Time from the Heavens
Tatsumi was walking along, just minding his own business, when a wrist watch dropped out of the sky, landing in front of him. Tatsumi was startled, yes, but he managed to keep his reactions in check.
A few feet away, another man saw the watch land, looked up to the empty, clear blue sky and backed away as if the watch were contagious (and then went along his way). Admittedly, Tatsumi was just as weirded-out as the next guy, but he kept his cool. There must be a rational explanation. Watches don’t just fall out of the sky.
He inspected it — wet, muddy, and with telltale scratches of being a very abused watch — and was surprised to find it still ticking.
At first he scoffed. His watch was perfectly cared for — polished and wound-up on schedule. Why on earth would anyone need such an indestructible watch . . . Tsuzuki-san! He had always lamented that if only there were a watch as indestructible as Tsuzuki, he’d have glued it onto him already.
Just then, a pair of American GIs came running his way.
“Hey, there it is!”
“I’ll betcha it’s still tickin’!”
“No way, man-”
And one of the GIs snapped the watch out of Tatsumi’s hand.
“Yep, see fer yerself, it’s still tickin’. Wha da ya know? My little lady was right about ’em Timex watches.”
And just as they were about to set on their way, Tatsumi grabbed the watch’s owner’s arm. “Ano . . . I . . . buy . . . ” Tatsumi wished that he’d kept up his English after his university studies. All he could do was point at the watch.
“Looks like feller here wants to buy yer watch.”
“Oh? Hm . . . How many yen is ten dollars?”
“San zen en . . . I think that’s how you say it.”
“Iie!” Tatsumi kept calm while inwardly being very aghast. Three thousand yen? for a beat-up watch? Granted, it looked bomb-proof but still. “Go-hyaku ’en.”
“Uh . . . he wants to give you less than two dollars fer it.”
“No way, man! That watch took months to get here after my wife sent it. If I’m gonna part with this watch, it’d better be worth it to me!”
Tatsumi didn’t exactly understand the other man’s predicament, nor did he care. But he was now determined to get this watch for Tsuzuki-san (for a very good price, of course). And right now, he was more determined than in his shadow-control lessons. Speaking of which . . .
“Uh, did that man’s shadow just twitch?”
Both men stared at Tatsumi, eyes growing wider with fear. And Tatsumi smiled menacingly at them. Luckily, his shadow had moved enough for them to notice but not enough for casual pedestrians passing by to notice. So Tatsumi couldn’t communicate verbally very well with these men. But even if he could, there would be no reason to tell them that he could barely even move his own shadow an inch — and such a feat usually took all his concentration. Yep, there was no reason or way to tell them anything.
The GIs stood like deer in headlights until Tatsumi took a step forward.
“Don’t come near us!”
“Here, take the watch!”
And off they ran, dropping the watch as they turned away. Those silly soldiers, scared of a shadow that can barely even move.
Tatsumi smiled with satisfaction as he picked up the watch. Ah, so I get this for free. Even better!
Tatsumi arrived at the restaurant, still smiling with pride. He expected his face to light up when he’d finally see Tsuzuki. Tatsumi was taken aback as he realizes — the un-eaten apple pie. The worried look. Tsuzuki-san. You worry so about me . . . You care . . .