Cutscene: Desire on Its Knees

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Gold Destroyed the Soul Part 8.5

Before he passed away, my father taught me the value of a good lawyer. Whenever we went on trips, half the time he was on the phone, talking to his legal representation, giving orders and listening intently to the latest crisis unfolding. I have no idea how a denim company had so much legal morass to slog through. I mostly cared that attention he gave his phone and his lawyers was attention that he wasn't giving me. He put me in his lap one day and explained to me that it was those conversations with the lawyers that enabled us to live the way we did -- trips abroad to the European markets, our nice house, my nice clothes, my dolls, my CDs, my cat... After that, I guess I never really minded lawyers.

Mob lawyers are kind of another story. They're just as prone to being degenerate drug addicts as regular Yakuza businessmen, but their professions are even more high-stress and detail-oriented, so they tend to crack up more visibly. I don't hate them or anything, but I keep them at arm's length. They have hard jobs and they're probably going to be murdered in the end, so why make life any harder for them?

Tuesday morning I woke up to someone banging on my door. I live in Lunarvale, where no one ever visits anyone, let alone insistently -- so it was a bit of a surprise. I threw on my robe and kind of tied it and answered the door, and there was Uno-san, his suit sagging off of his bony body because of mob stress and stomach cancer. He was one of the family lawyers for the Yashida-kai, the vice family in Sumaru, and the first thing he said to me was "Oh, good, you're alive."

Uno-san invited himself in and then invited me to make some coffee for him. I'm not sure if you should drink coffee when you have cancer, but I did it anyway. We sat and had coffee and he explained to me what had happened, what documents had surfaced, and what was probably going to happen to me. I told him to wait there and help himself to more coffee while I took a shower and got dressed.

Here's the thing: I'm rich. I'm not Masahiko Irie rich, but my kind of girlfriend and I ripped off some assholes for a lot of money. She took her cut and I took mine, and since I own my own restaurant, I haven't had to worry about using much of that cash reserve. I pay myself quite handsomely, thank you. I cleaned myself up, put on this cute little suit with a skirt and some classy heels and, after a couple attempts, the right blouse, and my make-up, and then just a little bit of speed, like, not even a line, more like a fingertip, to keep me sharp, keep me dangerous. I took Uno-san and my purse and dragged them both out, one to each arm, and instructed him on where we were going next.

When a lot of your working life -- previous working life, anyway -- revolved around socializing, if you didn't get to know lot of people, you were doing it wrong. I had all kinds of people I could call on to join me, and I thumbed through my phone in the backseat of Uno-san's car, Uno-san riding shotgun, his driver ignoring everything except the road. I thought about Miyuu-chan, bringing her, to show her that we're in this together, but... we're really not, and bringing a woman would just get me laughed at. Likewise, I could bring the Iranians in, because they're cheap and they're crazy, but anyone can bring the Iranians, so I passed. I wanted to make these old idiots shit themselves. There are guys who don't have a clan anymore. They're sort of like ronin in those old dumb movies, the guys who fight without masters, taking pay. And pay is what I had to offer.

Togo-san and Teioh-san were both middle-aged. They had the full irezumi suite and they worked well together. Nowadays they don't work so much, because they're so good at what they do that they priced themselves out of the market. That's another thing my Daddy taught me: quality is worth the cost. When it comes to things like bodyguards -- enforcers -- quality is definitely worth the cost. I called them. I made an offer. They accepted. We picked them up. They were punctual, which you might well expect, since they were both the kind of guys whose haircuts you could set your watch to. I chose them for a bunch of reasons, but mostly because they both had daughters.

Uno-san made the meeting and we all headed there together. Uno-san told me a bit about what had happened to precipitate this. Apparently, when old man Yashida died, he had a will, and his bitch wife didn't like it so she tried to suppress it. Someone, no one even knows who, had notarized copies sent out to all the Yashida-kai lawyers, though, and now everyone was losing their shit. Except me. I was calm. Somehow.

Makioka-san and Kiku-san -- the lieutenant and the bitch wife, who've been banging for years -- were already there, each with their own entourage. Makioka-san, by all rights, should have taken over the family. He was Yashida-san's right-hand man, but Yashida-san didn't delegate. All the power remained right at the top, so Makioka-san looked weak... and the gossip about him fucking the boss's wife didn't help, either, especially since it was true. So now, with Yashida-san gone, everyone thought they could challenge him, and he was only just then starting to get everything under wraps.

Until this happened, anyway.

With Togo-san and Teioh-san flanking me, I sat down, Uno-san looking even more pale than he usually did. A few other lawyers were there and they all looked like they wanted to jump out the window. I was probably the only person there who was having any fun. Who wouldn't, in this situation? It was like a surprise birthday party. In school one of my favorite things was when I had something the other girls didn't, and their envy was written all over their faces. Manna from heaven.

The lawyers talked amongst themselves for a minute or two and then Uno-san drew the short straw and had to do the talking. "Gentlemen, er, ladies, we're here to... address a... peculiar matter of succession in the Yashida-kai family, er, with the... passing of Yashida-san," he said, and I winked at him, because Yashida-san had died sporting a hard-on for me, "it has come to light that his, er, will, which we had previously not been... privy to, there is an, um, unusual bequeathment..."

"Get on with it!" Kiku Yashida snapped. I looked over at her and wanted to giggle. Long-sleeve outfit. Traaaaaack marks. You'd never catch me abusing my body like that.

"Uh, yes," Uno-san said, looking between the three of us, me, Kiku-san, Makioka-san. "As we all know, Yashida-san was a, um, tempestuous man, and, uh, with his tragic, er, passing, we'll never actually know... but... this is his will, it's... signed by him, it's... all the paperwork is correct, and it checks out, and it's enforceable. So..." Uno-san flipped through some sheafs of paper. "The pertinent piece here is that... I quote... 'Because my no-good wife is cheating on me with my pussy of a lieutenant, I leave them as much as I would my whore. And to teach them a lesson, I leave my whore everything, including my stake in the family business, that would go to those two. And that's why you don't screw around.'" Uno-san looked as if he expected to be shot on the floor. Makioka looked like he was considering it. "The, uh, whore, in this case, is you, Ohmukai-san. He goes on to quite explicitly indicate that he intends for his controlling interest of the Yashida-kai to fall to you."

I did my best not to grin. It was so difficult. Kiku-san just got up and stormed out, probably to go make sure all that meth isn't making her teeth fall out or something. Maikoka-san and his boys turned to look at me. He spoke slowly, like his tie was too tight. "Do the right thing, Ohmukai-san, and you'll be rewarded." The offer wasn't even tempting. Gambling is too much fun.

"Gosh," I said, biting the tip of my pinky. "Don't you think that'd be disrespectful of Yashida-san's memory...?" Okay, now, I had to grin. I couldn't stop myself. He looked like I'd just stepped on his crotch in a stiletto. There was a long silence.

"You're aware of the consequences of this," Makioka-san said, slowly. "My men are loyal to me."

"Sounds like you don't want a job anymore, Ken-kun," I replied, and then turned toward the lawyers. "Hey, put the word out, okay? Anyone who joins up with me gets paid double. Oh, oh, oh, and I won't have them and their families murdered like dogs. That's, like, their Christmas bonus."

I think Teioh-san almost smiled a little bit at that one. None of the lawyers laughed. Makioka-san got up and marched right over to my chair -- Teioh-san and Togo-san moved reflexively, blocking him from doing anything stupid or immediate. I told you guys that quality was worth the cost. He looked like he was ready to start a brawl then and there, but maybe he's just not as much of a gambler as me. Instead he huffed and puffed and finally said, pointing right at me, "You want this? You pay for it. Get ready for a war, slut."

Then he stormed out with his boys. I sat in the comfy chair as the lawyers made phone calls and really, I just couldn't stop laughing.

-Mariko Ohmukai, 2011

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