57. Nothing to Hide

Adachi’s private office in the back is even more cluttered than the reception area. A steel bookshelf has been rigged up against the wall and is stuffed with volumes of law books and journals. A large conference table, taking up what little room there is in the office, is covered with piles of legal documents, heavy stacks of books, newspapers, magazines, and cardboard boxes filled higgledy-piggledy with papers. From a distance the table could pass for an overloaded container ship inching its way through a narrow canal.

Lifting a box off of a seat, the lawyer invites me to sit down.

“I’m sorry for coming unannounced like this,” I say, taking the seat. It wobbles unsteadily below me. “But, this morning my apartment was raided by the police.”

“Did they tell you why they were there?”

“No, they wouldn’t say. Here.”

I hand the lawyer the papers I have with me: copies of the warrants and an itemized list of things confiscated from my apartment.

“What’s this?” Adachi asks, pointing to the Modafinil on the list.

“That has nothing to do with the case . . .”

Before I can explain, Adachi picks up the phone and starts dialing the number of the chubby Customs agent with the pencil mustache. 

“Is this Nakata? Oh good. My name’s Adachi, I’m a lawyer and I’ve got a Mr. Bon . . .” 

“Boncoeur,” I prompt. I can’t tell if the lawyer before me has brass balls or is a reckless fool.

“I’ve got a Mr. Boncoeur here. He’s quite upset about what happened this . . . I see . . .”

After speaking briefly with the Customs agent, Adachi hangs up the phone and announces definitively, “This is a case of attempted smuggling.”

“Yes, yes, I realize that now. That’s what I was going to tell you,” I reply, somewhat exasperated.

Adachi apologizes, saying he mistakenly assumed the case revolved around the Modafinil.

Starting over from the beginning, I explain what happened, the phone call to my cousin, and so on.

“Well, attempted smuggling isn’t nearly as bad as actual smuggling. If the drugs had, for instance, made it to your home and you had used them, well, then it would be an entirely different story. Hmm, this is very interesting.”

Adachi pushes his glasses to the top of his head and takes a second look at the papers again.

“Very interesting, indeed,” he mumbles to himself. “I worked on a similar case a few years ago . . . An American teaching at a junior high school here in town . . . When he was coming through Customs at the airport, he was found to have drugs hidden in the lens of his camera . . . He claimed they had been planted on him . . . Hmm, very interesting.”

Of all the names on the list, why did I have to choose this guy?

I wanted to back-peddle out of Adachi’s cluttered law office and find another lawyer, that Kōga, perhaps. Trouble is, I now have even less time than before.

“I wouldn’t worry,” Adachi concludes after muttering incoherently to himself for a minute. “If the police thought you were guilty, they would have arrested you this morning.”

“You know, I would really like to believe that, but I’m afraid I don’t trust the police. I mean, what if they are just postponing my arrest?”

“I don’t think they’d do that.”

“They want me to come in for questioning on Sunday morning and again on Monday.”

“Make sure you go, then.”

“Do I haveto? Am I legally obligated to go?”

C’mon, man, throw me a fucking bone here!

“No, but it will only make you look more suspicious if you don’t. And then they’ll definitely arrest you.”

“Isn’t there anything youcan do?”

“I’m afraid not,” he says flatly. “Just tell them what you’ve told me and you should be all right. You haven’t got anything to hide, right?”

Nothing to hide? Good Lord, I have plenty.

“No, nothing,” I say. “I didn’t ask or want my cousin to send her medicine. I didn’t evenknow there was something ‘illegal’ in the package until this morning when my place was raided.”

“Well, tell them that and I’m sure everything will be settled before long.” 

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.

40. Smart Drugs & Not So Smart People

Windbreaker comes around again and asks if I like traveling.

“Yeah. I go to Southeast Asia—Thailand, Malaysia, and so on—about once a year. And, I try to visit a new country at least once every one or two years.”

“You do drugs when you were there?”

“Pardon me?”

“You do drugs when you were there?”


“Thailand. Did you do drugs in Thailand?”


“Have you done drugs in Thailand? You know, ecstasy?”

On the bookshelf just behind Windbreaker is an article my friend dé Dale clipped for me from The Bangkok Times a few weeks ago. It describes Thailand’s illicit trade in narcotics, yaba in particular.

“You must be joking.” I say. “Of course, I haven’t.”

“Oh? Why not?” Windbreaker seems surprised.

“Why not? Because I have zero interest in being thrown into a Thai jail is why not!”

“How about Japan, you ever do drugs in Japan? You ever smoke ‘ganja’?”



“Marijuana? No. Never.”

“You’ve never smoked ganja?”

“Look, I’d be lying if I said I’d never smoked,” I admit, somewhat apologetically. “In college, you know, I 'experimented' with it just like everyone else. Hell, even President Clinton did. But, no, I have never smoked marijuana in Japan.”

Cross my heart and hope to die.

A taller cop, thinning on top and shabbily dressed, takes a large case off the top of my refrigerator, places it on the dining table and opens it. Inside is a water pipe, broken down into about eight pieces.

“What’s this?” he asks, holding up the Bohemian glass bowl that forms the base of the pipe.

“It’s an narghilè,”I say. [1]

“A what?”

“A water pipe from Lebanon,” I explain, “for smoking tobacco. The tobacco is in the cabinet across from the fridge. Top shelf.”

If there anything in my apartment is suspicious, it’s that pipe, but, rather than pack it up with all the other things the cops are now confiscating, he returns the narghilè to its case and puts it back on top of the refrigerator. You can smoke dope with one of those, not that I’m going to tell them.

The same cop, clearly not the sharpest tool in the proverbial shed, asks if I am Muslim.

“How many Muslims do you know keep a well-stocked bar?”

I have a small shrine of sorts dedicated to St. Max Kolbe—patron saint of, among all things, addicts—stocked with Ron Zacapa Centenario, Absinthe, Bombay SapphireSatsuma potato shōchūTres Generacionestequila, Pernod, and so on to keep the home fire burning.

He sighs irritably, then, starts hunting through the contents of my refrigerator where, in addition to the usual perishables, I keep vitamins and other supplements on the top rack of the door.

“What’s this,” he asks, holding up a small bottle of filled with a green liquid.

“It’s Champo-Phenique,” I answer. “It’s for insect bites and cold sores.”

He bags it up as evidence. Then, he removes a small box. “And this?” 

“I have rhinitis,” I explain, pulling a handkerchief from my back pocket and honking the klaxon good and loud for effect. “It helps.” Sniff-sniff.

The box contains about a month’s supply of Modafinil, a mild stimulant I’ve been taking for the past three years—I happen to be slightly jazzed up on it this morning. Did I give the truth a slight twist by saying it helped with my rhinitis? Not really. It does help me keep my eyes open when the allergy meds I take daily are trying to pull the shades down.

But Modafinil does so much more, something that I’m not about to let them in on, because, as they say, loose lips sink ships, a fact that is made all the more poignant when your boat is filled gunwale-to-gunwale with plainclothesmen. Modafinil taken with a cocktail of the Cognamine and other nootropic smart drugs will have you soaring like a rocket all night and landing softly as if onto a giant marshmallow. Astonishingly enough, none of them are controlled substances in Japan.[2]

The cop drops the Modafinil into a Ziploc bag to be sent to the lab, then closes the fridge having done his bit.

[1]The names for water pipes vary from country to country. In many parts of the Middle East water pipes are called narghilè (pronounced “arghileh”). “Hookah” comes from the Indian word for the pipe.

[2]“Nootropics” are drugs that are said to enhance cognition, memory, and attention. Many of the drugs mentioned above have since become controlled substances in Japan. (Party poopers.)

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.