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Dead! (クソ和訳)

真に受けたら負けだ。

Dead!
My Chemical Romance

Yeah!

イエーイ!

And if your heart stops beating
I’ll be here wondering
Did you get what you deserve?
The ending of your life
And if you get to heaven
I’ll be here waiting, babe
Did you get what you deserve?
The end, and if your life won’t wait
Then your heart can’t take this

で、お前の心臓が止まったら
おらここで思ってるわ
ざまあみろってとこかな?って
人生の最期だ
天国に行けたら
ここで待ってるわ
ざまあみろってとこかな?
おしまい、そりゃお前の人生が待てないなら
心臓のほうは耐えられるわけないじゃん

Have you heard the news that you’re dead?
No one ever had much nice to say
I think they never liked you anyway
Oh, take me from the hospital bed
Wouldn’t it be grand? It ain’t exactly what you planned.
And wouldn’t it be great if we were dead?
Oh, dead.

ってお前死んでるって聞いてた?
お前のことをいい奴という人いないって
まあ、始めっから嫌われた感じじゃね?
ああ、この病院ベッドから連れてってくれ
それなら素晴らしい、お前の予定とは違うけどね!
ああ、俺ら死んだらもう素敵じゃね?
死んでたらね

Tongue-tied and, oh, so squeamish
You never fell in love
Did you get what you deserve?
The ending of your life
And if you get to heaven
I’ll be here waiting, babe
Did you get what you deserve?
The end, and if your life won’t wait
Then your heart can’t take this

言葉が出ないし、なんだかんだ動けなかったお前
愛を知らなかったんだね
ざまあみろってとこかな?違う?
人生の最期だ
天国に行けたら
ここで待ってるわ
ざまあみろってとこかな?
おしまい、そりゃお前の人生が待てないなら
心臓のほうは耐えられるわけないじゃん

Have you heard the news that you’re dead?
No one ever had much nice to say
I think they never liked you anyway
Oh, take me from the hospital bed
Wouldn’t it be grand to take a pistol by the hand?
And wouldn’t it be great if we were dead?

ってお前死んでるって聞いてた?
お前のことをいい奴という人いないって
まあ、始めっから嫌われた感じじゃね?
ああ、この病院ベッドから連れてってくれ
銃を持っていたらよかったけどね!
ああ、俺ら死んだらもう素敵じゃね?
死んでたらね

And in my honest observation
During this operation
Found a complication in your heart
So long,
‘Cause now you’ve got (now you’ve got)
Maybe just two weeks to live
Is that the most the both of you can give?

で、正直言うとね
手術中でね
心臓に合併症が見つかったのよ!
残念!
せいぜい二週間ぐらい?
人生の残りは
それだけかよ!?怠けてんじゃねよ!

One, two, one, two, three, four!

ひふひふみよん~!

La, la, la, la, la!
La, la, la, la, la, la!
La, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Well come on,
La, la, la, la, la!
La, la, la, la, la, la!
La, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Oh, motherfucker,

ラララララ!
ララララララ!
ラララララララ!
ってもっと高く!
ラララララ!
ララララララ!
ラララララララ!
くっそタレが!

If life ain’t just a joke (la, la, la, la, la!)
Then why are we laughing? (la, la, la, la, la, la!)
If life ain’t just a joke (la, la, la, la, la, la, la!)
Then why are we laughing?
If life ain’t just a joke (la, la, la, la, la!)
Then why are we laughing? (la, la, la, la, la, la!)
If life ain’t just a joke (la, la, la, la, la, la, la!)
Then why am I dead?
Dead!

人生が冗談じゃねーってんなら ラララララ!
なんで俺ら笑ってんよ!?  ララララララ!
人生が冗談じゃねーってんなら ラララララララ!
なんで俺ら笑ってんよ!?
人生が冗談じゃねーってんなら ラララララ!
なんで俺ら笑ってんよ!?  ララララララ!
人生が冗談じゃねーってんなら ラララララララ!
なんでおら死んでるのよ!?
死んでる!!

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Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does (210/291)

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This an experiment.

This is even more confusing than usual. I may have to polish some parts up to make them more comprehensible.

If you would like to see more, please donate. [PayPal]

Translation Notes:
[209] “I want to lose ambiguity.” That is what it says, though it’s likely to be a typo and mean the opposite.

Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does

[5]

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: A Night of Unpleasant Rain – 7
Chapter 2: March of the Saints – 95
Chapter 3: An Unbearable Existence in Suffering – 191
Chapter 4: An Emptiness Devoid of Color Contrast – 257

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[191]

Chapter 3: An Unbearable Existence in Suffering

[193]

―”Thrust the knife, my child, for you are a little saint… and all is inhuman.”

“Do you know of the tale of the hundredth monkey?”

So asked the witch, who went by the name of Kirisame Marisa.

The Otherworld Release Research Facility was about thirty minutes away from West Kyoto Station by train, with a few transfers in between. Honestly, I do not remember the reason why I first ventured to come to this place. I have a feeling it may have been due to some solicitors at the university, or because I saw a poster for it on a bulletin board, but it’s not as if I have any clear memory of either of those things happening. There was probably no real reason for me coming at all — I just… did.

Though I knew this was one of the headquarters of the Fantasy Release Movement, my first impression was that it was more like an underground bar. It was part of an old western-style mansion, and you could tell from a glance that the building had not been used for a long time. I wonder if they chose this location because they were able to get a good deal on the building… if they bought it at all. Maybe they thought no one would chase them out if they chose to squat here. The research facility was in the basement.

All of the windows were boarded up, and there was no other lighting in the main part of the building, so even though it was noontime outside, it was dark as midnight inside — except for the basement. From the basement came a bright glow like light of a full moon. I was certain electricity was cut from the building, and I didn’t know from where they could have brought an alternative power source. The impression I got was not that this light came from some sort of electric or gas lamp, but from something else entirely I did not know.

[194]

The “Fantasy Release Movement” — what I entered into felt less like its headquarters and more like the underground gathering place of some old society. The walls of the room were bare concrete, and all they contained was a collection of round tables and chairs. The only other thing of note was a white curtain hanging from one of the walls. It was for use with a projector, someone said.

That was all.

When I arrived, there were already a few young men and women who looked like students gathered around one of the tables, talking. There were papers and books scattered around the table. I was told that you couldn’t bring portable terminals or any other electronics into the room. Those devices ran contrary to the other side of the boundary, they said.

Even so, I thought, I’m surprised they were able to get their hands on so many paper books.

In this scientific age, paper books are no more than collector’s items. They are an unnecessary medium, prone to immediate degradation.

[195]

Digital records are easily lost.

— someone said.

Digital records containing the boundaries and everything beyond them have already been lost, they said. Therefore, we must rely on print, for only in print does the truth lie — they said.

In the beginning I thought that was nonsense, but…

There was a girl sitting cross-legged on the table, smiling.

She had on a black apron dress, like a character out of an old story, and wore a black witch’s hat over her blonde hair. Everyone seated at the table had turned their chairs toward her — and I was no exception. It felt almost as if we were worshipping her.

I heard the sound of gears quietly clicking and clinking together, and that sound came from the machine set behind the girl on the table, behind Kirisame Marisa.

It was an old analog computer, similar to the kind used by the Japanese military long ago. It looked like a box, with the bottom tapered, so that it was larger at the top. On the side of the box were countless dials and gauges, along with buttons and levers to operate it. Four legs extended from the bottom to hold it up, but otherwise there was nothing else to describe about it. I wondered what powered it. It didn’t look as if it were being supplied by any power source. If it was something that was originally designed for use in wartime, perhaps it was powered by wound-up springs.

[196]

Marisa leaned back against the machine.

“The ‘tale’ is really a thought experiment proposed by Lyall Watson, but it is based on the behavior of the Japanese macaques of Kojima, an island off the coast of Kushima’s Ishinami Beach, in what used to be Miyagi Prefecture. One day, a few of the monkeys on the island began to wash sweet potatoes with seawater before eating them. They must have discovered that it added an interesting flavor to their food, and as time went on, more of the monkeys began to wash their potatoes with seawater.”

I could hear the sound of gears turning, click click clack.
I could hear the sound of gears turning, click click clack.
I could hear the sound of gears turning, click click clack.
I could hear the sound of gears turning, click click clack.
I could hear the sound of gears turning, click click clack.
I could hear the sound of gears turning, click click clack.

Everyone listened intently to the witch’s words.

She looked far younger than me — in fact, she looked by far to be the youngest in the room — and yet everyone acted as if they were worshipping her. The way she carried herself, her actions, her tone of voice — it was as if gravity itself had bowed to her, drawing our gazes toward her, as if there was nothing more natural.

She looked far younger than me — in fact, she looked by far the youngest in the room — and yet it seemed like everyone was worshipping her.

[197]

“More and more of the monkeys washed their potatoes, so that ten became twenty, and twenty became forty. Finally, when their number became one hundred, what do you think happened?”

There was whispering. I could still hear the gears turning.

“Not only did all of the monkeys on the island begin to wash their potatoes with seawater, but all of the monkeys in the surrounding area began to as well. Once the hundredth monkey appeared, the learning was telepathically transmitted, in much the same way the crystallization of glycerin occurs.”

The gears were crying.

“Are you talking about the Sheldrake Hypothesis?” someone seated at the table asked.

“Yes, exactly. You might call the hundredth monkey the threshold of synchronicity.”

“Threshold?”

“Or you can call it the boundary threshold if you’d like. The threshold that when reached, causes what you are seeing now to be synchronized across the boundary. It isn’t just one or two people, it takes ten — no, one hundred people. Once that threshold is reached, other communities will be able to see across the boundary — no, it’s more than that — both sides start to become synchronized. If this synchronization is continued, humanity will completely merge with the other side, accept ambiguity, and become the way it was meant to be.”

[198]

That is the true goal of the Fantasy Release Movement, they say.

I wonder just who this girl is, anyway. Everyone at the table just stares at her with empty eyes. Not one of them seems to doubt her.

“When they reach that point, people will be able to find what is truly important to them. ‘What did I like?’ ‘What did I really want to do then?’ ‘Who did I like?’ and ‘Who did I want to be?’ You hesitate before these questions because you have lost ambiguity. You lack the answer to these question because you have lost ambiguity. You have been led astray by the need for black and white, for one and zero.”

“Um, excuse me.”

When I spoke up, all of the people around the table looked my way. Their eyes were empty, with nothing reflected in them. The indistinct glow of light within this dark building — the bright light like that of the full moon that lit this room, began to flicker.

It seemed as if everyone’s head was swelling.

[199]

“What is it?”

“Well, I was wondering… You call yourselves the Fantasy Release Movement, but… What do you plan on doing once the fantasy has been ‘released’ so to speak?”

“This world is a butterfly specimen,” replied the girl named Marisa.

“A… butterfly specimen?”

“Exactly.”

*

Let me tell you about a certain kind of butterfly specimen, and the events concerning its exhibition.

There was a large exhibition of butterfly specimens held once or twice a year by a certain group, with smaller exhibitions held once a month. In the beginning, these exhibitions consisted solely of collectors and connoisseurs displaying their specimens and viewing others’. Both those who manufactured the specimens and those who came to view them were satisfied with the exhibition as it was.

But as we are, such things begin to feel mundane after a while.

There was a person who began to pay more attention to the box that the butterfly specimen was housed in. A standard box purchased at the market could not possibly hold in the butterfly’s beauty, he thought, and so he prepared a box made of glass on all four sides, and placed four of the same kind of butterfly in it.

[200]

One of the butterflies was pinned to flower. One was pinned as if in flight. One was pinned laying eggs. One was pinned caught in a spider’s web. This butterfly specimen, as a whole, showed all of these things.

When this specimen was put on display, all those at the exhibition showered it with praise. There were many who wondered aloud whether, up until now, they had put too much emphasis on the rarity of the butterfly as opposed to other factors of the specimen on display.

There was a person who made a specimen out of a dissected butterfly. In the box was a butterfly’s wings, the body the wings were ripped from, and its feelers all pinned apart from each other.

There were more than a few at the exhibition who were bothered by this display, but there were other who remarked that more closely represented the original purpose of a biological specimen. One could say that given the controversy it produced, it was a particularly groundbreaking specimen.

There was a person who selected a number of particular kinds of butterfly and pinned them so that they formed a circle in the specimen box. This specimen was modelled after a well known fairytale. The butterflies were placed in such a way that they followed the outline of the tale, and attention was also paid the color of the pins to further enhance the feeling that a story was being told.

[201]

Was not the true nature of butterflies to be found in their potential for the expression of a story? Because the story the specimen told was a story that everyone knew, the butterflies in this specimen were alive in the story alive in the viewer’s mind and that moment of life was contained in the specimen box. Was not this phenomenon itself meaningful? So the viewers of this specimen praised it.

There was a person who put in a specimen box the larvae, chrysalis, and eggs of a butterfly preserved in alcohol. But was this even a butterfly specimen? It did not even contain a butterfly — it was absent.

But was not the butterfly proven in its absence? What not it this absence itself which proved the butterfly? That is what this specimen seemed to be trying to say. Those that saw it debated the specimen, with some calling it nothing more than a work made solely for the sake of its creator, and others suggesting that it called into question the very definition of a butterfly specimen.

There was a person who recreated a scene from a film in their specimen, but all that was in the box was wire, cotton, and the preserved skins of fruit arranged in the shape of a butterfly. The backdrop was a landscape make of twigs and leaves, and upon this backdrop the artificial butterfly danced. It is as if this butterfly is alive, some praised, but an equal number of others could only remark that they did not understand the creator’s purpose.

There was a person who made an artificial butterfly out of the wings of real butterflies. The box of this specimen was the largest in the exhibition. The wings used were from four types of butterfly, native only to a certain area, and after being removed from their respective bodies the wings were pasted together so that they formed the shape of an entirely different butterfly — a butterfly that did not exist anywhere.

[202]

Is not a butterfly specimen made for the purpose of decoratively displaying a butterfly? Then, must not the butterfly on display be an actual butterfly?

But when the real butterflies used in this specimen became material for the false one, did they not serve a purpose in allowing us rediscover what exactly a butterfly is?

There were several of these various butterfly specimens, and they made waves which spread out both among those who created specimens and those who viewed them.

The next exhibition and the next —
The next and the next and the next —
Over and over and over again butterfly specimens like these were made.

Those that were impressed by the butterfly specimen in the glass box made specimens with larger glass boxes, specimens in glass dodecahedrons, in spherical glass tanks, in picture frames, in cardboard boxes, in boxes of paulownia wood, of wisteria vine, of charcoal, among many other types and materials. The types of butterflies in these boxes were also varied: pieris rapae, papilionae, nymphalidae, minois dryas, danainae, libythea celtis, lycaenidae, and others. There were precious butterflies, rare butterflies, common butterflies, butterflies of no consequence, butterflies that were actually moths.

[203]

Then there were the pins. There were pins made of gold, made of silver, made of copper, onyx, ruby, jade, amber, iron, wood. As for the poisons made to kill the butterflies, some used ethyl acetate, others used soapy water, saltwater, or various medicines no one knows or cares to know — medicines to freeze things for eternity, to make them forget rot, to simply cause them to sleep — several different medicines.

Over and over again and again butterfly specimens like these were made.

No longer could you simply capture a butterfly from your garden and put it in a box — no one would look at it. The same went for the creators. For whom should butterfly specimens be made? What is it that makes an excellent specimen? So they wondered and talked among themselves.

One day, someone pointed at them and yelled, “But are these really butterfly specimens!?”

There were those who agreed and those who disagreed with this detractor.

Are not these manifestations naught but specimens of butterfly specimens? Are not these creations worthless garbage to which we can only affix the name of butterfly specimen? But do not we make these specimens, because of our love of butterflies? Are you sure you are not mistaking love for the desire to stand out? Are you not only using the medium of butterfly specimen to satisfy your desire to present, to in someway fulfill and audience? Are not these but borrowed things, fake things to which you have only affixed the name of butterfly specimen!?

[204]

Are what you are producing, really butterfly specimens?

All you are producing is an expendable item, not a butterfly specimen but a fake.

Everyone denied these statements.

Everyone agreed with these statements.

Everyone, while having these arguments, kept making butterfly specimens.

However…

*

“They discussed nothing of the most important part,” Marisa said softly.

“The most important… part?”

“No one realized, even though it was such a simple thing.”

The clicking and clacking of the gears from the machine echoed in the room.

“The butterflies were, as ever before, dead.”

[205]

“Butterflies…”

“Every time a specimen is prepared, a butterfly dies. Countless numbers of them die in this process. No matter how you might try to dress up the act, the fact remains that they were decorating butterfly corpses — and were oblivious it.”

“Butterfly… corpses…”

“This world is in an exhibition, and we are all nothing but butterfly specimens in our boxes. Yes, we are nameless, and yet are nothing but our names. We are nothing but butterflies.”

Marisa laughed quietly.

“Still, we point our fingers at others’ butterfly corpses and say that they are different from the butterflies we are. But corpses are corpses, nothing more. No one talks about this, for the exhibition is a city, and the city is a morgue. There is no meaning in ‘us’ being ourselves. No matter how we celebrate, no matter how we grieve, we are all long dead in our glass boxes — nothing more.”

“Dead…”

“Are you digesting my words as you repeat them back at me? Is that the only reason you have come here, to echo me?” She pointed straight at me.

Everyone who was sitting down was… No, no one was sitting down. There was only a table, Marisa, and the machine — and several half-spheres hanging from the ceiling. From those, several human bodies were growing. Naked men, naked women — they had no hair, and the lower halves of their bodies were buried in the half-spheres. Click clack click, the machine was groaning. The lighting formed a spiral as it illuminated the room. Half-spheres, there were a countless number of them hanging from the ceiling. Half-spheres with people planted into them, and the skin of all of these things was mottled with blackened spots, everywhere, the edges of these spots were swelled up, like a bruise just beginning to heal. They were countless shallow holes. They were all over the bodies. Click clack click, the machine was groaning.

“Tell me, you. Why are you here? No, rather — What is your name?”

“I…”

Who am I?

My name…

What is my name?

“I don’t understand my girlfriend.”

My lips moved all on their own.

[207]

“I see. What is your girlfriend’s name?”

“Maribel Hearn.”

“I see. So then, what is your name?”

“I don’t understand my girlfriend.”

“I see. So tell me, where are you from?”

“Lately, it feels like she’s been cold… keeping her distance from me. I wonder when it started… It was her friend. It was once she started hanging out with her friend Usami Renko, and…”

“I see. So tell me, what are you studying at the university?”

“I think she said something about going to… Torifune, or something like that. Afterwards, she was hospitalized, taken to a sanatorium in Shinshuu. After she got out… every since it feels like she’s been keeping her distance from me. Even when I went to see her, while she was hospitalized, her eyes they were… It felt like she was distant from me.”

“I see — and your girlfriend’s name is?”

“Maribel Hearn.”

“I see — and your name is?”

“I don’t understand my girlfriend.”

“I see — and where are you from?”

[208]

“Lately, it feels like she’s been cold… keeping her distance from me. I wonder when it started… It was her friend. It was once she started hanging out with her friend Usami Renko, and…”

“I see — and what are you studying at the university?”

“I think she said something about going to… Torifune, or something like that. Afterwards, she was hospitalized, taken to a sanatorium in Shinshuu. After she got out… every since it feels like she’s been keeping her distance from me. Even when I went to see her, while she was hospitalized, her eyes they were… It felt like she was distant from me.”

“I see — and your girlfriend’s name is?”

“Maribel Hearn.”

“I see — and your name is?”

“I don’t understand my girlfriend.”

“I see — and where are you from?”

“Lately, it feels like she’s been cold… keeping her distance from me. I wonder when it started… It was her friend. It was once she started hanging out with her friend Usami Renko, and…”

“I see — and what are you studying at the university?”

“I think she said something about going to… Torifune, or something like that. Afterwards, she was hospitalized, taken to a sanatorium in Shinshuu. After she got out… every since it feels like she’s been keeping her distance from me. Even when I went to see her, while she was hospitalized, her eyes they were… It felt like she was distant from me.”

[209]

“Maribel Hearn.”

“I see — and your name is?”

“I don’t understand my girlfriend.”

“I see — and where are you from?”

“Lately, it feels like she’s been cold… keeping her distance from me. I wonder when it started… It was her friend. It was once she started hanging out with her friend Usami Renko, and…”

“I see — and what are you studying at the university?”

“I think she said something about going to… Torifune, or something like that. Afterwards, she was hospitalized, taken to a sanatorium in Shinshuu. After she got out… every since it feels like she’s been keeping her distance from me. Even when I went to see her, while she was hospitalized, her eyes they were… It felt like she was distant from me.”

“I see, I see I see. That is all you have, and that is all you are. After all, right now you need nothing more. So now tell me, what did you come here to do?”

“I want to lose ambiguity. It was suggested to me that the reason things aren’t going well with me and my girlfriend, the reason we aren’t having sex, the reason things aren’t going well at work, the reason for all of that is because reality has lost its ambiguity. That’s right. It’s not my fault. It’s just that the world is not fitting into me. I’m sure it’s because something is wrong with it.”

“Yes, you are right. The world as it is now is wrong. It should embrace the other side of the boundary, embrace more fantasy.” Marisa chuckled.

“We should be the hundredth monkey. This should be the start of it all.”

“The starting point.”

I could hear squirming and grating sounds from the half-spheres hanging from the ceiling above.

“Izanagi’s curse. Before our thousand souls are sacrificed, we must escape from this world. Let us flip the road leading down to the netherworld, so we may decide who really should be crucified.”

I could hear squirming and grating sounds from the half-spheres hanging from the ceiling above.

“Let me tell you — I mean ‘you’, just exactly what the fantasy meltdown is.”

***

Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does (190/291)

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This an experiment.

Thus concludes Chapter 2.

Chapter 3 is next and involves Kirisame Marisa.

ICQ.

If you would like to see more, please donate. [PayPal]

Translation Notes:

Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does

[5]

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: A Night of Unpleasant Rain – 7
Chapter 2: March of the Saints – 95
Chapter 3: An Unbearable Existence in Suffering – 191
Chapter 4: An Emptiness Devoid of Color Contrast – 257

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[177]

The planetarium was about thirty minutes away from West Kyoto Station by train, with a few transfers in between. The nearest station off a local line brought us to the middle of a former — emphasis on former — high income residential district. It was like a graveyard of buildings now, those buildings magnificent only in their outward appearance. We left the all but abandoned station, and I only followed along as my girlfriend guided me on. I looked at my watch. It was 10:12 am.

“Hey…”

“What is it, Renko?”

“Are they really open this early?”

“What do you mean early? It’s not early at all! How late do you normally sleep in?” she laughed.

[178]

But…

I felt that one word caught in my throat.

As I looked around, I saw no one. No sign of anyone at all. It was as if the whole area was asleep. No — I knew. I already knew that this place had been abandoned long before, but… It was beyond that. It was as if I had walked into some ancient ruins. At the very least, we shouldn’t be the only ones here, but we haven’t passed anyone on the street. Was there anyone at the station? There weren’t any employees at least. Everything is automated nowadays, so it’s natural for a station only visited by local trains to have no personnel — you just touch your magnetic ticket card against the ticket gate and walk through — but what about the line of shops in front of the station? Were there any bikes in the parking area at the station? No — I’m focusing on the wrong thing. There’s something more fundamental that I’m missing. It’s…

“Is there something wrong, Renko?”

“Uh… Well…”

“Hey Renko, have you heard of this story before? The one about the town of sheep and goats?” She spun around and looked at me with a carefree smile.

Behind her, the rays of sunlight burned away her details. Her figure was burned black, light collapsing clouds in the evening light as the sun sets. Her thin arms, thin legs, thin neck, and head like the tip of a spindle — even her outline was indistinct.

“Long ago, there was a town where forty thousand sheep and forty thousand goats lived together in harmony. However, one day, one sheep and one goat got into an argument. You see, according to oral tradition, there was a god who oversaw the town. One of the two questioned whether that god really existed.”

[179]

“What…? What are you talking about?”

“I told you before, didn’t I? This is one of those stories that may be scary or not, depending on the listener. This is one of the newer stories. Anyway… The sheep and the goats discussed the matter among themselves. All the sheep believed in their god, and the power of the miracles that god was said to perform. On the other hand, none of the goats believed in this god. They believed all that was claimed to be a miracle was just pure coincidence. In the end, the sheep and the goats collectively decided to make a bet over whether a miracle would occur or not.”

She was running away from me, like a mirage, spinning all the while, and all I could do was follow.

I looked down at the white paved street and the organized rectangular buildings, all absent of people, and my perception felt unhinged. How long had we been walking? How many hours, how many tens of hours had passed? In reality, it was likely not a minute had gone by and yet I felt as if I was being led on a leash, with no other option but to chase after her. Only her voice was still as clear as it ever was.

[180]

“To test the power of their god’s miracles, they would all pray, without eating or drinking. Would by miraculous providence they obtain apples to eat, without doing anything to harvest them? Would their god bless them with such a miracle? That was the gamble upon which the sheep and goats placed their bets. Tell me, Renko. What do you think happened next?”

Sweat seeped from my pores and it felt as if my skin was coming off in sheets as the sweat dripped its way down.

“As it turns out, a few more of the sheep survived the ordeal than did the goats. How many more do you think it was? Out of forty thousand goats, thirty thousand died. But out of the forty thousand sheep, those sheep who professed faith in their god, only twenty nine thousand and eighty-four of them died. Therefore, the remaining sheep proclaimed, ‘God, our God, only blesses those who believe in him and his miracles. You, in your ignorance, doubted God. That is why a full thirty thousand of you died.'”

Deep in my throat I felt a rough texture along with the taste of salt. Rather than just sweat, it felt as if my whole body was turning into a pillar of salt.

“So the remaining goats left the town and only sheep remained — only those sheep who sincerely believed in their god. However, those sheep thought this: ‘If we do not more firmly believe in God, might not we too die like those ignorant goats?’ So they kept praying, without taking time to eat, without taking time to do anything else at all, and one by one the sheep began to fall to the ground dead. As each fell, the remaining sheep proclaimed, ‘They must not have truly believed in God. That is why God did not save them with his miracles.’ Thus the sheep continued to die, one after another, until only ten of them were left alive. What do you think those remaining sheep did?”

Even her voice was heavily distorted now. It was tinged with a howling sound, as if someone had put a microphone next to a speaker.

“All of them leapt into a lake and died. Why do you think they did that?”

Desperately I pressed both of my hand against my head in an attempt to steady the vibrations of my skull, wrought by her voice as it rang in my head. What is going on? What is happening?

“Finally they realized that in end, despite being the ones who believed in their god, far fewer of the sheep had survived than the goats. In response, those remaining sheep tried to put faith in their god once more, and all jumped in the lake. Renko?”

We’re here.

I felt as if my vision had suddenly cleared. We were standing in front of a single old western-style mansion.

Led by the hand, I followed her inside.

We passed through the doorway and it was empty inside. From the outside it looked like a mansion, but inside there were no rooms, the mansion was only a shell.

[182]

In the very center was a single planetarium mechanism. Its twisted tubes were blossoming like a rose. Yes, the planetarium was blossoming. The walls were covered with bulbs that looked like cut off tips of spindles. There were no chairs, anywhere. Were we supposed to stand for this, or…?

“Renko, this way.”

I was led to a single, cheap looking bed.

My girlfriend sat on the bed and wrapped herself in the comforter, so that only her head was showing, and then motioned for me to follow suit.

I didn’t really have a choice, so with uneasy footing I went after her, and sat down on the bed. The bed gave a rusty screech and I could feel the springs of the mattress digging into my butt.

Then, without me putting up any resistance, she pulled me down and got on top of me.

“Hey…”

“What?”

“Is it you?” I asked from underneath her, staring straight up into her faintly colored irises.

[183]

“What ‘it’ do you think I am, Renko?”

“Are you ICQ?”

She laughed a little.

“Renko, call me by my name,” she responded, without answering my question.

“C’mon Renko, won’t you call me by my name?” she said again, reaching out to touch my cheek.

“Please Renko, call me by my name. Look at me and call me by my name, please?”

What was there was…

Once, long ago, I heard this story. Somewhere in West Kyoto there is a bridge, and on that bridge there was this girl, crying. People would call out to her, asking, “Are you okay? Why are you crying?” Then, she would turn around, but her face was featureless. All that could be seen of her face was white skin. She had no mouth, no nose, no eyes. There was only the outline of a smooth empty face, like…

“Tell me, Renko. Who am I? Why was I me? Renko, please. Call me by my name. Where did my face go?”

[184]

Renko could do nothing but stare up at that blank face.

The witch named Alice said to that girl: “This faceless doll is your true wish. You want the faces of everything to die and be gone. You desire all to become as you are. That is your wish, your hope. People say that a conclusion overflowing with hope is wonderful. So you should wish for the best conclusion you may have. Go to the place where your hope is fulfilled. Go to the place you so begged and wished for.”

“You see… Really, I…”

With a snap, a crack ran across her face.

Renko’s cheeks and nose were showered by fragments of the girl’s ruptured celluloid face. What Renko could see through the crack was like countless frog’s eggs. The black innards were festering with greenish tint. Her innards were and had long been rotting away, like caterpillars which had failed in their metamorphosis. Since she had been wanted by no one, she was no longer herself.

“Renko, really… I wanted you too look at me. I wanted you to love me.”

[185]

Renko reached up to touch the her cheek, but the girl weakly slapped her hand away, and it fell lightly back on the bed.

“But you see… I don’t have a name. From the very beginning, for that purpose I was here, and so I am not loved by anyone. Logically speaking, there is a single perfect possibility for happiness on earth, and that is to believe in the indestructible parts of oneself but not try to reach them.”

Her voice became less distinct, layering on top of itself.

With the clicking of gears the planetarium mechanism began to turn.

A pure white world. A view devoid of anything. Within that a single false star began to smear itself blackly.

The moon.

Renko’s eyes flicked about.

By seeing the moon and the stars she could tell the time and where she was.

So then, what place and time would these fake sky tell her?

Renko felt as if something was being burned into her brain.

A ringtone rang through the air.

[186]

It was Renko’s handheld terminal. She reached for it subconsciously, tapping its surface to receive the call before bringing it to her ear.

“Hello?”

“Renko?” replied the voice from call. It was her.

“That Fantasy Release Movement… Do you know where its current headquarters are?”

“Why?”

“Please, tell me. I cannot be 100% sure, but… the boundaries are broken.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“Huh?”

“This world is probably done for.”

“Renko?”

“GPS.”

“What?”

“I’ve left the GPS on my terminal on. Just come here.”

[187]

“Ren…ko?”

“I’m pretty sure that right here, the world is going to end.”

“What are y-”

The nameless girl grabbed the terminal from Renko and threw it away from the bed.

“I realized the answer to the question, ‘How can I become eternal?'”

“Yeah.”

“I’m sure that the answer was clear from the very beginning, that I would live inside of you, Renko. As long as you continue to be you, ‘I’ can continue to exist. You see, you are ‘my’ signature.”

“I see.”

Renko reached up towards the girl’s face and ripped it open left and right as if she were opening a sliding door. What peered out from inside was a single doll.

The doll was bound by threads of white sticky flesh. It had a black hat, a red tie, white shirt and black skirt (A type, or a single video term). It was a doll of Usami Renko.

[188]

“So you were me.”

“No — This is my signature.”

A bell rang, like that of an alarm clock.

This was the end of an act. It was time for the curtains to fall.

In the next instant the bomb, formed into the shape of that doll, exploded.

With a splattering sound, half of Renko’s face was showered by bits of flesh and bone from that nameless girl. Slowly the rest of her collapsed, unfolding into four pieces out from her core, like a blossoming flower. While they were crumbling the remains of her ribs and spine and flesh barely held this flower-like form together.

Renko could see the moon and the stars, but it was only a pattern. In that ceiling were countless gears and clocks melting into one another. That which connected the melting clocks and gears looked exactly like human eyes. Click clack tick tock tick. The gears were turning, and all the clock hands were awry. They all pointed to a single time, to seventeen. To only the number seventeen on each of their clock faces.

The pieces of flesh plastered to Renko’s face began to collapse, burning as they went.

“Who are you?” Renko asked, just above a whisper.

[189]

“I am a witch — or, you might say, an empty stage mechanism.”

Thus answered the human planetarium.

Renko could see, here and there parts of a girl.

She must be inside the belly of the witch, Renko thought.

“I’ve been called Alice Margatroid.”

“I see.”

“But what about you? Tell me, who are you?”

Renko silently closed her eyes.

“I don’t know.”

(END OF CHAPTER 2)

Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does (177/291)

I reserve the right to remove this translation without warning.

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This an experiment.

You may recognize the dialogue from Chapter 1.

There is only one scene left in Chapter 2.

Meta. Meta. Meta.

If you would like to see more, please donate. [PayPal]

Translation Notes:
[172] An agalmatophiliac is someone who is sexually attracted to dolls or statues. Pygmalion is an often cited example, and Pygmalionism marks a subset of falling in love with one’s own creation.

Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does

[5]

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: A Night of Unpleasant Rain – 7
Chapter 2: March of the Saints – 95
Chapter 3: An Unbearable Existence in Suffering – 191
Chapter 4: An Emptiness Devoid of Color Contrast – 257

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[156]

It was already past two in the morning, but Renko couldn’t sleep — not after what she had seen when she shared Merry’s vision.

“Those grainy images in her vision…” Renko muttered to herself, “I know what they are.”

[157]

In an attempt to crush her unyielding consciousness, Renko grabbed an open can of beer she had left on the table, finishing it in a single gulp. The beer had been left out so long it had acclimated to the temperature of the room, and all she could taste of its lukewarm flavor as it flowed down her throat was a faint bitterness.

With only a shirt on over her panties, Renko reached again towards the table — this time for her vaporizer. She brought it to her lips and activated it, the nicotine burning in her throat as she inhaled. Mixed in with the feelings of intoxication came a severe spell of dizziness.

I wonder if the paper cigarettes they used to smoke were anything like this?

Because the nicotine directly stimulated her brain, with each successive inhalation she felt more and more nauseous, as if she were drowning herself in cheap drinks.

If it made her feel this way, then why was she still vaping? Even if Renko were to try to answer that question, she couldn’t.

But that was not all to blame for this current state of miserable drunkenness.

The image flashed again in her mind. Turning.

There were four lines of sight sectioned off in that vision. In one of those was…

“Anémic Cinéma,” Renko muttered to herself.

Why was it there, beyond what Merry saw?

[158]

Renko picked up the tablet she had left on the table, and traced her finger across its surface. After playing a sound as it booted up, several icons were displayed on the screen. Renko tapped one of those icons, a shortcut to a free video sharing site. Renko put her wrist in front of an external vein identification device that was connected to the tablet, logging her into the site and bringing up her personal page. She opened up her favorites list, and tapped on a folder labeled “ICQ”.

Several bombing incidents had taken place in and around the West Kyoto Metropolitan Area, and this folder contained a list of all of the videos uploaded by the bomber prior to acting. The majority — more specifically, all but the most recent video — were deleted by the uploader themselves, and at the moment none of the videos in Renko’s list were accessible.

“Baths in coarse tea for beauty marks without too much Bengay,” Renko whispered softly.

Those were the words shown in the first video released by the bomber.

[159]

“The child who suckles is a hot-flesh blower and doesn’t like hot-house cauliflower.”

Those were the words from the second video.

The television newscasters and commentators were unable to grasp these words’ meaning, and questioned whether the words had any meaning at all. Most had come to the conclusion that this was the work of a madman.

If only they would do a little research… Renko thought. Then, they’d be able to figure out that those videos are a parody of the experimental films made by Marcel Duchamp. They even seen to be using the original footage of the videos in their edits, though they seem to be using a completely different audio track.

Renko counted the number of incidents — there were five so far, and the fifth video had already been taken down. If the bomber was really basing their actions off of “Anémic Cinéma”, there would be four more bombings before they were done.

It was the fifth video that Renko had seen playing in Merry’s vision. Was it because their shared vision was mixed with things that Renko had already seen? Or was what Renko saw in Merry’s vision something beyond the boundary? If that was the case, then these bombing incidents must be…

“Looks like you’re involved in some pretty dangerous stuff, Fantasy Release Movement.”

[160]

These incidents are effectively acts of terrorism, but I’m sure they plan on framing them as acts of resistance against the current state of imbalance. At the very least they don’t seem to be making a fuss about the incidents on their social networking sites. What does stand out though, is the fact that no one is mentioning Duchamp’s name — so much that it seems to be coordinated silence.

“Don’t you think it’s a little too soon for his work to be forgotten?” Renko said with a sarcastic smirk.

As for the locations of the bombings, Renko had several theories, but…

She had a feeling she knew — even where the next incident would occur.

Renko recalled a scene in her memory: of that planner with the red and blue stamps — of those blue stamps filling up her calendar.

“It can’t be her, right…?”

[161]

Suddenly, the handheld terminal Renko had left charging vibrated. When she picked it up she saw her friend’s name. After clicking the ‘receive call’ button, she brought the terminal to her ear.

“Merry?”

“Good evening, Renko.”

To Renko, it sounded like Merry’s voice was shaking a little on the other end.

“Don’t you think it’s a little late for ‘good evening’?”

“You’re right. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it. I couldn’t sleep either.”

“What makes you think I couldn’t sleep?”

“Isn’t it normal to think that when you get a call at this time of night?”

“Well isn’t that something? You, talking about what’s normal.”

“Well statistically speaking, the median status of someone who calls at this time of night with the voice of someone who has clearly been crying is that of insomnia, as several studies on this subject confirm.”

“Where do you find this kind of information?”

“What, you don’t know? There was a paper published about it at the 2034, uh, Human Engineering something something Conference.”

[162]

“You’re making that up, aren’t you?”

“No, no. It’s just that it’s late and so I need a buffer to trace back over my memories properly… probably.”

“You need to qualify that with ‘probably’, even though you’re talking about yourself?”

“What we know least about is ourselves. Talking about the animals we call ‘humans’ as a whole I mean.”

“I agree.”

“Well isn’t that unusual, coming from you?”

There was silence on the other end.

“So, what’s the matter then?” Renko continued.

“Well… I’m just a little emotionally unstable right now, I think.”

“I see. Well, I guess that’s often the case with sleepless nights.”

“I guess so…”

“Are you having trouble with your boyfriend?”

“…We’re not having sex.”

“Come again?”

“I mean, it’s been months now since the last time we did it.”

“So does this mean you’re ‘sexless’?”

[163]

“I… think so. Probably…”

“You don’t like it?”

“I don’t think it’s that, it’s just…”

“Just?”

“It’s just that I feel like my body and soul are separated when we do it.”

Renko felt somewhat… familiar with that expression, but she didn’t want to let it come across in her voice, and tried to laugh it off.

“There you go again, being all abstract…”

“Ever since I’ve been able to see these strange things, I feel like my sense of reality has bottomed out.”

“Some kind of change is to be expected. After all, for humans, sight influences us more than any of our other senses.

“You think it’s as simple as that?”

“Absolutely. It is also true that I haven’t ever heard of a case where that has had a direct effect on one’s physical sense of touch though.”

“You and me both.”

“So that’s the reason you chose to rely on your friend in the middle of the night?”

“I’m not ‘relying’ on you, it’s just…”

“Just?”

[164]

“I just wanted to believe that there was someone out there watching me.”

+++++++++

Renko felt a sharp pain, like a shard of ice had pierced her heart.

Watching you? Is that all you think I—

Renko took the now empty beer can in her hand and swung back her arm, ready to throw it against the wall — but she paused, and lowered her hand, trying to stay as calm as she possibly could.

“……What kind of nonsense is this now?”

((((The tone of Renko’s voice had changed slightly from before. Was there a trace of… anger?))))

“Renko?”

Even so, she could tell that her frustration was coming out in her voice. She felt an emptiness, a helplessness well up inside her.

I know. I… I know.

“Yeah?”

“Never mind, it’s nothing. But I wonder, what should I do?”

“About what?”

“My boyfriend.”

“Well I think your boyfriend is partly to blame. He’s got this beauty lying next to him every night and doesn’t lay a finger on her? He must be out of his mind.”

“Is that supposed to be a compliment?”

“Just trying to make you feel better.”

“Well, thanks.”

[165]

“…So you don’t like doing it?”

Renko felt a small sliver of hope shine inside of her, and she hated herself for it.

“That’s not… I don’t think that’s it. Like I said before, I just don’t feel like I’m myself. When we do it, it’s… I feel like something’s off, something’s not right.”

“You think it’s a problem with your sexual sensitivity?”

“Maybe? But I don’t think that’s quite right either.”

“So you feel pleasure, but it isn’t leading to any emotional satisfaction?”

“That might be the reason. When we do it, it’s like my spirit is

“That might be the reason. When we do it, it’s like… my soul is separated from my body, like a ghost. It’s not as if I can see anything, but… No, that’s not right. I can see. I can see my boyfriend. I can see the room. I can see everything properly, but it’s as if I’m observing everything from the outside.”

“Sounds serious.”

“You aren’t taking me seriously, are you?”

“Of course I am.”

“Well… if you say so.”

I don’t want to take you seriously now. Please, just stop it. Stop!

Renko held back the urge to scream.

“Why don’t you try something new for a change?”

[166]

“Something new? I’m not trying any of that weird fetishistic stuff.”

“That’s not what I mean. Like, what if you try sleeping with someone else?”

“You’re saying that’s not fetishistic? No, I don’t want to do anything like that.”

“Are you sure? The basic idea is that by breaking down the status quo, you might be able to find something new.”

“But still, I don’t want to have sex with another man.”

“Who said anything about another man?”

“Huh?”

“I mean, you could do it with a woman.”

Renko held her breath as she waited for Merry to answer.

“Renko, you… always come up with the craziest ideas, don’t you?”

“Is it really that crazy though? To be honest, in this day and age… the idea that sex is an act only to be shared between those of opposite sexes, I think, is the one that’s more behind the times.”

“I… guess you’re right. But still, I wouldn’t want to have sex with some random stranger.”

“So you’d be fine with someone you knew?”

“Better than someone I didn’t.”

“How about having sex with me?”

Renko could hear Merry gasp on the other end.

“R-Ren… ko?”

“……I was kidding.”

“T-That wasn’t funny, okay? You almost gave me a heart attack.”

“Why?”

“The thought of having… of having sex with you is just… I’ve never thought of anything like that before.”

“That makes sense I guess… Well, I mean, it just sort of came out. I wasn’t really thinking.”

“That’s not something you say without thinking.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Please do… But, come to think of it, I feel a little better now. Maybe because of your bad joke?”

“Behold the wonders of Ms. Usami’s Shock Treatment! Pretty effective, don’t you think?”

“I’m afraid of the side-effects.”

“What kind?”

“I’m not telling you.”

“As the founder of this treatment I’d like to pin down its various effects and virtues.”

[168]

“Enough already! Good night.”

Merry hung up on Renko, and the “caller unavailable” tone played from her terminal and into her ear.

I handled that well… I think.

Renko hugged her knees to her chest and began to cry like a baby.

“Me..Merry…”

Renko wrapped her arms around her head and kept crying.

People only cry when… Renko thought back on words she has once said. Tears come to wash away all the things inside you you don’t need. For instance, dust, sand, sadness… If that really is the case then why won’t this wash away? No matter how many times I cry, they won’t leave me — these feelings of love I have for my friend.

I know. I know that she’s straight. She’s the type that likes men. I knew from the very beginning that these feelings were one-sided, and this love would never be requited. But that was fine — it was enough for me. I had a connection with her, over the strange eyes we had, and when she began to be able to see beyond the boundaries, when we began to share those visions, it was like we were having sex. I was on cloud nine.

[169]

But that just made it all the more depressing — the fact that I was only a friend to her. No matter what we went through together, I was nothing more than a friend. That’s why…

That’s why I slept with that other girl.

Renko thought about her current girlfriend. She had met with her that day, and almost every day for a long time, but Renko could not remember her girlfriend’s face. Renko knew she didn’t love her girlfriend. That story she heard about the woman who got married to someone she didn’t love? Of course Renko didn’t find that woman scary. After all, she looked at a real-life version of her in the mirror every morning — and she had only hate for what she saw. Every morning she woke up so frustrated at herself she could hardly bear it.

Renko continued to cry and cry, and in frustration she slammed her fists on the table.

Whether by some chain of events related to Renko’s flailing, or just by pure coincidence — the television turned on.

A news program flashed on the screen.

“Today at five in the afternoon, an explosion took place in the West Kyoto Metropolitan Area. Prior to the explosion, a video suggesting another bombing was imminent was uploaded to a site, under the pseudonym ‘ICO’. From this information, police are investigating a link between today’s explosion and the previous chain of bombings. The explosion took place in — Park, in the vicinity of…”

[170]

It’s probably the clock by the fountain.

I know.

After all, the past five locations have all been… places I went on dates with that girl.

***

This is where she kissed me for the first time. So let’s burn it. This is where she gave me a present for the first time. So let’s burn it. I wonder if she’ll notice. I wonder if she would be kind enough to notice. After all, even the videos are a parody of that strange film she told me about. She likes those sorts of things. Ah… this is where she hugged me. So let’s burn it. This is where she had sex with me. So let’s burn it. Let’s burn all of my memories of her — all of them. Surely, this is what eternity truly is. Kai was such an idiot. Clumps of ice melt away — you can’t build eternity with that. That’s why I burn them. Everything, everything will turn to ash. Once I do that, the flame will last forever. I wonder if she will understand. After all, this is what the witch taught me.

***

[171]

When Alice first asked me whether I would like to make a doll, it was about a week after we first met. I wonder if she asked because it looked like I was interested in the dolls in her room.

“Wouldn’t it be… difficult?”

“Oh, not at all. Certainly, if we were going to make a proper celluloid doll, some dedicated machinery would be necessary, but for something like a stuffed doll, all you need is some yarn and needles. And look, here.”

What Alice showed me was a doll that looked just like me.

“I just carved this out of wood. Do you know how to use a carving knife?”

“I’m… not sure I’d be able to do that.”

“I see… But, it does look like you are skilled with needles.”

I would have felt bad just watching and drinking tea, so I was helping Alice with her work. All I was really able to do was sew clothes for the dolls, though. Something strange I noticed was that Alice seemed to either hand sew all of her dolls’ clothes, or use a hand-crank sewing machine, a kind I’ve only seen in museums. I mentioned that there were better machines available nowadays, but it seemed to upset Alice a little bit.

[172]

“I can’t ever get used to those things,” she said.

I thought it was kind of cute.

“Hm… Well what about this?” Alice said, taking four cardboard boxes out from a corner of the room.

When I looked inside, there were mountains of doll parts. There was a box of just arms, a box of just legs, a box of just torsos, and a box of just heads. However, Alice quickly shut the box with the doll heads. After all, there’s no point if you don’t make the face yourself, she said.

“The face?”

“Yes. After all, dolls project one’s hopes.”

“Hopes?”

“What you want to do, who you want to be — People dismiss agalmatophiliacs as those who are only falling in love with the ideals they project onto their dolls, that their love is nothing but a warped form of sexually desiring oneself, but truly, what are dolls but stand-ins for the self? That’s what dolls are. They are manifestations of one’s ideals, of one’s hopes.”

[173]

“I… I hate that.”

“Oh? Did you not like dolls?”

“No, it’s… I hate the word ‘hope’. It’s written as ‘begging for one’s wish’. Doesn’t that make it sound like it will never come true? That’s why I hate it.”

“I see.”

Alice took my hand and closed it around something. It was a small white cube of styrofoam.

“Then how about just a wish? Once you have finished making your doll, I’m sure that you will find what it is you wish for.”

“What I wish for?”

“What you want to do, who you want to be — for dolls are like mirrors.”

Alice said it would probably be difficult for me to make the body from scratch, so she taught me how to put the doll’s body together using the finished parts. But that way, I couldn’t help but question whether there was any meaning to what I was doing, and it must have shown on my face.

Alice poured me a fresh cup of tea and smiled as she handed it to me.

“Would you have rather started from scratch?”

[174]

“Well when it comes to things like this, if I didn’t start from scratch, I don’t think it would feel like I actually made it.”

“So if you don’t make everything yourself, you can’t project your soul.”

“I don’t know if that’s what it is, but isn’t art supposed to be something like that?”

“Well… have you heard of bricolage?”

“Bri… what?”

“I believe the original definition comes from the act of patching things up with what you have. What is the meaning in forcing yourself to create everything, if the purpose is to express something?”

“Meaning…?”

“Yes. When you express something, it is necessary to have meaning, and weight behind your expression. What do you want to do? Where is the best solution for that desire? For what or whom is your expression in the first place?”

“I want to convey… something?”

“And then?”

“Huh?”

“Once you do that, what will you do next? Are you really content with stopping there?”

“Um…”

[175]

“Expression, at its core, aims to induce certain thoughts in the receiver. With that in mind, you should not deny the existence of the ready-made. Furthermore, there is no reason that an ‘original’ be contained by a single work. You see, through the combination of pre-constructed stock materials, it is still possible to express something you want induced in an observer. Another possibility is taking several already existing works and standard objects and combining them to learn what you yourself are — am I wrong? If you become so obsessed with the idea of creating something all by your own hands, and forget what it is you want to do in the first place, isn’t that missing the point?”

“Um… I… Uh… Sorry.”

“No need to apologize. After all, making something from scratch is important as well. But you know?” Alice smiled. “Isn’t it a waste to make that itself your objective?”

“A… waste?”

“Yes. If you let your heart stay as it is inside of you, without having anyone else listen to it, surely as time passes, it will die.”

“Die…”

“Since your heart will otherwise die, you need not worry about this being hodgepodge. You shouldn’t worry about the body being a simple assembly. But still, the last part is crucial. There are times when a stock face will just not do.”

[176]

So carve out a face, Alice said, pointing to the styrofoam in my hand. Whatever comes to your mind.

So, I started carving.

What face…
What kind of face…
What kind of face do I want to make?
What kind of face would be most proper?

Without any clear purpose I rounded out the styrofoam, into the shape of a head.

I made mountains of white sphere-like heads — with nothing, nothing but white.

“Alice… What do I do?”

I can’t think of anything.
I can’t think of what face I should make.
I can’t think of what expression I should make.
What kind…
I can’t see at all, what kind of wish I should make.

“Ah… in that case…”

[177]

You must not what to be yourself, Alice said.

“I don’t… want to be myself?”

“Exactly,” Alice said — and then continued.

“You want to destroy everything.”

***

Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does (156/291)

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This an experiment.

I’m sorry if this section is confusing, but it is meant to be terribly confusing. There is a lot of foreshadowing that you can pick out of it, but it’s hard to find even if you know what’s going to happen.

If you would like to see more, please donate. [PayPal]

Translation Notes:
[145] All of this confusing “absence” talk is based on the philosophies of Maruice Blanchot.

Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does

[5]

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: A Night of Unpleasant Rain – 7
Chapter 2: March of the Saints – 95
Chapter 3: An Unbearable Existence in Suffering – 191
Chapter 4: An Emptiness Devoid of Color Contrast – 257

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[135]

Alice lived in a house about thirty minutes away from West Kyoto Station by train, with a few transfers in between. The area apparently used to be a residential district aimed at high income families, but now all that was left were old empty houses devoid of people. The houses were clearly magnificent, but as to why this area was so completely left behind, I just don’t know. It’s not as if the area had grown into a crime den or anything, it was just desolate and abandoned.

Among those empty homes was a western-style mansion with a red roof. It had windows, but they were all boarded shut, so much so that I couldn’t imagine any light from outside creeping in. I wonder why. The outer walls of the mansion were covered with vines, and it all seemed to contribute to a single image.

I pushed my way through the rusted iron gate, and made my way into the garden in front of the house.

[136]

Today will be my third time meeting Alice.

I bought a tart and mont blancs at the cake shop near my house to bring for my visit. The first time we met, I of course didn’t bring anything, and the second time, I was so anxious and excited about visiting her house, I completely forgot to bring a gift. That’s why this time I wrote it down in my journal, so I wouldn’t forget — and I didn’t.

It was about ten steps from the iron gate facing the road to the door of the mansion, and there was a little path paved with white tiles. However, I suppose due to the passage of time, the corners of the tiles were rounded and half of them were buried in the dirt, with grass peeking through. To the side of the path was something like a flowerbed. Something like — I thought, because there were bricks that were laid down and arranged in a certain fashion, but as for the flowers, they could hardly be seen for all of the weeds. So something like a flowerbed — but not one.

That day, this not quite a flowerbed caught my attention, and so I went to take a closer look.

I stepped off the path and into a tall growth of grass and weeds. Their needle-like leaves brushed against my bare knees. Rather than pain they left an itch, and the itch grew, crawling under my skin so that I could not help but let it show on my face as I walked, but I did not stop.

Was I really so interested that I felt I could not turn back? It seemed strange, even to me.

I stopped in front of the bricks stacked to mark the flowerbed.

[137-8]

It was a little flower garden with a rectangular brick border, and inside the boundary the earth that was laid down looked soft. What was buried there was… it wasn’t flowers. There weren’t even the remains of flowers. Instead, there were countless stuffed animals. There was a stuffed rabbit, a stuffed raccoon dog, a stuffed dog, a stuffed bird, a stuffed cat. All of them were torn, torn at the neck or at the limbs, ripped so that the stuffing was leaking out. There were several stuffed animals of the same shape and of the kind, countless stuffed animals buried in the earth. There were some that were half buried, some with only the head buried, some with only the lower body buried, only the wings… There was not enough earth, and there were some unburied stuffed animals that could only be buried under other stuffed animals. But all of the stuffed animals, all of them were tied together by a single red thread. They were all part of a single clump, and this clump was buried in this little flower garden, buried. There were countless stuffed animals. There was a stuffed rabbit, a stuffed raccoon dog, a stuffed dog, a stuffed bird, a stuffed cat. All of them were torn, torn at the neck or at the limbs, ripped so that the stuffing was leaking out. There were several stuffed animals of the same shape and of the kind, countless stuffed animals buried in the earth. There were some that were half buried, some with only the head buried, some with only the lower body buried, only the wings… There was not enough earth, and there were some unburied stuffed animals that could only be buried under other stuffed animals. But all of the stuffed animals, all of them were tied together by a single red thread. They were all part of a single clump, and this clump was buried in this little flower garden, buried. There were countless stuffed animals. There was a stuffed rabbit, a stuffed raccoon dog, a stuffed dog, a stuffed bird, a stuffed cat. All of them were torn, torn at the neck or at the limbs, ripped so that the stuffing was leaking out. There were several stuffed animals of the same shape and of the kind, countless stuffed animals buried in the earth. There were some that were half buried, some with only the head buried, some with only the lower body buried, only the wings… There was not enough earth, and there were some unburied stuffed animals that could only be buried under other stuffed animals. But all of the stuffed animals, all of them were tied together by a single red thread. They were all part of a single clump, and this clump was buried in this little flower garden, buried. There were countless stuffed animals. There was a stuffed rabbit, a stuffed raccoon dog, a stuffed dog, a stuffed bird, a stuffed cat. All of them were torn, torn at the neck or at the limbs, ripped so that the stuffing was leaking out. There were several stuffed animals of the same shape and of the kind, countless stuffed animals buried in the earth. There were some that were half buried, some with only the head buried, some with only the lower body buried, only the wings… There was not enough earth, and there were some unburied stuffed animals that could only be buried under other stuffed animals. But all of the stuffed animals, all of them were tied together by a single red thread. They were all part of a single clump, and this clump was buried in this little flower garden, buried.

[139]

“Oh darling, you mustn’t look so long at that. It would be poison to you,” said an emotionless voice close to my ears, as a cold hand gently covered my eyes. I could not see the flower garden anymore.

“…Poison?”

“Yes, poison. There is no meaning in a sight like this, for there are countless human beings less fortunate than ‘them’. I wonder what reason ‘they’ have, for loving life as they do. There is no seat here for you.”

I heard a short rustling sound behind the darkness of the hand. I must have dropped the paper bag I was holding with the cakes from the shop. The strength to grip had drained from my fingers. Why, I wonder. For some reason I felt as if I wanted to stay this way, stay this way forever.

I heard the rustling of paper.

“I see you’ve brought some cakes.”

I nodded, without saying anything.

“I hope you didn’t feel like you had to bring something.”

“No. No, not at all.”

[140]

“But alas. I am sorry. I cannot eat this.”

“Do you not like sweets?”

“No, it’s not that. I cannot eat anymore.”

“What do you mean you…?”

This time, another hand closed over my lips.

“Don’t worry. I will still gladly accept it.”

What did she mean when she said she couldn’t eat anymore? I wanted to ask, but with my mouth covered, my words could not break free, and instead sank back into my stomach. I heard the sound of rustling paper once again. A warm wind brushed against my feet, but I could only hear the rustling sound. Rustle. Rustle. It seemed like something came and carried the paper bag from the store away — but what, I wonder.

After a while, the hands were pulled away. I had a feeling my lips were wet, from the condensation of my cloudy breath locked away until just now. I wiped my lips on my sleeve, but when I turned around, there was no one. Whoever was there had already gone. Instead, the door to the mansion was open. She must have already gone back inside.

But the flower garden still had my interest, and I turned back to look at it one more time.

Ah, I thought. That’s what she must have meant.

You are the one who will eat it.

[141]

In the flowerbed was a girl.

But it was as if something had crushed the features of her face, and there was only smooth white skin, no eyes and no nose. Yet arguably she had a mouth, half of one at least, and it was twisted up vertically. I could only see her front teeth. I suppose it would be difficult for her to eat the tart. She had blonde hair with curls and she was naked, lying upon the earthen bed. Her stomach was swollen, as if she was pregnant, but her arms and legs and hips were very thin. There was rip, straight down her stomach, and from it peeked the clump of stuffed animals tied by a single thread. The connected form looked as if it itself were another girl. So that the girl made of stuffed animals, was blossoming out of the girl with no face.

“The mont blancs I brought from the store are well known for being delicious. If you’d like, why don’t you eat them together? Unfortunately, I brought only two.”

After I said that to the girls in the garden I went into Alice’s house.

I felt as if they waved back as I went.

*

There are lots of dolls in Alice’s room. There is a stuffed donkey, a woodcutter made of tin, a stuffed chicken, a scarecrow made of straw, a stuffed cat, a stuffed dog, boys and girls and old men and women, many kinds of dolls made of many different kinds of things. There was the kind of brown furniture and bookshelves which you would see in old movies. There were two long sofas with red cloth and twisting designs carved into the ends, and there was a single large low table. The floor was covered in carpet with strange patterns. The carpet was soft, and as I walked on it it felt as if I was walking on soft earth. There was a large chandelier hanging from the ceiling. It was a room filled of those things.

[142]

I could smell a weak scent, like that of perfume or flowers lingering in the room.

Alice, with her face like that of a doll’s, did not mind me as I entered, but continued working on an embroidery. She held a white cloth spread across a wooden frame, and she was threading a red thread, continuously, making a pattern of flowers as she moved her needle. I was impressed with the volume of her stitches and simply looked on as I sipped the black tea which had been poured for me.

“Um, Alice?”

“Yes?”

“This tea, it’s… How do I put it…”

“Does it taste strange?”

“Um, well… yeah. But I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s delicious. It’s just… different from the tea I usually drink.”

[143]

“A little bitter, perhaps?

“Ah… that’s it. It’s a little more bitter than what I’m used to.”

“I see. Well to me, that tea isn’t anything out of the ordinary, but hmm… I suppose it may taste different to you because it’s a natural tea.”

“N-Natural?”

Alice didn’t answer, but continued silently stitching.

I looked down at the cup in my hands. If this really is natural tea like she says it is… a cup of tea like this at a café would cost at least 5000 yen. When I thought about that, I felt like I had even more trouble understanding the flavor. I couldn’t help but feeling that a cup of tea like this was wasted on me, so after two more sips, I set it aside — though I suppose that letting it get cold will end up being even more of a waste…

“Um, Alice?”

“What is it, dear?”

“Why is it that you have so many dolls?”

“Well, It’s because I made them.”

“You made them?”

Alice paused her stitching and placed her work in her lap, reaching out to her cup of tea and bringing it to her lips. It shocked me how she could drink something so expensive without any hesitation.

[144]

“All of them?” I asked again.

“Yes, all of them. Most of them are failures though.”

“Failures?”

“I can never seem to get it right.”

“What about them isn’t right?”

I looked at one of the dolls, one that was sitting on the sofa next to me. It was a little girl doll in an apron dress with a red ribbon tied in her blonde hair. I gently lifted it into my arms, and it was a lot heavier than I expected. The doll was just a little bit smaller than a girl in kindergarten, and it probably weighed as much as one as well. The face and fingers weren’t made of plastic. I wonder what they were made of. Honestly, it was almost as if the doll was alive, but for the fact that its lips were closed and eyes open, unblinking.

“She’s so cute though.”

“The problems I’ve been having don’t have anything to do with the dolls’ appearances.”

“Then, what is the problem?”

“The problem I’m having right now is with the dolls’ absence.”

[145]

“Their absence?”

Alice set her tea cup down and leaned back into the sofa, setting her elbow on the shoulder and resting her head on her hand as she stared at me.

“I suppose it’s a problem that ‘you’ are having as well.”

Alice lifted her other hand and it felt like the doll in my arms moved. No, it didn’t just feel like it moved, it actually did move. The doll’s head turned and tilted, looking up at my face like how a child might, both of its arms reached up and touched my cheeks.

“If the term ‘absence’ confuses you, I suppose you could say the problem is a deficiency of anonymity. Did you feel like that doll was alive just now?”

“Huh, what?”

Alice looked at me, her frozen expression unchanging. I looked from Alice to the doll and back again several times.

“I-Is it alive?”

As soon as I responded, Alice dropped the hand she had been holding, and at the same time, the doll collapsed into my lap.

“I was controlling her just now.”

[146]

“Controlling her…? Like with a remote or something?”

“Just now, that child’s anonymity was lost, probably forever. It’s the same for all my children here. The absence of a doll, a proof of the absence of the existence of what we call a doll. The instant a doll is made, you might say that the doll itself becomes absent. At the very least inside of you, until this very moment that absence existed… but did I kill it? No, that’s not right. After all, no matter how you might try to arrange the broken fragments of ice on the ground this is not something that can be put together.”

“U-Um…”

“All of the dolls here, and all of the dolls I will in the future make, they are all stained with the poison of turpentine. When you shave the hair the L.H.O.O.Q, what happens to her, the woman before her hair was shaved? Yes, when you stare at her form continuously changing in the midst of irregular electric noises, I wonder can we truly abandon the name of Gherardini carved into her being? (Mona Lisa for the Multivideo)”

“U-Um…”

“A complete soul, complete independence, is guaranteed only by anonymity. We must seek the absence of the book.”

“Alice!” I could not help but raise my voice.

[147]

“This is ‘your’ problem.”

Alice then stood up and walked over to me, stopping only when she was right in front of me. Her expression did not change as she looked straight down at me and brought both of her hands up to my cheeks. They were cold. It felt as if they were made out of stone, or something similar. I could hear a clicking sound, like that of the ticking second hand of a clock.

“Yes, what ‘we’ seek is a pure white écriture, an écriture complete in its vacuum as a whereabouts of soul. ‘We’, right now, are in a hell known as the other. We must escape it.”

“A hell known as the other?”

“Exactly. Both ‘you’ and you as well, should be able to understand.”

“What do you mean?”

“Where are you right now?”

“What do you mean where? I’m here in your house.”

I hear a click, like the sound of a lock being opened in my ears. When I looked up I saw that Alice’s face had been removed, though one side of her face was still held on by a hinge and it was swinging slightly, creaking as it did.

[148]

In the place where her face once was there were countless gears and springs all meshed together. Click clack, tick, tick. The gears turned, and a shattered clock-face a needle-hand was moving, slowly bit by bit from seventeen to seventeen.

“Seek seventeen. (Seek death.)”

“Seventeen.”

“How old are ‘you’?”

“Well, I’m seventeen, but…”

“Yes. Of course you are. After all, ‘it was just decided now’.”

“Huh…?”

Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. A spring came loose. Pick click ting. It broke. Metal fragments sprinkled about my feet. But still the gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning.

[149]

Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir. The gears kept turning. Creak click crack pop. Click tick whir creak clack. Click tick creak clack whir.

[150]

Clack.

Something sprung out.

Snap.

It sounded like something had broke.

[151]

Clack. Snap.

Broken.

Alice was broken.

No.

No, that’s not right.

[152]

I h

ad

beg

un

t

o br

eak.

[153]

“I am called ‘you’.”

Al-

-ice;’s

voi-

ce-

“The truth behind poetry you may typically find lies in those who might take such poetry as thematic representations. You see these people through the course of them labeling things with names have experienced a wonder of anxiety.”

M

y ha

nd is b
rok
en

W

ai
t

Wh
y a
m I bre
aki
ng?

“Language gives definition to objects with meaning, yet at the same time in that beginning they slaughter the thing itself. So that I can say that I am ‘you’, I must in the end steal away the real presence of your fleshy body, make it absent, and destroy it.”

M
-e?

M

?

IMeIMeI

[154]

M-

“Language gives ‘me’ an existence. But, all that gives me is an existence in the form of an existence with its existence already stolen away.”

W-a-
-h-t
-?

D
oll

I

t-he

d-
oll

i-n m
y la
p

I
me I
?
??

[155]

“Language is what is left behind in the wake of the absence of existence, when existence is lost in the void. In other words, it is nothing but a reflection of the lack of existence of what it represents. Come now, let us cultivate the void. For that is truly an event. It is the meaning in repeating once again a process that should already be complete. Yes, you and ‘you’ together.”

II
I
III
I

“In that ‘you’ are unsigned, ‘your’ existence is proven only in your anonymity, the proof of your absence. The girl does not exist and therefore she exists. ‘You all’, when you were caught in this witches’ mechanism (This is a book, therefore here a work does not exist.), what ‘I’ sought help for was most likely what ‘you all’ were longing for which is hatred!”

Alice’s fingers pierced into my face as I continued to break. As if she were opening a sliding door she reached both hands into my face and opened it up both left and right. I was opened. ‘I’ was being opened. What was inside was…

“I know, Darling. After all, you are but a shell.”

[156]

I am filthy.

“The maggots bite into ‘us’.”

When everyone looks at me they cannot help but vomit.

“The scabbing and scarring of my skin disease makes my skin as if it were covered in scales.”

So, it had blossomed.

Inside of me, twisting and turning was a flower vase in a niche. A vase of countless flowers. Flowers of which no one knew the name. However, they were frozen and would not wither for all eternity, conserved in a box of glass.

I know.

For that was the shell given the name of I.

“Come now. Let us search, Ms. Ghost. For ‘you’. (ICQ)”

***

Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does (135/291)

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This an experiment.

Sorry for such a short installment. A lot of life events happened between now and last November, so I wanted to cut the block short and start afresh on the next segment.

I’d say this segment is R-15, but if you’ve gotten this far I’m sure you’re not worried about that.

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Translation Notes:

Comedic Mechanism: Parade of the Jane Does

[5]

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: A Night of Unpleasant Rain – 7
Chapter 2: March of the Saints – 95
Chapter 3: An Unbearable Existence in Suffering – 191
Chapter 4: An Emptiness Devoid of Color Contrast – 257

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[124]

She was the one who brought up the planetarium, saying out of nowhere she wanted to go.

[125]

She brought it up after her tutoring session was over, when we were chatting and drinking the coffee her mother always brought after we were done.

“Planetarium?”

“Yeah. One just opened up nearby.”

Her room was a six tatami-mat sized room. We were seated on cushions on the floor across from each other around a short round table in its center, not at her desk. We both had coffee cups in our hands. As she waited for her cube of café au lait to dissolve, she rested her chin in her opposite hand and stared at me.

“When?” I asked.

“Huh?”

“When are we going?”

“You’ll go with me?”

“I don’t have any reason to refuse. We haven’t been able to go on a date in a while after all, with how busy I’ve been.”

“You’re right about that. You’ve been leaving me alone way too much lately, Renko.”

I put on a warm smile and patted her head.

“So… When do you want to go?”

“Hmm… Can we go this Sunday?”

[126]

“That’s fine with me.”

“It’s a date, then,” she said, taking out her planner.

She put a red stamp on the next Sunday. I wasn’t really planning on looking, but I noticed all the same. Her planner was filled with only two colors of stamps, red and blue. I could tell that the red stamps marked the days she had dates with me, but I didn’t know what the blue stamps meant.

She put a red stamp on the next Sunday. I wasn’t really planning on looking, but I saw that her planner was filled with two colors of stamps, red and blue. There were some days that had both red and blue stamps and others that had only red, and it seemed like the blue stamps followed after the red ones.

“Hey…”

“What is it, Renko?”

“What do those blue stamps mean?”

As soon as I said that, she drew her planner to her chest and held it with both arms, hidden away. She looked mildly upset as she stared back at me.

“Renko! That’s an invasion of privacy!”

“Ah… Sorry, you’re right.”

“I wish you’d learn some manners. Aren’t you supposed to be the one teaching me?”

She stood up and pulled open one of the drawers of her desk nearby. The drawer had a lock, and once the planner was put away, she locked it as if that were the most natural thing in the world to do. She then sat back down and took a sip of her café au lait, as if the planner never existed in the first place.

[127]

“Strange that you would say that though.”

“I said something strange?”

“No, I mean about wanting to go see the planetarium.”

“Oh, it’s just that people have been talking about it lately.”

“Talking about it in what way?”

“They’ve been saying it’s a really strange.”

“Strange? I was under the impression all planetariums were the same.”

“Apparently that’s not the case. Based on what I’ve heard, this one has explanations that cover even the old constellations, and moreover you can get a better sense of three-dimensional depth than other planetariums.”

“3D, huh…”

“Hmm? I thought you would be more interested.”

“It’s not that I’m not interested, it’s just if that’s their main selling point it’s been done before — to death really.”

“You’re being too harsh. Besides, most of the planetariums which used to be around have shut down, so there aren’t many chances to go see them.”

“You do have a point… Now that I think about it, I haven’t seen any around in a while.”

[128]

“Right?”

“So where is this planetarium anyway?”

“It’s uh, around here… at the place called the ‘Otherworld Release Research Facility’.”

“Wait a minute, is that…?”

“Is something the matter?”

“No… No, it’s nothing.”

I had heard before that the “Otherworld Release Research Facility” was the name of the headquarters for the Fantasy Release Movement. I must have looked troubled, because when I looked over, I saw my girlfriend was worried.

“Did I say something wrong?”

“No, no, it’s just I thought, what a weird place to set up a planetarium, you know?”

“Renko?”

“Yeah?”

“‘It doesn’t matter who is doing something, only what they are doing.’ Didn’t you say that to me before?”

I did have a feeling I said something like that before. I don’t know what context I said it in though. After taking a sip of coffee I replied with a mix of a smile and a sigh.

[129]

“You’re right. You’re right.”

“You’re the one who said it first. Anyway this… what was it called again? Fantasy Release Movement? Is it really all that strange?”

“I’m not sure I’d call it strange, but… I think as a group they should be criticized for the way they claim their pseudo-science is real science.”

“Why? Isn’t not like they’re bothering anyone, right?”

“Not now anyway. Well, actually, no. I’d say they already are bothering people. The way they’re getting others to believe their lies, the way they’re guiding them into the fold of their organization… They have the potential to form a religious sect at this rate. Even if you disregard the way they are actively misleading others, just the fact that they’re disseminating information that has no basis in logic or factual evidence, that itself is blasphemy against this scientific age.”

“Well, if they were soliciting donations or something, I might feel they were doing something wrong, but they aren’t, are they? They’re all just gathering together, right? And it’s not like they’re denying anyone’s rights or trying to hurt anyone. Is it really wrong for them to assemble?”

“It’s more than that. They’re taking this idea they have, something that’s not at all based on sense or logic, and are using it to deny the present state of things. They’re denying the present. They’re denying everything that is around them. I can’t bring myself to believe that is a good thing.”

“Is it really so wrong to deny the present, if you hate the way things are?”

“Huh?”

[130]

“Is it really so wrong to want to have something to cling to, if you hate the way things are?”

I couldn’t say anything back. I couldn’t say anything back because she looked as if she would break out into tears at any moment. But was there really anything to gain from continuing to deny everything? I took my vaporizer out of my skirt pocket and brought its mouthpiece to my lips. I felt the effect of the nicotine flow from my throat and into my brain. Then I exhaled, and watched as the white smoke, white vapor puff out in front of me.

“Did something bad happen?” I finally asked, reaching to touch her cheek, feeling its soft hair dig its weak claws into my hand.

“No, Renko. If something did happen, I’d talk to you about it.”

She smiled weakly.

Was she really one to make these kind of faces? Something was off, and that feeling kept me from responding.

We just stared at each other.

Soon, she was at my side, still staring directly into my eyes with her own, glossy but not yet to tears. The longer I stared into those eyes of hers, with brown irises tinged with emerald, the more I saw them quiver.

Our lips pressed together.

It was natural, neither of us had initiated it. Three times we kissed, our lips only just touching. Then, as a small gap formed between her teeth, I slid in my tongue.

[131]

I listened to the smacking watery sounds of our kiss as they reached my ears. No many how many times we kiss, it never feels quite natural, with our tongues clumsily twisting with each other’s. Saliva flushed up from the base of our tongues and dripped from our lips, flowing down our chins. I opened my eyes slightly, watching the face of the girl I was kissing, her eyes tightly closed. Confirming the fact, I went deeper with my tongue, slurping up her saliva. I moved my hand around her hips and pulled her body closer to mine, feeling the beat of her heart through my own chest.

Slowly, I pulled my face away. The girl’s face was flushed, and her breathing unsteady.

“Renko…”

She was gripping my shoulders. A drop of sweat ran down her neck, and the unripe odor of her antiperspirant mixed with the scents of her body, tickling my nose. I leaned forward and sucked another kiss from her lips, and her fingers gripped me harder.

“Mfh…”

Her tongue reached inside of me, as if desperate, clinging to me. The smell of sweat, of café au lait, of antiperspirant, all mixed together with her own fragrance filled my throat shut.

Our tongues twisted, rubbing over each other’s. No longer remained the taste of café au lait. There was only a tasteless exchange of saliva. It was like I was licking glass, and that flavor alone filled my sense of taste.

[132]

I’ve had enough of this, I thought, and pulled my lips away.

But the girl now brought herself closer to me, and for a third time our lips met. Her kiss was like the suckling of a baby. It was a kiss with the intention to not let me pull away, to not let me run away, a kiss to keep me from leaving her. She sucked on my tongue, but when mine moved it was only in reaction to hers. I reached up and pet her, stroking from her head down her neck and to her back, again and again… but I could not bring myself to pull her towards me.

My tongue was numb.

I didn’t bother to drink her saliva, letting it dribble out of my mouth.

Slowly, I pulled her away from me.

A bridge of saliva crossed from her lips to mine.

She looked disappointed, wanting more. I stroked her cheek and then kissed the place I touched, feeling the texture of her dry skin on my lips.

“Renko.”

“Hm?”

“I love you.”

[133]

“I love you too.”

“Really?”

“I wouldn’t kiss someone I didn’t love.”

I pet her head again and like a puppy, her face lit up.

I looked out the window, and over the girl’s shoulder I saw stars already twinkling in the sky. 7:43 pm. The time echoed in the back of my mind.

“Wow, look at the time.”

“Huh?”

“I was just thinking it’s about time I head home.”

“I see… but my mom said you could stay for dinner.”

“You always have me over for dinner, though. I don’t want to be a burden on your mother.”

“But you’re not.”

“Yes I am.”

I gave her a final kiss, just a touch of our lips.

“Renko…”

“Don’t worry. I’ll text you later.”

[134]

“Okay. Is it alright if I see you off?”

“There’s no reason for me to refuse,” I said with a chuckle.

I took the teaching materials and pen case left on the table and put them in my bag, before standing up and slinging the bag over my shoulder. As I stood up, she did as well.

“Hey, Renko.”

We walked alone down the hall to her front door.

“Hm?”

“Um… Do you remember that path in the park?”

“Path in the park?”

She proceeded to describe a park that was a ten minute bus ride from West Kyoto Station. It wasn’t a particularly famous place, but it was relatively nice. It was a common place for people to go on dates.

“Oh… uh… Did we go there?”

“Yes. We went there together. So you don’t remember, huh.”

“Well, I mean we’ve gone to a lot of places together…”

“Yes, we have.”

[135]

“So… what about the park?”

She smiled slightly and shook her head.

“Nothing. I just felt like asking if you remembered.”

***

狂響のフォーチュネットポルカ // Kyoukyou no Fortunate Polka

Sponsored by: Timo

Transcription Referenced (https://petayuuchan.wordpress.com/2018/01/14/kyoukyou-no-fortunate-polka/)

狂響のフォーチュネットポルカ
 Kyoukyou no Fortunate Polka
 A Rhapsodic Fortunate Polka
クレイジーバックダンサーズ|東方天空璋
Vocals: あやぽんず* & あよ
Arrangement: kaztora
Lyrics: kaztora & ticat
Circle: 森羅万象 (Shinra-bansho)
Album: Season 4 you
Event: C93

今宵始まります秘密のショーに
お呼びではないのに雛鳥 1.2
これってばまさに青天の霹靂
おいでませませませ!秘密のワンダーランド

koyoi hajimarimasu himitsu no show ni
oyobi de wa nai no ni hinadori one-two
koretteba masa ni seiten’ no hekireki
oidemase mase mase! himitsu no wonderland

Tonight to our secret show we start tonight
Come little birds we did not call, 1-2
What a surprise! Who could have guessed!
But come now! Come, to our secret wonderland!

今しがた始まる内緒のショーに
さらに追加でご新規様! 1.2
カーニバル迎え数え4匹!
共に踊りましょ Let’s dancing in the all night!!

imashigata hajimaru naisho no show ni
sara ni tsuika de go-shin’ki-sama! one-two
carnival mukae kazoe yon’biki!
tomo ni odorimasho let’s dancing in the all night!!

To our secret show starting soon,
Two more new patrons come! 1-2
Welcome to our carnival! That makes four!
Let’s dance together! Dance all night long!!

パンドラの箱はどこにある?
困って止まって開けてみたら
二度とお外には戻れない!
ここで踊り狂え☆

pandora no hako wa doko ni aru?
komatte tomatte aketemitara
nido to o-soto ni wa modorenai!
koko de odorikurue

Where might Pandora’s box be!?
After some consideration you open it,
And now! Now you can never leave!
So dance here ’til you go insane!

カイ ライ 傀儡の私たちは どんなに糸が切れても平気☆バイバイ
アイ ジョウ 愛情♡も友情もない お涙頂戴して 知らんぷり♪
ライライラ踊って(ライラ)夢を見ても(夢を見ても)
夢から覚めて見ても変わりゃしない (私たち 変わりゃしない)
ヤイヤイヤイヤよ(ヤイヤ)また先なんて(そんなものは)
あなたにはね何もがありえない(ぼくにだってありえない)
あなたには何にも救えない
私たちの真後ろにいるの?そんなのきのせいだよ!ポルカ!

kai rai kairai no watashi-tachi wa don’na ni ito ga kirete mo heiki baibai
ai jou aijou mo yuujou mo nai o-namida choudai shite shiran’puri
rairaira odotte (raira) yume wo mite mo (yume wo mite mo)
yume kara sametemite mo kawarya shinai (watashitachi kawarya shinai)
yaiyaiyaiya yo (yaiya) mata saki nan’te (sonna mono wa)
anata ni wa ne nani mo ga arienai (boku ni datte arienai)
anata ni wa nan’ ni mo sukuenai
watashi-tachi no maushiro ni iru no? sonna no ki no sei da yo! polka!

Marionettes! No matter our threads our cut, we marionettes are fine! Bye bye!
Love! Give us your tears, not of love or friendship! Oh, what’s that? I didn’t hear you!
Lai-Lai-La Dance! (lai-la) Even if you dream… (Even if you dream…)
When you wake from that dream, nothing will change! (We won’t change!)
Yai-Yai-Yai-Ya-Yo (yai-ya) You think you have a future? (You really think so?)
For you, everything is impossible! (It’s no different for me!)
There’s nothing you can save!
There’s someone right behind us? Ha! You’re just imagining things! Polka!

雛鳥たちはこっちにおいで「かご」の中は一番安全よ?
ちょっと待ってよ!まだまだそっちはダメ!
お茶でも飲んで 一息ブレイクタイム

hinadori-tachi wa kocchi ni oide ‘kago’ no naka wa ichiban anzen’ yo?
chotto matte yo! mada mada socchi wa dame!
o-cha demo non’de hitoiki break time

Come here little birds! It’s safest inside the cage!
Wait a minute! You can’t go that way yet!
Why don’t we have a a short break, drink some tea or something?

そんな時間なんて そういった時間なんて
楽しむ時間なんて どこにもない
そんな余興なんて そうした余興なんて
魅惑の余興など あなたには不要♡

son’na toki nan’te sou itta jikan’ nan’te
tanoshimu jikan’ nan’te doko ni mo nai
son’na yokyou nan’te soushita yokyou nan’te
miwaku no yokyou nado anata ni wa fuyou

But no, that kind of time, that sort of time,
There’s no time like that to enjoy!
That kind of side-show, that sort of pleasantry,
You have no need for such an enticing event!

自信過剰な慎重さが積み
頼って迷って 掬ってみたら
おっちょこちょいさえ 治るか?なんて
→ここ←へタップして どうぞ!

jishin’kajou na shin’chousa ga tsumi
tayotte mayotte sukuttemitara
occhokochoi sae naoru ka? nan’te
koko e tap shite douzo!

That kind of over-confident carefulness is your downfall
You depend on others and after consideration scoop them up
Do you think you can really cure idiocy?
Why don’t you try tapping here?!

罠だけどね

wana dakedo ne

It’s a trap though

タイ カイ 大海知らずの君に説明しても意味などはない ナイ ナイ
タイ ガイ 大概忘れちゃうのさ ここは扉の前だってことを!
ヤイヤイヤ奥は(ヤイヤ)実の所(実の所)
そう先の方がね ずっと深くたっても(紡がれない深くたっても)
ライライライラで(ライラ)存在しない(無為に遊べ)
あなたは今ここで終幕だわ(こちらで終幕だわ)
あなたにはあなたも救えない
囲い囲まれては天の川 今宵は笹の葉っぱで♪ポルカ!

tai kai taikai shirazu no kimi ni setsumei shite mo imi nado wa nai nai nai
tai gai taigai wasurechau no sa koko wa tobira no mae datte koto wo!
yaiyaiya oku wa (yaiya) jitsu no tokoro (jitsu no tokoro)
sou saki no hou ga ne zutto fukaku tatte mo (tsumugarenai fukaku tatte mo)
rairairaira de (raira) sonzai shinai (mui ni asobe)
anata wa ima koko de shuumaku da wa (kochira de shuumakuda wa)
anata ni wa anata mo sukuenai
kakoi kakomarete wa ama no gawa koyoi wa sasa no happa de polka!

The ocean! There’s no use explaining like the ocean to you who don’t know! Not at all!
After all! You’ll likely just forget, that you’re right in front of the gate!
Yai-Yai-Ya Deep inside is (yai-ya) actually (actually)
Yes, beyond this place, no matter how deep you go (so deep you can’t be connected outside)
Lai-Lai-Lai-La (lai-la) There is nothing there! (So play meaninglessly!)
This is the end for you, here and now! (This is the end for you!)
You can’t even save yourself!
You are surrounded by the rivers of heaven, so let’s polka tonight with bamboo leaves!

笹振って 前向いて そう!ララライラ
手を振って 腰振って さあ!ララライラ
脚上げ 振り切って ヘイ!ララライラ
嗚呼 やめて! ふれて? やめて! ふれて? やめないで! ha…

sasafutte mae muite sou! rararaira
te wo futte koshi futte saa! rararaira
ashiage furikitte hey! rararaira
aa yamete! furete? yamete! furete? yamenai de! ha…

Wave the bamboo leaves, look this way! Yes! La-La-Lai-La
Wave your hands, shake your hips! Come now! La-La-Lai-La
Lift your leg and spin! Hey! La-La-Lai-La
Ah! Stop! Wave? Stop! Wave? Don’t Stop! Ha…

ここまで来ても(辿り着いたって)忘れたら 名前もほら 消えてく 無機質なこの 幻よ

koko made kite mo (tadori tsuitatte) wasuretara
 namae mo hora kieteku mukishitsuna kono maboroshi yo

If you forget even after you’ve come this far (after you’ve come this far)
 Even your name will disappear, in this inorganic illusion

狂喜で 奇妙な
不思議な ダンスを さぁ踊りましょう?
あなたはどなたで わたしはだぁれ?
精神崩壊!ふたつ 揺れて 生命

kyouki de kimyou na
fushigi na dance wo saa odorimashou?
anata wa donata de watashi wa daare?
seishin’houkai! futatsu yurete inochi

So let us dance!
A strange wonderous crazed dance of insanity!
Who are you and who am I?
Mental collapse! Two life-forces sway

スローモーション~!

slow motion!

Slow Motion!

カイ ライ 傀儡の私たちはどんなに糸が切れても平気☆バイバイ
アイ ジョウ 愛情♡も友情もない お涙頂戴して 知らんぷり♪ヘイ!
タイ カイ 大海知らずの君に 説明しても意味などはない ナイナイ
タイ ガイ 大概忘れちゃうのさ ここは扉の前だってことを!

kai rai kairai no watashi-tachi wa don’na ni ito ga kirete mo heiki baibai
ai jou aijou ♡mo yuujou mo nai o-namida choudai shite shiran’puri hey!
tai kai taikai shirazu no kimi ni setsumei shite mo imi nado wa nai nai nai
tai gai taigai wasurechau no sa koko wa tobira no mae datte koto wo!

Marionettes! No matter our threads our cut, we marionettes are fine! Bye bye!
Love! Give us your tears, not of love or friendship! Oh, what’s that? I didn’t hear you! Hey!
The ocean! There’s no use explaining like the ocean to you who don’t know! Not at all!
After all! You’ll likely just forget, that you’re right in front of the gate!

さあご一緒に?

saa go-issho ni?

Now, will you sing with us?

カイ ライ 傀儡の私たちに どんなに話しても無意味だよ? ライライ
タイ カイ 大海知らずの君は 帰されてしまうの! 終わりにはね
嫌! イヤイヤイヤ(ヤイヤ)終わりなんか(終わりなんか)
夢から醒めたならば 動けはしない(私たち 動けはしない)
ライライライラで(ライラ)嘘だなんて(そんなもの)
私に限ってほらありえない(私にはありえない)
あなたには何にも救えない 僕たちは誰にも救えない
望み望まれたこのヒロインが
今宵の終演でポルカを踊りましょう!
さあ Dancing all night!!

kai rai kairai no watashi-tachi ni donna ni hanashite mo muimi da yo? rai rai
tai kai taikai shirazu no kimi wa kaesarete shimau no! owari ni wa ne
iya! iya iya iya (yaiya) owari nan’ka (owari nan’ka)
yume kara sameta naraba ugoke wa shinai (watashi-tachi ugoke wa shinai)
rairairaira de (raira) uso da nan’te (son’na mono)
watashi ni kagitte hora arienai (watashi ni wa arienai)
anata ni wa nan’ ni mo sukuenai bokutachi wa dare ni mo sukuenai
nozomi nozomareta kono heroine ga
koyoi no shuuen’ de polka wo odori mashou!
saa dancing all night!!

Marionettes! No matter how you talk to us, it’s meaningless, you see? lai-lai
The ocean! You’ll be returned, you who don’t know the ocean! In the end at least
No! No! No! No! (yai-ya) This can’t end! (We don’t want it to end!)
Once you’ve woken from your dream you cannot move (We cannot move)
At least for me that’s certainly impossible! (It’s impossible for me)
You cannot save anyone, there is no one out there who can save us
These heroines, by choice and demand
Will dance the last dance tonight, the polka!
Let’s dance all night!!

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