Monday, June 4, 2007

Powder Burn Flash # 30 - Barry Baldwin


The inspector contemplated the pile of chains heaped on the ground, as dark and sinister as the surrounding buildings. He lit a pungent Shinsei cigarette. ‘How could they escape from a ton of iron like this? Godzilla himself would have been hard pressed to break such fetters.’

His subordinate was saying nothing. Tsumbo de oshi - deaf and dumb.

Chimbo , thought the inspector, monko. He had good reason to summon up the two grossest anatomical terms in the Japanese vocabulary. But they did nothing to help.

‘Who was in charge of this business?’

‘Yoshi Kamo.’

Yoshi Kamo. The smallest man on the force, as tiny as the inspector was immense, and the biggest nuisance. ‘Drive me back to the office, fetch him to me there, then make yourself scarce.’

When Kamo stood before him, watchful but confident, the inspector said without preamble, ‘You released those women.’

Hai.’ A lengthening pause suggested that his superior was waiting for this clipped affirmative to be decorated with a shamefaced Simata! - I have made a mistake. Well, his superior was in for a disappointment.


Yoshi Kamo stirred. ‘They were not only Sumo wrestlers, but also deviants.’

‘An interesting antithesis,’ observed the inspector impassively, ‘coming from one such as yourself. It is known that you entertain a poor opinion of this new feature of life in our nation.’

‘I consider them to be a dishonour to our people, an affront to order and morality, yes...’

The inspector raised a hand to abort the diatribe. If Yoshi Kamo were not stopped, he would launch into his celebrated lament for Mishima, the Japanese novelist and warrior who had a few years ago famously committed seppuku in protest against modern decadence. ‘Yes, all this is familar. But why do you say they were deviants also?’

‘Because there were no men in the bar where we rounded them up. Acting on information received. And when we attempted to bind them together, they giggled...’

‘All Japanese girls giggle.’

‘But these cheered and shouted Awri, Awri , to make my men go more quickly. And some even moved closer together and kissed each other. Masochists. They wanted the chains. That was not to be tolerated.’

‘So, where are they now?’ The inspector already knew he would not welcome the answer.

‘Ito and I herded them into that disused police laundry where, as you know, discreet interrogations are conducted. We shot them, not without difficulty, and rendered them down in the boilers, which still work most efficiently. They would make high-quality grease, for domestic use as well as wrestlers. Most expensive in the supermarkets. Our wives would be very pleased. It is, of course, expected that you, Inspector, would be entitled to the largest share.

‘Logical and clean. The sadist must deny pleasure to the masochist. And they were fat in life, hence what better than that they should be fat in death?’

Yoshi Kamo, surprised by his superior’s understanding, bowed more deeply than usual and left.

The inspector frowned as he picked up the telephone, punched in some confidential numbers, and arranged with the city’s top yakusa who owed him many favours for the killing of Yoshi Kamo.

Partly because, despite his great size, he was a vegetarian, for him a matter of simple taste rather than complex morality. After all, he had often read that the gaijin Hitler did not eat meat or drink or even smoke.

But mainly because his favourite wrestler had been among the victims. Only the previous week, he had composed an account of her latest - her last, as it had turned out - triumph in the newspaper Asahi. Under a pseudonym, naturally, he had evoked the erotic poetry in motion of both yokozuna coming together in migi-yotsu or right-hand inside holds. Since this was Mariko’s favourite grip, Yuko released her left hand from an outside hold and attempted to push her left arm inside Mariko’s gripping one to break her hold. Baffled in this, she resumed her original position on the mawashi. But Mariko suddenly unleashed a mighty, sharp-snapping arm throw from the right which sent Yuko thudding into submission.

If his report had unduly favoured one of these equally matched titanesses, that was a natural consequence of their having been lovers for quite some time. He had thought that no one knew. Neither was married, and they had been careful. But now, he wondered about Yoshi Kamo. The man missed very little. Had he somehow divined the affair? Was this knowledge, abetted by some dark desires of his own, the unadmitted impulse behind the slaughter in the laundry? Well, it was no matter now. And the inspector doubted that for all his alertness Yoshi Kamo had had the faintest inkling that his superior officer was booked into the most expensive private clinic in Bangkok surgically to complete his progress from man to woman. It would not be long before his career would be as transformed as his body, from inspector of police to madam in charge of Tokyo’s most illustrious house of geishas, his pension amplified by funds from grateful businessmen and indebted yakusas.

He pondered, not for long, then jotted down some ideograms which engendered a summarising haiku:

Inside Every
Fat Man A Fat Woman Is
Trying To Get Out.
Almost worthy of Basho, greatest exponent of the form. He would print it, under his own name, in the police newsletter when his resignation was gazetted. The liquidation of Yoshi Kamo and the avenging of Mariko the Sumo wrestler were acts positive in themselves but too quiet to be of more than limited validity. It was time that he/she came out into open embodiment and support of the twin virtues of female and fat.

One task remained. Yoshi Kamo had disclosed the name of his informant: Yuko. Mariko’s honour demanded requitement. Logic and pleasure dictated that he inveigle her into the old police laundry where she too could be rendered down into fat - alive.

No comments: