked around and his friend was nowhere to be seen. Risa made a face at him as he swam back to the edge.
“Come on,” she pushed. “A bit naughty, but never mind. Up you come.” He climbed out with help from her. Risa gave him a stern look.
“Simon, is that right?” she asked.
“/Yes,/” he said. The tour leader stuck a name tag on his wet jacket.
“Now Simon,” Risa said. “The thing is, we’re not really supposed to go in the pool. It’s really only for sporting events.”
“And the Super Irony Fun Splash Club,” Ichigo added.
“And the Super Irony Fun Splash Club, too,” Risa repeated. “You’re supposed to be on the tour.”
“/Uh… there was this girl, but she’s gone,/” Simon explained.
“Don’t go with her, Simon,” Risa said.
“/What?/” Simon asked.
“You should join us,” Ichigo said.
“/What?/” Simon repeated.
“Yes,” Risa said. “We’ll find you somewhere you can dry off.” The tour leaders returned to the group.
“You should get out of those wet clothes too,” Risa told him. “I’d really like to see you out of those clothes.” Ichigo held out a black poncho.
“I lend you my poncho,” he said. Simon looked at the tools blankly for a long moment.
“/I’m all right, thanks,/” he said. “/Just… I’m alright./” He and the group went back on the tour. The dim hallway and Ichigo’s endless talking drew him back into the factory like flow of things. Around the corner, Simon’s “friend” waited for him. She watched as the potential students passed by.
“Psst,” she whispered when Simon walked by her. He paused and turned.
“In here,” his friend whispered. “Come in here.” Simon turned and saw the tour group still half-listening to Ichigo go on about the building’s structure. They won’t miss him. Simon quietly walked into a random classroom.
The inside looked like a chemistry lab. Simon closed the door behind him. The woman stood on the other side of the lab, waiting. They didn’t speak at first.
“/I want to talk to you,/” Simon said. The woman smirked at him.
“Come here, then,” she said. She cut off the lights as he walked over to her. He paused in the dark.
“/What are you doing?/” he asked.
“The idea is to walk across the room,” she said.
“/The room’s full of shite,/” Simon told her.
“This is a lab,” the woman explained. “It’s an experiment. Come here.” Simon tried to look around in the dark. He could hear wires buzzing around him. Not good since his clothes were still wet.
“/For f**k sakes,/” he muttered to himself. The man began his walk. The first step he took? Glass broke.
“/Aw f**k!/” he called out. He still kept walking and crashing into things. A spark exploded behind him.
“/Oh shite!/” he yelled. The woman laughed as he kept struggling in the darkness.
“/Ow,/” he mumbled to himself. More explosions sent off the alarms.
“/Bollocks!/” he muttered. The woman still laughed. She finally turned on the lights when she heard him close to her. Simon looked up and saw her pretty, pale face.
“Well done,” she said. He looked around at all of the mess he had made. Smoke filled the room.
“/Well done?/” he repeated.
“You got here though,” the woman pointed out.
“/What do you want from me?/” he asked. Suddenly, there came a pounding on the door.
“Hey! Who’s in there!” someone yelled. “Open up!” His friend turned to him, smiling.
“Got to run,” she said. Then, she dashed out the door. Simon took off after her as the security guards yelled after them. Simon ran all the way to the dorms. He stopped in the parking lot to catch his breath. That woman… what the hell was she?!? Why did she keep doing this to us? And low and behold, she stood over him smiling. They both laughed for a moment.
“These are the dorms,” she told him. “Shall we?” She pulled him to standing and took him inside. The woman walked through the hallway, sniffing the air. They came right to dorm number seven. A smile came onto her face.
“Ah,” she said. Then, she unlocked and opened the door. Her two roommates sat on the floor, smoking bongs. They looked up and saw the pair.
“Good afternoon,” one of them said. “How may I help you?” The woman gave him a smile.
“We’re seeking shelter from the fascist oppressors,” she said. “And we’re wet.” Inside, the woman looked at a poster on the wall. Simon sat with one of the roommates.
“Can I interest you in some hash?” he asked the English man. He shook his head.
“/I’m not really supposed to,/” he said. “/Drugs do odd things to me at the moment./” The roommate smiled at him.
“Aren’t they supposed?” he asked. He took another smoke.
“This is Yu,” he said. The other roommate looked up at Simon.
“You want a hit from the bong?” he asked.
“He is an artist,” the first roommate said. “Truly, an artist. I’m Kiku, his roommate.” He lit up a cigarette and took a smoke.
“And this,” he said. “Is of the purest, highest possible grade I assure you.”
“Cool!” the woman said with a giggle. Simon took a smoke for himself.
“Sweet!” Kiku said. “All splendid fun.” Simon lowered the blunt. The woman lied on the bed, smoking from the bong. There came a knock at the door. Kiku put his finger to his lips. He opened the door to see Risa and Ichigo standing on the other side.
“Risa-chan!” he said. “My little cherry blossom. How are you?”
“I’m going to pretend I don’t smell that, Kiku,” she replied.
“Smell what, Kaguya-chan?” he asked.
“It’s very, very naughty of what you’re doing, Kiku!” she barked.
“Quite possibly,” he replied.
“Anyway,” Ichigo spoke up. “Have you seen a wet man running around here? He’s lost and he’s truly in a lot of trouble.” Kiku laughed.
“We have witnessed no moist people of the masculine variety gallivanting within these halls, no,” he said. Yu walked over to the doorway and leaned over his roommate’s shoulder.
“Oh hey, Risa-chan,” he said. “How’s it going?” She gave him a nervous smile.
“Oh hi… Yu,” she said.
“You, er, thought about what I asked you?” he asked.
“Yes, actually I have,” she said.
“And?” Yu asked.
“All right you can sleep with me, but only once,” Risa said. Kiku giggled to himself.
“You’re lucky that Setsuna’s in Taiwan,” she hissed.
“Fine, I’ll be around later,” Yu replied. The men went back inside and closed the door. Simon and the woman stripped down to their underwear. The former joined the latter on the bed. She looked him in the eye. Kiku was in his boxers with a pipe in his mouth.
“Can’t allow friends to be naked alone, Yu,” he said. “It’s just not baseball.” Yu looked at him as he unbuttoned his shirt.
“/Got you,/” Simon whispered to the woman. They turned and saw Yu’s dragon tattoo on the back of his arm. The woman got up and walked over to him. She ran her hand along his back. Yu glanced over at her. He turned around to her.
“It’s beautiful,” she said.
“Oh thanks,” he said. “I do them myself.”
“Do you?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Yu said.
“So you could do me now?” the minx asked him.
“Sure,” he replied. “If you’re up for it.” She turned Simon who watched her the whole time. The woman lied on the bed on her stomach as Yu began drawing a tattoo on her back. She took in the painful ecstasy.
“/Does it hurt?/” Simon asked. The woman smiled to herself.
“Beautifully,” she said.
“/What are you getting?/” he asked before taking another smoke.
“A mark,” she said. “Passion. Want. Need.” Simon took a breath out. Yu drew back his needle. He had branded her back with a flame tattoo.
“My, my,” Kiku said. The woman turned to the artist.
“Thank you,” she said.
“My…” Yu began to say. She gave him a kiss on the lips. “My pleasure,” he said when she broke off and turned her back to Simon.
“Come and look at it,” she said as the artist moved out of the way. Simon got up and walked over to the bed.
“What’s it like?” she asked.
“Good,” he said.
He reached forward and did so. The woman gasped in pain. Simon drew back his hand. He turned away from her.
“/I can’t do this,/” he said.
“So many thing you can’t do,” she said as she sat up next to him. “You can’t swim, you can’t run, you can’t f**k.” Simon looked at her.
“Oh dear,” Kiku said as he and Yu were smoking from the bong again.
“/How do you know that?/” he asked. His friend leaned in close to him.
“But you can, Simon Williams,” she murmured. “You could f**k me right now.” Simon looked away.
“/No, I couldn’t,/” he said.
“You want to,” she said.
“/Hey, f*k you!/” Simon barked. “/I got hit by a f*g bus years ago! That f**s you up!/”
“Well, f**k you right back,” the woman said as she put her dress back on. “You’re just not trying hard enough. You must be so happy the way you are.”
“/Why do you care if my dick can get a hard-on or not?!?/” he snapped. “/I don’t need this! This is f**d up beyond words!” He rose to his feet before she did. She slapped him in the face.
“Coward!” she barked. “F***g coward!”
“Coward!” Kiku repeated.
“Jackass!” Yu said.
“Why don’t you just stop being such a f**g pussy and let the f*k go?” the woman challenged the English man. Simon pushed her away.
“/F***g leave me alone!/” he barked. Then, he got dressed and stormed out of the dorm. Outside, he stood on the stairs alone. The man blew it this time. His “friend” was right; maybe he was a coward. But, what could he do? As he took in a deep breath, the tour group found him. Risa frowned at him.
“There you are,” she said. “Are you okay?” Simon didn’t answer.
“Look at you, you poor thing,” the lady tour guide said. “Come with us. We’ll get you some warm clothes and a nice hot green tea.”
“The Musical Society is going to do a performance for all of you,” Ichigo said. “HMS Pinafore.” Both and Risa got lost in a cute musical number. Simon looked at them slightly disturbed. He got up and ran away.
“Come back!” Risa called. “There is going to be mochi and rice balls too!”
“It’ll be fun!” Ichigo called.
“There’s always mochi and rice balls!” his partner yelled. Simon made it all the way back to that earlier professor’s office. He sat at his desk grading papers. The Englishman closed the door behind him. He walked over to the desk.
“Take a seat,” the professor told him. Simon complied. The professor glanced up at him.
“Eventful day,” he said. “Screwing around in pools, smashing up labs, avoiding activities. Getting up to no good in the dorms.”
“/How do you know that?/” Simon asked.
“And now you turn up for an interview like this,” the professor said. “You know, I’m actually amazed you bothered to come, really. But, I’m a fair man, so bearing all of that in mind, why don’t you try to convince me into offering you a place at the university?” A moment of silence came between them. The professor smirked at him.
“Oh, you think you’re so original, aren’t you?” he said. “I have met a million kids like you. Yes, vaguely intelligent, agonizingly middle-class. Read a book by Camus, a book by Confucius. No real substance though. Just a little f**d up jumble of misdirected, immature, poly-sexuality and pure, arrogant, impotent rage.” Simon eyed him for a moment.
“So,” the head professor said. “What you got, big man?” In that moment, a little bit of old Simon returned. The Englishman reached forward and grabbed the arrogant bastard by the shirt.
“Get off me!” the head professor yelped.
“/You don’t know a f***g thing about me, you sanctimonious cunt!” Simon hissed. “/But since this is a guessing game, let’s make a few assumptions. A divorced, lonely, middle-aged lecturer who lives alone and gets his rocks off…/”
“You are really f***g blowing this!” the professor said.
“/Gets his rocks off, trying to sleep with f***g first years!/” Simon snapped. “/Other hobbies include intimidation and furtive masturbation. I bet you thought you’d died and gone to heaven when you got here, didn’t you? Your own office and all the students you could eat./”
“Let go of now,” the professor said.
“/Animus,/” Simon said. “/It means spirit, courage, passion, wrath. This is mine./” He shoved the arrogant prick back into his chair and stood back. The professor snickered at him.
“Who the f***g hell do you think you are?” the professor asked.
“/I’m a bad dream, mate,/” Simon replied. “/I’m you before you shriveled up and died. And I don’t wanna go where you’ve been./” The professor looked at him in silence.
“/So in answer to your earlier question,/” Simon said. “/You should’ve given me a place here. I’d have been the best student you ever had./” Then, he walked out of the office. The professor sat back in slight shock. Simon walked all the way back to the dorms. He felt his old confidence built back up with each step.” He made it back to dorm number seven. The door opened up for him.
“Here he comes,” Yu said. “Welcome back, Simon.”
“Congratulations Simon,” Kiku said. “Good work, sir.”
“Enjoy!” Yu said.
“The pleasure is all yours, sir,” Kiku said. “The pleasure is all yours!” Both men headed down the hall. Simon went into the dorm and found his minx waiting on the bed. He closed the door behind him and kissed her on the lips. She kissed him back and took him to the bed. One thing led to another to Simon’s sexual reawakening. The steamy flight built him back to himself and his confidence. Now, he was complete again. In the end, he lied next to her, panting. Simon kissed her once again.
“/You’re not coming?/” he asked as he redressed himself. The woman shook her head.
“I think I’ll stay here for a while,” she said. “It’s peaceful.” Simon only nodded.
“Go home,” she told him.
“/It was good to meet you,/” he said. “/Thank you./” The man kissed her again and began to walk away.
“Don’t look back, Simon,” the woman said. The English man just walked away. As he took the subway back to Tokyo, he knew what he had to do.
Later that night, Simon walked up the stairs to the club on his phone. When she didn’t pick up, Simon hung up. He found Fujisaki at the bar.
“Hey Si,” the keyboardist said.
“/Where are Sid and Casper?/” his friend asked. Fujisaki frowned.
“No idea,” he lied. Simon kept a serious look my face.
“You’re a terrible liar, Suguru,” he said. “Anybody can see you’ve got something on your mind.” The keyboardist went silent.
Simon walked into the bathroom and kicked open the stall. Sid looked up from shagging Casper.
“/Shite!/” his friend yelped.
“/Christ!/” Casper screamed.
“/What the f**k?!?/” Sid yelled as Simon pulled him out.
“/Simon!/” the hippie yelled.
“/What the f**k?!?/” Sid yelled.
“/Shut up!/” Simon barked. Casper raced over to the boys.
“/Sid, are you gonna let him?!?/” she yelled.
“/Simon, I’m objecting to…/” Sid said.
“/Sid, you’re always f***g objecting! Can’t you do something for a change?!?/” Casper yelled.
“/Okay, okay!/” Sid yelled. “/Jesus!/” Simon looked her deep in the eye.
“/Simon, what?/” Casper asked. “/You trying to scare? Because it’s not working./”
“/I love you,/” he said. “/I’m saying it, okay?/” Casper looked away in guilt.
“/And you!/” he said as he turned to Sid. “/I love you too, you little f**r./” He kissed him on the lips and messed with his hair. Simon looked at them both.
“/This is wrong,/” he said. “/Can’t you see it’s all wrong? You’re my girlfriend and you’re best friend./”
“/Simon, I love her!/” Sid said.
“/No, you don’t!/” Simon said. His friend shrugged.
“/Maybe I don’t,/” he said. Casper looked a little hurt.
“/He loves Arisu,/” Simon said. “/And you love me. That works. We work./”
“/Why now?/” Casper challenged. “/It’s too late./”
“/It’s always been there, Cas,/” he said. “/It just took a while. I need you./” He turned to Sid.
“/You can’t have her,/” he said. “/It’s wrong. It’s wrong. That’s all I’m trying to say./” Then, he turned and walked out of the bathroom. He left the couple looking at each other in silence. Sid only walked away. Casper stood alone, not knowing what to do.
Simon found Arisu alone in the club. She turned around to him and he gave her a little smile.
“/Everything’s going to be alright, Arisu-chan,/” he said. He gave her a hug and walked away. She looked at him in silence. Simon walked all the way home to his room. He gave a sleeping Darcy a kiss on the forehead before taking away her smokes and sake. In his mirror, he looked at the tattoo the same flame that his friend from the university had on her back on his back before going to bed.