A tall, lean figure in dark clothes crouched in the shadow of a storage shed behind Joshu’s rice merchant’s shop. He aimed a saucer-shaped device at the building and, with practiced motions, adjusted a set of earphones and manipulated the tape recorder dials.
Inside the shop, Gompei, six-foot tall, 350-pound ex-Sumo wrestler, exchanged bows with each of his twelve visitors. He locked the front door, closed the lights and led the twelve men up worn wooden steps to the attic. The single bare light bulb hanging from the peaked attic roof reflected off his shaven head. He went to the head of a long low table. The men surrounded the table and Gompei bowed once again. He stripped off his clothing and sat naked, cross-legged on the floor. The twelve followed his lead. Up and down arms and legs, from neck to waist, back and front, intricate images of legendary beasts and heroes covered their tattooed bodies.
“Brothers,” Gompei said in the cryptic language of the Yakuza, “once again we are threatened. A Special Investigator is on his way here to find Gentaro’s killer.”
Ono the Ax, a hard, grizzled-faced Yakuza, grunted. “I thought that foreign bastard was gone and forgotten.”
Gompei stared Ono into silence. “Our Yakuza brethren in the US Embassy warned me,” the Chief Yakuza said. “Yesterday, the new American Ambassador made a personal request of the Emperor to solve Gentaro’s murder.”
“Why?” someone asked.
“Gentaro was an American war hero,” Gompei said. “He had friends in high places.”
Ono the Ax popped his glass eye into the palm of his hand. “This is the only medal I got from fighting the Americans.”
In deference to Ono’s seniority and political power in the Yakuza, Gompei ignored his second breach of etiquette. “A Special Investigator is on his way,” Gompei said.
Wako the Pirate, youngest at the table and special friend of Ono the Ax, raised a finger and received permission to speak. “We can scare or buy this new Investigator off.”
“I doubt it,” Gompei said. “He is a personal representative of the Emperor.”
Ametropia by Dov Silverman is available through Amazon or wherever Smashwords books are distributed and sold.