64. Pulling Up Stakes

For better or worse, dé Dale and my lives have become as intertwined as a ball of string over the years. Pull on what looks like a loose thread you only end up tightening the knot binding us together.

As I nursed my third double margarita, I entertained thoughts of leaving Japan myself.

I’d have to wait until the investigation is over, of course. And, Lord knows how long that will take. A day or two, I guess, if all goes well . . . It’d be nice to save a bit more money, but, hell, once you head down that road, there’s no end. You never can save enough . . . No, I’ve got enough, enough to make a fresh start somewhere completely different. Brazil. Yeah, Brazil. Carnaval, Bossa Nova, mulattoes in skimpy bikinis with their tan bulbous fannies bouncing as they stroll down the beach . . . Or perhaps the Canaries, like dé Dale has talked about so often.

Hell, I could even pretend to be serious for once in my life, return to the States and attend graduate school, get my PhD . . . 

Or, I could move to Beirut and settle down once and for all. How many times have I thought about doing precisely that? I wouldn’t need much money . . . 

I’d have to finish up the current year at the universities, I suppose, out of consideration for the kids in my classes. The people I work with are goddamn bores, but the kids . . . the kids are all right. I owe it to them to finish up the school year.

And then, I’ll be free. Another six months and I’ll be free to do whatever I like.

By the time I had finished that third double margarita it no longer made sense for me to hang on any longer than I really needed to. Dé Dale’s suggestion in May that I join him had the effect of loosening stakes that had once been driven deep into the soil of Japan. The police raiding my apartment, however, dislodged them. Now all I had to do was pull up the remaining stakes and move on.

I paid the bill and headed back to my apartment.

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.

63. I'm gonna leave Japan

Friday morning. July 7th

I’m up at five, an hour earlier than usual, so I can take care of some things before I have to leave for work. Considering how much I drank last night—three double margaritas straight up at the aptly named Mexican restaurant, El Borracho (The Drunk)—I am feeling pretty good.

“Maybe I’m still drunk,” I say, sitting up in my futon.

It probably wasn’t the wisest thing to go drinking the very night my home was raided by a small army Narcotics and Customs agents, but those three margaritas were the shortest distance separating me from restless anxiety and being curled up in the arms of Morpheus.

Out of habit, I walk over to where my Mac ought to be.

“Oh, yeah,” I say, remembering that the computer has been confiscated.

I make an about-face and go to living room where a stereo component system has been gathering dust, pop in a random CD, push play, and Mr. Hermano’s “Free as the Morning Sun” brings the long unused speakers dancing back to life.

“To hell with the neighbors,” I say, turning the volume up and filling my apartment with the song’s uplifting melody.

In the kitchen I make myself a bowl of café au lait, and carry it out to the balcony where I sit in a lounge chair and savor it. 

The sun, rising in the southeast, reflects off the windows of the hotel across the street, bathing my balcony in faint yellow light. Sparrows chirp at the feeder and my rabbit Pyon-kichi scratches at my foot, trying to get in a little humpy-humpy. It is, all things considered, a perfect morning.

Last night at the Mexican restaurant, after knocking back my second double margarita, I reflected upon a conversation dé Dale and I had in May.

We were at a reggae party on Noko Island, the first of a string of music events and parties held on the island and elsewhere in town during the summer. Dé Dale said he didn’t want to miss a single one of them this year.

Sitting on the beach away from the crowds, we passed a flask of Ron Zacapa Centenario back and forth.

“I’m gonna do it,” dé Dale said. “I’m gonna leave Japan.”


“By December.” 

It was something he had been ruminating over for the past year. Now, his mind was made up. There’d be no going back.

“What are you going to do?” I asked.

“That’s the beauty of it,” he replied, taking the flask of rum from me. “I haven’t got a clue.”

Dé Dale stood up and invited me to follow him down the beach.

“I’ve been so dumb,” he said as we made our way over some large boulders. “I should have done this yearsago rather than suffer the way I have.”

“If I stay in Japan,” he continued, “I’ll only be repeating things I’ve already done. Where’s the fun in that?”

With a mischievous smile, he added, “Rémy, you’re not to tell anyone about this. No one. Not even that stupid girlfriend of yours . . . I’m going to be bad. Very, very bad.”

Dé Dale wouldn’t go into details, saying: “The less you know, the better.” 

One thing was clear, though: he was going to burn his bridges behind him as he left. And, once gone, he wouldn’t be returning. Not for several years, if ever at all.

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.