The New Girl

111210

  Asano Natsuki is our delivery girl, and I’ve been crushing on her since the first time she pulled up with a box full of gold-plated dildos addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Womb – Dalton’s idea of a joke this was not, thought he spared no time in telling the girl holding the box that I was Mrs. She still gets a kick out of that.

  Natsuki hasn’t changed a bit since I met her six months ago. She’s kept her hair short, cropped around her ears so that the cuteness of her face stands out even more so. She has an incredibly light wash of freckles underneath her eyes – something I’ve not seen on any other Japanese girl here – and a small round nose. From what we can tell she’s a little older than Dalton and a little younger than me, but – in keeping with that strange Asian tradition – she’ll look young ‘til she’s old.

  I’ve never seen her in anything other than one of four jumpsuits – a different colour for every season – and along with these she’s always sporting two staple things. Firstly, her Giants baseball cap – alongside a passion for the team I’ve seen unequalled in her male peers – and a wide grin. In a country full of people who harbour little love for foreigners – westerners even more so – it’s amazing how a gesture as simple as a smile can change your day. 

  We hear her pull up out back seconds before she honks the horn, and Dalton and I head out to help her with our stock.

  “Highlight of your day, right?” Dalton says, elbowing me awkwardly below the ribs, “Gonna finally invite her out to Karaoke with us?”. I do my best to hide the fact he nailed me in the solar plexus as I tell him to shut up. We walk out into the yard and find the truck, the back flung open, the sounds of Natsuki shifting heavy boxes around emanating loudly from inside.

  “Natsuki-nee-san,” Dalton calls – his little joke-cum-custom – and she appears almost instantly, hopping down from the truck in her summer-yellow threads.

  “Ohayo, Dalton-bozu” she shoots back without missing a beat, then, looking at me, “Ohayo sempai.” I’m only a couple of years older than her but she insists on using this honorific.

  “Ohayo, Natsuki-Tan,” I reply, a suffix she okayed a long time ago. She would have me drop it altogether now, but my American mindset of a name being a name, I’ve found it difficult to lop the end off.

  Dalton and I walk around to the back of the truck and peer inside. There’s a city of cardboard skyscrapers back there, boxes full of Kabukicho stock making up the uneven skyline. At the front of it all – the docks, if you will – there’s a large rectangular box marked for Dalton. It’s about six feet across and a couple of feet deep. We’ve only ever had such a box delivered here once before, but it’s not until Dalton hops in excitedly and we pick it up between us do I realize what it is. The weight is unmistakable.

  “Dalton, is this-?” I begin to ask.

  “Yeah,” he says, shooting me a grin, “it is.”

  “No way.”

  “Way.”

  “Nan desu ka?” Natsuki asks, an excitement birthed off ours building in her voice.

  “It’s-” I begin, but suddenly I realize I’m at a loss for the translation.

  I don’t know the Japanese word for coffin.

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~ by Joseph Blame on November 12, 2010.

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