It was ages ago, so long ago you probably don’t remember exactly when, but you do remember the day alright. You were waiting in the rain for your girlfriend to arrive when someone called out your name:




I turn around and find an attractive young woman, petite with long black hair, her large feline eyes looking up at me.

“Peadar, right?”


“We met at Umié . . . Do you remember?”

If I tell her the truth, why, there will never be anything to write home about, she will continue on down the road and perhaps find someone else, someone much better than me, but . . . No, I have to say: “At Umié, yes. Yes, I do remember! How have . . . you been?”

“I’ve been good, really good,” she replies, combing her hair behind her right ear. “Been a long time, hasn’t it?”

“A long time, indeed!”

“Waiting for someone?”

“Y-yes, I, uh, I’m going to the movies with, um, . . . with a friend.”

“Movies? Sounds nice. Wish someone would take me to the movies!”

And there is my opening—as open as a trap, they say—but I won’t realize it till much later in the day after I’ve had sex with that “friend” of mine. So, I ask the woman where she’s off to, and she replies: “To work.”

“In Nakasu?”[1]

“I’m not a hostess, Peadar,” she says with a laugh. “I work over there at that boutique.”

“Over there?” I say, craning my neck to get a good look down the street.

“On the corner.”

“Oh. I never noticed that a clothing store was there.”

“Few people do. It’s always so quiet, I’m surprised we haven’t gone out of business.”

“Do you still hang out at Umié? I haven’t been myself in quite a while.”

Umié is no longer there,” she says matter-of-factly.


“It was busted by the cops a long time ago.”


“Shō and Hiro were dealing marijuana.”

“You don’t say!”

“Trust me, everyone knew about it. I’m only surprised the police didn’t catch on sooner.”

And then my “friend” shows up.

“Well, I gotta get going,” the young woman says. “Come by and say hello if you’re ever in the neighborhood.”

“I will . . .”


“Excuse me?”

“It’s Akané, by the way.”

“Akané! Yes, yes. I knew it! Bye now.”

“Bye, Peadar.”


[1] Located on a small island between the Naka and Hakata rivers, Nakasu (中州) is the largest red-light district in the western Japan after the Tobita Shinchi in Ōsaka. There are over three thousand “adult” entertainment establishments, ranging from high-end restaurants and members-only cabarets to hostess bars to “soaplands”. (I’ll let your imagination run with that.)