Well, the end is here. Time for grades and the future, but first, the crew has a funeral to deal with. However, Emma's father creates a problem with that little detail.
“Text”= Japanese People Speaking
“/Text/”= English People Speaking
“+Text+”= American People Speaking
“#Text#”= Australian People Speaking
Here it is. The exam results are all in. The packaged reports landed on the doorstep on each of the students. A mailman made trip around each house and apartment. Yet, the friends would not open them right now. They decided to have one more small get together before going away. However, one of them got something a little extra.
Sid’s house got his grades and a postcard from LA. Fujisaki’s results came to the apartment that he shared with Emma. Lucas and Lexie’s new puppy grabbed on their results. Ando picked up his from the floor. Simon was the last one to get his.
Speaking of which, Simon woke up in his bed that morning. Soft mumbling caught his ear. He looked over to his right to see Sid sound asleep next to him. The man was having a rather sexy dream.
“/Oh yes, Arisu!/” he moaned. “/Great! Give me more! Mmm, yeah! With your little finger!/” Simon nudged him awake.
“/Sid?/” he said. “/Sid?/” The man started jacking off in his sleep.
“/And your thumb!/” he moaned.
“/Sid!/” Simon yelled. “/Sid!/” The man had to slap him awake. His best friend woke up beside him.
“/Ow,/” his friend mumbled. He turned and looked at him.
“/Simon,/” he said. His friend lied back down.
“/Hi,/” he said. Sid paused for a moment.
“/Why are I here?/” he asked.
“/You locked yourself out,/” Simon explained. The other man sighed.
“/Right,/” he said. “/So, I came here?/”
“/We were drinking like were still best friends,/” his friend went on.
Sid sighed again. “/How come we were drinking?/”
“/It was Casper’s idea to cheek up Fujisaki. Well, take his mind off it anyway./”
“/And did it?/”
Simon paused for a moment before speaking. “/No./” Both men stayed silent for a long moment.
“/Final question,/” Sid spoke up. “/My hand… being on my bollocks?/”
“/That’s just you,/” Simon answered. His friend looked down at himself.
“/Right,/” he muttered. He drew out his hands and sniffed them. Then, Sid put them behind his head. Simon sat up beside him.
“/You should forget about her,/” he said. Sid made a face at him.
“/Who?/” he asked.
“/Arisu,/” Simon replied. Sid blinked at him.
“/What?/” he asked. “/What are you talking about?/”
“/She’s gone,/” his friend said. “/She’s done it before, it’s time to move on./” Sid shook his head.
“/Already forgot about her,/” he lied. “/I haven’t thought about her for days./” Simon lied back in bed.
“/Welp, just saying,/” he said.
“/Yeah, hear what you are saying, Si,/” Sid said. “/But, well, one, I wasn’t talking about her. B, today’s about a, Emma, and b, results, so that leaves no room for Arisu, and d, it’s none of your business./” Simon looked over at him.
“/I know, I got slightly confused,/” his friend said.
“/Look,/” Simon said. “/If you want to talk…/”
“/Why would I want to talk to you?/” Sid asked. Simon didn’t speak.
“/Actually, there is one thing,/” his friend said. The leader turned to him.
“/Yeah?/” he asked. Sid looked down at himself for a moment.
“/Well, are you naked too?/” he asked.
“/No, again that’s just you,/” Simon said.
“/Right,/” his friend said. “/Well… Uh… I know it’s your bedroom, but do you mind getting out of bed first?/” His friend didn’t speak at first. But then, he nodded.
“/Okay, Sid,/” he said. Then, he climbed out of his bed. Sid laid there in silence.
Moments later, he went home. He bid his friend goodbye and walked up to his house. Matilda opened the door for him.
“/Hello mum,/” he mumbled.
“/Sid!/” she said. Her son walked inside. His mother walked over to him as he took off his jacket.
“/Sid, where have you been?/” she asked. “/I’ve been up all night worried about you. I thought you had done something stupid./” The son paused and turned on the steps.
“/I forgot my keys,/” he said. “/I slept at Simon’s. I didn’t want to wake you./” He turned to walk up to his room.
“/Sid!/” Matilda cried again. “/Are you okay?/” Her son paused again.
“/Yes,/” he said.
“/I know today is going to be difficult,/” she said. “/I mean, we buried your dad…/”
“/Mum!/” he said, turning to her.
“/It’s just…/” the woman began. “/I can call in sick if you like. If you want to talk…/” He sighed and went up to his room.
“/Sid, wait!/” Matilda called. Her son paused and turned again. The woman handed him the mail.
“/This came for you,/” she said. He took it and looked to see his results in the brown envelope.
“/And this,/” Matilda said. She handed him the postcard from LA. Sid took it and looked at the bright and sunny front.
“/Looks like girl’s handwriting,/” his mother said.
“/Mum!/” he cut in. She went quiet and he looked at the back. Sid made it to his room. He closed the door and breathed out. The man sank down to the floor and tossed aside his grades. Sid looked at the postcard in his hand. “I HEART LA” sat on top of a sunny background with palm trees. He turned to the back. He only saw the address to him and not much else. He looked at the front and looked up at the poster of Arisu under sheets above his bed. She still looked beautiful despite the doodles his cousin put all over it. Sid stood up before the mighty poster. He wrapped his quilt around his body. The man even moved his arm up in the position that she had it in the poster.
“/So,/” Sid said. “/This is odd. You, me. My bedroom, my bed./” He paused for a moment, staring at his girlfriend.
“/I need answers, Arisu!/” he said out loud. “/I need answers right now!/” Silence. Then, the doorbell rang downstairs.
“/Whoa!/” Sid said as he fell off the bed.
Moments later, he opened the door. Emma’s father, Christian, stood on the other side dressed in a black dress suit.
“#Hi,#” he said in a low voice. “#Can I speak to Sidney Wilson?#” Sid stared at him for a moment.
“/You are,/” he said.
“#Oh, you’re Sid?#” Christian asked. “#I imagined that you would be fatter for some reason with bigger ears.#” Sid looked at him funny.
“#Uh… Facebook,#” the man said. “#I looked you up on Emma’s Facebook. You seemed to have left more comments in his box than any of the other children. Don’t have any photos of you there, do they? Just, uh… just little pictures of Batman characters.#” Sid still looked at him lost.
“/I like Batman,/” he said.
“#Right…#” Christian muttered.
“/I’m sorry, but who are you?/” Sid asked.
“#Oh, did I not introduce myself?#” the man asked. “#I’m Christian, Christian Miles.#” Sid’s eyes widened.
“/You’re Emma’s dad?/” he asked.
“#Yeah,#” the older man said. “#Yes, that’s right. Can I come in?#” He walked past the younger man into the house. Sid closed the door behind them.
The radio played Blondie as they walked into the kitchen. Sid watched him the whole time. Christian paused in his tracks.
“#So,#” he said.
“/Would you like a drink?/” Sid asked. “/We’ve got more or less of everything, tea, coffee, whiskey, beer, sake, orange, apple, chocolate milk…/”
“#Nope, thank you!#” Miles-san cut in. “#It’s fine.#” He turned to Sid.
“#I’ve come about the funeral,#” he said.
“/Right,/” Sid said with a nod.
“#Yeah,#” he said. “#See the thing is, I’ve got a lot of relatives coming to this funeral, Sid. Some from as far as Melbourne.#”
“/Melbourne?/” Sid asked.
“#Yes,#” Christian said. “#And they uh… remember Emma as a kind, gentle, fun-loving girl and I would really I would really like to maintain that image.#” Sid nodded at him.
“#And I think the best way to maintain that image is you not coming,#” Christian summed up. Sid looked at him funny.
“/What?/” he asked.
“#I don’t want you at the funeral,#” Christian repeated. “#Any of your friends.#” Sid kept looking at him in an odd way. Did he hear right? He and the rest of the crew were banned from Emma’s funeral?
“/Uh… we won’t cause any trouble,/” Sid insisted. “/I mean, Emma was a fun-loving girl…/”
“#Don’t tell me what my daughter was!#” Christian snapped. “#Okay? I know what she was and I know what you are! The junky friends who brought her down with her.#” Sid looked at the man now slightly offended.
“/But…/” he said.
“#I’m her father, it’s my daughter’s funeral, you will respect my wishes, is that clear?#” Christian finished. Sid narrowed his eyes at him.
“/Crystal,/” he said.
“#Good,#” the father said. “#I’ll find my way out.#” Then, the man walked out to the door. Sid stood there, beside himself
“/He can’t do this!/” Sid yelled moments later.
“/Are you sure if we talked to him…/” Simon began at the kitchen table.
“/He’s a psycho!/” his friend yelled.
“/Right,/” his friend said.
“/Emma is our friend!/” Sid yelled. “/It’s our funeral!/”
“/Don’t take it so personally,/” his friend said. “/Just throwing his weight around./” Sid turned around to him.
“/F**k you!/” he snapped.
“/No Sid,/” Simon said. “/I know how you feel./” He quietly took a sip of his tea.
“/No, you don’t!/” his friend snapped. “/Like f**k you do! You don’t know how I feel these days! Postcards…/”
“/Sid,/” Simon spoke up.
“/F***g results!/” Sid complained. “/And dad’s. And now we’re not even allowed to bury our friend! And you don’t even care!/”
“/So why you even here?/” Simon asked. Sid looked at him for a moment.
“/Sid, what do you want me to do?/” his friend asked. The other man hesitated.
“/No…/” he said. “/I didn’t mean…/” He paused and stood back.
“/I don’t know,/” he said. He turned to the window and sighed.
“/It’s just…/” he said. “/I never get to say goodbye./” Simon looked on at him.
“/Sid,/” he said. His friend turned to him. The man didn’t speak at first.
“/What do you know?/” Sid asked at last. “/You’re right. Simon and Sid. Sid and Simon, it’s pathetic! Me coming to you all the time, hoping for what? What am I? Your f***g…/”
“/Look,/” Simon cut in. “/It’s fine./” Sid drew back some.
“/We’ll have our own funeral,/” his friend suggested.
“/Yeah, great,/” the other man groaned. “/A funeral with no coffin! And then we’ll sit around and sing ‘kumby-f***g-ah’!/”
“/So, let’s still it,/” Simon said with a shrug. Sid turned around to him.
“/What?/” he asked.
“/Let’s steal the coffin,/” Simon repeated a bit slower. Sid still stared at him.
“/What?/” he asked. Simon smiled.
“/We’re going to steal Emma’s funeral,/” he said. The man rose to his feet from the table. Sid stood there, still looking lost as his friend went out the door.
“Ando!” Ando’s grandmother said as she knocked on his bedroom door. The man didn’t reply. Another knock came on the door.
“Ando!” she said again. Her grandson still didn’t answer.
“Ando, are you masturbating?” the old lady asked. The man groaned and rolled his eyes.
“Grandma!” he wailed. The middle-aged woman opened his door.
“Sorry,” she said. “Thought it was a more interesting thing to ask than, ‘are you sleep?’ Because with sleep, chances are they are asleep. But with masturbating, who can be sure?” Ando kept his eyes on his grades as his grandmother walked inside.
“So,” she said. The grandson looked up.
“What?” he asked. The grandmother paused as she opened up his curtains.
“So what?” she asked.
“We made a pact, no results until after the funeral,” he explained. “It’s a mark of respect.” She shifted her eyes a bit.
“I’ll boil a hot pan, steam it open. No one will ever know,” she said.
“I’ll know,” Ando said. She took a seat next to him.
“If the grades aren’t good, you could always work with your great-grandfather,” the woman said. Ando rolled his eyes.
“I know,” he murmured. His grandmother rubbed on his shoulder.
“You look really handsome, my baby boy,” she said. Ando looked down at his results. His grandmother got up and walked over to the door.
“I’ll make tea with lunch,” she said. “Special. You just go back to what you were doing. Go back to more masturbating.” Ando looked up at her. Then, she went out the door. The middle-aged woman closed it behind her.
The man turned back to the envelope. He started to open it up, but paused. Then, he slowly opened it up. Ando drew in a breath and pulled out his results. He opened up the paper and looked inside. His heart sank at what he saw.
“Right…” he mumbled. “Right…”
Meanwhile, Fujisaki awoke in the bed he once shared with Emma. Most of the apartment was empty now. He had her family come and take away her possessions after her death. However, he kept only one thing of hers.
As the movers took away a box of her Skelanimals, Fujisaki rose to his feet.
“Wait!” he called. The men turned to him.
“#Yes?#” they asked. Fujisaki grabbed onto the Skull Whale, Lolita, off the top and held it to his chest.
“You can take all of the rest,” he said. “But I’m keeping this one.” Now, he just lied beside himself. He squeezed Lolita tightly in his hand. Casper had her hand on his shoulder. He glanced over at her fingers.
“/Suguru,/” she whispered. The hippie sat up next to him.
“/Suguru, should we get dressed?/” she asked. His eyes moved to Emma’s letter on the nightstand.
“/Funeral’s at three,/” Casper whispered.
“Can we do a tent?” he murmured.
“/Yeah,/” Casper whispered.
“Can we really?” the keyboardist asked. Casper tried to keep from crying herself.
“/Yeah,/” she replied. They climbed out of bed and made a tent from the leftover sheets. Casper held him from behind. The pair didn’t speak for a long time.
“/This is nice,/” Casper murmured. “/It’s like we’re at a sleepover./”
“Damon is my son,” Fujisaki cut in. His friend didn’t speak at first.
“/Okay,/” she said. The hippie didn’t speak for a long time. “/Is he going to be living with you?/” Casper asked.
“No,” Fujisaki said. “He’s going to live with his grandfather. They might even go to Australia.”
“/Okay,/” Casper said. “/I think we should get out of here./”
“No,” he said. “I want to stay.” He pulled the sheets closer to his chest.
“/I know somewhere we can go,/” Casper whispered. Fujisaki eyed her.
About thirty minutes later, the pair made it down to the zoo.
“/Zoos are a great place to think about things,/” Casper said.
“Yeah?” Fujisaki asked.
“/Yeah,/” the hippie replied. She and Fujisaki walked along the path with ice cream cones in their hands.
“/It’s just, it’s weird,/” Casper went on. “/I get my grades and succeed. I’m off to Osaka and Simon is off to Kobe. Well, that’s like thirty-six minutes apart, but it doesn’t feel like success. It doesn’t feel like such reward./” Fujisaki paused in place.
“You think I’ve made a mistake, haven’t you?” he asked. Casper paused and turned to him.
“You do!” Fujisaki snapped. “I know you, Casper!” The hippie walked over to him.
“/I think you made the most difficult decision I’ve ever known anyone to make,/” she admitted. “/That’s what I think./” Fujisaki shook his head at her. He threw down his ice cream cone.
“Why are we here?” he asked. “Special treat? Take my mind off it? Because I’m not ten and I don’t like animals!” Casper shook her head with a smile.
“/No,/” she said. “/We’re not here to take your mind off of her./” Fujisaki looked at her, confused.
The pair made it to the aquarium section of the zoo.
“/This is where I first met Emma,/” Casper said.
“Yeah?” Fujisaki asked.
“/Yeah,/” the hippie said. “/I was six. His mum and mine got to talking. Here’s this funny little girl with her hands down her shorts doing impressions of the fish./” Casper smiled a bit. She turned and saw Fujisaki starting to smile.
“/I don’t know if she thought she could talk to them or…/” the hippie went on. Fujisaki breathed out.
“/Look,/” Casper said. “/I’m not saying forget about her. Because you can’t and you shouldn’t. She was special. But, I just think… f**k it!/” Fujisaki turned to her.
“What?” he asked.
“/Like Emma,/” Casper explained. “/She said, ‘F*k it! I’ll do it my way! And the people I love will understand why I’m doing it because they love me!’ F*k it!/” Fujisaki’s face dimmed. Casper laid her hand on his.
“/Come on,/” she said. “/You don’t think she’d say exactly that if she was standing here./” Fujisaki slid off the hood of his hoodie.
“Probably too bust talking crazy about the fish,” he said with a smile. He and his friend had a little giggle at that one. Casper did a little fish face for the keyboardist.
“/F**k it for Emma?/” she asked. Fujisaki nodded.
“Okay,” he said. “F**k it for Emma-chan.” The friends smiled at each other.
“/Say it like you mean it!/” Casper said.
“F*k it,” Fujisaki said. “Fk it! F*k it!”
“Come on, Jiro-kun!” a woman hissed at her son nearby. The pair looked to see her dragging him away.
“F**k it!” he yelled out. Casper and Fujisaki just laughed. The hippie kissed the side of his head.
At the funeral parlor, the director picked up a picture of Emma when she was younger. Christian came in with a cup of tea.
“#Ah, here we are,#” he said. He took a seat on the couch.
“Is this her?” the director asked.
“#Hm?#” the father asked. “#No, that’s my younger sister as a little girl.#”
“Nice-looking girl,” the director said. Christian gave him an odd look.
“#Huh?#” he asked. Outside, Simon’s car pulled up the limo.
“Not ‘nice-looking’,” he said as he tried to smooth it over while Sid and Simon got out of the car. Simon looked around for a bit before opening the trunk.
“Um…” the funeral director said. “It just… looks like she had… has a nice personality.” The men secured the coffin and dragged it out. Christian still looked at the director funny.
“Um… obviously attractive,” the director went on. “I’m not saying that you weren’t.” Christian shook his head as the director set down the picture.
“It’s rare,” he said. “To have a funeral without a woman.” Christian pressed his lips together, nervous.
“A mother, a sister,” the director went on. “Girlfriend, wife.” Simon and Sid loaded the casket onto William’s car.
“It’s a bit of a novelty, really,” the director said.
“#Her mother left,#” Christian explained. “#And her step-mother.#” The director nodded.
“Oh, right,” he said. “Nice though, isn’t it? Father burying his daughter.” Christian jerked his head towards him.
“Not nice!” the other man said quickly. “It’s a nice novelty, for me, though.”
“#Right…#” the father mumbled.
“Powerful bond, fathers and daughters,” the director went on. Christian happened to look out the window and see Simon and Sid driving off with Emma’s coffin strapped down to the roof of their car.
“Like mothers and sons,” the director said. “But different, less creepy.”
“#They just… They just stole my daughter!#” Christian yelled. The funeral director looked out the window with him. They both stood up in shock.
Sid and Simon began the drive back with Emma’s coffin in tow. They got plenty of stares from the people out on the street, but Simon kept driving. Sid had to lean out the window and make sure that the coffin was secured on top of the car at a couple of points.
“/Get in, you tit!/” Simon shouted at him. Sid slid back into his seat. The men laughed as they drove back to Simon’s house. Then, Sid’s face dropped.
“/F**k,/” he said. “/She’s really gone./”
“/Yeah,/” Simon said.
“/You know we could get in real trouble for this,/” his friend spoke up. “/It might be really stupid…/”
“/We have to say goodbye, Sid,/” Simon insisted. He turned his eyes back to the road. “/We all do,/” he added. Sid went quiet for a moment.
“/Thing is though,/” he said. “/After this, it’s f*k all we’re saying goodbye to. Emma gone, dad gone, f**g Arisu. You and me, we’re…/”
“/Yeah,/” Simon cut in. “/What are we, Sid?/” Suddenly, they heard a honking behind them.
“/Simon,/” Sid spoke up. Christian and the funeral director were chasing after them. Sid turned around.
“/Shite!/” he said. “/Shite! It’s him! It’s him!/” The older men honked the horn behind them.
“/All under control,/” Simon said. Then, he put the car into gear and sped off.
The case began. Simon cut a sharp corner to lose Christian and the funeral director. The men turned on the curb to keep up.
“/Holy f**k, Si!/” Sid cried. Simon kept driving. He turned another tight curve. The hearse kept up with the car. Simon sped ahead again.
“/Turn right!/” Sid yelled. The driver turned left with another sharp turn.
“/There’s no f***g road there!/” his friend yelped.
“/Shut up, Sid!/” Simon barked. They drove down bumpy hills.
“/Oh, so close,/” Sid said as he turned to his friend. The man looked behind them.
“/Very f***g close!/” he said. The chase still went on.
“/Simon!/” Sid complained. “/Simon! Simon!/” His friend only floored it.
“Whew-hoo, yeah!/” he yelled. The chase still kept on. A car swiveled to miss them.
“/#Oh f**k!/” Sid yelled. Simon grinned as he drove. Sid looked behind and his friend kicked the speed higher.
“/Whoa!/” Sid yelled.
“/Sid, are you buckled in?/” Simon said.
“/Yeah, why?/” his friend asked. The driver swiveled left. The director stopped the car. Christian turned and looked.
“#Aw, shite!#” he shouted. The other car drove down the stairs.
“/Shite!/” Sid screamed. They made it back onto the main street.
“/I think we left them,/” Simon said. Sid looked behind them.
“/We have!/” he said. “/We f***g have!/” The men broke down laughing in victory. They continued the drive back to Emma’s apartment.
“/Oh, wait, wait!/” Simon said. His friend got off of him quickly. Simon smiled to himself.
“/Wow,/” he said.
At the apartment, Lucas gave Lexie a can of green tea. His girlfriend looked up and took it.
“+Thank you,+” she mumbled. Lucas took a seat next to her in front of the big fish tank and patted her on the shoulder. He gave her a calm, little smile.
“+You okay?+” he whispered. Lexie turned her head to him.
“+No…+” she murmured. “+I feel uncomfortable.+”
“+We’re going to get the best treatments for you in back North Carolina,+” Lucas insisted. “+My mom’s family will even help us find housing when we get there. Everything will be fine. There’s no need to feel uncomfortable.+” Lexie shook her head as she sighed.
“+Luke, there’s a coffin in the room,+” she pointed out. “+How is that not uncomfortable?+” Lucas looked at Emma’s coffin in the middle of the living room.
“/Anyone thought what’s going to happen to those fish?/” Sid asked as he pointed to the tank with his beer in his hand. “/I mean, someone’s got to take them./” The front door opened. Simon and Sid jumped to hide Emma’s coffin from plain view.
“Hi Lexie and Luke!” Fujisaki called as he and Casper walked inside.
“/Hi, Lexie, Luke,/” the hippie said.
“+Hi guys,+” Lucas said back.
“You alright?” Fujisaki asked.
“/We just had a really good morning,/” Casper said. She kissed Simon on the cheek.
“/Yeah,/” Sid replied. “/We had a pretty interesting time too./” Casper took a step back.
“/Is that what I…?/” she began to ask. Fujisaki looked behind the men. Casper looked at Simon and Sid.
“/What the f**k is that doing here?!?/” she shouted. Simon and Sid tried to get the right words.
“/Uh… funny story, actually,/” Sid spoke up. “/Uh…Emma’s dad stopped by my house this morning and said that we couldn’t go to the funeral because we were all junkies. So, I went to Simon and Simon said to me…/”
“What the f**k have you done?” Fujisaki asked.
“/Uh… the thing is, Fujisaki…/” Simon said.
“Give it back!” the keyboardist said.
“/What the f**k were you thinking?!?/” Casper yelled.
“/You didn’t hear what he said,/” Sid argued. “/He wouldn’t bury Emma as Emma. This is for Emma. We did it for Emma!/”
“You did it for who?!?” Fujisaki snapped.
“/No, I’m not saying…/” his English friend said.
“What right do you have, you stupid, stupid…?!?” the keyboardist yelled.
“/Look!/” Simon cut in. “/You’re not listening…/”
“No, you’re not listening!” Fujisaki shot back. “There’s other ways to do this! Give it back! Now!” Simon looked at him with a loss for words.
“/But…/” he said.
“/Simon!/” his girlfriend snapped. “/You do as he says!/” What else could the boys do? They finally nodded in defeat.
“/Okay,/” Simon said in a low voice.
At the funeral parlor, the director served tea to a nervous Christian.
“Here we are,” the former said. Christian still looked pale.
“I did say sorry, didn’t I?” the other man asked. The Australian man shook his head.
“#Wasn’t your fault,#” he said.
“I didn’t think to lock the trunk…” the director said. “You know, you just don’t think. I’m not a thinker. I don’t think.”
“#Why would they do this to me?#” Christian asked.
“Asbo culture,” the director said. “Or Americans. It’s one of the A’s.”
“#May daughter,#” the other man said. “#She was my daughter.#”
“Well, the police are on their way,” the director said as Sid and Simon pulled up to the hearse and opened the trunk. “They’ll find it. Her. It. The coffin.” The men outside began to put the coffin back inside. Christian tried to keep himself together.
“#How am I going to explain this?#” he asked. The man took a breath. “#Right, I’m going to need an empty coffin and some ballast!#”
“Oh, right,” the director said. “Ballast?”
“#I’ve got relatives coming expecting a funeral, it’s the only solution!#” Christian said. The director happened to turn and look out the window. He turned back the father.
“Oh, no it isn’t,” he said. Christian held back a laugh.
“#I think I know what’s best!#” he argued.
“Then, the best just got better,” the director pointed out as he nudged his head towards the window. Christian turned and looked in surprise. He didn’t know what to say.
The men walked out to the hearse.
“I just hope it’s the right coffin,” the director said as he was getting in the car.
“I didn’t know where else to go,” Ando said meanwhile. “I worked hard. I worked really hard. And then, these.” Ghost sat next to him on the couch, looking at his grades. The woman shoved a piece of her ginger cookies in her mouth.
“/What grades did you need?/” she asked. Ando shrugged at her. Ghost offered him a cookie. When he didn’t take it, she set the bag back down on the table.
“/Have you ever played the five-year test?/” she asked. Ando looked over at her.
“What?” he asked. “No, I don’t think so. It’s not that jerking off game, is it?” Ghost gave him a little smile.
“/Shuichi,/” she said. “/What do you think he’ll be in five years time?/”
“Easy, top of the charts with Bad Luck all over the world,” Ando said.
“/Nicole,/ Ghost said.
“Dancing on a stage in Italy,” Ando replied.
“/Casper,/” his ex-girlfriend said.
“Working some earth environmental job, saving the world,” he said.
“/Now you,/” Ghost said. Ando went quiet from there.
“/Where do you see yourself in five years?/” she asked. Ando still didn’t answer.
“/Haven’t thought about it, have you?/” Ghost asked.
“No,” he admitted. “I’ll be with my friends, having fun.” The man paused for a moment. “Somewhere,” he said.
“/But don’t you get it?/” she asked. “/They’ve got their plans, their futures. And you’re not in them./”
“And you’re so much better, are you?” he asked in desperation. “You’ve made any plans, have you?”
“/I have, I’m staying here,/” she said. “/And there’s nothing wrong with that./” She rubbed him on the shoulder.
“/They’ll smile when you call them,/” Ghost said. “/They’ll take longer to return your calls./” Ando rose to his feet, upset.
“/Be left behind, Ando!/” Ghost called out. He turned around to her before walking away.
“/That’s not such a big problem!/” she called. “/You’ll just have new friends!/” He shut the door behind him. Ghost found herself sitting alone on the couch again.
“/With friends like me,/” she said. She took another bite of her cookie and sipped some green tea.
That afternoon, Emma’s friends watched as the casket was carried off to be burned. They all watched from the hill. The funeral party below carried the casket to the funeral pyre. The people set up the casket to be burned.
“I am the resurrection,” the priest said in English. “And the life. He who believeth in me though he were death said the Lord. Yet he shall live. Deliver your servant, Emma…” Christian glanced up to see all of Emma’s friends looking down at him as he held Damon in his arms.
“I’ve been thinking about what Emma would want me to say today,” Fujisaki spoke up. “The advice she’d give me. Which would be something like, ‘You know what, babe, f**k it! These guys know all about me. Tell them about someone different.’” Casper smiled and held Simon’s hand.
“So, I thought I would say something about a hero of Emma’s,” Fujisaki went on. “A man called Captain Joe Katinka.” The people below set the casket on the pyre. Simon, Sid, Casper, Nicole, Shawn, Ando, Shuichi, Lexie, Lucas, Hiro, Cassie, and Nick all watched silent.
“In 1960, climbing into a foil balloon, Captain Joe ascended thirty-two kilometers into the stratosphere. And then armed only with a parachute, he jumped out,” Fujisaki went on. The people below started up the fire.
“He fell for four minutes and forty-six seconds, reaching 714 miles per hour before opening his parachute five kilometers above the earth,” the keyboardist pushed on. “It had never been done before and it’s never been done since. He did it just because he could.”
Christian glanced up at him and tried to keep a brave face while shielding Damon away from him. All eyes fell upon Fujisaki above. Even the priest stopped and looked up at him.
“#Keep going,#” Christian said. He held Damon closer to him.
“And that’s why Emma he loved,” Fujisaki pressed on. “Because the thing about Emma was she said. She said yes to everything! She loved everyone! She was the bravest girl, woman I knew. And that was…”
The priest went back to reading. Christian tried to ignore the keyboardist by this point.
“Forever and ever, Amen,” the priest concluded. Fujisaki tried to pull himself together.
“She flung herself out of a foil balloon every day,” the keyboardist said. “Because she could. Because she was and that’s why… And that’s why… We… We loved him.”
Christian’s eyes wailed up with tears at Fujisaki’s words from above.
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection into eternal life,” the priest finished. Fujisaki turned to Simon and nodded. He turned to the crew and nodded. A big boom filled the sky. The funeral party below looked to see red fireworks exploding in the sky. The friends all watched the display from their hill.
“#Who are these people?#” a lady asked in the funeral party.
“Foreigners,” the funeral director said. The father frowned to himself.
“Christian, if you would like to light the fire now,” the priest said to him. Fireworks lit the sky as the coffin was lit on fire.
That evening, the friends all sat around a fire, waiting for their grades to be read aloud. The crew all drank and smoked cigarettes and pot. Sid began tearing his postcard from Arisu into little bits. Simon set down his beer.
“/I’ll go get them,/” he said. The man got up and walked over to his car.
“/Suguru, are you alright?/” Casper asked as she rubbed his knee.
“Yeah,” he said. “I’m fine.” Hiro tossed Shuichi a beer. Sid threw the postcard in the campfire. Simon returned with a big black bag. He handed Lucas another beer.
“/Here,/” he said.
“+Thanks,+” Luke said. Lexie laid her head on his shoulder. Simon stood in his original place.
“/Results o’clock, I think!/” he announced. He went around and everyone put their grades in the bag. Ando looked around, nervous.
“You know what,” he said. “Emma would want us to have a party.” Fujisaki looked at him as he put in his results.
“Proper blow-out before you guys all leave,” Ando pressed on.
“I can’t,” Shuichi said. “Hiro, Fujisaki, and I are leaving tonight.”
“/Same here,/” Nicole said.
“/Yep,/” Shawn replied.
“+Luke and I have to leave early in the morning,+” Lexie replied. Ando looked disappointed at all of their answers.
“Tonight?” he asked.
“Yeah, we have our tour in America,” Shuichi said.
“/My dance troupe is going to Italy,/” Nicole told them.
“/I’ve got a scholarship to study art in Paris,/” Shawn replied. His baby mama looked rather surprised on that one.
“+We’re heading back to North Carolina for Lexie’s treatments,+” Lucas summed up as he held his girlfriend’s hand.
“/I’m going back to London,/” Cassie announced. Nick gave her a funny look.
“/Huh?/” he asked. She turned to him, smiling.
“/You’re coming too,/” she said. By this point, Nick didn’t care anymore.
“/Right,/” he muttered. Shuichi turned back to Simon with a joint in his hand.
“Here you go, Si,” he said.
“Oh,” Ando mumbled.
“/Truth is, we’re all busy, Ando,/” Simon said. “/Maybe at Christmas when we come back, yeah?/” He shook up the bag as Ando looked on in disappointment. The leader turned to his best friend.
“/Alright then, no peeking,/” he said. Sid reached inside and pulled out an envelope.
“/Simon!/” he announced as Ando stared into the fire forlorn. He got up and walked away. Simon lit up his joint as Sid opened the envelope. Casper looked on at her boyfriend. The hope and despair were clear in her eyes.
“/Three A’s and a B!/” Sid announced. “/Kobe it is, then!/” Simon smiled a bit before looking over at Casper. She tried to be happy for him.
“/Yeah and if anyone gets me a Kobe f***g cow, I’ll kill ‘em!/” Simon said jokingly. The group chuckled as Casper’s eyes averted to the fire.
“/So, who’s next?/” Sid asked. Cassie reached inside and pulled out the second envelope.
“/Here is Shawn!/” she said. The artist took a sip as the woman opened the envelope and pulled out the results.
“/Three C’s and one A!/” she announced.
“+Viva la France!+” Lucas said. Shawn nodded and put up his hands.
“/Yes, yes,/” he said. Shuichi pulled out an envelope next.
“Sidney!” he announced. Sid took a smoke as Shuichi opened it up.
“B, C, C, C,” the vocalist said.
“/Yay, Sidney-boy!/” Simon said as his best friend nodded. Shuichi chuckled over his beer.
“/Good job,/” Simon said as he patted Sid on the knee. Nicole went up next.
“/Lexie,/” she said. Lexie looked at her as the Goth princess opened the results.
“/A, B, B, A!/” she said. Lucas gave her a little smile.
“+Good job, baby,+” he whispered. She smiled as he kissed her on the forehead.
“Thanks,+” she whispered. Casper took the next envelope.
“/Shuichi,/” she said. The vocalist looked over at her as she opened it.
“/Shuichi!/” Sid repeated.
“/B, B,/” she said. Shuichi nodded a bit.
“B, B,” he said. “Not bad. I BIB!” The boys laughed.
“/Nice one, mate,/” Sid said. Nick went up next.
“/Hiro,/” he said. The guitarist took a smoke as his envelope was opened up.
“/Two’s B, a C, and an A,/” the man said. Hiro nodded.
“Good job!” Shuichi cheered.
“Thanks,” his best friend said.
“/Chuck us the bag, Casper,/” Sid said. Casper passed Sid the bag for the next envelope. He reached inside.
“/Fujisaki!/” he called. The keyboardist waited as the English man opened it up.
“/It’ll be fine, Suguru,/” Casper assured him.
“/Two A’s and a C!/” Sid announced. The keyboardist kind of smiled.
“/Hey, good job, Fujisaki!/” Sid said. Shawn pulled the next one.
“/Well done, Suguru,/” Casper said.
“Yeah, Fujisaki,” Shuichi said. The keyboardist smiled to himself.
“/Nick,/” he said. The journalist sipped his beer as the envelope was pulled out.
“/Three B’s and a C!/” the Goth artist announced.
“/Nice,/” Nick said.
“/Give it here,/” Casper said. Sid handed her the bag. Simon pulled out the next envelope.
“/Casper,/” he said. The couple looked at each other before he opened it. The hippie felt her heart racing.
“/B, A,A,/” he read. Happiness and sorrow filled her heart.
“/Well done,/” he said. “/Looks like you’re off to Osaka./”
“Well played, Casper,” Hiro said. Hiro drew the next one.
“Nicole-chan,” he said. The Goth princess watched as he opened the envelope.
“A, A, B, B,” he announced. The woman smiled at him.
“/Gracie!/” she said. Shawn pulled the next one.
“/Lucas,/” he said. Lexie squeezed her boyfriend’s hand as Shawn opened the envelope.
“/A, C, B, B,/” the Goth artist said. Lucas nodded his head smiling.
“+Good job,+” Lexie said.
“Hang on, we’ve got one more,” Shuichi said. “Ando!” He looked around after he said that. “Where has he gone?”
“/Yeah, where is he?/” Casper asked.
“/He was here a minute ago,/” Sid replied.
“They’ve already been opened,” Shuichi as he pulled out the results.
“/He’ll be fine,/” Sid said. “/He worked really hard./” Simon smiled and chuckled.
“Two E’s and an F,” Shuichi said. Simon kind of frowned.
“How fine is that?” the vocalist asked. The crew all sat in silence.
Meanwhile, Ando found his way back to his house with Ghost waiting for him. She looked at him, silent. Ando turned away and sat on her bed. He sighed aloud.
“You were right what you said earlier,” he said.
“/Was I?/” Ghost asked.
“Yeah,” he said. “Totally right.” She hurried over to his side.
“/Well I never came here to talk to you about that,/” Ghost said. “/I came… I wanted to invite you out ice skating./” Ando sighed to himself.
“What?” he asked.
“/Or to the cinema,/” she said. “/Maybe bowling. I never tried bowling before, but I might be good, so… Or we could eat something or do something./”
“Uh-uh,” he said. Ghost leaned in closer to him and rubbed on his shoulder.
“/Or we can have sex,/” she added. “/We still have our oyster. Let’s just… Let’s just start this life, shall we Ando?/” He looked over at her.
Fujisaki sat at Emma’s grave in the rain. The rest of the band and K-san gave him this short time to let him grief a little bit more. Christian walked over to Fujisaki was Damon in his arms.
“#Just handing nibbles down at the wake,#” he said. “#Instead, I’ve gone down to the toilet.#” The keyboardist looked up at him.
“Right,” he said.
“#Wasn’t good at it,#” Christian said. “#Being her dad. Some people just aren’t built for parenthood, I guess.#” The younger man finally broke down in tears. Christian reached into his jacket and pulled out a tissue.
“#It’s a bit used, but there are some clean bits on it,#” he said as he knelt down to Fujisaki. He grabbed onto the older man’s head.
“#Um…#” he said.
“Sorry,” Fujisaki said. “Just… You sound just like her.”
“#Well, she was my daughter,#” he said. “#Um… Uh…#” Fujisaki stared at him.
“#So, I’m guessing right, but you were her boyfriend?#” Christian asked.
“Yeah,” Fujisaki said.
“#Good, good, yeah,#” the older man said. “#You seem like a nice guy.#”
“Yeah, you would’ve liked me,” the keyboardist said.
“#Sorry I didn’t invite you to the funeral,#” Christian said.
“F**k it,” Fujisaki said. “A dad would cared enough to ban us all. He would’ve liked that. You fought. For all the wrong reasons, but you fought. No, in some ways today couldn’t have gone better.” Christian nodded. They stayed at Emma’s grave together. Damon reached out a hand for Fujisaki.
“Papa,” he said.
At the bus station, Kat and Alfie stood, waiting. Kat looked among the people.
“/He doesn’t want you follow us,/” Alfie said. Kat turned around to her fiancé.
“He’s my son!” she said.
“/I know, Kat,/” Alfie said. “/But, he’ll be fine./” Ando walked up behind the couple.
“Hi,” he said. Alfie and Kat looked up at him.
“/Hey,/” Alfie said as Kat smiled at him.
“I just…” Ando began. “I just… wanted to say goodbye and good luck.”
“Thanks, Ando-kun,” his mother said. “Listen, we’re going to live with Alfie’s parents for a while. There probably won’t be any room for a baby and we don’t have the money for wedding plans, but f**k it, why don’t you come?” Her son looked stunned at her.
“What?” he asked. Alfie smiled at him.
“/Ami-chan’s waiting for you there,/” he said. “/And we really want you there./” Ando couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“But you know, I’m supposed to be deciding on my future,” he said. “Moving on and doing all that stuff.”
“Aw, f**k the future!” Kat said. “Come to Seoul with us!” Her son looked over at his soon-to-be step-father. Alfie gave him a little nod. Ando’s face slowly lit up.
“But, I don’t have my luggage,” he said. The couple laughed.
“I already packed your things,” Kat said. “Come on, let’s run.” The family all hurried onto the bus. Ghost was left behind, crying.
In L.A., life was busy in the bright morning. Arisu was working in a diner as a waitress. She seemed to be waiting for something or someone, but she walked back up to the counter. The manager noticed a gold coin in her small hands.
“+What’s that, hon?+” she asked.
“Oh,” Arisu said. “It’s supposed to be lucky.” Then, she went back to work.
Back in Japan, Simon, Sid, and Casper all drove into the night. The trio didn’t speak at first. Sid looked at the couple.
“/So,/” he spoke up. “/The three of us in the car. Together again./”
“/Yeah,/” Simon said.
“/And we’ve all seen each other naked,/” Sid added. Casper made a face at him.
“/Which is nice,/” the friend went on. Simon looked at Casper through the rear-view mirror. She kind of gave him a little smile.
“/One small question,/” Sid said. “/Where are we going, Si?/”
“/Oh, yeah,/” Simon reached with a shrug. He handed his friend an envelope.
“/What’s this?/” Sid asked.
“/Open it,/” his friend said. Sid slowly did so. He pulled out a passport and a plane ticket. He looked at the destination.
“/L.A.?/” he asked. “/Why would I want to go to L.A.?/”
“/She’s thin, she’s Goth, and she says, ‘Wow’ a lot,/” Simon replied.
“/It’s over, Si,/” Sid spoke up. “/Arisu and I are done. You said so yourself./” Simon still kept driving. Sid turned to Casper.
“/Don’t look at me,/” she said. Sid sat there, silent.
“/You’ll find her,/” Simon said. “/Just will./” Sid kind of smiled at him as they kept on driving. They made it all the way to the airport.
“/Right,/” Simon said. “/So, this is it./”
“/Right,/” Sid replied.
“/Right. Yeah. Thanks… for the ticket./”
Simon only nodded. They stood there for a long moment. Sid picked up his bag and walked into the airport, but then he returned.
“/Simon,/” he said.
“/I know,/” the leader replied.
“/Three things, Sid. One, get rid of the hat. It makes you look mental./” Simon took off Sid’s black beanie.
“/Right,/” Sid said.
“/Two,/” Simon said. He hugged and kissed his friend on the forehead. “/I always loved you the best, Sid./” His friend nodded.
“/Three,/” Simon said. He paused for a moment. “/I can’t think of a three./” He hugged him again as tightly as he could. The lady announced for planes to L.A. over the intercom.
“/Three, I’ll miss my plane,/” Sid said.
“/Right,/” Simon agreed. He finally let go. Sid finally gathered up his luggage and went back inside. Simon stood there crying before he turned and went into the car. Casper waited for him in the passenger seat. The couple didn’t speak at first.
“/What if…/” Simon began. Casper looked over at him stopped.
“/What if?/” she asked.
“/What if… I’m not ready for this./”
Casper gave him an odd look. “/For what?/”
“/All of this./”
“/Well, you need to be./”
Simon nodded. Casper leaned in close to him.
“/You know, the first time I met you, I knew, I just I knew I wanted to have sex with you./”
Simon smiled and laughed. Casper joined in with the laughter.
“/F**k you,/” he said.
“/We were good, we’re we?/” the hippie asked. Simon turned to her, smiling.
“/We were better than that,/” he said. Casper sat back smiling.
Meanwhile, Sid put on his hat and began his search in L.A. He even passed by the diner that Arisu worked in on the street.
Back in Japan, Darcy lied in Simon’s bed, smirking to herself.