After taking a shower and getting dressed, I notice that the message light on the phone is flashing. I press the play button.
Beep. “Rémy? Are you okay? I miss you . . .”
Beep. “Answer the phone, Rémy. I want to hear your voice.”
Beep. “Are you with another woman again?”
Beep. “Pick up the fucking phone now or it’s over between the two of us!”
Beep. “Why don’t you answer the phone? I’m going crazy worrying about you.”
I know I have to fill Azami in on what is happening before she has a complete meltdown, but I can’t risk doing so from home. I don’t know, for one, if anyone is listening.
I leave home earlier than usual, elaborately rigging the apartment with markers: business cards in the door jams, cellophane tape at the base of the fusuma sliding doors. If the cops were to snoop around my apartment while I am away, I will know.
At the train station, I ring Azami up.
“Where are you?” she demands right away.
“I’m at Hakata sta . . .”
“Why didn’t you answer your phone?”
“I couldn’t . . .”
“Where were you?”
“Why didn’t you pick up then? You were with someone, weren’t you?”
“Then, why didn’t you?”
“Azami, shut up for once and listen!” I sigh heavily and continue. “My apartment was raided by the police yesterday.”
“Oh Rémy, I knew something like this would eventually happen,” she groans. “I knew the police would eventually catch up with you and dé Dale.”
And she wonders why I didn’t pick up the phone.
“We can talk about that later, but first I need you to do one thing for me this afternoon.”
“Meet me at Small at seven-thirty.”
Small Spaces is one of my regular haunts.
“Why can’t I meet you at your apartment?”
“For the love of God, Azami!” I yell into the receiver. “Just be at Small at seven-thirty!”
“Okay,” she says reluctantly.
The first posting/chapter in this series can be found here.
Rokuban: Too Close to the Sun and other works are available in e-book form and paperback at Amazon.