"working on my faults and cracks..."


Gaijin Whorage

The alley smelled like greasy hamburgers. And fish.

It wasn't particularly her fault--"get off the Midosuji line at the #24 Namba street exit" made it easy enough. But coincidence landed our meeting spot outside the ostensibly named "Hotel Sala Del Rey." A narrow alley; lined with hawkish neon and gaudy plaster hotel fronts, vertical matchbox parking garages, and the small fish market on the corner. There I stood, nervously waiting, desperately mopping sweat from rivers on my forehead. The makeshift dam I'd built out of sports towels to keep the flash-floods from soaking my boxers had been breached. Sweaty ass crack in a suit.
Fucking great.

She had scurried off in search of the other hapless cast member who was either lost, or just late, and left me sweltering and alone to watch the market's late afternoon hustle and bustle. Elderly Japanese men in white rubber boots load dripping styrofoam crates of iced fish onto the back of a small panel truck. Another was hosing down the alley where I stood, sending up wisps of steam as the water met the hot asphalt, turning the humid air around the hotel into a suffocating bath of sweat, fish, and air conditioning exhaust. Fishy puddles started to gather around my shoes, lapping at my tailored suit. Where the shit did she go?

I didn't know many details--only that it was supposed to be some kind of bit part--a small speaking role in the typical mindless Japanese variety programming; however, a quick survey of the surrounding Osaka street suggested the role could be in some pixellated skin flick, if I didn't get shanked in the ass by one of the fishermen first. I put my thick sunglasses back on, hiding the avalanche of perspiration down furrowed brow.

At last, she appeared around the corner by the McDonald's, dragging a short, middle-aged American. Appropriately dressed for the professor role he had evidently been preparing for for: unmatching tie hung limply over an untucked, paint-stained polo shirt; frayed khakis and beat-up sneakers completed the look. I had a sneaking suspicion that his wardrobe was "fit" for the role, only because he was the role. In broken Japanese, we learned he was a part-time art teacher to "young, old people." Great. I take that back--his disheveled gray hair said he was just beyond middle age. Still American though.

The director burst from the hotel's partitioned entrance, grinning broadly. Strong handshake for a J-train. Right there in the alley in front of the hotel's shielded parking garage, we exhaustively went over the specifics of the script. We're going to be shooting at poolside. Art hippy was cast as professor Cussler--made apparently famous for his award-winning experiment--an experiment we were to be re-enacting for a Japanese science program. I was to be "Watson," his labcoat graduate assistant. I am still swimming, and mildly displeased.

Better late than never, my "clue" train suddenly screeched into the station. Wait, 'normal' Japanese hotels are too small to have pools... I thought. And why are there so many tiny hotels in such a small, low-traffic area?
We were at last escorted inside to the softly lit air-conditioned oasis, where we strode past the automated front desk and large colorful screens displaying room features, to the tiny elevator in the back. Soothing jazz and funk played throughout the lobby. Wait, what the shit...? Screens? Room photographs? No incriminating staff? Chandeliers...Prophylactic vending machine...



To be continued...

5 contributions to this piece:

Kimbrolynn said...

All we need is a sciences degree and some really bizarre, unfounded, experiment or invention so we can win the Ig Nobel. Um... like how to scratch your ass using psychokinesis. This isn't the movie were going to make, is it? ;)

Dagbert said...

But I already can scratch my ass with psychokinesis.
Are we missing something?

JaN said...

What is it that you do anyway??

Dagbert said...

I'm a white-skinned PR stunt for a little private Japanese school in Okayama.

Sometimes I translate things. But most times, I teach English conversation.

Heather S. said...

^^ LOL!!! :D



Freakin' hilarious!!!

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