“Cuckoo, cuckoo! Cuckoo, cuckoo!”
A cheerful Tyrolean ditty blasts out of a squawk box high above the cell door, the call of the cuckoo bird punctuating each cadence: “Cuckoo, cuckoo!”
If there is a tune more incongruous as a morning call for jailbirds, I don’t know it.
My back creaks as I push myself off the tatami floor.
Neighbors stir to life. Some of them groan, others yawn. There is a fart or two. Make that three. Toilets are flushed; water, splashed. Heavy footsteps clomp down the corridor.
I stand up slowly, my body stiff from a fitful night spent on a thin, lumpy futon—you’ll have to fogive me if I don’t start jumping up and slapping my thighs and heels—I take two and a half listless steps over to the washbasin.
Sticking my head under the faucet, I let the cold water run over it.
Never have I had such a pounding as severe as the one this past week has dealt me, and yet, not a single punch was thrown. There were no uppercuts, no jabs, no hooks; just the hard reality of the flight of stairs I have been thrown down, the unbelievable course of events that have landed me behind bars, where I am now being held incommunicado.
If only I could snap out of it.
Rokuban: Too Close to the Sun and other works are available in e-book form and paperback at Amazon.