Takeshi’s Challenge, Part 4

Image credit: Masao. Thanks, Kishi!

[Previously: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.]

I can’t tell you exactly what happened over the next 48 hours. I have a general idea of how things unfolded, but the details are sketchy. Unemployed and now homeless, I wandered back over to Azemichi, where some quantity of alcohol was consumed.

From what people tell me, there was apparently some kind of incident at Dick’s Pachinko afterward.

There was yelling, and by the time it was all over, I somehow found myself in possession of a shamisen.

Also, I’m apparently banned for life.

Back at Azemichi — that’s today’s third visit, if you want to be a jerk about it — I managed to talk Chad into plugging in the karaoke machine.

(He later told me that he would never let that happen again.)

I found my groove soon enough, though. Something about this song always gets me a little weepy. Chad says that tears rolled down my face as I sung it for the third time in a row.

I tried to launch into an encore of “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” but the audience was having none of it. Things got a little rough.

And then it all took a strange turn.

I weighed my options.

Setting it on fire probably wasn’t a good idea.

Covering it in ink would’ve also been a dumb thing to do.

I could’ve gone the StarTropics route and dipped it in water, but that seemed kind of risky.

I even considered throwing the damn thing away. This might have just been a viral marketing scheme, after all.

Of course, the right thing to do was to let it sit in the sun for an hour. Obviously.

I thanked the old man the only way I knew how.

I recognized the place, somehow — it was somewhere in the Souch Pacific. Having nothing better to do, I bought a plane ticket out of here.

Chad and my oldest son greeted me at the airport. I told them I may not see them again. Chad grunted. My son responded with a blank stare.

I finally snapped out of my stupor as I boarded the plane.

I entertained fantasies of how easily things could go wrong.

What was I doing? Was the map even real?

I hoped it was.

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