You want to know something about me? My grand master plan?
Why should I trust you?
Hmmm. You don’t seem like the shifty type…
Then pull up that empty gas tank over there. Hear me out.
Axyl is my name.
I was born of a Brazilian car worker and a Japanese highschool student. My father’s body lies buried beneath the Hankyu Department Store in Osaka. He was buying a birthday cake for my mother when the Earthquake hit.
Broke her heart. She became a Buddhist nun and lives now at the monastery on Mount Hien.
So you see, I’m a mongrel. A “half,” like many others in this forsaken place they call Terminal. But two cultures are twice the strength of one. I have seen Manaus, on the Amazon River, where my father grew up. I have climbed Mount Fuji, whose summit overlooks the village where my mother was was born. My travels have made me tough and clever.
But I am still “half” to the Japanese full bloods.
So be it.
If I am “yin,” then “yang” is Azusa. She is half Japanese, half Malian. Her mother was born in a sandstorm in the Sahara and rescued by a Japanese oil man. How she survived will bleed you of tears.
And just as her mother was saved, Azusa saved me. Pulled me off the streets of south Osaka after I lost my father and my job.
Arranged a lawyer, too. You see, the company I worked for, Toyotech, wanted me locked up for using their 3D printers to make guns. A young local guy called Bochan Baba was my best customer. He’s making quite a name for himself I hear.
Yesterday, the morning after the Hawker’s visit, Azusa came to me. Stealthy as a jaguar, she slipped from the sea mist and into my capsule, shed her uniform and slid between my futon. Her long muscular thighs slid between mine and there was musk on her skin, plum sake on her breath.
“I waited for you at the High Tide Bar until two,” she purred.
“Must have dozed off. I was dreaming,” I said.
“You never dream.” Her nipples hardened against my chest. “And I’m not surprised. A brain doesn’t work in a room this cold.”
“A noodle hawker with an old sedge hat and chattering beads on his wrist pushed his cart into my head.”
“How were the noodles?”
“He’d sold out. He asked for my “dream.”
“What did you tell him?”
“That I wanted to escape to Okinawa.”
“You are lucky it was a dream.”
“It wasn’t. He passed my shop yesterday, said he was lost.”
“The Policon are buying spies everywhere in Terminal. You should be careful who you talk to.”
“The beads on his wrist were ‘tiger eyes.’ Same as my father wore.”
“Why don’t you stop talking and put those loose lips to good work.”
She straddled my neck and in one smooth movement pulled me into her.
Outside the sea mist licked through the streets of Terminal. Somewhere off a felinoid purred.