[FFML] [DN][OneShot] Necronomicon
hoihoisan at gmail.com
Wed Aug 5 13:16:32 PDT 2009
A Comedy of Justice in Four Acts
Disclaimer: All works referenced are property of their creators. This
story may contain content that is unsuitable for minors.
I // The Camel
Names are important. His is Etorouji Ryuuichirou, and he's a
forty-five year old regional executive at a certain multinational
Ryuuichirou is a gentleman and philanthropist of the highest order,
and he's known throughout the upper echelons of society as a kind,
generous, and just man. You can tell it by the way he straightens his
tie before the mirrored walls of his top-floor office, and by the fine
tailoring of his Gieves & Hawkes business suit.
When he was seventeen years old, his father warned him of the four
indulgences that the Confucian gentleman should partake of only
sparingly -- of drink, of flesh, of wealth, and of fame. One might
lose his way, he was told, if these vices are allowed to dictate
behavior. Four years he believed this, but he saw when he became his
own man that the warning was but a product of cognitive dissonance,
spawned for the peace of mind of those too weak and complacent to
strive for self-actualization. His father, a scholar of Chinese
history, had -- like the sheep that he was -- romanticized the
antiquated values of what was obviously an evolutionarily inferior
Ryuuichirou does not think much of his father anymore.
"Do you know why you're still working here?" he asks the young, pretty
woman in the slightly disheveled uniform sitting on the floor besides
his desk. It's a rhetorical question, and they both know it.
"No, sir," she says, even though she does. She doesn't look him in the eyes.
"You have a daughter in preschool and a husband whose job has recently
become a casualty of the strength of the Yen," he says. "Human
resources has your productivity down by fifteen percent since March,
and approached me with the suggestion that you're becoming a liability
to your department. Frankly, we don't need you." He pauses, turning to
study her expression. He can see the wetness of her eyes. "But you
see, I'm an understanding man. You've got a family to support, and I
can respect that. I'll let you keep your job -- maybe even give you a
promotion if you go the extra length. You understand what I'm saying?"
"Yes, sir," says the woman, wiping her eyes with her forearm sleeve.
"Thank you, sir."
"Service with a smile," he says, more dangerously than necessary.
The woman lowers her arm and forces a smile at him. He finds the fear
and resentment that he sees in her eyes to be quite pleasant. It will
be nice to have a new challenge.
By October, the fight in her is no longer. Ryuuichirou makes a habit
of discarding the things that cease to amuse him, but this doesn't yet
apply to her. Since the breaking of her pride, the depths to which
she's been willing to take herself on his suggestion have become a
source of endless entertainment for him and his guests.
It has only been a scant few months, but already there isn't a trace
of the ingrained, traditional properness of the Yamato Nadeshiko that
the woman came packaged with -- the shallow oversexuality of the
dark-skinned o-gyaru is all that remains. Ryuuichirou doesn't find
this attractive on a sexual level, really -- it's simply a
demonstration of the influence he holds over her, which pleasures him
in a manner more cerebral than carnal.
At a street corner five blocks away from her home, they kiss. He feels
the metal stud on her tongue against his flesh briefly before they
"Will Miria be alright when I'm through with this?" she asks, pressing
her braless, surgically-enhanced breasts to him. "I don't want that
fucker neglecting her for his computer games like he does now."
"Custody laws favor the mother," he says simply, even though he knows
that social services will hold her tattoos and piercings and her
promiscuity against her. He anticipates her tears.
The woman nods and withdraws from his embrace, waving and turning to
make her way through the empty, darkened streets of the residential
district. He watches her go before opening the door to his Bentley. As
he makes to enter the car, something violently jerks his collar
backwards, throwing him to the asphalt. There is a man standing above
him with his back to the orange light of the street-lamp, holding a
metallic baseball bat. Squinting, he recognizes the face. It's the
woman's husband, who he fired almost a year ago.
No words are exchanged.
II // The Lion
His name is Tachibana Seiji. He's twenty-eight years old and a
computer programmer, currently not in employment, education, or
training. He's also forty-three minutes away from death.
At an unsecured summer-house that he broke into somewhere in the
prefecture of Kanagawa, he watches the Sunday midday news on a
large-screen television. His own face looks back at him from a two
year old photograph of him and his wife and daughter on a second
honeymoon in Seoul. The anchor says that he's wanted for assault and
battery. Apparently, he's deranged, dangerous, and possibly armed.
"Don't you dare accuse me, you piece of shit," his wife had said to
him when he noticed the things that he should've noticed, months too
late to do anything about it. "You think I liked it in the beginning?
I did it for you, and I did it for Miria. What the fuck did you do?
You wasted away around the house, escaping into that Final Fantasy
crap that you play online, just because you couldn't find a fucking
job! That's what you did! You think you've got the higher moral
He doesn't look at the pale, innocent face of the woman he married on
the screen. Seeing her will remind him that he allowed her to cease to
be, and right now, he can't accept this. He wants justice.
He turns off the television. Hunger -- or perhaps something else that
he isn't able to name -- brings him to the kitchen to scavenge for any
unspoiled food the owners of the house might have left behind. As he
goes consecutively through the empty shelves and cupboards, a small
voice whispers to him that Etorouji Ryuuichirou has rather a good
chance of being the sole author of his misery.
The beating. It had been a crime of passion. He'd premeditated it to
some extent, if stalking around his neighborhood in an angry haze at
two in the morning could count as premeditation; but he'd done it
mostly because the guy had somehow resocialized his wife into a
shameless harpy of a whore, like the plot of some low-budget AV film.
Now that he thinks of it, though -- really thinks about it -- he
realizes that he probably has a lot more justification to the act than
Etorouji had been his immediate superior at Altimit, and the
prospective employers that had rejected him over the course of the
past year would've all been calling the bastard for reference -- they
turned him away, of all things, on 'overqualification' for his primary
authorship of the company's signature OS. The mysteriously neverending
string of rejections wasn't so much of a mystery anymore. This thing
that Etorouji had gone about putting into action wasn't some
spur-of-the-moment play for his wife. It was quite clearly a personal
vendetta -- and completely unprovoked on his part. Was it jealousy?
Some use-and-discard philosophy? Turning the thought over in his mind,
he feels his fury grow.
He doesn't find anything to eat.
Mentally staving off the emptiness, he lumbers up the stairs to an
overly pastel bedroom that belongs to the owners' teenage daughter. He
found the previous night that there was a PlayOnline install on the
girl's computer. Now, using it, he logs on to Vana'diel with a
warehouse account called Seijin. The music will relax him, he thinks.
Then he'll go back to Tokyo and finish off what he started. He'll
Twenty minutes later, in a party of low-level American players, he
lets out a string of cusses as his HP hits zero. The raptor-like
monster that his party was fighting moves off the screen, and the
"Raise plz," he types.
After a minute of no response, the party leader, the designated
healer, private-messages him:
"no. u suk as tank, Jap. booting u cuz ur a fag."
The handles and lifebars of the other players vanish from his display,
and his character is alone, dead in the wilderness.
"Justice is servd," says the screen.
He stares dumbly for a moment. Then, biting his lower lip, he throws
the USB game-pad to the floor, causing the wire to jerk from its
socket. Defeated, he leans back into the white leather cushions of the
office chair. The Final Fantasy is no longer final, or particularly
much of a fantasy. Why did he think it could comfort him?
The feeling that grips him now isn't anger, he realizes. It's the
hollow sensation of his own impotence -- at not being able to do
anything about anything. Etorouji was an exploitative bastard, yes,
but where was Tachibana Seiji when his wife needed him? He could have
done something. He *should* have done something.
"But don't I deserve justice as well?" he asks aloud.
Tachibana Seiji's forty-three minutes are up. In a pastel room filled
with the Game Over BGM of his final fantasy, he feels a sudden pain in
his chest. His vision blurs, and his final thought is a question:
What is justice?
III // The Child
Monsieur R____ Yagami, recently of Tokyo, Japan, estimates by a
careful system of merits and demerits that his relative placement in
society is quite laudable. Per the writings of a certain nineteenth
century German philosopher that he knows of only in passing, he thusly
imagines himself an Ubermensch, who is capable -- unlike the sheep
that are satisfied to simply follow -- of determining on his own terms
the difference between good and evil. It does not for a moment occur
to him to consider that he has never taken part in the definition of
what exactly he takes to be merits and demerits. He respects himself
too much to do this.
On a certain Sunday in the month of October, M. Yagami switches on the
small television on his workdesk shortly after lunch. After the news
of the child suicide bombers in northern Africa and of the recent
evidence of military oppression in western China, the pretty Eurasian
anchorwoman speaks impassively on a subject his interest:
"The billionaire philanthropist, Etorouji Ryuuichirou, age forty-five,
was battered and assaulted last night on a private excursion to the
Municipality of Setagaya in Tokyo by a former employee, Tachibana
Seiji, age twenty-eight, currently unemployed. The Tokyo Metropolitan
Police advises that Tachibana is to be considered armed and dangerous,
and requests that any sightings of the criminal be immediately
The man in the photograph on-screen is holding a small child and
smiling. There is a pretty young woman standing besides him, who
reminds M. Yagami vaguely of his younger sister. He takes the woman to
be Tachibana's wife. In the background is the evening skyline of an
unfamiliar city, possibly Osaka -- and if the bad exposure of the
flash is any indication, the photograph was taken with a fairly cheap
camera. These details, however, are irrelevant to M. Yagami. He
commits to memory only the face of the criminal, imagining him
slightly older, less cleanly shaven.
M. Yagami's understanding of the situation is perfect: A violent crime
has been committed by an unemployed lowlife against a good, upstanding
man that positively contributes to society. This is an infraction that
must be punished. The uneducated thug must be made an example of.
Of all his possessions, M. Yagami holds in highest regard a volume of
blank pages bequeathed to him by an invisible otherworldly companion
that he has seen fit to name 'Luke'; he now reverently removes it from
a hidden, sealed compartment in his desk. The volume possesses no
proper name, for the title associated has varied as often as the
dominant language of the epoch; and perhaps a slender volume of a
similar nature was once in the possession of the one known as the Mad
Arab in antiquity. M. Yagami, who is the prophet of his age, has in
the pages penned his predictions of the deaths of outlaws.
"In the name of Justice," he says under his breath, putting the tip of
his red ballpoint pen to a fresh page. Visualizing the face of this
sinner -- this wretched villain -- he quickly lays down the ideograms
to the criminal's name, followed by a time of death -- forty-three
minutes past noon. The pressure of his keystrokes is enough to kill.
Just like that, the fate of a man has been sealed. M. Yagami's
predictions always come true.
"I am Justice," he says, and blinks thereby. And so he is; it is inevitability.
'But I hafta wonder,' thinks the entity called Luke -- who is perhaps
a product of M. Yagami's own psychosis. 'Has the kid ever paused to
consider if he's really this independent authority of justice he takes
himself to be? He's got Tachibana Seiji down as a criminal only 'cause
some half-French newscaster said so, and she's only saying so 'cause
the Metropolitan Police wanted her to. How many are the scores of
voices that moved his pen, exactly?' Luke begins to giggle at a
realization. 'It doesn't occur to him that he's never bothered to
define his own Justice.'
"What are you laughing about?" asks M. Yagami.
"Nothin'," says Luke, cackling as he takes another bite from his sweet
fig. "Just that you're a real amusin' guy." And then he thinks: 'There
isn't any question that Yagami is Justice. He's blind enough, and the
weapon he wields is a whole lot mightier than a sword.'
IV // The Sleep of the Just
Etorouji Ryuuichirou hears it from the police before he sees the news:
Tachibana Seiji has died. His body was found in a summer-house in the
mountains out by Hakone.
His first thought is: Serves the damned shut-in right for presuming to
be my intellectual equal.
He has no second thoughts; no remorse.
The rookie officer assigned to pass the message to Ryuuichirou doesn't
delve much into the suspected cause of death. Ryuuichirou can tell
why: The kid is uncomfortable with the idea of the supernatural force
of justice that is Kira. He smirks at the boy's expense, and then
wonders what he's guilty of.
That night, content in the knowledge that a threat to civilized
society is no longer at large, Ryuuichirou falls asleep in his
hospital bed while rereading Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in its
original English. It is the best that he sleeps in the week since his
It is the sleep of the just.
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